Love, Death & Robots season one is currently streaming on Netflix from writer Tim Miller (Deadpool), animation production company Blur Studio and producers Joshua Donen, David Fincher, Jennifer Miller (and Miller himself). Voice actors include Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Topher Grace, Gary Cole, Samira Wiley, Stefan Kapičić and MANY more. This is my review:
A collection of animated short stories in various genres, including science fiction, fantasy, horror and comedy.
I grew up worshipping a VHS copy of 1981’s Heavy Metal — an animated anthology series featuring tales of horror, fantasy and science fiction. That film — was chalk full of nudity, gore, foul language, more nudity and then some additional bonus nudity for good measure. It is a cult classic to this day and there has not been a sequel that can stack up to the original — until now. That would bring us to Love, Death & Robots – which oddly or not so oddly enough is because season one of Netflix’s greatest original series to date was actually engineered to be a sequel to the original Heavy Metal film. It’s all coming together and after watching these incredible 18 short movies, I don’t think we the people deserve this much cool shit. We are not worthy.
From creator Tim Miller and producer David Fincher, Love, Death & Robots season one features 18 short films, all ranging from around six to 16 minutes in length. The animation style varies from each episode but even more impressive is how the theme and vibe of every single stand-alone story makes for a completely original and fresh experience with every new episode. No two feel the same, even if the animation style or setting is similar. What truly blew me away was how powerful and well written every single short film was, because they all felt like complete experiences — a true two-hour viewing experience refined until it became the perfect dose of sci-fi. Love, Death & Robots cuts out the bullshit, gets to the point and still no episode feels rushed or unresolved. There likely won’t be a more original or cool ‘anything’ you’ll watch on your televisions all year long.
The films range from true horror (Sucker of Souls — which felt like a long lost spin-off from Tintin) to comedy (Three Robots — which will definitely be a fan favourite for a long time). My personal favorites so far include opening episode ‘Sonnie’s Edge’ which is so gloriously gratuitous in every aspect, but features one of the most vicious and brutal monster fights of all time. Another stand-out is the bizarre farmer’s tribute to Starship Troopers in the Spiderverse animated styled ‘Suits’. There’s something so beautiful and satisfying seeing these farmers wearing mech-suits and battling swarms of aliens in what looks like the masterful 90’s Disney film that the studio locked in a vault for decades.
It really must be repeated that each and every short film included here – truly does feel like a complete and satisfying experience – a movie sped up and delivered in its most pure adrenaline-fuelled form. ‘Helping Hand’ isn’t even 10 minutes long but it takes the concept from the Oscar winning Best Picture champion ‘Gravity’ and not only condenses all of that stranded astronaut horror into a fraction of the run-time, but it’s EVEN BETTER and EVEN SCARIER. That’s the beauty of Love, Death & Robots – the power to tell a story so quickly and effectively.
The voice-acting is perfect and the animation is perfect – thank you Blur Studios (now maybe they’ll be able to make that digitally animated adaptation of THE GOON?!?!? Please?!?!). There are so few flaws or problems that I’ve had with this anthology series that it would just be nit-picking on my part to include them here. Some episodes are better than others and some endings are more satisfying than others (I could have used more reflection on say, ‘Fish Night’) but even then, I wouldn’t consider any of these films to be a letdown in any way.
I don’t know how Miller and Fincher got Netflix to pick up this long abandoned Heavy Metal sequel and turn it into the masterpiece it is today, but Love, Death & Robots is mandatory viewing for anyone who grew up reading comics and watched rated R movies way too young. This is both progressive film-making while still honouring the cult classics before it. If you weren’t sold yet, there’s a werewolf super soldier episode, where soldiers – TURN INTO F***ING WEREWOLVES AND FIGHT EACH OTHER. I’ll repeat myself one final time — We are not worthy to receive this much cool shit in 2019.