The PimpDragon's Review of "I, ROBOT"
on Friday, July, 16, 2004 9:55 PM
First off, one thing you should know about me is I am a TRUE SCI-FI GEEK!!! If a film even looks remotely sci-fi, I'm there.
So, when I saw that Alex Proyas, director of Dark City, (which is, in my humble opinion, one of the best sci-fi films since Blade Runner and Tron), was tackling the world of I, Robot, I was IMMEDIATELY a paying customer.
Proyas, who started in Hollywood with the stylish comic adaptation of James O'Barr's The Crow, really made a name for himself as a filmmaker with Dark City - the film Roger Ebert himself proclaimed the Best Film of 1998. He showed that he could work with unique concepts and visual effects and still handle nuances of performance and characterization.
So, how does his Junior effort, I, Robot do?
Well, I am totally sold on it.
This may be my favorite film of the summer, next only to Spidey 2 and Dawn of the Dead. This film - like those two - really delivered the goods to me in the form of good characters, excellent effects and strong pacing.
But I will be the first to say it should not have been called "I, Robot". It really has little to do with Asimov's sci-fi classic, with the exception of names of characters and the 3 laws.
But anyways, on to the film.
Detective Del Spooner (Will Smith) could easily be labeled a robophobe, but in Chicago 2039, that's a bad thing to be. Robots are EVERYWHERE. They're our garbage men, they walk our dogs, they live in our homes with us as personal servants.
But can they be trusted?
Spooner has never trusted them, and with the past he has, you understand how he'd have trouble dealing with them. I won't ruin the story, but I'll say that a major event in his life occurs and the outcome is not how he would have chosen it to be, but rather how a robot chose for it to be.
On the eve of what will be a new dawn in robotics - the release of the NS-5 (the ultimate robot) - a tragedy occurs within NSR. NSR is the company that will change the face of the planet by bringing 1 robot to every 5 humans on the market. However, this historic event is marred by the odd suicide of the creater of the NS-5, Dr. Alfred Lanning (James Cromwell). Lanning leaves a hologram specifically asking for Spooner, with who you'll later discover, he has a history with. Again, I won't go into it, but you will see why he picked Spooner of all people to share his secrets with.
Spooner finds the doctor's greatest creation - Sonny - hiding out in the room where Lanning jumped out of a window. But Spooner doesn't believe Lanning's death was a suicide. Rather, he believes Lanning to be the victim of a homocide - the first homocide committed by a robot - SONNY.
We find that Sonny is not like other NS-5s. He has intelligence that is of his own, an A.I. if you will. Sonny thinks. Sonny dreams. Sonny is, in his own words, UNIQUE. And Lanning programmed him with secrets regarding the future of robotics, their sentience and who his murderer truly was.
From here, the film becomes an interesting view of a future where not everything, nor everyone, is what they seem. Spooner is the one man who sees what's going on, while the rest of the world will not be convinced that a robot - any robot - could commit any crime, let alone murder.
But the film is much more than the sum of its parts. Yes, there are some typical summer action movie cliches, but overall this is a fun and inventive film. The look of the film is stunning, and the robots are just amazing! The joints and servos and other mechanisms are moving constantly and doing different things in their arms, shoulders, necks, and internally. They really are wonders of special effects.
The character of Sonny really becomes my favorite character in the film, and that's no slight on Will Smith. He actually delivers a deeper role here than I expected to get from him and still seems to get his sense of humor in without overkill, ala Independence Day.
But Sonny offers many philosophical ideas. Can an intelligence, a