Saturday, May 25, 2024

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Mars Express Review: Sci-Fi Feature Daringly Subverts Common AI Tropes

After debuting at Cannes and Annecy, the French sci-fi feature Mars Express finally launched in North America on May 3, 2024. Directed by Jrmie Prin and distributed by GKids (who has released other hand-drawn animation films from around the world, such as Studio Ghibli’s The Boy and the Heron), the film takes on an aesthetic somewhere between anime and graphic novel, and a plot evocative of Ghost in the Shell. Aside from these clearly deliberate references, the film’s identity is all its own. There’s a realism in Prins digitally hand-drawn characters and, subsequently, the voice acting. This serves to contrast against the computer-generated environments that the characters find themselves in. These contrasts exist everywhere in Mars Express: flesh-and-blood humans and their robot duplicates, high-tech solutions to quotidian human problems, and so on.

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