When science fiction is at its best it has heart. Movies as diverse as Alien and Bladerunner share this quality, as do the best of the best from blockbusters to indie art-house features. This is the case with Robot Stories, a compilation of four short films with a unifying dual theme: robots and souls.
Written and directed by Greg Pak, who is known primarily for his work in comics for Marvel and his short films, this outing is a tour de force of emotion and contrast. There are several choices Pak makes, first and foremost of which is an almost completely Asian cast. While, after a few brief moments, it does not detract in any way, one is left wondering at that choice while acknowledging how well it works.
Of the four vignettes, my favorite has to be the one with the most tenuous tie to Sci Fi, called “The Robot Fixer”. This story centers on a mothers attempt to connect with her dying son through the repair of his childhood robot toys. At times stereotypical and other times gut wrenchingly emotional this is something anyone who ever wants to make a film should see. No crashes, no special effects, simple human emotion, both raw and tender. It was chilling and I wished this segment would never end.
This feature has won 23 awards and quite frankly deserves a showing in your living room some rainy Sunday afternoon. To quote from Greg Pak, “Everything is changing…except the human heart”. I heartily recommend this film as a stunningly beautiful antithesis to any other robot movie you may have ever seen.