Tag Archives: fishing for metaphors

Reflecting on Ex Machina: A Sci-Fi Eye Candy Thriller

Originally posted Aug. 2, 2020; Revised Feb. 19, 2022. Contains spoilers.

My brother introduced me to this film. He said it was really good and I should watch it. I did a couple years later. Unlike my brother, I wasn’t impressed with it because my initial reaction was that I have already known long ago that most women are manipulative confused robots (I hope you can tell I’m being sarcastic). Later on, with more time to process the film, I realized there’s more that meets the eyes. Still, it’s no masterpiece to me. It’s just entertainingly decent.

At first which I reviewed this film back in 2020. I was heavily bias against it, sawing it as an attack on women who yearn for freedom and liberation from traditional role. At the time, I accidently landed in a YouTube section where men were bashing women calling them damaged goods just because they need to go find themselves by choosing to walk away from a relationship. So, when I watched Ex Machina, I couldn’t help but draw a parallel between Ava with real women. What is so wrong with a woman who wants to explore the world after being caged up in a facility as a test subject for so long by an unethical, perverted engineer? It sounds as if she was in an abusive relationship. I had to empty out my biases to appreciate what the film tried to communicate and learned that my initial reaction to the film was impaired.

Note: If you have not seen the film, please refer to the synopsis on Wiki to follow along this article. Thank you.

There are two important points that the plot wants to make in this film: one is the Caleb Smith’s instinctive behavior toward Ava (the AI) and the second is controlling her, the source.  Why is Caleb attracted to Ava, knowing she is an AI?  Why does Ava need to get out and experience freedom? Why does she need to go on a date with Caleb to the theatre? The simple answer is data (I cannot imagine what Ava wants to do with data. She is like a search engine gone crazy, I suppose).  Thus, the film attempted to illustrate that technology can be dangerous by comparing it on a relationship level where humans can understand. But to me, it just appeared chauvinistically narrow-minded.

Metamorphically speaking, it succeeded at presenting its ideas by comparing Ava to a typical woman, although I don’t think it was the most effective ways to communicate the idea that AI can be dangerous. Clearly, the intended demographic for this film is for straight male viewers. For one, it reiterated that nice guys do finish last. Secondly, robots are alluringly dangerous like beautiful women (the male gaze in the film gives it away). Lastly, the final conclusion of the plot implied that in theory, having a beautiful woman by your side is a nice idea until it starts manifesting and spiraling into something out of your control which may cause your death! As the saying goes, if you play with fire, you will get burn. So, what it all boils down to is that the film speaks from a heterosexual man’s fear. And that notion alone makes me feel quite disconnected and less appreciative of the film.

So, this brought me back to my conclusion of the film. It’s a bit chauvinistic. It’s fearful of technology but at the same time drawn to it. It’s a tragic comedy but far from clever (hard not to roll eyes with certain scenes). Hence, that is why I classify the film under Sci-Fi Eye Candy Thriller, according to Halsdoll’s imaginary film dictionary (in other words, I made up the subgenre); and lastly, there’s nothing mind-blowing about a primitive fear that has been known since the dawn of time. We know that humanity is captivated by the beauty of the unknown and yet we foolishly explore it anyway. Yes, nerds may rule the world, but they are not always the wisest.

I Am Back with A Poem (Blog Update)

I’m back. Still adjusting to new environment. But to keep my blog on schedule and because this is somewhat of a poetry/ gamer’s diary/unconventional review blog (its existence serves as a dialogue between two people to keep myself from talking to myself once upon a time in downtown Seattle), I wrote a poem for my re-entry to posting weekly, which was on a Monday 12:00 A.M Pacific Time (excluding this post) to be exact. Moving forward, changing it to Monday 12:00 A.M Central Time. I like to be on the dot. Please enjoy this poem I wrote on a whim.

Is There Fall in the Midwest? by Halsdoll

Like an arrow, I go.

Like moths flapping towards

A glow.

The sun pops;

It explodes.

Summer is almost gone

But still hot

And fall won’t come

gradually…

No.

Here, in the Midwest

the light

switch off or on

Cold.

***

The Midwest is now home because that is where my partner is. It’s different from where I grew up but it’s a nice change in pace and it’s not so bad minus the heat. Hence, why I wrote the poem. The good news though is that it’s a lot quieter than the city life surely. Noise pollution should be a crime. Now I wake up to hearing birds and not ambulance siren, which means I can write more! Peace and quiet is how I like it. I don’t know if this place will be my final destination. Never in my wildest dreams thought I’d end up here. One day…maybe I’ll return to the rain and the hills next to the sea or retire up in the mountains and become a mountain woman with working internet signal. I got to keep this blog rolling after all because I am here for the long haul.

At the moment, I am still playing Dark Souls 2 Scholar of the First Sin, reading Persuasion by Jane Austen and watching Twin Peaks with my partner for the first time. As I mentioned before, so many content to consume with so little time apart from having bazillion other hobbies such as cooking. That’s why my gaming backlog is small. Still have yet to complete Mass Effects, Dragon Age, Tales of Xilia for the PS3 and some indies games I bought on Steam, which I may never get around to. I like to take the time to appreciate a piece of work and play them thoroughly. It’s much more rewarding than just buying and never consuming it. Perhaps that’s why many of us create blog in the first place because we have an overwhelming amount of things to consume which takes us away from having a social life or many of us just want to be lost in our own thoughts and hope someone would listen to us? I mean this blog is conversational for a reason even though I don’t expect readers to engage with me in the comment section. My goal is to make the reader think. Thinking is what make people, people right? Part of the reason why I take the time to appreciate a piece of work is for thinking purposes. It benefits both the consumer and the creator. Making things to make money is death to both the creator and the consumer. That’s my personal take on creative works. Anyway…

I like to keep my promise. Coming up is my reflective review on Taxi Driver (2017) directed by Jang Hoon. Until next time, I leave you folks with a photograph of my moving trip. Yellowstone Park was beautiful minus the tourists like me. So I tried to take pictures with no people in it.

More than a nice stroll in the park