MOVIES

Kristen Stewart And Steven Yeun’s WALL-E Riff Doesn’t Take Off

The middle act of “Love Me” is set primarily in this virtual world, depicted through motion capture animation. The animation, produced by Kickstart Entertainment, is competent, with the mo-cap doing a good job capturing Kristen Stewart and Steven Yeun’s expressions. Compared to the combination of majestic landscapes and fast-paced screenlife comedy of the first act, however, using a medium of such limitless potential to spend time circling through the same YouTube video reenactment over and over again feels paradoxically limiting.

With this part of the story being less visually exciting and the comedy reduced to increasingly tired variations on the same one-note premise of influencers being fake, one’s enjoyment becomes dependent primarily on how emotionally invested you are in Me and Iam’s relationship. It’s here where I have a lot of questions about these robots’ psychologies. Yes, you can nitpick even the best movies about AI on similar grounds, and such nitpicking is even more tempting these days with so much of the technology currently being promoted as “AI” proving decidedly unintelligent, but it becomes a genuine stumbling block in “Love Me” when for so much of the film, it’s unclear why things are even happening.

I get Me’s thought process for the most part — it’s not really explained why a buoy needs this level of artificial intelligence, but the movie presents her perspective vividly enough that her character arc basically makes sense. Iam, however, never really made sense to me. Logically, shouldn’t an AI designed to interact with intelligent lifeforms be more sophisticated than one that wasn’t? Despite having all human knowledge on hand, he doesn’t have any curiosity about exploring it until suddenly he does, for reasons that are never really made clear. It’s also unclear what his effect on the virtual reality world is — at one point he seems to be able to reshape it and … he does so in the least creative way imaginable. And why do the robots suddenly develop a sense of taste in the VR world after so many jokes about them not being able to taste? When you’re asking all these questions, it’s hard to get emotionally invested.

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