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Overall Rating
3

Awesome: 9.45%
Worth A Look: 23.38%
Just Average34.33%
Pretty Crappy: 22.89%
Sucks: 9.95%

11 reviews, 135 user ratings


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I, Robot
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by David Cornelius

"Well, at least it ain't Twiki."
2 stars

One of the first things we see in the futuristic action thriller “I, Robot” is Will Smith slipping on some Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars, which he calls “a thing of beauty,” and we think, hey, pretty cool guy. Minutes later, Smith is telling another character that his shoes are “vintage 2004,” and it hit me: on sale now!

Yes, they’ve taken one of the most respected and beloved of all science fiction writings and turned it into a product placement machine. For the world of tomorrow is complete with Audis, JVC stereos, and polite, prompt service from FedEx. Sigh. When the credits read “suggested by Isaac Asimov’s book,” I doubt such cheap shilling was one of the suggestions.

Maybe I wouldn’t mind so much had the story been worth it; after all, I overlook such blatant advertising tie-ins with the Bond series and such. But this movie, which borrows only the ideas of the “three laws of robotics” from Asimov and ditches everything else, whips up a disappointingly bland bit of dumbass for a plot. Here’s Hollywood’s chance to make bright, intelligent science fiction, and all we get instead is a mediocre paint-by-numbers actioner.

The film even seems afraid to be smart. Consider how Smith’s character is intentionally dumbed down. He’s a guy who can’t understand when a scientist uses big words like “psyche” and “automaton.” And so he has to force the scientist to say it again, in short, dumb words. This is not because Smith’s character is stupid, but because the filmmakers think the audience is stupid. In a blatant effort to not alienate the dumbest moviegoers, to aim for the lowest common denominator, we get a complete skip over everything that makes Asimov’s writings so wonderful. Asimov trusted the reader to “get it;” screenwriters Jeff Vintar and Akiva Goldsman (yes, that Akiva Goldsman) do not offer the same to the viewer, and it’s an insult.

After all, consider what a movie we could have had if the writers shot for smarter convictions. The film’s most interesting storyline, regarding a robot who’s evolved into self-consciousness, is pushed aside for limp action, but oh, what potential it had. The robot, named Sonny, has both an innocent wonder and a frightening lack of emotional control; voiced by and visually modeled after Alan Tudyk, Sonny quickly becomes the most interesting, involving character in the film. Here’s a story with infinite possibilities, and even if it only sticks to the classic “can a robot be alive?” idea, there’s still so much to be seen here.

And it all goes down the drain. The main storyline involves the death of a prominent scientist (James Cromwell) who may have been murdered by a robot, a fact which would break Asimov’s unbreakable three rules of robotics, the first of which states that a robot cannot harm a human. On the case is Detective Spooner (Smith), who’s deeply prejudiced against robots and who’s the only one who’s certain that robots can, in fact, kill.

The whole thing sounded too familiar to me, and not just the sleazy corporate tycoon or the frustrated police chief or the conspiracy that only Spooner believes. Those were clichés that didn’t annoy too much. There was something else, something that keep jabbing at the back of my brain as Sonny started to look more and more innocent, even to the anti-robot bigot Spooner. Then it dawned on me: Will Smith is Eddie Valiant, and Sonny is Roger Rabbit.

I’m not kidding. Watch both movies. They fit.

Anyway, the story has its up moments and down moments. Sonny’s a great character, and Smith has enough of that movie star charm to give his role more kick than the script provides. Working best in the movie’s favor is director Alex Proyas’ slick style; the guy who made the horrid, overrated “The Crow” and the clever dark fantasy “Dark City” now uses his eye for unique visuals to upgrade “I, Robot” from forgettable summer junk to forgettable summer junk that looks nifty. It doesn’t hurt that the visual effects, for the most part, at least, look quite convincing, and the various design crews have given the film a nice look.

But “I, Robot” still doesn’t work, partly because the story itself is only so-so, but mostly because it’s easy to see all the lost potential. Also stuck in my brain, right next to visions of “Roger Rabbit,” are memories of two recent Spielberg features. “A.I.” is the obvious one, with its own ideas on robots and humanity. The other is “Minority Report,” for a very simple reason: its future is believable. “I, Robot” places us in the Chicago of 2035, a mere three decades away. And it looks OK, I suppose, but compare it to Spielberg’s work, which spent so much time asking what will the world really be like in the next few decades, and it starts to look like the future world of Proyas’ film is less thought out. Considering the richness of Asmiov’s work, the detail and the complexity of ideas that failed to surface in this film adaptation, “I, Robot” feels like little more than a pale imitation of the two Spielberg works.

