Film

Movie Ramblings: Eyeborgs

eyeborgs_poster

Eyeborgs is based around the idea of constant pervasive surveillance. In addition to ubiquitous CCTV cameras, the government has deployed millions of small robots called Eyeborgs which are essentially CCTV cameras that can follow you around. Although this film was only released in 2009, the technology seems quite dated. Surveillance systems available even to the general public these days are much more covert and mobile than the slightly clunky bipedal robots in this film.

This might be part of the plan though. The film makers definitely want to make the robots a character in their own right in the film and making them small buzzing insect type robots would have made it hard for the audience to engage with them. Also, the design may have been made deliberately cute by the government to make them more accepted by the population. While the robots as their own character thing never really comes off, the cute angle certainly seems to have worked for the most part as people mostly go about their daily lives without even commenting on the robot the size of a small dog following them around an perving at them all the time.

Would you really mind if this cute little fella followed you around and filmed you all day?
Would you really mind if this cute little fella followed you around and filmed you all day?

Once the little robots start intervening in human affairs instead of just documenting them things take a downward turn and people start dying. Soon a bunch of larger more aggressive robots are out on the streets tracking down anyone who might have an anti-robot agenda. Of course it is down to a select band of heroes to discover what is going on and put a stop to it once and for all. There is some nonsense about the president’s son being wanted by the robots and a kind of anti-robot movement but really everything that happens in the middle of the movie is only there to set up the twist and climax at the end.

What the hell is that?! And why is it setting me on fire?
What the hell is that?! And why is it setting me on fire?

Finally it is discovered (spolierz) that the government has been taken over by robots and computers some time ago and they have killed the president and have been pretending he is still alive to keep the fleshlings under control. Once the good guys find this out, the robots pull out all the stops to kill them off before news gets out leading to the inevitable boss-fight showdown and the even more inevitable release of the news to the general public.

The most realistic looking robots in the film.
The most realistic looking robots in the film.

Eyeborgs is a sci-fi action thriller with a really interesting concept but poor execution. The plot is pretty contrived and contains a lot that is inexplicable except that it sets up something that happens later. Some of the acting is OK, some of it is pretty poor. The special effects are a bit of an oddity, some of them are done really well and especially with the smaller robots you can really feel that they are present and interacting with the humans.

The larger robots were a different story. They often looked like they had been pasted in and in many scenes it looked like the actors had no idea where they were supposed to be. One thing I did like about the larger robots is the way that the animators had made them appear to be awkward in confined spaces, they have trouble moving around and bump into things making it seem like the robots don’t know where the humans are either! Towards the end when some truly ridiculous robots start to appear, it seems like the effects team have forgotten to add textures to the models as they occasionally appear as flat red masks.

eyeborgs_big

It wasn’t a terrible but a few percent improvement would have made it great and that kept distracting me as I watched. Not bad enough to be in the so bad it is awesome pile and not good enough to be in the straight up awesome pile, this one goes in the middle “it’s OK” pile.

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