Wednesday, July 29, 2020

I, Robot

All things considered, this has aged well for me.

I watched I, Robot a long time ago, around the better part of a decade since I last watched it and for a movie that entertained and intrigued 10 year old me as well as 25 year old me, I'm impressed. Based off of Isaac Asimov's short stories, this film takes place in the far off future of 2035 where robots have been manufactured and populated to help human beings in any way possible, with the first model of robots being released in 2020 and to be honest I wouldn't be surprised if it came to pass, where we meet Detective Spoony I mean Spooner played by Will Smith who is called in to investigate the death of the mind behind the company who crafts the robots in every facet. Spooner suspects foul play with the electronic beings but as a safeguard all robots are built around three laws, 1. A robot cannot harm a human being under any circumstances, 2. A robot must obey all orders given, 3. A robot must protect itself without conflicting on the first and second laws. Which is what makes this such a fascinating mystery, it creates a logic puzzle for the audience to decipher as we follow our main character who is trying to figure out who killed this man and more importantly why. Now I'll confess I have not read Asimov's stories, though they are on my list with other classic sci-fi stories like Frank Herbert's Dune, and Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game. And the movie has really good pacing and plot threads that keep your interest and keep you entertained. You'd expect this to be a sort of Blade Runner-esque world but truthfully it doesn't look super futuristic, hell the only major technological advances are the cars and robots so I'd almost say this is a great introduction to sci-fi movies for people who aren't big fans of the genre. The production is quite good, the cast takes it seriously and puts out good material, there's great shots now and then, the effects are executed well and because the robots aren't supposed to look realistic but more synthetic the CG hasn't aged poorly. I know some people gave a lot of good grief over the action scenes and how they wouldn't belong in a techno mystery, but this was essentially a summer movie and in recent years people have given the film more credit. From the brief research I did apparently the script had a huge rewrite, originally the film was going to be way more cerebral focusing on the detective's paranoia and more intricate complexities of the robot revolution, it honestly sounds so much like Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep the basis for Blade Runner, which is an excellent book by the way you should check that out, but not like in a derogative way but how the stroy progresses and more importantly what it focuses on. And it kinda breaks my heart because it sounds like an underrated sci-fi classic and could have been so much more than what we got, but again I do not hate this movie at all, it's just that the original script sounds so friggin' good. I think this is a totally fine movie, it gives us the mystery solving with a few action beats here and there, Will Smith and Alan Tudyk are the best performances in an already really good cast, the pacing is good, the effects are done well, and the story stays true to Asimov while still doing it's own thing. I give it 3 stars, 7.5/10, and easily my favorite scene is James Cromwell's brief monologue about the ghost in the machine which is a fascinating concept in and of itself and who knows how long that idea has been floating around for, but man do I love this man to the moon and back!

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