Maybe I just hoped that an Asimov-related project would show more smarts. Maybe I couldn’t get myself comfortable with the idea that this is not an adaptation but a loose borrowing of a few key points. Maybe I wanted the intelligent fiction of a great writer instead of the seen-it-before action of a summer popcorn movie. Or maybe the movie’s just not very good. Or maybe still, it’s all of the above. “I, Robot” is a disappointment not because of what it is, but because of what it could have been.

Which reminds me, finally, of the film’s own self-awareness. It seems to know it’s a big, dumb action spectacular, and isn’t afraid to have Will Smith comment on the point. So when we get to the finale, in which our hero must dangle perilously atop a hundred-foot computer thingie straight out of the Death Star, he quips on how people are always building insanely dangerous contraptions in which to place their Big Thingies.

Here’s a thought: skip the ironic comments on how the setting is just another idiotic backdrop for adventure. And skip the backdrop entirely. How about coming up with something new instead? Something fresh, something inventive, something that will challenge the viewer?

Nah. That’d just upset the flow of the Audi commercials.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=10202&reviewer=392
originally posted: 12/14/04 11:35:03
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User Comments

10/06/16 BillyBobJones itwas k fam 5 stars
12/03/14 Ayana Pendergrass I Robot captivates me each time I watch! Great movie 5 stars
1/18/12 Marc DC Not a big W. Smith fan, but this was surprisingly one of his best. 4 stars
11/17/10 warmpotato Bleh. The script makes little sense, and Will Smith was horribly miscast. 2 stars
11/11/10 AlleyPhern If Will Smith was not in it, I would have given it 3 stars instead 2 stars
7/11/09 the dork knight Cromwell deserves a bigger role than that of a creepy hologram, but ok. 4 stars
8/11/08 Shaun Wallner Started off Great but then it started to drag on. 2 stars
12/19/07 Pamela White could be better 3 stars
11/17/07 Tee Not great, but Will smith is always watchable. Effects are good. 3 stars
10/14/07 fools♫gold If it's Alex Proyas, it must be somewhat good... 4 stars
8/21/07 movie crazed ok movie, worth a look though the plot seemed to be kinda confusing 4 stars
7/11/07 MaDmAN I actually liked this movie, you'll watch it, then forget it, but it's entertaining 4 stars
4/01/07 R.W.Welch Overblown in places but not bad overall. Smith shows the right touch. 3 stars
3/19/07 Stanley Thai Overly a good popcorn entertainment 4 stars
3/07/07 man good movie 4 stars
3/04/07 Bitchflaps Will Smith is irritating, Moynahan is deadwood, can't think of anything I liked about it. 1 stars
11/10/06 Henry fucking bullshit 1 stars
9/11/06 Charles Tatum Nicely updated, Smith is lots of fun 4 stars
8/26/06 Claaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiirrrrrrreeeeeeee!!!!!! This movie is sooo boring and horrible! had to watch it for robotics! 1 stars
8/09/06 Dragon The Artist Another medieocre popcorn flick; just good enough to follow n' watch. 3 stars
7/02/06 MikeT Would have like it to be more meaningful, but is great as an action flick. 4 stars
6/19/06 Carol Baker pretty good for animated cartoon. Had good 3 D look. 4 stars
5/30/06 Wanker Should have won all the Golden Globe awards for bad movie. 1 stars
5/26/06 YYY Acting and dialogue are so bad 2 stars
4/03/06 okierazorbacker Remarkably dumb but looks great in a sanitized, videogame kind of way 3 stars
4/01/06 JRE just good 4 stars
2/06/06 Anthony A Great Sci-Fi movie 4 stars
1/03/06 Steve Newman An enjoyable couple of hours watching this film - its ok 4 stars
10/10/05 Quigley I love this movie. awesome sci-fi story and CG, robots were stunning, smith was funny. see 5 stars
10/03/05 Sully blah 3 stars
9/26/05 millersxing Chi-town 2035 is 2 stars
9/21/05 Jonathon Holmes fun from start to finish 4 stars
9/13/05 bbbr shit, kiss my ass 1 stars
8/31/05 ES Not as bad as was thought, cool FX, but the trailers gave too much away 3 stars
8/07/05 glabber Not bad, not great, just average in every department, except FX 3 stars
8/07/05 fnia fleissig I love will smith, but this film was turgid and pointless 2 stars
