Movie Review

'Atlas' On Netflix Movie Review: Even Jennifer Lopez's Strong Performance Couldn't Save This Poorly-Scripted Adventure

Outlook Rating:
2 / 5

Jennifer Lopez's 'Atlas' is now available to stream on Netflix. Will this sci-fi, action thriller movie make for a fun weekend watch? Read on to find out.

Jennifer Lopez in 'Atlas' Photo: Netflix

You can never see enough of JLo, and that’s a fact. With the exciting trailer drop and all the stunning appearances she’s been making at the premieres of her latest release, ‘Atlas,’ it’s impossible not to give it a watch. The film is now available to stream on Netflix. So, in case you’re thinking of whether or not you should watch it over the weekend, here’s what you must know about ‘Atlas.’

‘Atlas’: Story

In a futuristic world, Atlas Shepherd is a brilliant yet cynical data analyst who doesn’t trust artificial intelligence at all. Tasked with apprehending Harlan, the world’s first AI terrorist hell-bent on ending humanity in its totality, Atlas reluctantly joins a team of rangers on their dangerous mission. Decades ago, Harlan had broken free from his programming and had unleashed chaos by overriding the safeguards that were meant to protect humans. Among the casualties was Atlas’ own mother, who created Harlan in the first place.

So now, when they have a chance to capture him, Atlas bullies her way into the mission to recover him. Driven by a shared past and years of meticulous study, she believes no one knows him better than she does. Now, just as they touch down on the planet where Harlan is supposedly present, things go haywire. As they confront unexpected challenges, Atlas must confront her fears and forge an unlikely alliance with the very technology she has long feared.

‘Atlas’: Performances

Jennifer Lopez delivers a tour de force performance that will keep you hooked from start to finish. With her trademark charisma and versatility, she brings depth and nuance to her emotionally complex character. Even though in various scenes, her dialogue delivery looks forced, she manages to come off as both convincing and compelling. The actress effortlessly navigates through some of the most challenging action sequences with such ease that it’s hard not to be captivated by her performance.

With his limited screen time, Simu Liu is believable but could have been more impactful. His villainous character, portrayed with a soothing and friendly voice, unfortunately falls flat, ending up rather bland. On the contrary, Sterling K. Brown brings a combination of authority, intelligence, and charisma to his role. He delivers a strong performance, as does Abraham Popoola, whose facial expressions are consistently precise and effective.

Mark Strong and Lana Parrilla deliver decent performances for whatever little part they played. As for Gregory James Cohan, he sounds like a true machine. The interactions between his character and Lopez’s hold immense potential to keep you interested because it is where majority of the emotions and feelings have been spilled.

‘Atlas’: Script, Direction & Technical Aspects

While on the surface, it presents itself as a big sci-fi action movie, at its core, it’s also a story of friendship. The movie offers a perspective through the eyes of a woman who’s navigating the aftermath of trauma, learning to rebuild trust when left with no choice. It underscores the vital importance of meaningful connections in our lives—a testament to the necessity of reliance on others. Leo Sardarian and Aron Eli Coleite craft a narrative that delves into the dualities of the ever-increasing use of artificial intelligence, exploring both its threats and potentials. While the screenplay is promising, in several places, it’s also unconvincing. When you have themes that can ignite conversations, it is imperative that you deal with them in a unique manner. What weighs the movie down is its predictability and clichés. There’s a formulaic storytelling, with dialogues that are poorly written and attempts at humour that just really fall flat.

Brad Peyton’s direction is decent, and the film establishes itself quickly; it doesn’t take long to build up. He had the potential to transform the film into a gripping thriller, keeping the audience perpetually on the edge of their seats. But the fact that he didn’t delve into the intricate details of the events that unfolded was what was missing. The lack of emphasis on the back-story, coupled with a flawed script, deviates from the overall impact. Despite these shortcomings, Peyton’s direction maintains a decent pace throughout the film.

Coming to the visual aspects, John Schwartzman’s camerawork has been nothing short of jaw-dropping. This has been enhanced by advanced visual effects, which is what really carried the movie. The film impresses with its remarkable attention to detail, with the help of appropriate lighting and colour. The entire setting feels desolate yet otherworldly, and lures you in. Additionally, the editing by Bob Ducsay is also smooth. The makers have not let the runtime exceed what it already is. The rest of the technical aspects including music, production design, and even the costumes complement the theme of the entire movie.

‘Atlas’: Cast & Crew

Director: Brad Peyton

Cast: Jennifer Lopez, Simu Liu, Sterling K. Brown, Gregory James Cohan, Mark Strong, Abraham Popoola and Lana Parrilla

Available On: Netflix  

Duration: 2 hours          

Premiere Date: May 24, 2024

Genre: Science Fiction, Action, Thriller

Language: English

‘Atlas’: Can Kids Watch It?


Outlook’s Verdict

‘Atlas’ delves into humanity’s confrontation with artificial intelligence. Bolstered by breath-taking visuals and adrenaline-pumping action, the film navigates themes of the future of humanity. There was great potential for the movie to make a mark but the execution failed. While Jennifer Lopez, as the titular character, delivers a convincing performance, the movie’s predictability ultimately restrains its ability to become one of the must-watch films on the streaming giant.