Love, Death & Robots, a Netflix anthology series, has become the service's biggest platform for experimental animation production since its debut in 2019. Each book of the series, created by Deadpool director Tim Miller, has offered filmmakers from varied backgrounds the opportunity to present distinctive and fascinating sci-fi stories in animation ranging from stylized to photo-real. While there are fewer notable chapters in this volume than in the previous two, it nevertheless maintains the same degree of curiosity and creative narrative with a wide range of animation.
Here are the shorts from Love, Death & Robots Season 3 ranked from best to worst!
1. Bad Travelling
"Bad Travelling," David Fincher's first animated film, was as suspenseful as any of the acclaimed director's other thrillers. A man-eating beast wants transportation to an island, putting the captain of a hunting ship in risk. Fincher was able to convey the captain's steady decline into desperation as his handling of his surprise stowaway dilutes his will from rational democracy to self-righteously sacrificing his own soldiers despite the film's short timeframe. In a seaward drama of mutiny and morality, the stakes and repercussions of decisions are vividly presented.
"Jibaro," directed by award-winning director Alberto Mielgo, who also directed "The Witness" from Volume One, is mesmerising in every meaning of the term. In a seductive and lethal dance, a golden lake siren is lured to a deaf knight. "Jibaro" not only uses heart-pounding editing and music to create an ethereal air of suspense, but the animation in the characters' pantomime is incredibly well-executed to depict control and sorrow. The siren's dance and the bewitched's dance evokes a sense of frantic desire and primaeval motion that goes beyond theatrical expression. In a hauntingly tragic fashion, "Jibaro" examines the underlying ills of colonialism.
3. Night of the Mini Dead
The zombie apocalypse is arrived. Short and to-the-point. Literally. The rising of the living dead is depicted on a small scale, with supersonic high-pitched cries. The shift in perspective turns the normally horrific end of days at the hands of the undead into a delightfully pocket-sized epic. The scale compares the roving swarms of undead to an insect infestation. "Night of the Mini Dead" condenses the entire conventional horror notion into a funny watching experience.
4. Mason's Rats
Aside from the f-bombs and mounds of rodent carcasses, "Mason's Rats" has the premise and visual flair of something straight out of Pixar. When a Scottish farmer is tormented by a rodent revolt, he enlists the help of military-grade technology to put an end to it. While the animation and voice acting are beautiful in and of itself, the beautifully romantic conclusion stands out among the volume's backlog of sarcastic sarcasm and genre exploitation. It's one of the few cartoons that manages to encompass all of the eponymous topics of Love, Death & Robots in the same sentence.
5. In Vaulted Halls Entombed
"In Vaulted Halls Entombed" is a standard survival horror film. A crew of American troops is dispatched to Afghanistan to rescue a captive, but they soon find themselves in the middle of a far more deadly assignment at the foot of an ancient alien god. Otherworldly creatures cut down military commandos one by one in a horrific manner as the short plays out recognisable rhythms from films like Aliens or Predator. "Vaulted Halls" comes off less as an instructive narrative or exhibition of superb animation anticipated from this series and more like a video game cinematic that leaves more questions than answers, despite its moments of enjoyably gory deaths.
6. Three Robots: Exit Strategies
In a sequel to one of Volume One's most popular parts, the adorable trio of robot historians returns. "Exit Strategies" follows the titanium trio as they negotiate the wreckage of America's income disparities and learn how the affluent elite failed to ride out the robot revolt. "Exit Strategies," brimming with social humour and barbs at man's continual "snackish" arrogance, challenges mankind to be better than relying on technology that may one day have the final laugh at their oxymoronic survival plans.
Love, Death & Robots shorts end just as they're about to begin. "Swarm" spends a lot of time establishing up its fascinating idea of a hyper-efficient colony of insectoids that opportunistic scientists believe would aid humanity's evolution. While the lyrical problem of which race is exploited is addressed, the short spends more time with expository conversation and a gratuitous sex scene teasing up ideas and tensions than it does actively delivering on them in any cathartic fashion. "Swarm" builds up and teases a bigger plot that ought to be explored, but it doesn't offer anything to back it up.
8. The Very Pulse of the Machine
"The Very Pulse of the Machine" delves into 2001's "ultimate trip" appeal: A Space Odyssey is a science fiction film. An astronaut must bring her comrade's body to safety, tapping into the planet's awareness and her own drug-induced hallucinations along the way. This is by far the most psychedelic short in the collection, depicting a lone survivor in a beautiful combination of colours, shapes, and music. Despite the fact that an acid trip in outer space seems as silly as any other substance-infused experience, this short film highlights the beauty and rebirth that may be discovered in something as absolute as near-death.
9. Kill Team Kill
"Kill Team Kill" isn't about subtlety, and that's part of what makes it so amusing. A cybernetically upgraded grizzly bear with a craving for blood goes combat against an army squad of foul-mouthed dude-bros. In this short packed of dick jokes, profanity, and nonstop blood-splattering action, all of the prior pieces' retrospective perspective and restrained tone is tossed out the window. The highly expressive compositions and layouts of the animation make up for the short's lack of depth, giving it an enticing chaotic action movie atmosphere to aficionados of absurdist action humour.