Thursday, August 02, 2007

Oi, Robot

So, I, Robot was on earlier today and I was half-watching it while taking care of my laundry. I'd already seen the film back in the theater when it was released in 2004. I believe I was a lot more forgiving back then about it then I am now. Maybe because now I've read more of Asimov's work or maybe because I don't like watching st00pid movies anymore. I give to you the Top 5 Reasons Why I, Robot is a Big Letdown:

5. It gives Isaac Asimov the finger.
The film, suggested by an Asimov book, gives him credit only by using his Three Laws of Robotics, which are: Rule One) A robot can never harm a human. Rule Two) A robot must obey all human orders unless it conflicts with the first law. Rule Three) A robot must protect itself unless it conflicts with the first two laws. After that's quickly sped through at the beginning of the novel, the movie and Asimov split, rather harshly, with one hand on the wheel and the other out the window with a finger flexed.

4. A swift kick of violence.
As is to be expected with Hollywood, if the original material source doesn't have a love story or an explosion in it then they'll stuff one into the script no matter what. Here though it comes across as forced. The evil robots (noticeable by their evil, glowing red lights) don't just restrain citizens. They knock them down, attack with kicks and shoves, pinning arms behind backs and knocking weapons out of hands without a care as to whether or not the wrist breaks. In Asimov's work, it is rare if a robot ever broke one of the Three Rules, and even if it had it never led to a mob mentality among other robots.

3. The robots of the future look boring. Plus, they're all thin. If you want robots that emote, make them overweight with bad knees. Make them really hairy and disfigured. Make them look unique. Here we are presented with hordes of gray-framed skeletons with perfect oval heads and beady eyes. No special skins, no different color schemes. Just a bunch of gray iPods that, for some reason, are really tall. How about we make them smaller in the future? You know, that way in case they rebel we can just kick them away?

2. V.I.K.I. is dafter than a doorbell. There's a scene towards the middle-end of the movie where Susan Calvin (blandly played by Bridget Moynahan) sneakily kills a fake robot when she's supposed to be terminating Sonny. Now, we're told that V.I.K.I. (Virtual Interactive Kinetic Intelligence) is the top notch of top-notch technology. Looks like a little hand magic is all that was needed to fool the program. How does that make sense? It doesn't. It's one of those nasty beasts that ruin films. Plot hole. A big, stinky plot hole that could hold a bajillion V.I.K.I.s.

1. Will Smith ain't prejudice. Cast in the lead role of Spooner, Smith has the task of hating robots. Fine, doesn't seem so hard. I mean he's been mean to aliens and Carlton a thousand times before. A few automatons should be no problem whatsoever. Except there's no mean slurs against robots. Calling them can openers and toasters really isn't that insulting. And Smith just doesn't give it his all. Pursed lips and emo-laden expressions are not enough to get me to understand that you hates the robots that ruined your life. I want language, I want fire burning behind eyes, I want prejudice like it exists today. Deep-seated and relentless. That's what could have saved this film, make it more than just a popcorn flick with action scenes, corny jokes, and painful bouts of exposition. Curse you, Will Smith, you toaster-hater!


D. Abbamondi said...

I caught the tail end of i, Robot last night too. What a bust!

Paul Abbamondi said...

Heh, yeah it's a bit of a flop. :/