OMG, I’m a Robot! [Robot Awakening] (2015)

It never ceases to amaze me.

I’ve seen it happening again and again: independent films with interesting, unique and appropriate names — like Das letzte Land [The Final Land]Canaries or Black Flowers — get the most vapid and anonymous titles from their distributors, like Final Voyage, Alien Party Crashers and Atomic Apocalypse.

And this has to be one of the most egregious examples, an absurd and quirky film which lives up to its absurd and comic original title, stuck with something banal and unmemorable.

And this is definitely not a banal and unmemorable film.

Poor Danny Bernstein.  He’s just too sensitive.  He’s the kind of guy who cries at the ending of Home Alone (because the mother was so sad but then finds her son).  So overly sensitive that his beloved girlfriend dumps him.

And he remains depressed and sad until one day, eight months later, when he accidentally discovers that she’s been kidnapped.

And it appears to have something to do with the company he works for.

Oh, and there are killer robots after him.

And he also finds out that he’s a robot.

The next thing you know, he’s on a mission to save his girl with the help of his ridiculously tough and violent boss, and a very silly robot voiced (in Hebrew, naturally: this is, after all, an Israeli film) by Rob Schneider.

Now, even the barest summary should be enough to tell you that this is a strange and quirky sort of film, but what is most important here is that it is constantly inventive, beautifully shot, offering both over the top action and absurd comedy — and even a deftly handled romance.

Of course it helps that Yotam Ishay does an incredible job of portraying Danny, that he’s backed by a solid cast (with Tzahi Grad as his boss the standout) and the film has a great look throughout, but there is a lot of imagination at work here, like the killer robots with digital displays for faces, or the beautifully detailed Mecha which makes an Ironman-style entrance at the end, or Danny’s unexpected transformer robot alternate form.

The wild fight scenes, with their bursts of color and glowing lines are deliberately unreal:  they remind me a lot of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, even if they do look quite different.  I suspect that our team of intrepid writer/directors, Tal Goldberg and Gal Zelezniak may be using these effects to hide the limits of their low budget stunt work, but I’m all in favor: after all, the only way you can make your modestly budgeted feature look far more expensive than it actually is to find inventive and creative new ways to hide its weaknesses.

And believe me, there’s a lot of creativity on display here.

Best of all, it comes with a great subtitle track.  While I occasionally picked out a word that wasn’t translated, it has a nice, natural sound to it that suggests that a native English speaker helped create the translation.  Now I know that many of you don’t like subtitles — and I know how hard it is to translate humor from one language to another as well — but this is a film which is worth the effort, particularly if you love comedy, robots, and seeing the nerdy guy get the girl in the end.

You’ll definitely find all of those here, along with a bit of satire, a well-earned happy ending, a welcome message…

And a Menorah laser gun.


After all, what else would you expect in a Sui Generis Israeli Romantic Robot Comedy?…

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