Automatons

Low-tech black-and-white movies he watched on TV as a kid provided the inspiration for writer-director James Felix McKenney's underground sci-fi parable (2006) about a future where cyborgs outnumber humans. Waging war for peace has reaped global destruction, yet the Girl (Christine Spencer) soldiers on as the last of her tribe. Grainy Super-8 film and crude stop-motion miniatures create a dreamscape that echoes the kitsch of Forbidden Planet and the doomsday vibe of The Day the Earth Stood Still—minus the entertainment. With its hypnotic pacing, blatantly nonsynchronous sound, clunky robot costumes, and graphic but unconvincing violence, the movie falls flatly between camp and art-house pretension. 83 min.

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