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I, Robot

A movie based on the book "I, Robot" featuring Will Smith.

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Everything you want in a Summer film and More!!

  • Jul 16, 2004
Rating:
+3
Pros: Great FX and Smith.

Cons: Supporting characters are not very deep.

The Bottom Line: A classic Summer Movie that will entertain.

Tales of a dark and foreboding future where technology has run amuck have been cautioning viewers ever since Orwell made the phrase “Big Brother” a household expression. Other films such as �”, “Westworld”, “Blade Runner” and “The Terminator” often show a dark and dangerous future where dependence upon technology created to serve mankind has lead to its eventual downfall.

In the film “I Robot” Director Alex Proyas who’s past work includes “The Crow” and “Dark City” tells the tale of a near future where robots have become commonplace and are entrusted to do all manner of tasks ranging from package delivery to waiting table and caring for households. The robots are assured to be safe as they are governed by a set of behavioral restrictors that require them to obey all human commands save for those to harm another human, as robots are not allowed to harm or by inaction allow to be harmed any human.

The film stars Will Smith as Del Spooner, a Chicago Homicide detective who does not trust robots and is highly suspicious of them. The fact that in 2035 there has yet to be one documented case worldwide of a robot ever being involved in a crime is of little concern to Del as he sees the potential for danger in technology that is so widely spread.

Del is in many ways a technophobe as aside from his modern car, he has a retro lifestyle including an old fashioned alarm clock, vintage 2004 shoes, and a fondness for music from the 1970’s. An incident in Del’s past has kept him off the force for a while and has only furthered his distaste for robotics and their growing place in society.

No sooner is Del back at work than an apparent suicide at U.S. Robotics by a friend sets the film into motion. What to all seems to be an open and shut case of suicide only causes Del to become more suspicious. Del soon discovers a new model robot locked in the office of the victim, who flees from crime scene and refuses to obey the orders to halt given to him.

The fact that the robot ignores command given by a human thus violating his central laws of programming is put off as a simple malfunction by Billionaire Lawrence Robertson (Bruce Greenwood), who does not want Del’s suspicions to disrupt his business plans on the eve of the largest rollout of new robots in history. It is explained that the new NX-5 model is about to be released to the public and soon there will be one robot for every 5 humans in the world and with so much invested in this, Robertson places a gag order on Del and the entire police force to forget about the renegade robot and not say a word to anyone.

Naturally Del does not follow this command and he suspects that there is a larger and much more serious threat posed to the public even though everyone around his says that he is paranoid and desperate to find or create any evidence to support his theory that robots are not as safe as everyone believes they are.

What follows is an action packed game of cat and mouse as Del and a U.S. Robotics scientist named Susan (Bridget Moynahan), start to uncover a deeper mystery, once in which the very world they have taken for granted is about to change.

The film is a visual marvel that shows you a fairly realistic view of the future as aside from the robots and futuristic highways, the world of 2035 does not look that much different than today.

Proyas knows that Smith is his star and he does a great job allowing him to carry the picture without allowing the visual effects to dominate the film, though they are spectacular. The futuristic highways and a great chase sequence were highlights of the film and had a surprising amount of tension and drama mixed into what was a solid action sequence.

Smith plays Spooner, as a man with demons yet never ceases to become a sensitive character despite his hard edge. He is a man that is determined to follow his instincts and do what is best for the people he is sworn to protect.

The film does only play lip service to the series of novels by Asimov, but it does tell a very good cautionary tale of human’s interaction and dependence upon technology without becoming preachy or losing site of the message that society must ensure to have a balance between humanity and technology in order to thrive.

If I had to find fault, it would be that many of the supporting roles were fairly bland, as Moynahan was not given much to do aside from play a Damsel in distress and the always solid James Cromwell and Bruce Greenwood were not used nearly enough. That being said “I Robot” delivers everything you want in a summer film and more.

