Ranking Robots: Beyond The Aquila Rift

Ranking Robots is the newest tri-weekly series that will be making its appearance on the site every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday as I make my way through Netflix’s Love, Death + Robots. For those that are unaware of the Netflix Original, the show is a series of short stories that have to do with, you guessed it, Love, Death, and Robots. If anyone reading this ever saw the incredible collection of short films called the Animatrix (if you haven’t go check that out now) then you won’t have any trouble jumping into this new series.

Delivering a dance of mystery and intrigue through the uncanny valley, Beyond The Aquila Rift tells the story of Thom and his crew as they begin their next voyage through the vast emptiness of space. To Thom’s shock, he wakes up mid-hypersleep to discover that the ship has gone off course and is now docking onto a repair craft. It’s at this point Thom starts to realize that nothing will ever be the same again for him or his crew.

Feeling like a high-end PS5 cutscene that we’ll all be lucky enough to see in the year 2025, Beyond The Aquila Rift delivers impressive visuals while doing it’s absolute best to try and avoid the uncanny valley, or that moment when your brain starts to tell you that something you’re looking at that is trying to look real isn’t. With its attempt to compete with Sonnie’s Edge in the visual market, Beyond raises the stakes and instead of keeping its small cast characters in the shadows they are out in front, covered in the light of both the stars and the classicly designed spacecraft they find themselves in.

While I won’t spoil the story, I will say that the ending sequence of the short is both memorable and shocking. Between the visuals and the storytelling of this particular moment, any minor issues I may have had with the short, which were few and far between, were quickly washed away. While I don’t want to give away my end of the season rankings for Ranking Robots just yet, it’s safe to say that Beyond The Aquila Rift is an absolute must in the series.

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