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Connected is a warning about technology wrapped in an animated family road trip movie

Connected is a warning about technology wrapped in an animated family road trip movie


National Lampoon could never imagine this

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Imagine if a National Lampoon Vacation movie ended with Clark Griswold and his family having to save the world from a fleet of autonomous robots developed by an Amazon-like company. That’s essentially what Sony Pictures’ Connected is.

Produced by Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller, Connected tells the story of a family making their way to a college across the country where their eldest daughter will attend. It’s an emotional affair, especially for her father who’s coming to terms with his daughter growing up and moving out. Everything’s going smoothly for the modern family — meaning everyone is on their phone or tablet at any given time — until they see an announcement for a new line of autonomous helper robots. Then everything goes to hell.

Connected isn’t shying away from the possible horrors of living in an ever-connected world. The company that makes the dreaded autonomous robots, PAL, seems to be based on Amazon. The logos are eerily similar. Much like Pixar’s Wall-E, Connected is leaning hard into the world people exist in today, addressing the issues that can arise from relying on autonomous technology.

Now, Connected is far from the first movie to examine what could go wrong if autonomous bots suddenly became dangerous killing machines. Iron Man 2 famously delved into the same idea after Justin Hammer decided to try to outdo Tony Stark’s Iron Man designs with his own fleet of machines. There is no Justin Hammer in Connected, but if we play around with the logic — considering that Justin Hammer ordered the machine designs in Iron Man 2, and a faux-Amazon is responsible for the machines in Connected — one could argue Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is the Justin Hammer of this universe.

I’m not saying I’m arguing it, just that one could.

Connected, which is directed by Michael Rianda and Jeff Rowe and stars Olivia Colman, Maya Rudolph, Abbi Jacobson, and Danny McBride, will hit theaters on September 18th.