I, Robot

2004 / cinema

SF elements

robots, Asimov's three laws of robotics


[walking with robots] It's about 30 years in the future, and robots are omnipresent, acting as general home helps and dogsbodies, made safe by the Three Laws hard-wired into their positronic brains. Will Smith plays a cop who is nevertheless paranoid about them, believing them capable of harm. He gets called to the apparent suicide of a senior scientist at USR, major manufacturers of the robots, on the eve of a big launch of a new model. His investigations, helped by robot psychologist Dr Susan Calvin [Bridget Moynahan], uncover that a robot may have murdered the scientist, and then lead to something even more sinister.

[hunting a robot]

If this is to be judged as being based on Asimov's Robot books, then it is a travesty. But even the film credits don't go that far, merely claiming it to be "suggested by" the books. On that basis, then this isn't half bad. There's a mostly plausible plot, snappy dialogue, tongue-in-cheek references to some of the plot absurdities, exciting action scenes, big guns, and hordes of lovingly-rendered robots. And the moral of the tale is: beware of allowing your robot to be in constant contact with its manufacturer, with patches to its behaviour constantly downloadable.

Rating: 3

[ unmissable | great stuff | worth watching | mind candy | waste of time | unfinishable ]

reviewed 25 August 2004