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I was always wondering whether I was able to create life.
It seems that I am.
Take any porn movie and you can be sure there’ll be some plumber who not only tries to repair the drain, but also will examine the installation of the innocent housewife. A solid storyline with inventive twists and turns isn’t the most important thing in such films. That’s nothing new. And you can say the same thing about A.I. Rising. Only this movie is a kind of a soft-sex version where you see Stoya more naked than dressed. Not that there’s much to see because she isn’t exactly blessed with voluptuous curves. Apparently, she’s a porn actress herself so she didn’t have any problems with parading around naked and acting in steamy love scenes.
But after 40 minutes, I started to wonder if something was going to happen. Because there’s no real variety. First a bit of psychological talking between Milutin (Sebastian Cavazza) and the android Nimani 1345 (Stoya). Then intense and titillating images of their love games. And then Stoya has to recharge her batteries by standing in a niche naked (of course). And this cycle repeats itself several times. To me, Stoya was a sort of humanized dildo. Charge it regularly and then use it to satisfy your indomitable desires. But just like porn, it’s monotonous and annoying after a while.
The ultimate goal of the trip to Alpha Centauri isn’t entirely clear. Milutin apparently has to install “Juche” there. A kind of ideology for experts. It seems to me it’s something abstract. However, it’s becoming clear during Milutin’s conversation with a social engineer from Elderlezi Corporation, that it’s going to be a miserably long trip. That is why Nimani is involved. An android with customizable moods and with advanced artificial intelligence. In the first instance, her function is to be a companion to make the long journey more bearable (and pleasant, of course). After a while, however, it seems more likely that she’s there to dampen Milutin’s animal drive and instincts.
Her main task, however, is to keep everything under control (both the spaceship and the commander) so that the mission is brought to a successful conclusion. Now, if you look at the design and layout of the spaceship, it’s a good thing she went along as a playtoy. I fear that Milutin would otherwise be bored to death. The spaceship certainly doesn’t look like the Enterprise. It is more like a steel colossus without a luxurious interior. The rusty looking steel walls do not look particularly cozy. The austere design is fairly depressing. It looks like a factory. Even the entire cockpit is limited to two solitary driver’s seats and a bunch of futuristic looking monitors. There’s no holodeck, bar, or leisure space. The only physical effort and entertainment there is for Milutin takes place in the bedroom.
But if you break through the erotic aspect, you will see that this Serbian SF also wants to address a more profound subject. The interaction between a person and an artificial creation. Not that they tread new ground here because this same subject was also the basis of films such as Ex Machina, Uncanny, The Machine, Zoe, and to a lesser extent Her. Also, the phenomenon of a non-human creation gaining awareness is dealt with. But the central theme (and perhaps the most fascinating one) is the emotional relationship between man and machine. At first sight, Milutin appears to be an emotionless, anti-pathetic person, who in the first instance doesn’t want any female company. However, as soon as he realizes the benefits, his obsessive and manipulative behavior begins and he uses (even abuses) the android. To his surprise, however, the lust turns into passion, which leads to anxiety, sadness, and even self-sacrifice.
However, in the end, this SF isn’t really fascinating. It’s repetitive. Boring and long-winded. And the erotic scenes are too stretched and after a while downright annoying. And then the moment you think the story will develop further, Stoya appears naked again. Too exaggerated for my taste. But I have to admit that Stoya’s acting was far from bad. She managed to show a human side while being an android. The image that will stay with me is the moment she demonstrates an android-like dance to Milutin. So tempting and at the same time so robotic. I would fall for her too at that point. Sebastian Cavazza was excellent at times, but overall, I found his character incredible. But apart from those few positive notes, this film was disappointing. Despite the sometimes beautiful space images, the emphasis was a little too much on the sexual aspect. Not something that I actually expect in an SF.