Director: Alex Proyas
Starring: Will Smith, Bridget Moynahan, Alan
Tudyk, Chi McBride, James Cromwell, Bruce Greenwood
RunTime: 1 hr 55 mins
Released By: 20th Century Fox
Date: 22 July 2004
Will Smith stars in this action thriller inspired by the classic
short story collection by Isaac Asimov, and brought to the
big screen by dynamic and visionary director Alex Proyas (Dark
City, The Crow). In the year 2035, robots are an everyday
household item, and everyone trusts them, except one, slightly
paranoid detective (Smith) investigating what he alone believes
is a crime perpetrated by a robot. The case leads him to discover
a far more frightening threat to the human race. I, ROBOT
uses a spectacular, state-of-the-art visual effects technique
to bring a world of robots to life.
Scripted by Akiva Goldsmen (“A Beautiful Mind”)
and suggested by books from Issac Asimov, “I, Robot”
is set in Chicago, in the year 2035 whereby technological
advancement is so great that Robots had penetrated into everyone’s
lives. They are designed to walk your dogs, being a Fed-Ex
deliveryman to cleaning your homes. It has integrated into
every family and they are supposed to be more trustful than
any one of us. Detective Del Spooner (Will Smith), however
thinks otherwise. When a brilliant scientist Dr Alfred Lanning
(James Cromwell), the man who pioneered the robotics technology
is murdered, Spooner is called upon by the victim’s
hologram device to investigate his death. Although Robots
are confined to the “3 Laws Safe” that is “A
robot cannot hurt a human being or allow a human being to
come to harm; a robot must obey a human being’s orders
unless the orders conflict with the first law; a robot must
protect its own existence as long as it doesn’t conflict
with the first or second law”. Apparently, Spooner is
the only one who distrusts the current system and he believes
a Robot, NS-5 nicknamed Sonny might be the murderer or the
clue behind the murder.
“I, Robot”, Director Alex Proyas successfully
created a world of human and robots. He’s no doubt a
visionary director who is able to recreate a new world filled
with amazing elements yet so believable (citing his past
efforts for example: “The Crow and “Dark City”).
Of course, he is assisted by the wizardry Digital Domain (“Titanic”),
Weta Digital (“The Lord of The Rings) and Patrick Tatopoulos
(“Independent Day”, “Underworld”)
countless visual effects, matt paintings, miniatures shots,
digital sets and Sonny, the close to human expressions, saintly
Robot NS-5. Even Audi has designed a cool car with spherical
wheels specifically tailored for the movie.
Smith discarding his usual Jazzy Prince image, turns in a
believable performance as a cop with a troubled past. Though
the fresh prince still shoots in a couple of wisecracks in
between. Bridget Moynanhan more well-
known for a role in “Sex and the City” starred
opposite Smith as a robot psychologist. Rounding up the strong
supporting cast are Bruce Greenwood (“Thirteen Days”,
“The Core”) who portrayed the Chairman of U.S.
Robotics, a sly businessman who is bringing the breakthrough
technology to every household. Chi McBride as Spooner’s
mentor and boss.
the hardcore Sci-fi and action fans, “I, Robot”
is never slacking in those areas; the epic battles between
Men and Robots; the breath-taking tunnels crashes, explosions
(enough to swipe your ear wax off with those mind-blowing
digital sound) and tonnes of digital robots swaying across
buildings and landscapes are simply a spectacle to behold.
Fans will compared all these details with Spielberg’s
“Artificial Intelligence”, “Minority Report”
or even “Terminator 2”. But still, Proyas‘s
version is substantial enough to stand on it’s own.
Look around the various scenes, you will spot some pretty
cool items, a shell-shape fan for example. Throw in a pair
of “vintage 2004 Converse” shoes and JVC hi-fi
set and you will see how ironic these items will look when
it comes to the next era.
thought-provoking issues were raised in “I, Robot”
if you look beyond the fancy effects. Basically, will Robots
take over the human race, threatening the bare existence of
mankind as human reliance and trust on them grew gradually?
Will intelligent machines created by men evolutes on it’s
own? The movie started as an ordinary murder mystery, slowly
it develops and builds up the intensity and seriousness of
the technological advancement issue. The downfall of it is
the typical Hollywood clichéd bang bang ending. A twisted
ending that deservedly supposed to be much smarter than expected.
“I, Robot” is of course not a perfect movie, fortunately,
it still delivers as a popcorn, full-pledged, 100% entertaining
blockbuster. Definitely, worth your $8.50!
Review by Linus Tee