100 Years of AI – V

Let’s explore films that perfectly encapsulate the raw power and thought-provoking nature of this world-changing technological breakthrough from the years 2011 to 2017.

Part I explored films crafted from the 30s to the 60s. Part II explores films made during the 70s. Part III takes a look at the 80s and 90s, Part IV looks at feature films from the years 2000 to 2010, Part V explores films from the years 2011 to 2017, and Part VI looks at films from 2018 / 2019, Part VII takes a look at films from 2020 to the present.

Eva (2011)

It’s a pleasure to encounter the small-scale inventiveness of Kike Maillo‘s debut Spanish feature set in 2041 in an unaccountably snowy Spain, the story concerns a robot scientist who has been summoned to design a new child android dubbed SI-9. Alex owns an adorable robot cat who acts in appropriate feline fashion, and he’s assigned a fussily solicitous robot servant. The storyline revolves greatly around the tender relationship that develops between Alex and Eva.

Real Steel (2011)

The film is based on the short story “Steel”, written by Richard Matheson, which was originally published in the May 1956 edition of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and later adapted into a 1963 Twilight Zone episode. The film features a former boxer (Hugh Jackman) whose sport is now played by robots. He must build and train his own robot with his son.

Directed by Shawn Levy from a screenplay by John Gatins and story by Dan Gilroy and Jeremy Leven.

Ra.One (2011)

Indian Hindi-language superhero film that follows a game designer who creates a motion sensor-based game with an immensely powerful virtual character. Designed to be more powerful than the game’s protagonist, G.One, Ra.One serves as the antagonist. The latter escapes from the game’s virtual world and enters the real world; his aim is to kill Lucifer, the game ID of Shekhar’s son and the only player to have challenged Ra.One’s power. Directed by Anubhav Sinha from a screenplay by Sinha and Kanika Dhillon.

Marvel’s The Avengers (2011) / Iron Man 3 (2103)

J.A.R.V.I.S. (Just A Rather Very Intelligent System) is a fictional character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) film franchise. Modeled after H.O.M.E.R. from the comics, J.A.R.V.I.S. is presented as a sophisticated AI assistant created by Tony Stark, who later controls his Iron Man and Hulkbuster armor for him. In Avengers: Age of Ultron, after being partially destroyed by Ultron, J.A.R.V.I.S. is given physical form as Vision. Different versions of the character also appear in comics published by Marvel Comics, depicted as AI designed by Iron Man and Nadia van Dyne.

Written and directed by Joss Whedon, based on the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name.

Prometheus (2012) / Alien: Covenant (2017)

The fifth installment in the Alien franchise, the film centers on the crew of the spaceship Prometheus as it follows a star map discovered among the artifacts of several ancient Earth cultures. Seeking the origins of humanity, the crew arrives on a distant world and discovers a threat that could cause the extinction of the human species. It features David8, commonly known as David, a fictional character portrayed by Michael Fassbender. David is an android serving as a butler, maintenance man, and surrogate son to his creator, Peter Weyland, the founder of the Weyland Corporation. While he assists his human companions in their interstellar expedition to meet their creators, the extraterrestrial Engineers, David is obsessed with the concept of creating a life of his own. After Peter Weyland is killed, David is freed from servitude, allowing him to conduct experiments to engineer his own variants of the Alien creature. directed by Ridley Scott, with the screenplay co-written by Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof

David and two synthetic androids feature in Alien: Covenant, the sequel to Prometheus, directed by Ridley Scott and written by John Logan and Dante Harper, from a story by Michael Green and Jack Paglen. It is the second entry in the Alien prequel series and the sixth installment in the Alien franchise

Resident Evil: Retribution (2012) Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2016)

The Red Queen, one of Alice’s arch-enemies, was reactivated after the Hive was contaminated and now controls Umbrella for manufacturing clones and creating simulated outbreaks to show the effect of the T-virus. The Red Queen wants to wipe out humanity.

