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Overall Rating
3

Awesome: 9.45%
Worth A Look: 23.38%
Average34.33%
Pretty Bad: 22.89%
Total Crap: 9.95%

11 reviews, 135 user ratings


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I, Robot
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by Jay Seaver

"I can not and will not use this movie's title"
2 stars

I almost actually asked for "That Will Smith Robot Movie" when buying my ticket, but figured I didn't have time to be cute or explain my near-inability to actually call That Will Smith Robot Movie by its title. After talking with my brother, who has read little (if any) Isaac Asimov, I suppose it might be passable as a Will Smith action movie that involves robots, though not exceptional. Why they didn't just leave the name as "Hardwired" and acknowledge Asimov as the creator of the Three Laws of Robotics escapes me.

(For reference, the Three Laws are a control mechanism Asimov posited all robots in his fictional universe as being programmed with. The first law states that a robot may not harm a human being or through inaction allow a human being to come to harm; the second states that a robot must obey human orders unless doing so would conflict with the first law; the third law states that a robot must preserve its own existence unless doings so would conflict with the first or second laws.)

Even if Fox had done that, though, the movie would still have had problems. It features a number of Dumb Thriller Contrivances, such as the character who creates an elaborate trail of bread crumbs that the star must follow, when a simpler, more direct approach would have likely been far more effective and prevented a great deal of loss of life. It features characters who, despite having met just a day or so earlier and don't particularly like each other, drop in on each other to trade exposition. However, they never ask questions about why a man's house - with his cat and possessions still inside - would be scheduled for demolition approximately twenty-four hours after his death. I know this struck me as odd.

Will Smith catches some flak for doing movies like this, but I'm willing to cut him a little slack. There is very little doubt that he's better than this - check out Ali, or even his cameo in Jersey Girl to see what he's capable of - but coming at it from the other side, if movies like this must be made, there are few people who can carry them as well as the Fresh Prince. He's got a knack for interacting with environments and characters that won't show up until the effects are done that actors with better reputations lack, and he's got the charmisma to sell an otherwise goofy script. This robot movie isn't Smith's best work within the genre, but it would have been much worse without him.

There's a pattern to the rest of the cast - character actors who don't have to stretch one bit. Chi McBride plays the Chi McBride role of the short-tempered police lieutenant who is fond of his detective despite how he berates the guy. James Cromwell plays the James Cromwell role of the smart old guy who was liked and respected even when he was difficult. Bruce Greenwood plays the Bruce Greenwood role of the smarmy, polished, obstructionist executive. Bridget Moynahan plays the Bridget Moynahan role of the pretty, competent woman who is helpful but never overshadows the movie's star. Alan Tudyk gives voice to "Sonny", the experimental robot not bound by the Three Laws who apparently killed his creator.

I'm mildly disappointed with director Alex Proyas here. I've read that he's not terribly pleased with the result, either, but I still expect more from the director of The Crow, Garage Days, and especially Dark City. It appears he needs a little practice with the tools needed to make a massive effects-intensive movie. He goes overboard zipping the camera around at times, which has the effect of overselling the action scenes and making them look seperate from the rest of the movie. He's got a good eye much of the rest of the time, and mostly paces the movie well. And, to be fair, he seems to have gotten a pretty cruddy script to work with.

The script's resemblence to Isaac Asimov's robot stories stops at the Three Laws and a character named "Susan Calvin". One thing many people forget about Asimov is that in addition to being an award-winning science and science-fiction writer, he also wrote tight little mystery stories. Indeed, most of the stories collected into I, Robot were mysteries, with robopsychologist Susan Calvin (who I pictured as middle-aged and somewhat cranky) attempting to puzzle out how robots bound by the Three Laws managed to engage in apparently malevolent behavior. He would probably have seen injecting a robot not bound by the laws as cheating, as bad or worse as the rest of the sloppy mystery writing.

Instead, the screenplay comes from Jeff Vintar and Akiva Goldsman, whose respective resumés are individually uninspiring and who make for a poor combination. That Vintar is apparently adapting Asimov's Foundation stories is frightening to me. I think Vintar at least has some love for this kind of material, but has trouble writing an exciting screenplay. Goldsman, on the other hand, doesn't have a creative bone in his body, and though he probably made the movie more exciting, I wouldn't be surprised if he was the source of the dumb. Why this was used when there's a well-liked screenplay by Harlan Ellison out there boggles the mind.

I love Asimov's robot mysteries, so I may be a little harder on The Will Smith Robot Movie than I should be. It's an average Big Summer Action Movie, certainly better than the likes of Van Helsing, but well below the likes of Spider-Man 2 or even Chronicles of Riddick.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=10202&reviewer=371
originally posted: 07/22/04 06:23:02
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User Comments

