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‘Love, Death + Robots’ Volume 3 Episodes Ranked

Since 2019, Netflix’s anthology series Love, Death + Robots has become the service’s powerhouse venue for experimental filmmaking in the realm of animation. Developed by Deadpool director Tim Miller, each volume of the series has given directors of various backgrounds the chance to tell unique and engaging sci-fi stories in animation ranging from the stylized to the photo-real. While this volume offers fewer standout installments than the previous two, it still delivers on the same level of intrigue and visionary storytelling with outstandingly varied animation.

Here are Love Death + Robots: Volume 3’s shorts ranked from worst to best!

RELATED: 10 ‘Love, Death + Robots’ Storyline That Can Be Developed Into Feature Films

9. Swarm

At their worst, Love Death + Robots shorts end just as they are about to get started. “Swarm” spends a lot of its time setting up its enthralling premise of a hyper-efficient hive of insectoids that opportunistic scientists believe are poised to help humanity evolve. While the poetic dilemma of which race is the exploited one is addressed, the short does more teeing up ideas and conflicts with expository dialogue and a gratuitous sex scene than it does actively deliver on them in any cathartic way. “Swarm” builds up and teases a grander story that deserves exploration, but does very little to bank on itself.

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8. In Vaulted Halls Entombed

“In Vaulted Halls Entombed” is a par-for-the-course exploration of survival horror. A group of American soldiers is sent to rescue a hostage in Afghanistan but embark on a far more dangerous mission at the feet of an ancient alien god. The short plays out familiar beats from films like Aliens or Predator as otherworldly creatures pick off military commandos one by one in a gruesome fashion. While not without its moments of enjoyably gnarly fatalities, “Vaulted Halls” comes across less like an insightful parable or showcase of stellar animation expected from this series and more like a video game cinematic that leaves more questions than answers.

7. Jibaro

From award-winning director Alberto Mielgo, who previously did Volume One’s “The Witness”, “Jibaro” is hypnotic in every sense of the word. A gilded lake siren is attracted to a deaf knight as they meet in a sensual and deadly dance. “Jibaro” not only utilizes heart-racing editing and music to create an ethereal air of tension but the animation in the characters’ pantomime is remarkably executed to convey control and despair. How the dance of the siren and those she has bewitched goes beyond performative expression and captures a sense of manic attraction and primordial motion. “Jibaro” explores the basic evils of colonialism in an eerily poignant way.


6. The Very Pulse of the Machine

“The Very Pulse of the Machine” dives into the “ultimate trip” likability of 2001: A Space Odyssey. An astronaut must drag the corpse of her comrade to safety, along the way, tapping into the planet’s very consciousness and her own drug-induced hallucinations. By far the most psychedelic short of this volume as it portrays a fight for lone survival in a beauteous amalgam of colors, forms, and music. Although an acid trip in outer space sounds as lucidly absurd as any other substance-infused trip, this short celebrates the possibilities of beauty and rebirth found in something as absolute as near-death.

5. Bad Traveling

The animation debut of David Fincher, “Bad Traveling” was just as gripping as any of the famed director’s thrillers. The captain of a hunting ship finds himself at the mercy of a man-eating creature who demands passage to an island. Even given a short runtime, Fincher was able to show the gradual descent into desperation as the captain’s handling of his unexpected stowaway dilutes his will from reasonable democracy to self-righteously sacrificing his own men. The stakes and consequences of choices made are clearly shown in a seaward saga of mutiny and morality.


4. Three Robots: Exit Strategies

The lovable trio of robot historians is back in a sequel to one of Volume One’s most popular installments. “Exit Strategies” finds the titanium threesome as they navigate the ruins of America’s income gaps and discover how the wealthy elite rode out the robot uprising unsuccessfully. Brimming with social satire and jabs at man’s persistent “snackish” hubris, “Exit Strategies” holds humanity up to the task to be better than to trust in technology that may one day have the last laugh at their oxymoronic ideas of survival.

3. Kill Team Kill

Subtlety is not the name of the game in “Kill Team Kill” and that is what makes it so entertaining. An army squad of foul-mouthed dude-bros faces off against a cybernetically enhanced grizzly bear with a taste for blood. Any of the retrospective insight and reserved tonality of the previous entries is thrown out the window in this short full of dick jokes, swearing, and non-stop blood-splattering action. What is lacking in nuance here is made up for in spades in the dynamically expressive compositions and layouts of the animation, giving the short a chaotic action movie vibe irresistible to fans of absurdist action-comedy.


2. Mason’s Rats

“Mason’s Rats” has the setup and visual styling of something straight out of Pixar, aside from the f-bombs and piles of rodent corpses, of course. A Scottish farmer is plagued with a rodent rebellion and calls upon military-grade machinery to exterminate them. While the animation and voice acting are gorgeously rendered in and of themselves, the sweetly sentimental resolution comes off as a pleasant surprise among the volume’s backlog of cynical satire and genre exploitation. It is one of the rare shorts that is able to encapsulate all the titular themes of love, death, and robots within the same breath.

1. Night of the Mini Dead

The zombie apocalypse. Short and sweet. Literally. The rise of the living dead is told on a microscopic scale with high-pitched screams at supersonic speed. The change in perspective transforms the traditionally terrifying end of days at the hands of the undead into an adorably pocket-sized saga. The scale makes the roaming hordes of zombies analogous to the infestation of insects. “Night of the Mini Dead “takes the totality of archetypal horror premise and minimizes it to a hilarious viewing experience.


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