4 stars out of 5

Gareth Von Kallenbach


Recommended:
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More I, Robot reviews
Quick Tip by . October 19, 2010
I wondered how they'd make a movie out of this. They succeeded. It was definitely intriguing and exciting.
review by . November 19, 2008
It takes a lot of guts to attempt to capture the essence of Asimov in a movie, and even more to cast Will Smith as the hero, Del Spooner - Robot Hater.     Will has "funny" imbedded in his programming (Fresh Prince; Men in Black; Wild Wild West et al), but that new body! It took me quite a while to get past that early shower scene, and the "back" button on the remote was overheating too.     He's sharp, he's smart, he's cool and he's buffed, but he's not your …
review by . November 14, 2008
I, Robot
The movie `I, Robot' takes its cue from Asimov's collection of short stories by the same name. It is not based on any one of the stories from the collection, choosing instead of add a newer tale still firmly establishing itself in the premise of the book: The three Laws of Robotics.     The three laws are: 1) A robot may not injure a human being or through inaction allow a human being to come to harm. 2) A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders …
review by . July 02, 2006
Disassociate this movie from the book by Isaac Asimov. The movie contains the three laws of robotics, from Asimov's classic book, and the flaw in the three laws, but that's about all it borrows from the book. Nevertheless, it is a fun action flick with enough suspense to keep you interested to the very end.    Will Smith does a good job as the police officer with an ax to grind against robots and James Cromwell is always a pleasure to watch.    It's a good, …
review by . December 28, 2004
First of all, I haven't read Isaac Asimov's "I, Robot," so I don't have any basis on which to compare the book to the film. However, I have watched many science fiction flicks. I enjoy adventures such as the original "Star Wars" trilogy, action flicks like the recent "Resident Evil: Apocalypse," and the type of sci-fi that leaves you in a reflective mood, such as "Close Encounters of the Third Kind."     I expected "I, Robot" to lean towards the "Resident Evil" genre of sci-fi. …
review by . October 18, 2004
posted in Movie Hype
After suffering through Will Smith's sleepwalk performance in MIB II, I was pleased by the energy level he brings to this fast paced fun movie. Smith lives in a world where robots are commonplace, serving humans (reminicent of the 4th Planet of the Apes movie) as nannies, butlers, and general servants. He is called to solve the murder of a scientist, who was his friend. The only possible suspect seems to be a robot. The only problem is that robots are subject to Isaac Asimov's 3 laws, meaning that …
About the reviewer
Gareth Von Kallenbach ()
Ranked #112
I am a syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. My work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site "Skewed … more
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About this movie

Wiki

Starring Will Smith, Bridget Moynahan, Alan Tudyk, James Cromwell
Directed by Alex Proyas
Writer:  Jeff Vintar
Loosely based on the novel I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
2004

Product Description
In the year 2035, technology and robots are a trusted part of everyday life. But that trust is broken when a scientist is found dead and a skeptical detective (Smith) believes that a robot is responsible. Bridget Moynahan co-stars in this high-tech action thriller that questions whether technology will ultimately lead to mankind's salvation . . . or annihilation.

I, Robot is a 2004 science fiction-action film. The film was directed by Alex Proyas and produced by John Davis, Topher Dow, Wyck Godfrey, Laurence Mark and Will Smith. The screenplay was penned by Jeff Vintar, Akiva Goldsman and Hillary Seitz and is loosely based on Isaac Asimov's short-story collection of the same name. Will Smith starred in the lead role of the film as Detective Del Spooner, who hates robots and dislikes their integration into daily human life. Other members of the cast include Bridget Moynahan, Bruce Greenwood, James Cromwell, Chi McBride, Alan Tudyk, and Shia LaBeouf. The film was released in United States on July 16, 2004 and on July 22, 2004 in Australia. The film was released in United Kingdom on August 6, 2004 and in other countries between July 2004 to October 2004.

The film earned US$144,801,023 inside the United States and US$202,433,893 outside United States. In total, the film earned ...

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