10/07/16 BillyBobJones itwas k fam 5 stars
12/04/14 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
11/18/10 warmpotato Bleh. The script makes little sense, and Will Smith was horribly miscast. 2 stars
11/12/10 AlleyPhern If Will Smith was not in it, I would have given it 3 stars instead 2 stars
7/12/09 the dork knight Cromwell deserves a bigger role than that of a creepy hologram, but ok. 4 stars
8/12/08 Shaun Wallner Started off Great but then it started to drag on. 2 stars
12/19/07 Pamela White could be better 3 stars
11/18/07 Tee Not great, but Will smith is always watchable. Effects are good. 3 stars
10/15/07 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
7/12/07 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
3/20/07 Stanley Thai Overly a good popcorn entertainment 4 stars
3/08/07 man good movie 4 stars
3/05/07 Bitchflaps Will Smith is irritating, Moynahan is deadwood, can't think of anything I liked about it. 1 stars
11/11/06 Henry fucking bullshit 1 stars
9/12/06 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
7/03/06 MikeT Would have like it to be more meaningful, but is great as an action flick. 4 stars
6/20/06 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
4/04/06 okierazorbacker Remarkably dumb but looks great in a sanitized, videogame kind of way 3 stars
4/02/06 JRE just good 4 stars
2/07/06 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
10/11/05 Quigley I love this movie. awesome sci-fi story and CG, robots were stunning, smith was funny. see 5 stars
10/04/05 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
9/01/05 ES Not as bad as was thought, cool FX, but the trailers gave too much away 3 stars
8/08/05 glabber Not bad, not great, just average in every department, except FX 3 stars
8/08/05 fnia fleissig I love will smith, but this film was turgid and pointless 2 stars
7/27/05 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
7/11/05 slanes Enjoyed the movie, held my interest, good special effects, and Will Smith is great. 4 stars
7/03/05 Charlie Great Special Effects, And An Interesting Idea. 4 stars
6/21/05 tony Great adventure movie both for kids and adults. You all will love it! 4 stars
6/15/05 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
5/19/05 CB Cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
5/02/05 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
4/15/05 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
3/15/05 albert VERY GOOD MOVIE 5 stars
2/05/05 Valerie White interesting 3 stars
2/05/05 LilyM Forgettable; didn't deliver on story or action. 3 stars
2/02/05 lisa w It was better than the previews made it look. Lots of cool special effects too 4 stars
1/28/05 Jack Scallops Great action, needs a better script though 4 stars
1/28/05 New Jersey Rules Fun ass shit. 4 stars
1/12/05 Ron Newbold I don't think Issac Asimov would have envisioned I, Robot quite like this 3 stars
1/12/05 HL Dumb, But Visually Great..So, Do the Dube and Watch it! 5 stars
12/31/04 Tjalda L. Schiel Wowza special effects. Who cares if the plot is a mess. 4 stars
12/28/04 Samuel it's okay, nothing special... 3 stars
12/23/04 farnqwo product placement & dumbass plot 1 stars
12/21/04 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
11/22/04 ad pretty scenery 4 stars
11/14/04 keithers.. How many times has this plot been done....to many to count 2 stars
11/12/04 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
11/05/04 Duncan yes Will unbutton the shirt and go back to action, Ali didnt get you the oscar 1 stars
9/16/04 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
8/31/04 The Predator watchable, good entertainment, it was ok 3 stars
8/29/04 HitmanThomas Better then I thought it would be 4 stars
8/28/04 Tristynn Sonny stole the show. I was pleasantly surprised by this movie...very original. 5 stars
8/26/04 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
8/18/04 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
8/16/04 Peter James Excellent CGI, but is that really what the world will look like in thirty years...no way 3 stars
8/14/04 Obi Wan Good Summer Fun! Wasn't bad. CGI was very good and the film did move 4 stars
8/14/04 David Rare. I enjoyed it. 5 stars
8/12/04 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
8/02/04 SIr Spam-a-lot Better than I expected (thought kinda simlar to ANIMATRIX: THE RENAISSANCE PART 1) 3 stars
8/02/04 Rocky Swarming killer robots made Will Smith barely tolerable for once 4 stars
7/31/04 alien assassin much better than "Bicentennial Man", but a long way behind "Blade Runner" 4 stars
7/29/04 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
7/28/04 Mike Devans Average.. give it a whirl 3 stars
7/28/04 toonz not bad 4 stars
7/26/04 Agent Sands 10, 15 times better than I thought it would be. Really smart & fun. 5 stars
7/26/04 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
7/24/04 buddy garrett No inspiration for this movie 1 stars
7/24/04 E Loved it. Real fun movie! 5 stars
7/23/04 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
7/22/04 Virginia Clarke Exciting and frightening, itt made me think about the risks of artificial intelligence. 5 stars
7/22/04 ad it's actually ok - spectacular enough 4 stars
7/22/04 Nobody Laura- I hate to break it to you but Asimov has been dead for over 10 years. 4 stars
7/22/04 Kristina Sucked harder than two gays at an Nsync concert. 1 stars
7/21/04 Northerly Who's 85yo. sarcastro is very desperate 3 stars
7/21/04 Roy Again 99% Will Smith, 1% Asimov. And it's Wild Wild West/MIB 2 Smith at that. 3 stars
7/21/04 April Gupton i'll pass on this one 3 stars
7/21/04 Laura Shangraw Not worth my time 2 stars
7/21/04 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
7/20/04 Northerly Northerly 3 Sunline 0 Pinkline has no clue 3 stars
7/20/04 Maz Fun romp, nothing new, but deeper (if you look) than a regular summer movie 5 stars
7/20/04 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
7/19/04 Rocky Entertaining, cool themes 4 stars
7/19/04 Titus Not the best thing ever, but a good fun movie. Smith has grown up. 4 stars
7/19/04 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
7/18/04 JDC cliched even for an action pic 2 stars
7/18/04 ajay typical actiion flick... I can't wait to read the book which WILL be miles better. 3 stars
7/18/04 Exhosinmyhead Fun movie to watch. Dont get caught up in all the technicalities. Good. 4 stars
7/18/04 KingNeutron The people who wrote this movie should be shot. Stop insulting and twisting Asimov. 2 stars
7/18/04 The Talking Elbow "Grishnakh" ?? Are you from Shadowclan Orcs? Email me epochii@aol.com 3 stars
7/18/04 Grishnakh Will Smith + Sci-Fi = Garbage / MiB, ID4, SUCKED ! I, Robot is a complete insult to Asimov. 1 stars
7/18/04 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
7/17/04 Alex ¿¿¿¿???? 2 stars
7/17/04 Amerigo Vespukey Could have been social commentary. Instead, crap. Boooooo. 2 stars
7/17/04 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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