Movie Review: Jennifer Lopez Shines in Sci-Fi Adventure “Atlas”

In her latest film, “Atlas,” Jennifer Lopez transitions from battling her demons in the Alaskan wilderness in last year’s “The Mother” to facing a high-tech enemy in outer space. Lopez stars as Atlas Shepherd, a government analyst thrust into an intergalactic mission to defeat a rogue AI that has dramatically altered her life.

“Atlas is someone who has basically shut out the world around her,” Lopez told Netflix. “She doesn’t trust anybody and doesn’t want anything to do with AI.” This mistrust is put to the test when Atlas, encased in a powerful armor suit, must ally with technology to save humanity. Directed by Brad Peyton, known for his work on “San Andreas” and “Rampage,” and written by Leo Sardarian and Aron Eli Coleite, “Atlas” is a thrilling journey through a high-tech world.

The plot centers on Atlas Shepherd, a brilliant yet reclusive data analyst who embarks on a mission to capture Harlan, a renegade robot and AI terrorist with whom she shares a mysterious past. The film’s core theme, as director Peyton explains, revolves around trust and the importance of building meaningful relationships despite past traumas.

“The heart of Atlas is really about trust and how difficult it is to trust people,” Peyton told Netflix. “Atlas is told through the lens of a woman who’s learning to trust after undergoing a trauma that’s upended her life.”

Lopez echoes this sentiment, emphasizing the film’s deeper narrative. “I loved that this is a big sci-fi action movie, but at its core, it’s a story of friendship — and a love story, in a way,” she said. “This is a different kind of love between two beings who connect in disastrous circumstances and teach each other how to be more human.”

The cast of “Atlas” features a talented ensemble. Simu Liu portrays Harlan, the first AI terrorist and, in a twisted sense, Atlas’ brother. Created by her mother to serve humanity, Harlan’s betrayal sets the stage for the film’s central conflict. Liu draws inspiration from iconic cinematic AI characters to bring Harlan to life, blending elements from “Prometheus,” “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” and “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

Sterling K. Brown plays Colonel Banks, the mission’s commanding officer. Brown’s portrayal of Banks, a veteran ICN official, adds depth to the narrative. “Banks works inside these arc suits which you have to meld with through a neurosync so that you’re half-machine, half-man,” Brown explained. This fusion of man and machine adds a fascinating layer to the character and the film’s exploration of technology and humanity.

“Atlas” is now streaming on Netflix, offering viewers a captivating blend of sci-fi action and emotional depth. With its stellar cast and thought-provoking themes, it’s a must-watch for fans of the genre. Whether you’re drawn by the high-stakes adventure or the poignant story of trust and human connection, “Atlas” delivers on all fronts.