FILM REVIEW: Mission complete for ‘I, Robot’
I reluctantly went to “I, Robot,” thinking my programming for being fascinated with all things robotic crashed, oh, around third grade, after I wrote a play (complete with song) and built a costume portraying Rhonda the Robot.Reluctance disabled. “I, Robot” entertained me.Maybe I liked it because I haven’t seen many sci-fi films, maybe because I haven’t read Isaac Asimov’s books so I had little expectation, or maybe because the opening scenes featured a buff, naked Will Smith.
Some critics have pulled apart the film like handyman Henry disassembling George Jetson’s robot maid, Rosie. I sat poised to do the same, but somehow the sci-fi flick overrode that program.The film producers intelligently presented the story of killer robots by initially focusing on the main human character, Detective Spooner (Smith), and sprinkling his dialogue with wit.Smith suspects robots can’t be trusted. When Dr. Alfred Lanning (James Cromwell), the chief robot designer in 2035, sends a hologram to Smith hinting his death wasn’t a suicide, no one believes Smith’s accusations of robots gone awry.
Rather than rely solely on action scenes, the film develops the idea of robots entrapped with logical contradictions of the three laws, which basically state they can’t harm humans.The filmmakers drive home the conflict through Sonny’s character. Sonny, a “unique” robot, feels human emotion. His human qualities caused me to think about him long after the movie ended.Sonny even presents a more interesting personality than Dr. Susan Calvin (Bridget Moynahan), the psychologist who makes robots more human (by apparently giving up her own personality).
However, director Alex Proyas eventually goes over the top with computer-generated action scenes. It begins when Smith uses a front door to surf away from a bulldozer’s path and doesn’t end until hundreds of evil versions of robotic Spider-Men scale a super-modern skyscraper. Oh wait, then there’s the 100-and-some-foot leap Smith survives. Overall, “I, Robot” blends a couple plot twists with clever dialogue and an intriguing premise. While it’s not an excellent movie, it’s well worth 115 minutes of programming in your summer.Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 245, or at email@example.com.
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