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Alive and kicking


The third season or anthology (however you want to coin it) in the Love, Death + Robots franchise. This one is famous for Fincher finally directing an episode himself, though his short is completely overshadowed by some of the more adventurous films here, most notably Alberto Mielgo's Jibaro.

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The anthology starts off with some of the weaker entries, not surprisingly those are also the more humorous ones. Three Robots is the only big failure, so at least it's good to have that out of the way quickly. Fincher's short film lacks originality and a point of view, whereas Kill Team Kill suffers from a terrible art style and a mediocre dub.

There are a fair few solid filler shorts on top of that and three real stand-outs. Emily Dean's The Very Pulse of the Machine is a lushly animated sci-fi mood piece, Night of the Mini Dead is as cute as it is hilarious and over-the-top, but it's Mielgo's Jibaro that propels itself as the big star of the film. Many have commented on its incredible animation, but it's the direction itself that is absolutely mindblowing. Pacing, editing, and sound design complement the visuals and combine to make something surreal and indescribable. Just give this man a budget to make a feature-length film.

Some people consider it a TV series, others a collection of shorts, I just watch it as any old anthology. Volume 2 offers more of the same, only the amount of shorts has decreased, and the quality has become a bit more consistent throughout. The only thing missing a truly stand-out short.

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The concept is quite broad, so the directors could pretty much make whatever they wanted. There's a mix of sci-fi and fantasy that seems to bind the different films, but like any good anthology, variety is key. One thing that seems quite popular though is the idea of rogue robots, then again that's hardly novel (just watch the Animatrix).

There are quite a few shorts gunning for photorealism, but Love, Death + Robots is at its best when it gets a bit more creative with the art styles. Ice and The Tall Grass both stand out in that regard. On the weaker side of the anthology we find Automated Customer Service (the comedy is way too basic) and Pop Squad (a rather poor Blade Runner clone), even these shorts are somewhat decent. This is a small step up from the first one, it just needs to be a bit more daring if it wants to shine.

Kung Fu Panda 3

2016 / 95m - USA
Comedy, Fantasy - Animation
Kung Fu Panda 3 poster

Third time's the charm, but not for this franchise. Another dull entry that might've been something, if only it had dared to be different. It's clear that the art style could've been pushed further and that the story could've been expanded into a more action/martial arts focused direction, but alas, it turned out to be just another CG comedy animation for kids.

Kung Fu Panda 2

2011 / 90m - USA
Comedy, Adventure - Animation
Kung Fu Panda 2 poster