 It is the fifth installment in the Resident Evil film series, loosely based on the video game franchise of the same name. It is also the third to be written and directed by  Paul W. S. Anderson.

Robot & Frank (2012) 

Set in the near future, aging ex-convict and thief Frank Weld lives alone and suffers from Alzheimer’s and dementia. His son purchases a robot companion, which is programmed to provide Frank with therapeutic care, including a fixed daily routine and cognition-enhancing activities like gardening.

Directed by Jake Schreier from a screenplay by Christopher Ford.

Total Recall (2012)

At the end of the 21st century, chemical warfare has devastated the Earth. A colony worker has been having unsettling dreams of being a secret agent partnered with an unnamed woman. Tired of his factory job building police robots with his friend Harry, he visits Rekall, a company that implants artificial memories. He decides on the fantasy of being a secret agent.

Directed by Len Wiseman screenplay by Kurt Wimmer and Mark Bomback is a remake of the 1990 film of the same name, which is inspired by the 1966 short story “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale” by Philip K. Dick

Her (2013)

A man who develops a relationship with an artificially intelligent virtual assistant personified through a female voice.  When he takes Samantha on a vacation, she tells him that she and a group of other A.I.s have developed a “hyperintelligent” O.S. modeled after British philosopher Alan Watts and reveals that the A.I.s are leaving.

A science-fiction romantic drama written, directed, and co-produced by Spike Jonze. It marks Jonze’s solo screenwriting debut.

The Machine (2013)

In the future, at an underground base, the United Kingdom only has a couple of weeks before the city of Taipei, Taiwan falls to the Chinese. The British need soldiers who are both fluent in Chinese dialect as well as ruthless killers. Scientists employed by Britain’s Ministry of Defence produce a cybernetic implant that allows brain-damaged soldiers to regain lost functions. A scientist’s research leads to a series of more stable cyborgs. Although they lose the capability for human speech, the cyborgs develop a highly efficient method of communication that they keep secret.  Directed and written by Caradog W. James

Pacific Rim (2013)

The film is set in the future when Earth is at war with the Kaiju, colossal sea monsters that have emerged from an interdimensional portal on the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. To combat the monsters, humanity unites to create the Jaegers, gigantic humanoid mechas, each controlled by two co-pilots whose minds are joined by a mental link.

The screenplay was written by Travis Beacham and Guillermo del Toro, from a story by Beacham. 

Elysium (2013)

The film takes place on both a ravaged Earth and a luxurious artificial world called Elysium. Amid a gritty cityscape filled with cluttered streets and dirty, crowded hospitals, a robot police force makes arrests indiscriminately, with no apparent restraints on brutality. Sentencing is automated, and administered by a droid.

A dystopian science fiction action film written, produced, and directed by Neill Blomkamp.

Oblivion (2013)

Tet is an alien artificial intelligence ship that is extracting Earth’s resources. The Tet destroyed the Moon, causing catastrophic earthquakes and tsunamis, and then invaded with thousands of clones.

Based on Kosinski’s unpublished graphic novel of the same name, the film pays homage to 1970s science fiction. 

Produced and directed by Joseph Kosinski from a screenplay by Karl Gajdusek and Michael deBruyn

Autómata (2014) 

About 20 years before the story takes place, solar flares irradiate the Earth, killing over 99% of the world’s population. The survivors gather in a network of safe cities and build primitive humanoid robots, called Pilgrims, to help rebuild and operate in the harsh environment. These robots have two unchangeable protocols: they cannot harm any form of life and may not repair, modify, or alter themselves or other robots in any way. Initially seen as mankind’s salvation, they are relegated to manual labor when they fail to stop the advance of desertification. Society has regressed due to a lack of technology besides the Pilgrims, and humanity is on the brink of extinction.

Directed by Gabe Ibáñez and co-written by Ibáñez with Igor Legarreta and Javier Sánchez Donate.

