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The Hollywood Insider Love, Death + Robots Review

Photo: ‘Love, Death + Robots’

‘Love, Death + Robots,’ is a groundbreaking animated series that is returning for its third season. This show is made up of a collection of short ideas and stories and is defined by its eclectic use of animation. It relies upon a number of animated styles “from 2D to photo-real 3D CGI.” ‘Love, Death + Robots,’ is already the recipient of 12 Emmy awards and is an acclaimed series not only for its unique and adept use of animation but for its overall quality of storytelling and filmmaking. This series which is created by director Tim Miller is an ever-changing and morphing way of shaping the melding of genres into a fast-paced and direct form of filmmaking.

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This series stands out from others due to its standalone episodic format. While at times if a certain episode doesn’t live up to the expectations of the viewer, this can be particularly disappointing, more often than not the episodes are well planned and well thought out leaving the viewer wanting more. This form is what much of the show can credit its success to and while some episodes which resonate with the viewer can feel too short, this is exactly what the show aims to do. It is not a grand epic or saga. What this show is defined as is essentially a visual medium of short stories.       

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‘Love, Death + Robots’: The Amalgamation of Genres

‘Love, Death + Robots,’ is a series which at its core is an amalgamation of genres. The show’s title hints at the themes that guide the series, and yet this name excludes much of the content which is depicted by this visually animated anthology. In its most recent season which aired on Friday, May 20, the show doubled down on the carnage and death that was contained in each episode. While at times it felt like blood and gore was the main intention of the series, this season, there were certain episodes that reframed the viewer’s interest and related the series back to its other primary theme, “love.” At its heart, this series is mostly a collection of short, unfinished ideas. With its eccentric form and by relying upon a multitude of traits and genres, the viewer slowly begins to accept the unconventional episodic format that the show features. This show is based heavily in the realm of science fiction, and much of its ideas are revolutionary to the world of television.

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Although not all of its episodes are excellent, one of the foremost strengths of the series is that it attempts to continue to push boundaries with every storyline that the episodes are based upon. By using animation as its central method of filmmaking, the series is able to accomplish far more complex and intricate dynamics and action sequences than if it were filmed as a live-action series. By combining and utilizing different forms of animation, each episode appears unique to the viewer. If the ideals in a particular episode don’t resonate with a certain individual this does not solidify that the next one will not as well. ‘Love, Death + Robots,’ is an eclectic union of contrasting and relating storylines and themes, which aims to not simply be defined by a particular ideal. It is remarkable because with each episode the viewer watches, they are left wondering what the next one will bring.         

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The Power of Each Episode Being Standalone

‘Love, Death + Robots,’ is a series where each episodic segment is standalone in its form and storyline. This differentiation in each episode is primarily what makes the series so unique and dissimilar to many other shows on television. In some way the series is comparable to the hit television show, ‘Black Mirror,’ in the way that it relies upon the fantastical, imaginative, and speculative aspects of storytelling. What makes ‘Love, Death + Robots,’ distinct from that series and any other for that matter, is its reliance upon animation which offers a side and scale to storytelling that is difficult if not impossible to recreate with live-action shows and films. ‘Love, Death + Robots,’ primary use of animation is also varying in the styles of art and technique that it employs. No two episodes follow the same design and this adds to the singular effect that each episode has upon the viewer. Following this same scheme, the storylines of each episode are all unrelenting and divergent.

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This show carries the same feeling and understanding as a digital medium of short stories. Each story aims to have its own motifs and lessons and while they seemingly relate to others in the series via the overarching themes that guide the show, what makes this series so special is that no idea is fully repeated or overused.        

Does This Series Prolong Its Excellent Quality with Its Third Season?

Season 3 of ‘Love, Death + Robots,’ is at times hit or miss. A couple of the episodes featured in its third season are some of the best ones the series has imagined yet. Other episodes feel contrite and pointless, as if they exist simply as filler. This show, even with these episodes that seem to accomplish nothing and leave no further concern or care within the viewer, is still largely a success. There are some episodes within the third season that leave the viewer desperately wishing for more. In some of these imaginative worlds, it at times feels as if an entire franchise could be borne out of the creative minds who have developed some of these particular short stories.

