Essentially an extended video game cut-scene, “Beyond the Aquila Rift” has lots going for it but falls down the uncanny valley and sort of gets stuck there.
Love, Death + Robots is a Netflix Anthology series created by Tim Miller and David Fincher. Here is the review for Episode 7, “Beyond the Aquila Rift”, which will contain spoilers. You can read the spoiler-free review of the entire series by clicking these words. You can check out our archive for reviews of each episode by clicking these words.
The crew of the Archangel set the coordinates for their journey and settle into their sleep pods for the long journey. When they wake they should have reached their destination; of course, when the captain of the ship, Tom, wakes he discovers that they are not exactly where they should be. They appear to have been redirected millions of light years off-course. Thankfully, there is a friendly face there to greet them in the form of Greta, an old flame. They reminisce and look out over the Aquila Rift. Tom and Greta flirt and well, one thing leads to another. As they bask in the afterglow Greta reveals the truth to Tom; not only are they in the wrong place, they are in fact several hundred years in the future from where they thought they were. Everything they know is gone and this, this is all a dream; or is it?
“Beyond the Aquila Rift” is composed in photo-realistic animation and looks and feels like a cut scene from a video game; a very good-looking video game admittedly. In fact, this short suffers because it looks so close to being live action but still falls into the uncanny valley. That particularly becomes a problem when there is an unsettlingly graphic sex scene which seems unnecessarily gratuitous and sort of creepy.
The plot twists and turns and reveals itself at a good pace. There is lots of sci-fi genre convention at play here but when you only have 15 minutes to get to grips with things that works in its favor. “Beyond the Aquila Rift” has lots of ambition but just doesn’t quite hit its mark. A very noble failure.
Andy joined the Ready Steady Cut team in October 2018. A Graduate of Exeter University, he writes mainly about films and TV.