Big Hero 6 (2014)

It tells the story of a young robotics prodigy, and his late-brother Tadashi’s healthcare-provider robot, who form a superhero team to combat a masked villain who is responsible for Tadashi’s death.

Directed by Don Hall and Chris Williams from a screenplay by Jordan Roberts, Robert L. Baird, and Daniel Gerson


 Interstellar (2014)

In 2067, humanity is facing extinction following a global famine. An ex-NASA pilot pilots an exploratory spacecraft called the Endurance, holding the supplies and embryos with a crew of three scientists, accompanied by robot assistants TARS and CASE

Screenplay by Jonathan Nolan, co-written, directed and produced by Christopher Nolan

RoboCop (2014)

Set in 2028, a detective becomes critically injured and is turned into a cyborg police officer whose programming blurs the line between man and machine.

Directed by José Padilha and written by Joshua Zetumer, Edward Neumeier, and Michael Miner. It is a remake of the 1987 film and the fourth installment of the RoboCop franchise overall.

Transcendence (2014)

It follows a group of scientists who race to finish an artificial intelligence project while being targeted by a radical anti-technology organization. Dr. Will Caster is a scientist who researches the nature of sapience, including artificial intelligence. He and his team work to create a sentient computer; he predicts that such a computer will create a technological singularity, or in his words “Transcendence”.

Directed by Wally Pfister (in his directorial debut) and written by Jack Paglen. 

X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

In a dystopian 2023, robot Sentinels hunt down and kill mutants and all humans who either possess the genetic potential to have mutant offspring or try to protect them.

Directed and co-produced by Bryan Singer and written by Simon Kinberg from a story he created with Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn, the film is based on the Marvel Comics superhero team the X-Men, the fifth mainline installment of the X-Men film series, a sequel to X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) and X-Men: First Class (2011), a follow-up to The Wolverine (2013), and the seventh installment overall.

Ex Machina (2014)

Caleb Smith, a programmer at the search engine company, is invited by his CEO Nathan Bateman to administer the Turing test to an intelligent humanoid robot. Bateman has built a humanoid robot named Ava with artificial intelligence. Ava has already passed a simple Turing test and Nathan wants Caleb to judge whether Ava is genuinely capable of thought and consciousness and whether he can relate to Ava despite knowing she is artificial.

Written and directed by Alex Garland in his directorial debut.

Chappie (2015)

The film, set and shot in Johannesburg, is about an artificial general intelligence law enforcement robot captured and taught by gangsters, who nickname it Chappie.

Directed by Neill Blomkamp and written by Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell.

Tomorrowland (2015)

A disillusioned genius inventor and a teenage science enthusiast embark on an intriguing alternate dimension known as “Tomorrowland”, where animatronic children set out to recruit new dreamers and thinkers.

Directed by Brad Bird, with a screenplay by Bird and Damon Lindelof, based on a story by Bird, Lindelof, and Jeff Jensen.

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) Captain America: Civil War (2016) Avengers: Infinity War (2018) Avengers Endgame (2019)

Stark and Banner discover an artificial intelligence within the scepter’s gem and secretly decide to use it to complete Stark’s “Ultron” global defense program. The unexpectedly sentient Ultron, believing he must eradicate humanity to save Earth, eliminates Stark’s A.I. J.A.R.V.I.S. and attacks the Avengers at their headquarters. The Avengers fight among themselves when Stark and Banner secretly upload J.A.R.V.I.S.—who is still working after hiding from Ultron inside the Internet—into the synthetic body.

F.R.I.D.A.Y. is a natural-language user interface created by Tony Stark to operate his armor

It is the sequel to The Avengers (2012) and the 11th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Written and directed by Joss Whedon

Terminator Genisys  (2015)

In 2029, Human Resistance leader John Connor launches a final offensive against Skynet, an artificial general intelligence system seeking to eliminate the human race. Before the Resistance can triumph, Skynet activates a time machine and sends a T-800/Model 101 Terminator back to 1984, to kill John’s mother.

