War and the economy might be the major issues of our day, but according to the cinematic world, the inevitable crisis of the future will be man versus machine. For every C-3PO, there have been a dozen HALs, Terminators, and Matrixes, and apparently, it’s only a matter of time before my George Foreman grill sucker punches me once and for all. In I, Robot, a loose adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s short stories, Smith plays a Chicago cop in 2035 investigating a mysterious death in which Sonny, a robot, is the prime suspect. Since robots are programmed to protect humans at all costs, the uniquely flawed Sonny might be evidence of a growing robot conspiracy. The script, by Jeff Vintar and Akiva Goldsman, metaphorically pits the forces of the heart and the mind against each other, but Goldsman and director Alex Proyas repeatedly hint at real-life rival forces behind the scenes. Recorded six weeks before the movie hit theaters, their commentary alludes to studio pressure to simplify the plot and add cheap humor. ”We’re at the mercy of a test audience,” Proyas laments. ”We hope we’re allowed to proceed.” It’s unclear who won out. The film is often videogame-violent, and Smith surely represents the hip, fresh action hero that studio suits had in mind. But the story, which references Pinocchio and The Wizard of Oz while flirting with themes like free will and post-9/11 politics, never completely succumbs. Even with implausible action (Smith shoots robots while air-borne on his motorcycle, crashes, gets up, shoots more robots), it’s refreshing when a blockbuster at least tries to be intelligent.
(I, Robot: Ava Gerlitz)
Genre: Mystery and Thriller, Action/Adventure, Sci-fi and Fantasy; Starring: Will Smith, James Cromwell, Bruce Greenwood, Shia LaBeouf, Chi McBride, Bridget Moynahan; Director: Alex Proyas; Author: Akiva Goldsman, Jeff Vintar; Release Date Wide: 07/16/2004; Runtime (in minutes): 115; MPAA Rating: PG-13; Distributor: 20th Century Fox Film Corporation
Posted January 17 2015 — 6:16 AM EST
- Bloodline renewed by Netflix
- 'Room 237' team launches Kickstarter campaign for mysterious new project
- Nathan Fillion shares his love letter to 'Walking Dead'
- Kevin Hooks to direct Nelson Mandela mini-series for BET Networks
- Trevor Noah addresses Twitter backlash
- Play 'Pac-Man' around the world in Google Maps
- Showtime renews 'House of Lies' for fifth season
- Woe-woe-woe: 23 signature sad songs of the past 20 years
- Jailbird watching: 13 memorable movie prisoners
- Will Ferrell's 15 greatest movie creations
- Julia Louis-Dreyfus in full bloom: New EW portraits
- 'Grey's Anatomy': 10 years, 20 defining moments
- Alicia, Nicki & Bey, Brooke Shields, Helen & Katie and More!