So I saw I, Robot recently. I know what you’re gonna say. “Dood! That move like came out 4-ever ago, WTF???!1!” I know it did, but I only saw it recently because I had… misgivings… about it at the time.
I’m a big Asimov fan and was disappointed by Bicentennial Man. I promised myself that I wouldn’t let that happen again. Then after all was said and done, I spoke to many people who said I, Robot was really good. All I could think was, “Ignorant bastards know nothing of Asimov.” Then the other day Jay and I saw it at Blockbuster and decided to rent it and Airplane!.
I was pleasantly surprised. I thought it was very well written and acted. The CGI wasn’t half bad either. When I first heard about the movie I figured it was gonna be the short story collection somehow turned movie. Then I found out it was basically Fan Fiction, but I wasn’t far off, it did reference other Asimov stories.
The main robot, Sonny, had developed self-awareness and a fear of death. This is very similar in vein to the short story “Bicentennial Man” (which was slaughtered movie-wise), in which the robot developed self consciousness and was emancipated by his owners. He then had to live his life but was still stuck with the 3 laws.
Brief 3 laws recap:
1.) Don’t let humans die or get hurt.
2.) Do what humans say unless it breaks #1.
3) Protect yourself, unless it breaks #1 or #2.
Sonny (the robot) was accused of committing murder, but he got mixed in with many other robots and Detective Del Spooner (Will Smith) didn’t know how to detect him. The trick was to use the three laws. This is similar to another short story, who’s title eludes me. In the story, they had to weaken the 1st rule in robots at a factory, because the minor radiation made worker robots keep trying to save humans. A robot killed a human, so they used three laws to find the one weakened so much it could kill. In I, Robot Del told all the robots to stay. He then shot one. Normal robots would let this happen because the command to stay was stronger than self preservation. So when Sonny bolted, he knew it was their broken one.
Then there’s the characters. The most prominent character carried over from Asimov stories is the Robopsychologist, Susan Calvin (Bridget Moynahan). Calvin was always cold and liked robots better than people. I got that a little in the movie. Problem is Calvin was not the most attractive woman in the world in the stories, which apparently didn’t work for the big screen. Also, Calvin was always the one to figure things out. So, when she played the ignorant robot doctor just blindly doing her duty and ignoring the fact she had a robot with a soul, it was very out of character for the story version. I was glad they didn’t create a romantic relationship between her and Del. That would have been distracting.
I was sort of hoping the revolution that Dr. Lanning spoke about in his little Hologram was going to be Robot Vs. Robot. That would have been awesome. They seemed to imply it in the landfill scene and I think it may have been changed. Rules #1 and #2 would have made it very easy for the old robots to try to overcome the new robots. I just wish Del had gotten on a mega-phone and yelled, “destroy the NS-5s! They’re trying to kill me!” Then both laws would be in effect making the old robots NS-5 killing machines! C’est la vie.
Chicago looked great. My friend, Jay, went to school there and was in love with the city. So when he saw the movie it made him say, “Wow, that’s Chicago!” Even though it was drastically changed, I suppose they kept the same charm.
All in all it was a good movie, and I’d recommend it from both an action and thinking man’s point of view.