Is it the script, the director or the cast that makes a good movie? A combination? All of them? If one aspect isn’t up to scratch can the other two save it?
The short answer with Robot Overlords is no, no they can’t.
Three years ago from a distant, unspecified, galaxy, robots invaded Earth. The subsequent war, of which you see nothing, lasted just 11 days. We join the action on day 1264 of the invasion to find a bunch of kids/teenagers and their mum, Gillian Anderson, in their house, which they can’t leave, ‘assisted’ by Ben Kingsley who is a ‘spokesperson’ for the robots.
All humans, we’re told, have an implant in their neck which seems to do nothing other than tell the robots if people leave their homes, something they’re not allowed to do. These implants are huge flashing lights, in case you’re interested.
Obviously the kids find a way to disable these implants and set-out to find one of their fathers who is missing. One of the kids, on the journey to find their father, inadvertently ends up gaining the power to control the robots and, well, I’m sure you can guess the rest.
I don’t know what the budget was for the movie but something tells me the majority went on the very decent cast. Besides Anderson and Kingsley there’s Callan McAuliffe (The Great Gatsby, I Am Number Four), Steven Mackintosh (Kick-Ass 2, Underworld) and Geraldine James (Utopia, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo).
The trouble is there’s nothing they can do about the awful writing they’re given to work with (Mark Stay and Jon Wright, also the director, wrote the screenplay). The dialogue is hammy at best, particularly Kingsley’s, which makes him look ordinary which is quite some feet!
The whole thing has the feel of a Doctor Who TV special from the 60’s, with special effects to match. I would say this is a low budget film but given the cast I’m not sure I can. Perhaps it’s an advert for the Isle of Man who seemed to have stumped up some of the budget, except that you hardly get to see any of the place and some of it was filmed in Northern Ireland.
You don’t see this invasion in any other part of the world, there doesn’t seem to be any resistance to the invasion, it’s not explained how people get food if they’re not allowed to leave their homes, seriously no-one has done what they do to disable the implants? How’d they get the implants into everyone’s necks if they can’t scan them all at once? What’s the point of the implants?
Are just some of the questions you’ll find yourself asking. Also, a Spitfire? Really? Where do they take off when we’re told they’re in a valley? And no that’s not a spoiler in case you’re wondering.
There’s key information we’re only told towards the end of the film, so that thing you’re thinking, about mobile phones or, I don’t know say, the internet, does get explained…eventually.
So what I guess I’m saying is, don’t watch it, it’s not enjoyable, it’s just irritating. However, don’t let that put you off from one of Jon Wright’s other directorial turns, Grabbers (2012), which is a laugh of a movie in the same vein as James Gunn’s Slither though not as good obviously.
You can buy Robot Overlords on DVD over on Amazon: Robot Overlords (DVD)
You can buy Robot Overlords on Blu-Ray over on Amazon: Robot Overlords (Blu-Ray)