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'Atlas' Review: Another Film To Hide Away In The Netflix Library


Netflix' sci-fi releases over the recent months have been, to mildly put it, disappointing. Adam Sandler's Spaceman came and went, and nothing more needs to be said about Rebel Moon, but we move on and Atlas was a chance to turn a corner in the genre, sadly the same outcome applies. Disposable characters, re-hashed ideas and shoddy VFX combine to put Atlas right in amongst that ever growing forgettable Netflix category.


Humans and AI live in harmony, until a rogue AI, Harlan (Simu Liu), causes devastation to the planet killing millions then vanishing into space. Twenty-Eight years on a data analysts, Atlas Shepherd (Jennifer Lopez), who has a deep mistrust of AI finds it may be her only ally when a mission to capture Harlan goes wrong.


On the surface, the ideas in Atlas are an intriguing concept, but under the guise of Netflix this just feels like another throwaway chuck it onto our service outcome. You know there's something severely wrong with the film when the most interesting part comes in the form of the set up within the first 5 minutes. The rise of the villain Harlan is quite comfortably a film I'd rather see, than the wild goose chase we get sent on full of re-hashed ideas which never cohesively come together. Ultimately, this makes Atlas feel like a afterthought sequel, to a previous film that never happened.


Atlas has some ideas when it comes to the new-age Earth, and actually when on Earth the film looks at its best. The futuristic elements feel well thought out, and the aftermath of Harlan's devastation is dealt with and futuristic preventative measures have been put in place. However, the film falls as soon as we come off Earth onto the planet Harlan has escaped to. Each scene is rife with special effects to create a world, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania springs to mind, but none of them are done effectively. There are many moments where it is blatantly obvious that these actors are standing in front of a green screens, this gave Atlas an overall cheap look, to the extent that some scenes felt like video game cutaways.

The film has some sort of idea about its characters, but none of which standout and never really get expanded upon. Atlas Shepherd (Jennifer Lopez) is the main focus throughout, and we spend most of the time trying to connect to this character while she is trying to let her guard down to an AI system called Smith. The film is trying to get us to sympathise with Atlas throughout, but never really achieves this, before throwing in a twist that may change your opinion anyway. Jennifer Lopez is clearly trying hard here to portray a cautious and rightly troubled protagonist, but ends up shouting though scenes with a surprised look on here face, at times forcing the comedic moments upon us.


Atlas' main villain Harlan (Simu Liu) is a ghost for the majority of the film, so would be unfair to comment on Simu Liu's performance. However, the underutilisation of this character is criminal, just like the first 5 minutes, this character could've and probably should've been more of a focus. Due to this the character suffers from having any sort of menace, and the threat, although on a grand scale in theory, doesn't quite bare any weight in delivery.

Ultimately Atlas is a huge miss, another film to hide away in the Netflix library that by this time next month will be forgotten about. Which is a shame, as there is a for more interesting story to be told here. Save your time, and spend two hours doing something far more productive.


Rating Atlas

Atlas is streaming now on Netflix


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