December 8, 2021

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[Review] Upload: bold patchwork that works

Upload, Greg Daniels’ latest series came out early last month. For those who will miss the debut of the new dad shows The Office and Parks and Recreation, we therefore offer our take on the first episode.

Slowly but surely, Amazon Prime Video is starting to emerge as a real competitor to the biggest streaming platform. Long criticized for its rickety catalogue, the platform evolves over time with original material, often of fairly good quality: failing to be revolutionary, it is in this category that Upload is placed. The first episode takes us into a more or less distant future, following in Nathan Brown’s footsteps. (Robbie Amell). This somewhat charming man lived the good life until a self-driving car accident took him straight to the hospital, in critical condition. In our reality, the young man would definitely go straight to the operating room in an emergency. But that does not include the technology available to mankind at the time. This is the middle axis of Upload , the axis on which the entire plot is built. In this version of our future, eternal life is not won based on merit and integrity, as is the case in many religions… eternal life comes at a heavy price!

Salvation of souls, at a cost
Your consciousness is uploaded to a kind of virtual retirement home, where you can live forever in the company of other residents and keep in touch with the living. This makes death an almost obsolete concept: we no longer die except for ideological beliefs… or for lack of resources. This assumed and deeply cynical commercial opportunism, vaguely reminiscent of Altered Carbon, forms the basis of all of the balance of power in the series.

In Nathan’s case, it was Ingrid, his incredibly rich and irresistibly possessive fiancé, who offered him a ticket to Lake View, the most luxurious virtual paradise equipped with many paid extras. A theme reminiscent of a watered-down Black Mirror, and one that also reminds one of the episodes of the dystopian series. An interesting theme, but the treatment that suffers from some of the slightly rough Manichean approaches of stripping, is embodied almost entirely by his irresistible lover, rich he is spoiled and insensitive.

This aspect is put to good use through lots of winks, sometimes funny, sometimes annoying. And looking at Nathan’s relationship with his living fiancé, we can quickly imagine that this situation will sooner or later become a problem … The dynamics of this couple is also an opportunity to approach the other side of this universe, namely the way Upload the play with our relationship with life , death and Eternal. A point that is well illustrated Venom 2 by the dialogue between Ingrid and Nathan about the latter’s funeral, which was set up as a wedding. If it’s hard to say more without spoiling everything that salts this scene, we can’t help but think that maybe there’s a part of foreboding in this dirty disguise: we leave it to you to judge for yourself.

Fairly balanced romance, if not original
In order to avoid going crazy after this radical change of “life”, Nathan from the very first minute is helped by an “angel”, an employee of the company who manages the uploads . The angel is Nora (Andy Allo), and the two will soon become closer. Vulnerable and without benchmarks, Nathan manages to touch a young technician, whose personal life is not always bright.

He who was supposed to be a stone to these newly uploaded souls would finally find some kind of refuge in Nathan. Dynamic predictable and very “Hollywood”, brought in a bit hastily but still touching thanks to the spontaneity of Andy Allo. This assumed side of the rom-com may delay some, but it doesn’t monopolize the entire narrative: it serves as the basis for the rest of the plot and remains one of the three main pillars of the scenario.

A sprawling techno-romanticomic patchwork
However, assimilating Upload to a simple futuristic romantic comedy would be very reductive. Very quickly, it becomes apparent that the entire film crew is not short on ideas, quite the opposite … but you still have to manage all of that! In the 45-minute long introductory episode (compared to just 30 for the others), audiences are projected into a veritable mix of the most heterogeneous genres, a variegated patchwork of romantic comedies, police investigations and dystopian dramas… the end result is sometimes a little messy due to the mix-up. rather dense genre. But the series took some time to lay the groundwork for the final pillar of the scenario, which has grown over time: the circumstances of Nathan’s death. Because of what appears in the minutes pat first as the most unlikely accident ends up looking more and more suspicious, over the accumulated details. While it takes a long time to get started in earnest, this storyline is by far the most interesting point of the series. The first episode said very little about it, but the first developments were introduced gradually, in an efficient manner, and we found ourselves quite quickly intrigued by the bit of information we gathered here and there: as soon as the smoke from this first fall episode smokes, viewers get benefit from a better overview and everything becomes more interesting. This plot is by far the most interesting point of the series. The first episode said very little about it, but the first developments were introduced gradually, in an efficient manner, and we found ourselves quite quickly intrigued by the bit of information we gathered here and there: as soon as the smoke from this first fall episode smokes, viewers get benefit from a better overview and everything becomes more interesting. This plot is by far the most interesting point of the series. The first episode said very little about it, but the first developments were introduced gradually, in an efficient manner, and we found ourselves quite quickly intrigued by the bit of information we gathered here and there: as soon as the smoke from this first fall episode smokes, viewers get benefit from a better overview and everything becomes more interesting.

However, Upload is not really a thriller. As evidenced by many jokes, sometimes schoolboys, but we often find ourselves smiling sincerely. The humor of the series is often based on the same recipe: humorous situations resulting from the cultural and technological gap between the protagonist’s time and ours. This provides endless excuses for missing out on some delicious jokes, and it has to be admitted that this tune is put to good use by Greg Daniels’ squad. It is also possible not to treat this theme solely from the dystopian angle discussed above, thus avoiding falling into partiality. If this crossover of cinematographic genres has any flaws, we can only note that it contributes to a rather effective rhythm setting. This first episode marks a gripping season,

Lastly, Upload is also a scathing critique of savage technological capitalism and the upheaval that many technological advances will bring. But Upload still has the intelligence to treat both sides of this coin. It would be easy to tell anyone who would listen that technology would bring about the moral depravity of humanity, but Greg Daniels is smarter than that. Through the various innovations it brings (autonomous car with bed and home cinema, organic 3D printer…) and especially what it is, we feel a real love for the technology of the team behind this series. This is not presented as an announced disaster, but in a more nuanced way, as a vector of change that we as a society must be aware of to avoid the worst offences. Because if there’s one thing we can be sure of, it’s that as we progress, similar questions will eventually arise one day. After all, isn’t that why futuristic fiction has so many followers?