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The Movie Like Ex Machina That Robot Fans Need To See

The idea of robots and artificial intelligence has inspired artists for over a century now. At the heart of all of the best robot movies is the following question: What happens when humanity creates something more intelligent than itself? It's a terrifying notion that makes for great drama, and few science-fiction films have grappled with this question as well as 2014's "Ex Machina."

A CEO invites a programmer to his remote home to test whether a humanoid robot, Ava (Alicia Vikander), is sentient. What follows is a dark, psychological thriller where you're never quite sure who's telling the truth and whether Ava is more intelligent than she's letting on. After watching the movie, it's easy to see why it won a slew of awards when it first came out, including the Oscar for Best Visual Effects. It's the type of film that makes you highly wary of keeping an Amazon Echo in the house. 

"Ex Machina 2" may never come to fruition, but there are plenty of other great sci-fi films out there in case you want to feel even more paranoid about the future. All self-proclaimed cinephiles owe it to themselves to watch one of the most spectacular feats of 1920s filmmaking that still holds up to this day.

Metropolis continues to inspire science-fiction stories

"Metropolis" may not have been the first movie to utilize sentient automatons. That distinction goes to 1907's "The Mechanical Statue and the Ingenious Servant" (via Film Site). Still, "Metropolis" made robots appear more human than ever before. The silent sci-fi film occurs in 2026, where the elite live in massive skyscrapers while the lower classes toil away beneath the earth performing manual labor to allow the bustling "utopia" to thrive. 

Out of the elites rises Freder (Gustav Fröhlich), who discovers the horrible conditions below the city and decides to abandon his life of luxury. His father attempts to bring him back to the upper crust and gets a mechanic to create a robot that looks like the object of Freder's affection — Maria (Brigitte Helm). However, the fake-Maria soon commands the workers to overthrow the rich. With a gorgeous Art Deco design used throughout the city combined with pertinent themes related to workers' rights, the film remains relevant today as it was in 1927. 

All science-fiction fans need to see "Metropolis" at some point in their lives. The movie went on to inspire the likes of "The Matrix," "Blade Runner," and "Ex Machina," and it continues to see praise. A retrospective from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch had this to say: "A fully realized work of art whose influence on science fiction, set design and symbolism can scarcely be put into words." It's easier than ever to watch the influential film now that it's available to rent on Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, and the iTunes Store.