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Overall Rating
2.97

Awesome: 8.54%
Worth A Look: 23.62%
Average34.67%
Pretty Bad: 23.12%
Total Crap: 10.05%

11 reviews, 133 user ratings


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I, Robot
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Anothr dumbing-down of classic SF."
2 stars

The following is Isaac Asimov back in 1989, predicting how we'd be living in 1999:

Increasing computerization and robotization are going to decentralize the world. The fields will allow everybody to absorb and retain information, while passing on the three classifications of undesirable labor -- the dull, the dirty, and the dangerous -- to robots and computers. This will give us more time for more creative endeavors.

It's almost touchingly nave; who has more time for creative endeavors, or uses the time for that if they have it? The late science-fiction godhead (and all-around scholar) Asimov had a definite robot fetish; he coined the word "robotics," and he produced a sizable chunk of fiction on the subject of artificial intelligence. Some of his robot stories were collected in the book I, Robot, and Harlan Ellison wrote a legendary (and unproduced, though published) screenplay adaptation. With the release of the new movie calling itself I, Robot -- decidedly not based on that screenplay -- Ellison must be grinding his teeth and Asimov spinning his way to China through his grave.

Making a Will Smith action flick called I, Robot is a little like making a Bruce Willis vehicle in which he heroically saves a bunch of people during the Dresden bombing and calling it Slaughterhouse-Five. Smith is known as Del Spooner here, but he's essentially just this year's variation on himself: a cocky, tough, wisecracking cop (or agent or pilot) pitted against this summer's sci-fi menace. Which, in this case, is a robot that seems to have disregarded the Three Laws that all robots are programmed to follow. (The short version: Don't hurt humans, allow them to be hurt, disobey human orders, or allow yourself to be destroyed.) An elderly robotics guru (James Cromwell) ends up as lobby pizza -- did he fall out his window, or was he pushed? And if he was pushed, who else was in the room with him? Nobody except a curiously emotional robot named Sonny (voice by Alan Tudyk).

It's apparent fairly early on that this I, Robot won't detain itself with questions about AI ethics or philosophy. It starts as a whodunit, with Spooner as the bitter cop with a murder theory, which no one believes because he has an Issue With Robots. We're meant to side with him, because the robots' defense team includes dry-ice programmer Bridget Moynihan and corporate honcho Bruce Greenwood, who I expected to be addressed by a concerned robot: "You are in serious danger of being typecast as a callous Stupid White Man. For the safety of your career, please proceed in a calm fashion to the nearest Atom Egoyan casting call."

The movie is at least a bit less annoying than director Alex Proyas' previous two genre attempts, The Crow and Dark City, both of which have won unaccountable cred in goth and techno-geek circles. Where is his much-vaunted "poetic vision" when he really needs it? Proyas keeps the action percolating, but really there's not much anyone can do with scenes involving throngs of coolly malevolent robots converging on a crowd of scrappy Chicagoans. I looked at the robots at each turn and could see only computer-generated images, not plausible constructions of metal and plastic occupying real space. Even Spooner, part metal himself, doesn't escape the impersonal march of the narrative. He goes through the usual paces -- the Give Me Your Badge scene, the I Love My Grandma scene, and even, God help us, the I'm Rescuing a Cat scene.

I'm actually divided about the movie's use of the title I, Robot. It's going to irritate Asimov fans, but it might -- just might -- point younger readers towards the stories, and it's given Bantam an excuse to re-issue the book in an attractive new hardcover edition. I wish I were optimistic enough to believe in an Asimov resurgence, though -- my feeling is that the target audience is busy with Harry Potter books and X-Men comics -- and Asimov's own vision of 1999 haunts me after having seen this film.

Yes, computers have made it easier to make movies like this, in which thousands of robots leap and twirl and fight. They sure haven't done much for creative endeavors, though -- not on the evidence of this screenplay.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=10202&reviewer=416
originally posted: 01/03/07 14:45:19
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User Comments

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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