Science fiction-writer Isaac Asimov once wrote a collection of short stories called ‘I, Robot,’ where robopsychologist Dr. Susan Calvin gives several different news stories to a reporter on the interaction between humans and robots. In 2004, director Alex Proyas was influenced by these elements and invisioned a film adaptation of the same name, starring Will Smith in the lead role. Yes, you guessed it; this could either be the next Matrix, or the next Battlefield Earth.
Del Spooner (Smith) is a paranoid police officer in the robot-dominant world of 2036 Chicago. When Director of Research and founder of U.S. Robotics Alfred Lanning (James Cromwell) allegedly commits suicide, Spooner recieves mysterious clues from Lanning’s pre-recoreded holographic projector and find’s himself in someone’s disturbing mind game as the story progresses. With the help of robopsychologist Susan Calvin (Bridget Moynahan), he interviews a robot found at the crime scene in hiding, calling himself ‘Sonny’ (Alan Tudyk). He claims not to have murdered Lanning, but Spooner is convinced that is the only option. But nothing is as it seems, and Spooner begins to realise that Sonny may have secrets; Sonny may have dreams.
Although not perfect, I, Robot is an exceptional film that delivers. The action sequences are consistent and spectacular, the dialogue is well-written and contains a fair amount of good one-liners, and the acting is superb. As a big Will Smith fan, I was immidiatly drawn to the film. And I was not disappointed. Along with Smith, Bridget Moynahan, Bruce Greenwood, James Cromwell, and even a short appearence of Shia LaBeouf, we’re given outstanding performences. The cast delivers; their roles are believable and convincing.
Like The Matrix, this movie is successful in blending action and philosophy. Inbetween car chases and robot battles, you’re treated with thought-provoking ideas and concepts. ”There have always been ghosts in the machine. Random segments of code, that have grouped together to form unexpected protocals. Unanticipated, these free radicals engender questions of free will, creativity, and even the nature of what we might call the soul. Why is it that when some robots are left in darkness, that they will seek out the light? Why is it that when robots are stored in an empty space, they will group together, rather than stand alone? How do we explain this behaviour? Random segments of code? Or is it something more? When does a perceptual schematic become counsciousness? When does a difference engine become the search for truth? When does a personality simulation become the bitter mote… of a soul?” … nuff said.
Although it may not be the next Matrix, I, Robot is a spectacular and exhilrating thriller that will definately make you think. It’s funny at times, and just as serious at other times, so if you’re like me, who enjoys comedy but appreciates dark and fast-paced atmospheres, this is your movie. You don’t have to be a genius to understand this film, so I recommend this to all who are looking for a sci-fi adventure that may even change your opinion on technological advancements in society.