I, Robot (2004)

It’s commentary time!

Detective Dale Spooner (Smith) is hot on the trail of a possible homicidal robot case, which no one will give the light of day due to his outspoken anti-robot prejudice.  But what he does find, when it?s almost too late, will change the way the world views its electronic servants.

I, Robot is a movie that grows more lukewarm in my mind as time goes on.  Part of it is just because I see more movies as good and better.  Part of it is just because it feels less and less novel to have Will Smith in a movie.  I feel 8/10 is a rating that I give out way too frequently, generally if I find a movie to be obviously more enjoyable than not, I give it an 8.

First of all, I never really got these future cyborg movies.  Of all the shapes we can and have given robots to date, why humanoid?  I understand the occasional humanoid, for one purpose or another, but how many functions would be more easily served with robots in different shapes?  How many robots out there right now, working in hospitals or under water, or building cars, human-shaped?  Not a one.

I also think in the moment of writing a review, after having watched it recently, I’m more likely to score higher.  Would I have given Troll 2 a 7/10 had I reviewed it from notes instead of right after watching the movie?  Probably not, but it’s difficult to tell.

In any case, were I certain that my feelings were legit and not just the result of years between viewings, I would lower the score of my I, Robot review to a 7/10, or possibly even a 6/10.

While we?re on the subject of all these movies? yeah, that?s exactly what this is.  Terminator, The Matrix, I?m sure you could name a couple more.  This is a perfect example of cut-and-paste movies: take 2 genres that work, in this case, robot invasion and Will Smith, and stick ?em together.  Nothing wrong with that, when it comes to making a good movie, just makes it physically impossible to get a perfect score out of it.  Not very original, though there are plenty ways to go worse.

Ah, the question marks and trying to decipher what they originally were.  I’m fairly certain this one was an ellipsis.  Microsoft Word wants to make that a separate character for some reason.

Will Smith.  I’m not sure if I would consider that a genre now with a straight face.  I might.  I suppose it would depend on if I saw some of his more recent movies; Hancock and Hitch are the only movies newer than this that I’ve seen with him in them.

Despite the lack of originality, I have to say this is pretty entertaining.  Maybe that?s just me as a Smith fan speaking; there?s not much other draw to this movie.  There are a few funny moments (?Which one?? ?One of us?) and a few decent action scenes, but that?s about it.  It?s a one man show, and they just happened to pick the right man to pull it off.

As for the originality, I had always heard that I, Robot was an adaptation of an Asimov novel of a different name.  Every source that I find now, though, claims it’s from a compilation of the same name.  I suppose it could be the adaptation of a specific short story within that compilation, which just begs the question of why such an unoriginal choice?  Ironically, it seems that Asimov himself was not a fan of the robot apocalypse idea, which was apparently prevalent decades before Terminator.

The effects are, of course, modern CGI, though not as bad as some.  It?s a good use of CGI effects: they?re actually imitating something they can realistically imagine, and so it doesn?t look like shit (even if the robots don?t exactly look real either).  They?re far from awesome, but the robots also aren?t the type of effects where you watch the whole movie thinking about how stupid they look (the Green Goblin immediately comes to mind as an example, though there are better ones out there).

I don’t really have anything to add on the effects; I haven’t watched this movie since I reviewed it in 2007.  I think it was fairly well done, but it wasn’t anywhere near as epic as the Men in Black movies- even part 2.

Overall, you either like it or you don?t.  Analyze it, there?s nothing in it for you.  The originality is lacking, the acting in general isn?t very inspirational.  If you liked the Men In Black movies, you?ll probably like I, Robot too, though don?t expect it to be as good.

Thanks for reading my commentary on I, Robot.  Next batch of commentaries I’ll start looking for longer reviews so there’s something a little bit more substantial in my review.  This review ended a bit abruptly; not the first and certainly not the last time I made that mistake.

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