Thursday, November 11, 2021


Tom Hanks stars as grumpy scientist Finch in a post-apocalyptic future where his only friend is a dog and the robots he builds to help him cope with the desolate landscape. The movie begins with the building of a new robot. Far more complex than the rover Finch has been using, the sentient Jeff (voiced by Caleb Landry Jones) is designed to take care of the dog once Finch is gone.

Boiled down, the movie is basically a road trip trying to stay ahead of a super storm likely to kill them. There's also a thread of Jeff learning about humanity through Finch's pessimistic eyes, and even the hard won friendship that eventually develops between the robot and the dog. Other than flashbacks, and very few of those, the film is devoid of other actors as Finch and his friends avoid other humans like the plague while hoping to reach San Francisco.

There are of course questions about the plot concerning the devastation that left the sky scorched, destroyed crops, and yet left roads and highways largely free of any blockages that could possibly interfere with Finch's journey. And, of course, Finch always finds what he needs (even if that need is to build the most sophisticated robot the world has ever seen). The film's look is consistent, if far from the most interesting post-apocalyptic world rendered on film.

In a hurry to get on the road, the film races through Jeff's construction and initial sentience. While this allows for goofy robot moments in the hostile environment (that is hinted at in a single scene but never depicted as hostile or gritty as Finch's fears of the world), it's hard not to think that the construction of Jeff would be more interesting than Finch and Jeff driving around a RV for days. Despite this, and a rather sappy ending, the overly-sentimental film hits the basic marks it is aiming for as we follow this odd group of characters across the country.

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