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The film 2040 creates a dystopian future where the threat of deadly sexually transmitted infections leads people to rely on masturbation to pornography as their chief sexual outlet. The pornography they use features sex between humans and human-like sex robots called anabots. The narrative focuses on a male porn star who falls in love with an advanced model anabot that develops self-awareness and human emotions. The article considers whether 2040 is correct in predicting a future filled with more sophisticated sex robots or whether advances in virtual reality will make sex robots obsolete. Scenes that dramatize sex between anabots and humans allow the film to comment on the role that technology, in the forms of both pharmaceuticals and robotics, plays in the satisfaction and creation of sexual desire as well as the nature of objectification.
High-quality sci-fi; production values no longer feasible for new videos
Despite some obvious flaws, I greatly enjoyed Brad Armstrong's "2040", an ambitious sci-fi project that literally looks like a million bucks. Today's dwindling market for quality porn means we won't be seeing videos on this scale again.
My biggest criticism stems from an overabundance of in-jokes, out of place in an otherwise serious-mood film. In the first scene Barrett Blade (oddly left out of the opening credits) as a second-generation porn director name drops "David Lords" as his dad, an allusion I found irritating -cronyism when a mention of a late giant like Damiano or Spinelli would have sufficed. Similarly, hero Randy Spears takes as an alias in the final reels the name of the real-life head of film's distributor Wicked Pictures. That stuff belongs in a backyard horror video shot in New Jersey.
Self-reflexive premise is a future where a pandemic killed off much of Earth's population and sex is now relegated to beating off. Hence Armstrong's unconscious wish that Adult Entertainment would graduate to a lofty place in society, needed as a stimulant for a world of wankkers (purposely misspelled: IMDb made that word illegal).
Again under the heading of wish fulfillment, Spears is one of a dying breed of veteran porn actors in the future who are seemingly the only humpers left in the world. As if to prove this point, he has two impressive sex scenes in succession to kick off the movie, resulting in two quality cum shots.
Both are with androids, something of a Wicked product placement for its line of sex dolls, but also the subject of the show. Though finished film runs nearly 3 hours, its storyline would do for a simple "Twilight Zone" episode, summed up in the battle of our villain Caldwell (played by Brad himself in the tradition of Erich von Stroheim's "Man you love to hate" casting) vs. Morris (should have been spelled Maurice, but perhaps that's too erudite out of Merchant-Ivory land for me to expect from even talented pornographers) the inventor of a new breed of android lady, well-played by that talented Brit in Chatsworth land, Marcus London.
New model robot is played by star Alektra Blue, who makes the entire movie work. She is fabulous in her sex scenes (starts off rather than build up to anal sex), has the best body in the business and manages to pull off a very tricky feat of convincing you she's a machine yet making you root for her as a sympathetic being. Brad's script has a hip allusion to "Battlestar Galactica" and Blue is more convincing than the players of Cylons in that classic series.
Armstrong's biggest boner (no pun this time) is to adhere to company policy at the time demanding that fiction films and videos promote safe sex with condoms, when in fact that crusade should have been relegated to PSAs. So we have the ridiculous spectacle of porn actors like Spears' character "Ryan Spears" humping androids with a condom on, and routine robots played by the likes of Tommy Gunn and Mick Blue humping Alektra or a human like star Jessica Drake also with condoms on. Since Brad's script makes a big deal (stated at least twice) that the new improved androids have self cleaning technology built in that keeps them ship-shape without even needing to towel off, this nonsense of using condoms spoils the otherwise carefully built up credibility of the show's sci-fi content and trappings.
Those trappings include excellent, convincing lab sets for the fabrication and display of the androids, some nice scale exterior scenes including a helicopter landing on a skyscraper heliport, quality costuming and especially a lengthy, all-star cast which alone must have cost big above the line bucks. Unlike a mammoth production like "Pirates" there is not the overkill of CGI and endless visual EFX, but they aren't needed for this more practical story.
Quality sex is delivered by Blue, Drake, Kaylani Lei, Kirsten Price,Mikayla, Janet Mason and others. One quibble is leaving out some of the best sex scenes, in particular a brief (4-minute) masturbation display by Alektra in a mirrored palace of a bathroom that is the best sex in the entire production (DVD has 37 minutes of missing footage devoted to this plus some orgy material of little interest unless one has an orgy fetish).
Beyond the impressive physical content, I found Brad's resolution of his story both moving and quality storytelling, again due to Alektra's collaboration.
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