sábado, novembro 07, 2015

Life Would Be So Much Easier If We Only Had the Source Code: "Mr. Robot" - A Sort of Review



“Sometimes I dream of saving the world. Saving everyone from the invisible hand, one that brands us with an employee badge. The one that force us to work for them… The one that control us every day without us knowing it. But I can’t stop it. I’m not that special. I’m just anonymous. I’m just alone…”       
                                                                                         Elliot - Mr. Robot

Wouldn't we all like to have a Security Engineer day job, and being a hacker by night? It reminds me of my BBS days...

Problems I had with two of the episodes I've seen so far.

Elliot sends a large amount of MMS files to Gideon’s phone to drain his battery. WTF! Everyone who owns an Android phone knows that while playing large multimedia files the process drains the battery quicker, but the impact wouldn't be in minutes or seconds!!!

We also all know that there are programs to bomb phones via SMS or MMS. We also know that these tools literally cause lots of text messages to pop up. In real life, Gideon would have noticed that and get suspicious.

In the next scene, as soon as Gideon puts down his phone, FSociety distracts the entire office with a largely unexplained SmartTV hack. I've been using SmartTV functionalities since I can remember and I don't think the vulnerability depicted is so trivial that FSociety could force a video and lock the remote as easily as they did in this episode.  It bothered me that I didn't see what goes into the SmartTV hack. I'd would have loved to have more information...

In another episode Darlene guesses the password on her first try! Again WTF! The idea that a hacker can guess a password on the first try is just such a clichéd Hollywood plot device that I can’t stand it when I see it on TV. She could have tried at least three or four times. I know it may be boring to watch someone spend hours trying different combinations, but that’s the price we pay for accurate TV “hacking”…(*smile*)

I loved the way the script writers portrayed hacking as a means to allow Elliot to connect with others; breaking into email, social media to better communicate with the world around him is also a clever trick. Like a modern Robin Hood, Elliot also uses his abilities for good, taking down the unlawful and cruel along the way...Instead of arrows he uses source code. lol

And now for the really bad stuff. The show is riddled with clichéd characters and situations. First of all, the nasty corporate evil CTO really ruins it for me. Am I really supposed to like watching a clownish CTO fart around for several episodes? Not my cup of tea. Secondly Christian Slater as the psycho mentor...They both look like a pair of villains coming from a 60's SF show!!! Neither character brings anything new I haven't already seen before. Thirdly, the unexpected sex scenes, thrown regularly into the narrative to the point of making no sense at all.

I've just finished a few more episodes, and they were not very promising for the rest of the show, the 4th episode in particular puts emphasis on Elliot’s not very intriguing personal “demons” and also on the very unlikely plan against E(vil) Corp.  While watching these last episodes I felt as If I was streaming a great film and all of a sudden the internet connection suddenly buffered. That's how I began to feel.

Despite all this, the show on the whole is still watchable. The way hacking issues around privacy and a networked society are filtered down make it believable all the more. In one of the scenes, Elliot, explains how by just looking at source code on a website we can understand lots of stuff. TV-wise it's a clever bit of writing that works due to the voice over. The information given is so well written that I got an elementary tutorial on webpages without really noticing it. In SF terms that's what we call an infodump. Bad SF is full of them. Good SF has a few of them, but we don’t really noticed them because they are deeply interwoven into the narrative. I learned later on that there was a reason for this “lesson” (i.e., the infodump about “webpages”), because Elliot muses how good it'd be if one could see the human's source code, and, in a very clever bit of filming, I saw people at his office wearing various signs that revealed their secrets. Kudos to the script writer.

Due to all the reasons above, I'm still waiting for the Story to start. At the end of the day, I'd still recommend this show to others as the good parts clearly outshine the bad (so far).

I know I'm nit-picking, but in a show of this calibre, I was expecting to have taken more out of it, but so far I wasn’t able to.

NB: "Ex-Machina" is a much better SFional media, although on a totally different computer aspect (AI).




SF = Speculative Fiction.

5 comentários:

Luis Franco disse...

Well my dear friend can't be more unrelated to your review;). I loved the series has you well know. For me it was a greater viewing experience this year that GoT;).
For one I learned a lot from the hacks on each episode... To comment on the behind the scene on the hacking I leave it to this link: it's a well done article on the reality of the hacks:
http://www.engadget.com/2015/08/29/the-many-surprisingly-realistic-hacks-of-mr-robot/

Regarding the rest of the review i must say you should have reserved your views until you've seen all the episodes. Your still missing the best ones... I may be wrong but I believe you will bite your own words!

Luis Franco disse...

Btw I was compelled to watch ex-machina because of your post-scriptum... just saw and it's an amazing piece of work. I'd looks like a theater play with strong emphasis on the actors.
The cleanness of the set reminds me of a recent film I can't recall the name with tom cruise on a team that keeps water harvest running in a deserted Earth...

Luis Franco disse...

Well my dear friend can't be more unrelated to your review;). I loved the series has you well know. For me it was a greater viewing experience this year that GoT;).
For one I learned a lot from the hacks on each episode... To comment on the behind the scene on the hacking I leave it to this link: it's a well done article on the reality of the hacks:
http://www.engadget.com/2015/08/29/the-many-surprisingly-realistic-hacks-of-mr-robot/

Regarding the rest of the review i must say you should have reserved your views until you've seen all the episodes. Your still missing the best ones... I may be wrong but I believe you will bite your own words!

Manuel Antão disse...

In one of the scenes I saw Elliot uses the mouse to delete a file with a right-click... I'm not sure a hacker would use graphic mode to dleete file...I for myself would use console commands. I quite understand the reason for this. It's called "putting hacking on the screen"...

I'm sure you agree in terms of screen depiction, and after you having watched Ex-Machina, there's no way we can compare Mr. Robot with it. Some of the things on Mr. Robot just seem plain stupid.

But I'll still reserve my final word after I've watched the show in its entirety. What I've seen so far, does not motivate me much (I hate villains done BAD on the screen; nothing takes me "out of the story" so strongly. To fully appreciate something, I need to be IN THE STORY!!!!)

Manuel Antão disse...

"Oblivion" is the name of the movie you're looking for. It's also a movie I liked a lot.

I might also add, you're entirely entitled to your opinion on Mr. Robot. There's no objective view on art. Everyone has a different take on art, literature, cinema, opera, whatever. You name it. That's the beauty of it. And I also like when someone disagrees with me. It shows they thought about enough to disagree with me. That's not always the case.

My friend, I loved your view on the series as a whole.

nb: I've been receiving some comments from people coming from anoither avenus, who agree with me...This just reinforces what I've said above. lol