Before I begin my ramble on all the cool aspects of Netflix’s animated NSFW series, Love, Death & Robots, I have to be honest with you, my online fratres. I have pretty much stopped pirating the digital seas a few months ago when I subscribed to Netflix.
No, I do not have a newly awakened conscience that pushed me to that choice – like most things about our consumer-driven, capitalist society, it gets you with its convenience. Simply put, it was just way easier to pay the bloody EUR 10-12 and be done with the whole thing and have a bunch of stuff at my beck and call on any device. That being said, a lot – or most, of the stuff on Netflix is either old as fuck, or plain bad.
But, not so Love, Death & Robots.
IMDB blandly calls the show “a collection of animated short stories that span various genres including science fiction, fantasy, horror and comedy” – and it is that, but also a lot more. I see it as a complex set of fantasy narratives, that takes storytelling to a so-far unseen level, hinting at a possible revolution in the seventh art.
Now, I bet you are wondering am I leading to a point or just flinging polysyllabic flatus vocis. The answer is: maybe.
Let’s break it down.
When I say that Love, Death & Robots is a complex set of fantasy narratives, I mean that it is a show that features different, unrelated animated episodes in relatively short format, that are connected only in their relation to fantasy – in the broadest of senses.
Since, I really don’t want to spoil it for those that haven’t seen it, I will not go into details in terms of plots and motifs. Suffice to say that, whether you like deep space SciFi stuff, mythology, anime, or just mindfucks, you are bound to like some of it at least.
As for taking storytelling to a new level, episode have different directors and use different styles of animation – the variety is overwhelming. But we had different styles before, what makes Love, Death & Robots stand out, is how beautiful and realistic (in episodes demanding realism) the animation has become.
“Oh bliss! Bliss and heaven! Oh, it was gorgeousness and gorgeousity made flesh. It was like a bird of rarest-spun heaven metal or like silvery wine flowing in a spaceship, gravity all nonsense now.”
A Change in the Filming Industry?
The traditional limitations of translating the director/writer’s idea onto the screen, due to our technical (or technological, if you prefer) and acting capabilities, seem to be disappearing. Which is not to say that Love, Death & Robots is perfect, the apex of film-making, but rather that it hits of things to come.
If we can say that something of the story gets lost in translation, because the actor just can’t get “that” expression – or tone of voice which the narrative demands, the story that ends up being told is more of an imperfect shadow of the ideal story. Forgive the Platonistic terminology…
I think that Love, Death & Robots heralds an age where the story can be perfectly translated onto the screen. But, could this bring a revolution in film-making as well?
In my naivete, I believe that this possibility brings a change for the better within the filming industry. Because of such high-quality animation, perhaps we will see an end to actor arrogance and hubris. When they are no longer the stars of the show
– and how I hate that term, maybe the credit will be spread more evenly among all the people who made that movie or series possible?
Which is not to say that I believe the actors unimportant or unnecessary. I simply think that there is more to it than them. If you think I am wrong, consider this: 90% of you that like Game of Thrones know that the role of Daenaerys is played by Emilia Clarke, but which of you knows the names of the guys that CGI the dragons, White Walkers or direwolves?
Now, consider what the show would be without those dragons, White Walkers or direwolves…