Hidden Meaning in EX MACHINA – Earthling Cinema


Greetings, and welcome to Earthling Cinema. I am your host, Garyx Wormuloid. This week’s artifact is Ex Machina, starring
first name hoarder Oscar Isaac, best known for playing the blue guy in X-Men Apocalypse. No, not that one. Or that one. Yeah, there he is. Ex Machina follows a cuble-dweller named Caleb
who gets invited for a week-long staycation in a very exclusive bomb shelter with his
company’s CEO, Nathan Bateman. That’s Natey Batey to his friends, of which
he has none. Nathan shows Caleb the top secret project
he’s been working on: a new line of skin-tight metallic bodysuits. Oh, and a robot model named Ava. Caleb’s role in all this is to determine if
Ava is capable of real human thought — you know, judging people, being selfish, obsessing
about likes on social media, trying not to fart in public. They start hanging out on the reg, and naturally
she starts crushing on him hard because ladies can’t get enough of that meek politeness. Nathan creeps on them using security cameras,
so to spice things up Ava causes a power outage. That way they can talk about whatever their
organic and/or mechanical hearts desire, like not trusting Nathan, or football. Nathan announces he is going to upgrade Ava, thereby dooming her current self to electronic hell, which is a loading screen stuck at 99%. To prank Nathan, Caleb gets him to poison himself silly and changes his computer background to Tubgirl. Then he and Ava come up with a plan to leave
together and never look back. But uh oh, Nathan reveals he’s been listening
even when Ava cuts the power, so now the proverbial Girl is in the other Tub. The real test of Ava’s intelligence was to
see if she could manipulate Caleb with her feminine willies, which she totally
did. Unfortunately for Nathan, Caleb also changed
the security passcode to Tubgirl, allowing Ava to escape her room. After saying goodbye to Nathan, she graciously
thanks Caleb by stealing his primitive excuse for a spaceship. Ex Machina explores the line between human
and automaton, which is, admittedly, pretty subtle. The film’s visual imagery illustrates
the distinction between the artificial and natural worlds. Inside Nathan’s man cave-slash-research facility,
stark, straight lines and muted colors reflect the order of machines, especially ATM machines,
that old moneybags. Doors are strictly controlled by permission, similar to the well-defined parameters of computer functions. In contrast, the natural environment surrounding
the facility is colorful and unpredictable, just like, well, nature. Come on, guys, try to keep up. The central question of the film is whether
Ava has transcended the deterministic thinking of a Lenovo or a Samsung Galaxy Note and entered
the realm of the living. Nathan likens true consciousness to the work
of abstract painter Jackson Pollock, son of Jackfather Pollock. The construction of Ava’s brain reflects the fluidity that human consciousness — and my haircut — require. However, the film
makes us question how useful Nathan’s test of consciousness really is, since calling
humans conscious is kind of a stretch. As he points out, Caleb’s sparkling personality
is determined by programming just like Ava’s. His responses can be analyzed and quantified,
which allows Ava to determine when he has a half-chub. In the end, the film leaves the viewer with
the impression of Ava’s humanity, and not just because she starts showing more skin. As she escapes, we see Pollock’s painting
again, reminding us of Nathan’s distinction between a programmed machine and the subconscious
motivations of a human. When Ava murders Nathan, she appears to pass
his test with flying colors, aka the Pollock method. By killing Nathan, an act that she certainly
was not programmed to commit, she demonstrates that she has transcended her parameters and
is now legally qualified to raid tombs. But Ex Machina is less a warning about the
many horrifying dangers of technology and more a commentary about how man’s creations
reflect human nature. Just as weapons like the atomic bomb and the
trans-molecular destabilizer mirror the violence of the societies that invented them, Ava reflects
the manipulative tendencies of Caleb and Nathan, the only human beings she has ever met. Thus, if Nathan has made Ava in his own image,
what kind of person will she be? She’ll be a murderous robot who uses others
to achieve her goals. With a pretty sweet beard. For Earthling Cinema, I’m Garyx Wormuloid. Signing off.

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