What is essential to the series and its further success is that rather than aim to continue to push the limits into unexplored areas of animation and filmmaking, the creators and producers of this series should guarantee that each episode must rely foremost on its story rather than its visuals. There is an episode within the third season that relies upon a form of claymation and depicts the world on a miniature scale. This episode which attempts to recreate the world overrun by zombies provides no full story but is rather a spectacle aimed at the amusement of the viewer.

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Halfway through the short, the audience is left wondering what the true story is and whether or not this series is worth continuing if this is the content that the creators find worthy of publishing. While there are times that the episodes further lose the viewers’ attention, there are certain episodes that resonate with the audience. It is for these episodes that this series is pushed forward and deemed a success. Overall, even with its flaws and shortcomings, ‘Love, Death + Robots,’ is a series that at times creates a story and world unlike any other seen before.       

Directors: Roberto Bisi, Emily Dean, David Fincher, David Fincher, Andy Lyon, Patrick Osborne

Cast: Fred Tatasciore, Noshir Dalal, Josh Brener, Gary Anthony Williams, Chris Parnell, Stanton Lee, Time Winters, Elodie Yung, Jeff Schine

Writers: Tim Miller, Philip Gelatt, John Scalzi, Michael Swanwick, Neal Asher, Roberto Bosi, Jeff Fowler, Andy Lyon, Andrew Kevin Walker

By Thomas Jacobs

Click here to read The Hollywood Insider’s CEO Pritan Ambroase’s love letter to Cinema, TV and Media. An excerpt from the love letter: The Hollywood Insider’s CEO/editor-in-chief Pritan Ambroase affirms, We have the space and time for all your stories, no matter who/what/where you are. Media/Cinema/TV have a responsibility to better the world and The Hollywood Insider will continue to do so. Talent, diversity and authenticity matter in Cinema/TV, media and storytelling. In fact, I reckon that we should announce “talent-diversity-authenticity-storytelling-Cinema-Oscars-Academy-Awards” as synonyms of each other. We show respect to talent and stories regardless of their skin color, race, gender, sexuality, religion, nationality, etc., thus allowing authenticity into this system just by something as simple as accepting and showing respect to the human species’ factual diversity. We become greater just by respecting and appreciating talent in all its shapes, sizes, and forms. Award winners, which includes nominees, must be chosen on the greatness of their talent ALONE.

I am sure I am speaking for a multitude of Cinema lovers all over the world when I speak of the following sentiments that this medium of art has blessed me with. Cinema taught me about our world, at times in English and at times through the beautiful one-inch bar of subtitles. I learned from the stories in the global movies that we are all alike across all borders. Remember that one of the best symbols of many great civilizations and their prosperity has been the art they have left behind. This art can be in the form of paintings, sculptures, architecture, writings, inventions, etc. For our modern society, Cinema happens to be one of them. Cinema is more than just a form of entertainment, it is an integral part of society. I love the world uniting, be it for Cinema, TV. media, art, fashion, sport, etc. Please keep this going full speed.

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Author

  • Thomas Jacobs is an avid writer, Cinema aficionado, and filmmaker. He graduated with Dean’s Honors from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a major in Film and Digital Media. His passion is directly tied to the appreciation and creation of film and television, and this fact is reflected in his intent to be a writer for the acclaimed entertainment journal, The Hollywood Insider. His beliefs mirror the core goals and mission statement of The Hollywood Insider by sharing an admiration for quality entertainment as well as bolstering a sense of positivity and equality among all humans. Thomas believes that Cinema is an advantageous promoter of civil and social empowerment, and he shares a mutual societal view with  The Hollywood Insider, that people should not be judged by the color of their skin, but the content of their character.

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