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This is a hit and miss, often because it becomes stupidly on the nose instead of telling a story, though it pulls it off at times.
Plenty of violence and nudity in an unapologetic way, which is thankfully refreshing as it allowed the animators and writers to tell the stories as they wanted without having to restrain themselves, which translated into the anthology being fairly indiscriminate and presenting how things would logically go in most scenarios. Exactly how things should be and nothing less than what I expected from Fincher and Miller.
Not that the shorts were always even handed, as mentioned:
All in all, I recommend the watch and making your own opinions (the anthology has something in it for everyone, I think), though again the fact that it has plenty of violence and nudity is not everyone's cup of tea. I like it, as violence is (sadly) a part of life, and there's nothing wrong with the human body.
In an anthology of eighteen short films, some will inevitably stand out, some will be middling, and some will be, well, subpar. I had trouble parsing which Love, Death & Robots fell into which category, probably because so many of them were middling. But the ones that shine do so very well.
A rundown of my opinions of each episode, which may be different from yours (and that's ok):
Plot- or theme-wise, don't expect anything on the level of, say, Black Mirror, to cite another Netflix scifi anthology. With runtimes of ten-ish minutes each, the shorts feel less like ruminations on human nature and technology/magic and more like impressive tech demos. I found many of them rather lacking in heart, which I personally seek when dealing in stories about technology. Overall, the oft-cited criticism of misogynist visuals is very fair. There's a lot of violence against women, and a lot of nudity to the point that it often detracts from the short. Some of it is also blatantly gratuitous. This is something I hope the creators address should there be more seasons.
The animation is mostly strong across the board, even for episodes with weak plots (eg. "Fish Night"), which is impressive considering all the styles the series juggles. Some episodes have styles reminiscent of a Playstation 4 cutscene (eg. "Shape-Shifters") but even those would come through; the fight scene in "Sonnie's Edge" in particular is a standout. If you're an art/animation fan as I am, it's probably worth watching just for the variety of visual styles alone.
As for which episodes I'd recommend: I believe you should still watch the whole thing and figure out which ones in particular you would like. As I said, you won't find all of them good, but you will like some, and that's just fine.
Love, death and robots... I love all those things! Love Death + Robots is an anthology series of short animated sci-fi and fantasy films. Reviewing 18 different films in one review is a bit of a tall order, so bear with me, I'm going to have to work around that.
Despite the distinct animation styles, plots, settings and characters, there are certain common elements amongst a lot of the stories, and I'm not just talking about love, death or even robots. For starters, this is a Not Safe For Work series, which means its got people saying "fuck" and "cunt" all the time, and we get to see quite a lot of gratuitous violence, most strikingly against naked ladies. I'm kind of reminded of a much-maligned review I wrote a long time back about Black Lagoon, where (amongst other things) I slagged off the show's puerile ideas of mature content and coolness. I might have been a worse reviewer back then, but that thing I complained about is still something I see cropping up time and time again in animated shows. I am never that impressed by a story that's dark and edgy for its own sake, nor by the kind of writing where characters keep making "pussy cat = vagina" jokes over and over.
I looked over the credits and found it is the same writer for most the season, which might explain why so many episodes re-tread the exact same tropes: for instance, seemingly half of them involve someone heroically sacrificing their own lives by setting off a bomb. How could someone not realise they've re-written the same bit over and over?
It's not all bad though. Amongst all this try-hard nonsense, there are some diamonds in the rough. Personal favourites are:
All the best episodes forego the staid, hackneyed combat tropes I criticised, telling more inventive, heartfelt and generally more fun stories. And that's not to say mature concepts can't actually be done well: Good Hunting, which itself has an excess of female mutilation, at least uses that to tell an interesting tale about power imbalance and transformation, all in a far better way than the show's leading episode, Sonnie's Edge, which has the same ideas.
Besides all that, every episode has its own aesthetic, and some are astonishingly good looking. Fish Night in particular is especially beautiful and is worth watching for that reason alone. Love, Death + Robots is a true mixed bag. Watch the whole thing, but expect your mileage to vary a lot from story to story.
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