7/26/05 Malaka Waste of time, waste of effort, waste of Fucking money, what was smith thinking? 1 stars
7/25/05 Eric Rollins Robots too creepy looking to be sympathetic. Sort of like Will Smith. 3 stars
7/10/05 slanes Enjoyed the movie, held my interest, good special effects, and Will Smith is great. 4 stars
7/02/05 Charlie Great Special Effects, And An Interesting Idea. 4 stars
6/20/05 tony Great adventure movie both for kids and adults. You all will love it! 4 stars
6/14/05 Quigley one of the best sci-fi flicks ever birthed. the robots are so awesome. gotta see it! 5 stars
6/07/05 Darcy average interpretation of a complex story 4 stars
6/04/05 Denise Gannon even Will Smith is getting tired of acting like Will Smith... where's Blade Runner 2? 1 stars
5/18/05 CB Cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
5/01/05 Valerie Excellent Movie, Excellent Special Effects 5 stars
4/23/05 Quigley some of the most stunning visual effects ever seen makes this better than The Matrix 5 stars
4/14/05 Indrid Cold CGI and Matrix-style slomo has long since ceased to amaze, and a dull plot can't save it. 3 stars
3/24/05 Mel Gibson AW HELL NAWWWWW!!! 4 stars
3/14/05 albert VERY GOOD MOVIE 5 stars
2/04/05 Valerie White interesting 3 stars
2/04/05 LilyM Forgettable; didn't deliver on story or action. 3 stars
2/01/05 lisa w It was better than the previews made it look. Lots of cool special effects too 4 stars
1/27/05 Jack Scallops Great action, needs a better script though 4 stars
1/27/05 New Jersey Rules Fun ass shit. 4 stars
1/11/05 Ron Newbold I don't think Issac Asimov would have envisioned I, Robot quite like this 3 stars
1/11/05 HL Dumb, But Visually Great..So, Do the Dube and Watch it! 5 stars
12/30/04 Tjalda L. Schiel Wowza special effects. Who cares if the plot is a mess. 4 stars
12/27/04 Samuel it's okay, nothing special... 3 stars
12/22/04 farnqwo product placement & dumbass plot 1 stars
12/20/04 axtion movie fan man vs robots\\great f/x in exciting sci/fi one of 2004's better films 4 stars
12/04/04 jonny boy cmon it wasnt that bad(look at the matrix sequels lmao) 3 stars
11/21/04 ad pretty scenery 4 stars
11/14/04 keithers.. How many times has this plot been done....to many to count 2 stars
11/11/04 Andrea yawn...boring, boring...boring. Will Smith NOT BELIEVABLE! 2 stars
11/09/04 Dan Van Zan Awesome Action Sequences manage to hold the movie inspite of a weak storyline 4 stars
11/04/04 Duncan yes Will unbutton the shirt and go back to action, Ali didnt get you the oscar 1 stars
9/15/04 TeeJay Terrible. And I will never be able to wear black Converse again. 1 stars
9/06/04 Ame blower ITS TOTAL SHIT 1 stars
8/30/04 The Predator watchable, good entertainment, it was ok 3 stars
8/28/04 HitmanThomas Better then I thought it would be 4 stars
8/27/04 Tristynn Sonny stole the show. I was pleasantly surprised by this movie...very original. 5 stars
8/25/04 Littlepurch Wel I loved it.As a fan of Minority Report,I feel this is a clever tribute with gr8 action! 5 stars
8/23/04 Sam Was expecting a good Sci-Fi Movie...not as mentioned, Black Vs. White. 1 stars
8/20/04 S.F Enjoyable. Haven't read the book. Kinda like the fact that it actually had a storyline! 4 stars
8/17/04 Destiny Pifer Good sci-fi flick will smith did a good job 4 stars
8/16/04 khurshid I kindda like it, need some love scene between spooner and Dr.calvin 4 stars
8/15/04 Peter James Excellent CGI, but is that really what the world will look like in thirty years...no way 3 stars
8/13/04 Obi Wan Good Summer Fun! Wasn't bad. CGI was very good and the film did move 4 stars
8/13/04 David Rare. I enjoyed it. 5 stars
8/11/04 Simon Khalil The perfect mix of action, comedy, and futuristic technology 4 stars
8/10/04 Clayton Smith The ending was a shocker, why return the robot army back to unlocked containers outside the 3 stars
8/10/04 Anthony G I sure want to buy some CONVERSE 2004, AND HAVE THEM SHIPPED FROM FED EX 1 stars
8/08/04 Jim Good stuff. Robots most compelling characters though! 4 stars
8/05/04 Mix Master Mason Will Smith has played this same painful character in every movie he's been in. Will sucks! 1 stars
8/03/04 Michael Very interesting, eye-popping, glad i didn't read books first... I would pay full price! 5 stars
8/02/04 P.Rodriguez Avoid like the plague. 1 stars
