Robot OverlordsLondon Film Festival 2014
Saturday 18th October, 4.15pm – Vue Islington
Sunday 19th October, 12.45pm – Vue West End, Screen 5
Robot Overlords has the formula down to a T: the perfect family film. It has the attractive but purposefully boring hero, and of course the equally uninteresting but beautiful love interest. Then there is the platonic (in this case: brother) second male of the same age who provides the entertainment and the main comic relief. Finally, to complete the group of life-saving youths, there is the much younger child who is exceptionally clever and therefore refuses to be ignored or condescended to by the big kids. The adults continue this stock character charm: there is an evil male schoolteacher whom the children hate because he is in alliance with the evil alien overlords (every child’s drawing of their teacher personified). He tries to woo the kind teacher/mother, who is only briefly fooled while her children know all along. Then there’s the long-lost hero father who helps save the day, with ultimate pride as his son follows in his footsteps.
This familiarity is something that will always be needed in the film industry, as it makes for an easy, entertaining and funny watch that is fun for all the family. As long as a film can make its audience smile (on purpose), it’s automatically a success – and this film certainly succeeds. It is absurd fiction meets perfectly captured realist British community and characterisation, which provides the fondness and the comedy in the film. Even the title seems to embrace (and mock) its chosen universally pleasing formula, perfectly representing its absurdity, which in itself is a proud British trait: being able to laugh at oneself.
It is still very well done. The plot is not absurd because the acting is so masterful by the whole cast. The idea of being locked indoors is portrayed as a traumatic experience; all the sneaking around and the reveal of the killer robots coming over the hill does put one’s heart in one’s mouth. The audience are completely entranced by the characters and the plot throughout – that is the mark of a great film.
Robot Overlords release date is yet to be announced.
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