EW Staff
February 05, 2004 AT 05:00 AM EST

I, Robot

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
PG-13
runtime
115 minutes
Wide Release Date
07/16/04
performer
Will Smith, James Cromwell, Bruce Greenwood, Shia LaBeouf, Chi McBride, Bridget Moynahan
director
Alex Proyas
distributor
20th Century Fox Film Corporation
author
Akiva Goldsman, Jeff Vintar
genre
Mystery and Thriller, ActionAdventure, Sci-fi and Fantasy

We gave it a B-

He’s collared outer-space aliens and Miami thugs in summers past. So what subclass does Will Smith, king of July box office, whup the ass of this time? Robots. He’s Del Spooner, a Chicago detective circa 2035, and he likes to get medieval on mechanical men. (Exactly why is a key mystery, so beware fanboy spoilers before the opening date.) Investigating an apparent human suicide at a vast robot-making facility, Spooner teams with a psychologist (The Recruit’s Bridget Moynahan) who prefers A.I. types to people. If this sounds like it only partly resembles Isaac Asimov’s seminal, identically titled sci-fi story collection (published back in 1950), it’s not your memory chips failing. ”It’s very much inspired by the stories as opposed to a direct translation,” says Alex Proyas, the Australian auteur who gave such a creepy look to The Crow and Dark City. ”I feel we stayed true to the spirit of Asimov. I just hope everyone else agrees with me.” So do Fox execs. They’re rumored to be spending more than $100 million, much of it allocated to CG robots created with data from body-suited actors a la Gollum in the Lord of the Rings films. ”Gollum is a pretty cartoony character,” says Proyas. ”I hope ours will be a step beyond that in terms of reality.”

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