A Divalicious Review: Mars Express—All Aboard The Cybernoir Mystery of the Year

By   |   May 2, 2024   |   Entertainment

Ghost in the Shell fans gather. Now there’s the rare adult animated robo sci-fi feature film in Mars Express.

The year is 2200. Private detective Aline Ruby (Morla Gorrondona) and android partner Carlos Rivera (Josh Keaton) are tracking down a hacker. However, their case steers them into more conspiracies surrounding a girl who carries a secret about robots.

For nerds into transhumanism (Ghost in the Shell) and robo-revolution tales (Astro Boy), Mars Express will more than scratch that itch. While dense with world-building, director Jérémie Perin lets the mechanics of this world explain itself and trusts us to put the puzzle pieces together. (For example, it begins to click once the audience learns the difference between “jailbreaking” and “takeover” robot jargon).

This is a serious action film, and yet Mars Express permits us to chuckle at the inherent light levity of some scenarios, such as the clever loophole of an android going offline when he has a suspect in his grip or fretting about making software “updates” to his body.

The film builds a compelling chemistry between Aline and Carlos, so much so that we’re willing to follow them to the ends of the planet and their imperfect human moments. Glimpses into their psychology and background make all the difference, such as the way Aline installs a sobriety lock in her implants or Carlos’s pathetic attempts to reconnect with his estranged family. Their ending perhaps skids into a surprising outcome, not completely earned, but a testament to the ambition.

If there is a glitch in its narrative execution, Mars Express doesn’t leave its questions and themes untouched, but it could drill deeper. Such could make the difference to amplify the tragedy of its conclusion.

Mars Express comes to theaters on May 3. More info about screenings can be found here.

Photo credit: GKIDS

Filed Under: Entertainment
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