I Robot

Cover Art and Menu: 7/10
Will Smith = Money, so what do we expect from a cover of one of his most ambitious action flicks but to see his trendy futuristic image splashed on the front cover? I think I use this word  lot when talking about cover art, but BORING! I would have preferred to see the robot in all it’s technological glory instead. I mean, it is called I,Robot…not I, Mega Box Office Movie Star. Oh wait, it’s a trick. That Smith cover is just a plastic slip over that pulls off to reveal my beloved robots..ahhhhh Good cover people, I like it.

The menus are nice, I must say. With video, sound and a simple but effective navigation set up.

Features: 6/10

  • Commentary by Director Alex Proyas and Screenwriter Akiva Goldsman – Gotta love commentary. The more I listen to the more I believe I could become the next great director in Hollywood. Do you think that would be good enough for a resume?  Previous Experience In the Film Industry: Listed to over 1000 directors’ commentaries on DVD’s and paid really close attention to lots and lots of movies. No? Oh well, back to ditch digging.
  • The Making Of I, Robot – Interviews with the stars, including Will Smith’s take on the story. He sounds like a screenwriter pitching his latest and greatest idea for making a futuristic movie, but it’s obvious he believes a lot in this tale of technology vs. mankind. The rest of this feature is your basic behind the scenes stuff but not a lot about how the special effects were done with such detail, which is what I wanted to know. They do show how all the robots are acted with real people in tight fitting green suits and later replaced with CGI figures. For some people it might be like realizing the man behind the curtain is the great wizard, and ultimately that there’s no wizard at all…but then again, you do know there are no real robots, right?
  • Stills Gallery – Production photos and concept drawings. Not much to look at here. Less is not more people, if you are going to put still photos on a DVD, which seems kind of lame to begin with, at least give us a few hundred to browse through.
  • Fox Inside Look Elektra Trailer – Didn’t watch it because I don’t like to see trailers that give away too much about a new movie.

The Movie: 7/10:
The future is a great place to make a movie. You can invent anything and make it all look real on the big screen. When I say future, I mean wayyyy in the future like a couple hundred years like in The Fifth Element, or other movies that take us far from our own reality where anything is possible. One thing about I,Robot that has bothered me since the first time I watched it is that it’s only set some 30 years in the future, and yet robots live amongst us and cars drive themselves at unbelievable speeds. Now, if this filmmaker has it on good authority that we are going to be advancing that quickly in my lifetime, fantastic! But I suspect that he just wanted to keep some familiarity with what we know now and mix it with the future to make this movie look great and add a lot of opportunities for our main character to long for the not so distant past, 2004.

Other than the time frame, I really like I,Robot. I know it’s got it’s problems, but what movie doesn’t. The robots look great. The special effects are at about 75% overall and the story is interesting, mostly.

Before I go on I will say that this is a thoughtful story with quite high aspirations for an action flick. I Give them credit for the way the story unfolds…but I’m not going to tell you, just find out for yourself.

A cop who has had a bad experience with a robot in the past is haunted by a nagging belief that they are all dangerous. He is basically paranoid about the technology all around him and in a world where it seems everyone else has accepted these humanlike machines, he is the odd man out.

When a friend turns up dead Smith’s character, Spooner, is left to put the pieces of the suspicious death together to find out what really happened. There are suspects of course, the bazzilionaire who owns the robot making corporation, the friend himself who may have committed suicide, and Sunny, a robot. This all leads us to a somewhat updated version of a “buddy movie” where we have two opposite characters working together to solve a mystery or fix a problem, or whatever. Spooner is joined by a rather sterile, robot-like chick who is his voice of reason. She works for USR, the robot making corp, and so has all the logical reasonable things to say and choices to make. That makes one buddy combo, rogue cop and stiff doctor chick. The next pairing is, of course, the rogue cop and robot. Spooner hates “their kind” because they are unfeeling, too non-human, but Sunny was made to have feelings, to learn how to be more human. This is that little movie hook that does help tighten up an otherwise flimsy story.

The plot carries you along with a laugh every couple of minutes but comes to a screeching halt every time they try to make this robot revolution seem epic. We are taken to the streets where one of the lamest movie characters of all time, some kid on the streets that knows Spooner, is part of a mob who try to fight the robots once they all go bad. These scenes are the weakest part of the film. You don’t feel that threatened by the robot hordes and to be honest, the humans are not very sympathetic so I wasn’t cheering them on. If this city was taken over by robots, fine with me. The people all seem quite blah and uninteresting so I say let the Robosapiens of the future run the place, no big loss. It seems they didn’t make the whole thing have a darker tone because they wanted to make it more family friendly. I would have preferred to have seen more human causalities. You know, just for the sake of cinematic realism, not just to see people dropping like flies at the hand of a robot invasion…hmmm now that I mention it that sounds quite good.

I like the special effects, the robots look amazing most of the time, and I am a fan of Will Smith. Ok, I admit it. I just have to turn off the brain for a bit to really enjoy this movie because it does tend to push the limit on hokey factor occasionally. But then again, it’s just a movie about the future when robots are our slaves and we still wear Converse All Stars.

It looks great, fast paced and with lots of Smith classic one liners to keep you deep and thoughtful people happy:) Not much more to it than that really. It’s a good time at the movies.

Value: 7/10
Just under $20 seems to be the going rate for DVD’s these days. The biggest box office hits and mega action flicks seem to draw a lot of buyers so I guess it’s a fair price….but wait, I seem to remember the first biggest selling DVD of all time, not to mention a little box office phenomenon called The Matrix coming out on DVD at only $16. Hmmm take a lesson you corporate greedmeisters, give us a break. Let’s see a few of these million selling DVD’s priced with a bit of respect for those of us who keep you in your fancy suits and expensive cars. Preaching done.

This DVD is just under $20, so if you are willing to part with that last bit of cash in your pocket for a not-so-fabulous DVD, go for it. I personally would rent it and hope for a collector’s edition in the future.

If you are a DVD freak you will appreciate the transfer quality and crisp clear image. However, if you are a DVD freak you are also probably a movie freak and you will know that this is not a masterpiece, just a good way to spend a couple of hours on a Saturday night.

Overall Score 7/10

2 thoughts on “I Robot

  1. I have a copy of “I, Robot” on DVD that DOES NOT have Willy’s goofy face on the cover. Instead, it is just an image of the robots. I’m trying to find out how unique this cover is. Did I get lucky?

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