It’s time to look at a film that involves Robots and a possible future for humanity. These titles are typically a lot of fun and this film handled the concept well. I really don’t like using the comma in the title, but the film forced me too. Luckily that doesn’t mean that I will need to do so in the review so I will refer to the film as I Robot when necessary. All right, let’s talk about this title.
Detective Spooner is called out by a man who presumably committed suicide. The guy left a small voice mail hinting that this wasn’t an ordinary death and everything is up to Spooner now. Spooner has held a grudge against robots for years so he enthusiastically sets out to prove that robots can actually be murderers. The problem is that a robot has never committed a crime in all of the decades that they have existed. Assuch, nobody believes Spooner’s theory. Spooner gains an ally from within the robot company, but it feels like everyone else is getting in his way. With Spooner’s job and life on the line, he must crack the case before the robots crack him!
First, let’s start with the technical merits of the film. The special effects were nice and have certainly aged well. I liked all of the fight scenes that involved the robots and they were actually better than I had anticipated. I didn’t think that the fights would be bad per say, but I didn’t expect them to be as smooth as they were. The main character’s cool laser blaster was also a nice tough and you could easily tell that this was a film, which was set in the future. When a film takes place in the future, it should always feel like the future. CoughHungerGamesCough!
The writing was good enough. I can’t guarantee that it was great as you can never fully tell in the TV version, but it seemed to be good. The main character does panic at times, but he never goes quite as far as the heroes do in horror films or TV budget films. His line actually reminded me of the Sharknado trailer for the new film coming up since the song uses the phrase quite a lot. Other than that, it’s not very noteworthy.
Detective Spooner is a little overdone in how rude he can be so I didn’t care for him as the main character. Pretending to sleep is a joke of his that gets old very quickly. I am glad that he knows how to fight and talks tough. If he was a little less rude and spent more time just talking a good game, I would like him more as a character. The main heroine is a lady named Susan and she’s all right I suppose. It’s good that she ends up saving a robot because she realizes that the whole situation isn’t right, but she doesn’t get a whole lot of character development. She’s essentially along for the ride.
The main robot is named Sonny and he wants to know the meaning of life. He gets off to a rocky start as he commits a crime and spends a lot of time on the run. He’s not a very likable robot, but at least he learns the values of friendship and human emotion by the end. He means well of course, but the innocent android who wants to be a human is a trope that I’ve never been too fond of. The fact that he can fight does help the character significantly though. The main villain was pretty fun, but his role is very small. He relies on subtle, but personal attacks on his enemies and he excels at verbal combat. He does let his guard down rather quickly though.
I don’t seem to be a big fan of the characters, but why is the film so good? Well, the characters aren’t great, but I wouldn’t call them unlikable either. Detective Spooner was probably my least favorite member of the group, but I still wouldn’t call him a downright bad character. He has his moments and he never has any real dirty lines or bad character traits like other leads. So, they do all right and the rest of the film is solid enough to carry the cast.
As I’ve said, the action scenes are fun. The big war between the robots and humans was great to watch and I had been expecting a cop out or for the war to be hinted at in the sequel. I was pleasantly surprised to see things get so large scale so quickly. The humans were definitely doomed against these guys since we allowed the robots to essentially take over the military systems as well as the rest of the world. The actor from the Transformers movie trilogy is in this film for a very small role and he’s actually a pretty funny character. He’s just around to look weak and never actually helps Spooner, but he likes to provide the audience with some random lines about how dangerous the situation is. To his credit, he runs up to the robots and tries to pick a fight, but he didn’t count on the fact that they would actually oblige him. He helps to turn a bad situation into a terrible one.
Viki is the big AI in charge of everything and she’s fairly similar to Skynet. Naturally, she doesn’t get a chance to have quite as many lines or get as much character development, but she makes for a good mastermind. I just wish that she could have gotten a true form at the end since that would have been neat. Could she really hack the government computers? Normally I’d have to think about this one, but since she Is the Government computers in a sense, it makes sense that Earth wouldn’t stand a chance. This is why we should never let one system run all operations. It’ll make the US way too dependent and vulnerable since just taking out that program would cripple the whole army.
Spooner also has a quick origin story for the Oscar bait, which explains why he doesn’t like robots. I certainly could have done without that and it really had no place in the film, but it was quick and is never brought up again after it is shone so you can easily just push it to the side. It could have been worse after all and doesn’t really end up hurting the film. It would have been more solid without it, but there is no point swing over this issue.
Overall, I Robot was a fun film. It’s not winning any awards soon, but it’s essentially the ultimate good film in the sense that it wasn’t great by any means, but I would never call it a bad film either. It didn’t make any big mistakes and while there are no characters who shine, they all stay classy. If you’re looking for epic action scenes and a nice futuristic world with laser guns, this is the film for you. It was better than I had anticipated and that is always a good thing to see. I don’t see this film getting a sequel, but if it did, I’m sure that we would get some more robot fights and that’s always a good thing. On a final note, it’s really good that Spooner had a robot arm or I would have called plot hax on the fight scenes. As it stands, while there is a decent amount in the final battle, it doesn’t go overboard and the climax is definitely very exciting.