Directed by Alan Taylor and written by Laeta Kalogridis and Patrick Lussier, it marks the fifth installment in the Terminator franchise. It is a reboot of the franchise, taking the premise of the original film in another direction and ignoring the events depicted in sequels and TV series.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Star Wars: Episode VII) (2015), Rogue One (2016) / Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi) (2017) 

It features C-3PO, a humanoid protocol droid, the droid BB-8, and the robot R2-D2, as well as a Force-sensitive artificial being Snoke, created by Emperor Palpatine to lead the First Order against the New Republic.

K-2SO (also referred to as K2 or Kaytoo-Esso) is a droid character in Rogue One

The Force Awakens is co-written, and directed by J. J. Abrams. The sequel to Return of the Jedi (1983), is the seventh film in the “Skywalker Saga“. Rogue One is directed by Gareth Edwards. The screenplay by Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy is from a story by John Knoll and Gary WhittaThe Last Jedi is written and directed by Rian Johnson.

Uncanny (2015)

It is about the world’s first “perfect” artificial intelligence that begins to exhibit startling and unnerving emergent behavior when a reporter begins a relationship with the scientist who created it.

Directed by Matthew Leutwyler and based on a screenplay by Shahin Chandrasoma.

Morgan (2016)

Lee Weathers is a “risk-management specialist” for genetic engineering company SynSect. She arrives at a rural site hosting its L-9 project, an artificial being with nanotechnology-infused synthetic DNA named Morgan. The “hybrid biological organism with the capacity for autonomous decision making and sophisticated emotional responses” is smarter than humans and has matured quickly, walking and talking within a month and already physically equivalent to a young teenage girl despite being born only five years before.

Directed by Luke Scott in his directorial debut, and written by Seth Owen.

Infinity Chamber (2016)

A man named Frank, who apparently sabotaged a government operation with a computer virus, is held in a futuristic automated detention facility that is overseen by an artificial intelligence (AI) computer named Howard. Frank tries to escape and, due to the manipulation of his memories by the facility, relives recurrent dreams.

 Directed and written by Travis Milloy.

Kill Command (2016)

In a technologically advanced near future, Katherine Mills, a cyborg working for Harbinger Corporation, discovers a reprogramming anomaly regarding a warfare A.I. system located at Harbinger I Training Facility, an undisclosed military training island.

Written and directed by Steven Gomez.

Power Rangers (2017)

Teenagers who gain newfound powers, and must use them to protect Earth from an ancient reawakened threat, the Red Ranger Zordon orders Alpha 5, his robotic assistant, to perform a meteor strike.  On an ancient spaceship, the teenagers meet Alpha 5 and Zordon’s consciousness. 

Directed by Dean Israelite from a screenplay by John Gatins. It is the third installment in the Power Rangers film series

Blade Runner 2049 is a 2017

In the year 2049, 30 years following the events of Blade Runner, bioengineered humans known as replicants are slaves. K (short for his serial number, KD6-3.7), a Nexus-9 replicant, works for the Los Angeles Police Department as a “blade runner”, an officer who hunts and “retires” (kills) rogue replicants. He retires Nexus-8 replicant Sapper Morton and finds a box buried under a tree at Morton’s protein farm. The box contains the remains of a female replicant who died during a cesarean section, demonstrating that replicants can reproduce biologically, previously thought impossible. K’s superior, Lt. Joshi, fears that this could lead to a war between humans and replicants. She orders K to find and retire the replicant child to hide the truth.

Directed by Denis Villeneuve and written by Hampton Fancher and Michael Green

Singularity (2017)

In 2020, robotics company C.E.O. Elias VanDorne reveals Kronos, the supercomputer he has invented to end all wars. Kronos decides that mankind is responsible for all wars and it tries to use robots to kill all humans.

It was written and directed by Robert Kouba.