Finch on Apple TV+ — Death, Hope and Continuity

Family Friendly Mad Max. source.

I probably say this all the time. I am a big fan of ‘X’. X can be anything. So, I will say it again. I am big fan of post apocalyptic fiction. The pandemic gave us the first look of how a post apocalyptic world would look like. All those memories of walking through empty streets, riding through people less cities from the last 18 months of pandemic will never leave my conscious.

The running theme about most post apocalyptic stories is about things being really bad. Sometimes, its about total extinction and cruelty. Other times, it’s about hope. Just before the inevitable end of life as we know it.

Spoilers ahead!

Finch, is about hope. I like it for that. Right now, I need feel good stories to lift my mood. Tom Hanks is the kind of actor who can deliver a good hopeful story. It’s obvious from the movie posters that the robot buddy is essentially his son. It is also a given that Tom Hank’s character will die.

Anytime a character says ‘he is too old for something’, that usually means he will die. Unless its a buddy comedy, in which case, death is not really an option.

Family Friendly Road Trip

A Man. A Dog. A Robot. Go On A Road Trip. source.

The entire story is a road trip towards an unknown destination. There are some movies that take place in a single location. However, post apocalyptic is always about showing how much the world has changed. You get some seriously cool visuals of a dead world. It’s not even dying. It’s already dead.

Barren. Dusty. Dead.

Our hero, is an engineer named Finch. The setting is that a solar flare burst from the Sun. It has destroyed the ozone layer that protects all life on Earth from dangerous sun rays. Now, everything is eliminated because all life on the planet has burnt out. Finch survives in his office building, and he is the sole survivor at that place. He has a cute dog with him, and he is building a robot to help him out.

With stories like this, and in real life, one wonders, what is it that keeps this person alive? Why do you get up in the morning? Why bother going out and scavenge for food? Why should we care about building emergency fail safe systems? Maintain the power supply water and safety computers?

Why are you living Finch? Why are you even alive?

For Finch, the answer is a simple one. Keep the dog alive. That’s all the purpose he has. I can understand this simple motivation. We all live for something. Otherwise, there would be no reason to get up and go on with life. The dog’s survival and happiness drives the entire story.

To keep the dog alive, Finch takes off in an RV, with his half finished robot buddy. This is where, things get really interesting — Jeff , the Robot.

Asimov Compatible Robot

Jeff is Awesome. source

In stories and movies, robots mostly come as ‘human killers’. The Matrix. Terminator movies. That fun, masala popcorn movie, I Robot with a fast talking Will Smith in his prime. I suppose that makes sense. Robots can be thought of as a superior race of beings. They are the new alpha. Every alpha will constantly try to squash out the old alpha.

That is nature of evolutionary biology and life.

This is perhaps the biggest reason I am a huge fan of Asimov Foundation Novels. His robots are ‘good’ robots, designed to keep humans alive. Not kill them.

Finch, built a robot, which employs the ‘safe’ 3 laws of robotics as its guiding principle. Jeff is the real star of the movie. He is cute. He is powerfully built. He speaks well. He is a child but, learning and experiencing the cruel bad world at the speed of light. It’s impossible not to fall in love with him.

Apple TV+ productions have such amazing production values, I cannot tell if Jeff was CGI or a real robot that was moved mechanically. Either way, it’s very convincingly rendered. Once Jeff enters the story, it’s almost like a father-son bonding story. My own father was a hopeless, abusive and ignorant dad.

So, I love a positive father-son story. It all gets very emotional.

Final Note

Breathtaking Cinematography. source

I would have liked it if the movie spent more time showing the landscapes and the outside world. The entire idea of other, violent humans is side stepped entirely, except for a brief sequence.

Considering the ongoing pandemic, this is a timely movie. In the last 18 months, I have felt like Finch, almost every day. Locked in my house, an uncertain future. Every time I fell sick, I would feel like I would die.

This is a good, very good, feel good movie.

I work as a full time freelance coding tutor. Hire me at UpWork or Fiverr or Stack Overflow. My personal website is here. Find more of my art at Behance and Unsplash.




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