8/01/04 SIr Spam-a-lot Better than I expected (thought kinda simlar to ANIMATRIX: THE RENAISSANCE PART 1) 3 stars
8/01/04 Rocky Swarming killer robots made Will Smith barely tolerable for once 4 stars
7/30/04 alien assassin much better than "Bicentennial Man", but a long way behind "Blade Runner" 4 stars
7/28/04 michaelb14 a little less of the will smith persona would have been better but still... 4 stars
7/28/04 Zefram Mann Fairly intelligent story. Good effects. If you don't hate Smith, you'll probably like this. 4 stars
7/27/04 Mike Devans Average.. give it a whirl 3 stars
7/27/04 toonz not bad 4 stars
7/25/04 Agent Sands 10, 15 times better than I thought it would be. Really smart & fun. 5 stars
7/25/04 othree 2035? my ass, crappy story, Will looks buff, a DVD renter! 3 stars
7/25/04 M The fresh prince still cant act and he might have great abs, worth a look though. 3 stars
7/25/04 Pure RAGE... It was pretty good and the Max Payne styled shootouts were great! 5 stars
7/25/04 Nikolai The epilogue blended well with the screaming fat ladies and Ford van swiping me homebound 3 stars
7/23/04 buddy garrett No inspiration for this movie 1 stars
7/23/04 E Loved it. Real fun movie! 5 stars
7/22/04 malcolm basically a 2nd rate Blade Runner, and Smith is no Harrison Ford, still fun though 4 stars
7/22/04 Frink If you've seen one Will Smith action movie, you've seen them all... 3 stars
7/21/04 Virginia Clarke Exciting and frightening, itt made me think about the risks of artificial intelligence. 5 stars
7/21/04 ad it's actually ok - spectacular enough 4 stars
7/21/04 Nobody Laura- I hate to break it to you but Asimov has been dead for over 10 years. 4 stars
7/21/04 Kristina Sucked harder than two gays at an Nsync concert. 1 stars
7/20/04 Northerly Who's 85yo. sarcastro is very desperate 3 stars
7/20/04 Roy Again 99% Will Smith, 1% Asimov. And it's Wild Wild West/MIB 2 Smith at that. 3 stars
7/20/04 April Gupton i'll pass on this one 3 stars
7/20/04 Laura Shangraw Not worth my time 2 stars
7/20/04 Rkm Lame, lacking in depth like all Smith's films 1 stars
7/20/04 Travis Shotwell obviously the story of TRON.will smith=FLYNN, sonny=TRON,big computer=MCP, ownerguy=SARK. 4 stars
7/19/04 Northerly Northerly 3 Sunline 0 Pinkline has no clue 3 stars
7/19/04 Maz Fun romp, nothing new, but deeper (if you look) than a regular summer movie 5 stars
7/19/04 N. Christopher Bell The only people who won't like this movie are going to be the Star Trek Faggots. 4 stars
7/19/04 herkos akhaion Can you spell Recycled? SOS! 3 stars
7/19/04 doug r If anybody remembers all the robot stories, this movie pretty much covers all the bases... 4 stars
7/18/04 Rocky Entertaining, cool themes 4 stars
7/18/04 Titus Not the best thing ever, but a good fun movie. Smith has grown up. 4 stars
7/18/04 peel umm...i liked it. and you guys cant review movies worth shit...or something 5 stars
7/18/04 Cassandra Farrar over the top 2 stars
7/17/04 JDC cliched even for an action pic 2 stars
7/17/04 ajay typical actiion flick... I can't wait to read the book which WILL be miles better. 3 stars
7/17/04 Exhosinmyhead Fun movie to watch. Dont get caught up in all the technicalities. Good. 4 stars
7/17/04 KingNeutron The people who wrote this movie should be shot. Stop insulting and twisting Asimov. 2 stars
7/17/04 The Talking Elbow "Grishnakh" ?? Are you from Shadowclan Orcs? Email me epochii@aol.com 3 stars
7/17/04 Grishnakh Will Smith + Sci-Fi = Garbage / MiB, ID4, SUCKED ! I, Robot is a complete insult to Asimov. 1 stars
7/17/04 Onyeabo Monago Didn't like the movie. Lots of cgi, cliche storyline. 1 stars
7/17/04 LGKIRK HARLAN MUST BE WOL-OLAN...THIS IS NOT THE SPEC.FICT. THAT WE, THE OLD FAN WANT TO SEE...DIG 2 stars
7/17/04 legend The movie is an insult to the book! It was bad. 2 stars
7/17/04 Rocky I enjoyed it, nice visuals, entertaining, kinda' hokey, .not GREATjust GOOD 3 stars
7/16/04 Alex ¿¿¿¿???? 2 stars
7/16/04 Amerigo Vespukey Could have been social commentary. Instead, crap. Boooooo. 2 stars
7/16/04 Richard A two hour shoe commercial - do you have your Concords now? 3 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  16-Jul-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 24-May-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
  22-Jul-2004




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