REVIEW: ‘Love Death & Robots Volume 3’ Continues To Take Animation To New Heights

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Love Death & Robots

Love, Death & Robots launches its third volume this week, and Tim Miller‘s animated anthology continues to expand upon the boundaries of animation. Miller, alongside supervising director Jennifer Yuh Nelson, producer David Fincher, and a host of directors and writers, bring a series of sci-fi and horror tales to life. And as befitting the previous volumes, each of the nine installments varies in length and genre, as well as looks, thanks to the multiple animated studios.

Fans of Love, Death & Robots will be happy to learn that the very first episode, “Three Robots: Exit Strategies,” serves as a continuation of the fan-favorite “Three Robots” short from volume one. In this tale, the titular trio of robots attempts to learn what exactly caused the downfall of humanity. Not only do Josh Brener and Gary Anthony Williams return to deliver some hilarious commentary on the pitfalls of capitalism and survival cults, but so does John Scalzi — who pens the script based on his short story of the same name. And Blow Studios makes each of the three robots look visually distinct, as well as the environments they visit, including a sleek resort floating in the middle of the ocean. I’d be perfectly happy if future episodes continue to expand upon other stories — especially “Shape-Shifters” from Volume 1, which is one of my favorite LDR installments.

Another darkly comic installment comes in the form of “Night of the Mini Dead,” which is based on a story that Miller cooked up with Sonic the Hedgehog director Jeff Fowler. True to its name, the short features a miniaturized version of a zombie invasion which kicks off with a couple hooking up in a graveyard and ends with…well, you’ll have to wait and see. Writers/directors Robert Bisi & Andy Lyon embrace the absurdity of the premise as they stage hordes of miniature zombies overrunning cities and buildings going up in flame. I’d have never pegged Netflix as the one to breathe life back into the zombie genre, but between Army of the DeadAll of Us are Dead, and this short, the streamer looks to be the place to be if you have a tale about the living dead that needs to be told.

It isn’t all fun. The rest of the shorts soon shift into the horror genre, with the imagery to match. “Swarm,” directed and co-written by Miller, features a pair of scientists (Jason George and Rosario Dawson) attempting to crack the secret behind cloning a race of insectoid machines — which results in some nightmarish imagery that will stay with viewers long after the credits roll. “Jibaro” is noteworthy not only for the realistic animation that pinkman.tv brings to the table but for the disorienting cinematography that writer/director Alberto Mielgo uses. The camera pushes in and out as a mysterious siren uses her powers to torment a group of knights, leading them to hack each other to pieces save for the titular Jibaro, who’s deaf. And “Kill Team Kill” features a group of soldiers encountering a cyborg grizzly bear. Yes, you read that right.

But the highlight of the series is the second short, “Bad Travelling.” Based on the short story by Neal Asher and directed by Fincher, this short features a group of sailors who encounter a gigantic crustacean called the Thanopod and have to figure out how to deal with it — if they don’t kill each other first. Fincher proves to be just as adept with animation as he is with live-action, as the dread and gore begin to escalate. Coupled with stunning photorealistic animation from Miller’s Blur Studio, this proves that Fincher is one of the best filmmakers working in the business. And I’m willing to bet that the Thanopod, with its milky white eyes and gigantic pincers, will put viewers off of eating seafood for a good long while.

Love, Death & Robots Volume 3 continues to push the boundaries of animated anthologies, with a collection of studios delivering some twisted sci-fi and horror tales. This series continues to be one of Netflix’s crown gems, and I hope that Volume 4 is on the way because there’s plenty of sci-fi and horror out there that could use the animated touch.

Love, Death & Robots Volume 3 is currently available to stream on Netflix.


Love Death & Robots Volume 3
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    Rating - 9/10
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TL;DR

Love, Death & Robots Volume 3 continues to push the boundaries of animated anthologies, with a collection of studios delivering some twisted sci-fi and horror tales. This series continues to be one of Netflix’s crown gems, and I hope that Volume 4 is on the way because there’s plenty of sci-fi and horror out there that could use the animated touch.