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I, ROBOT review

Thank God. I, ROBOT was nowhere near the disaster that I was anticipating. Whew. I went into this film with low and conflicted expectations. I’d heard that Jeff Vintar’s screenplay was genius, but I’d also heard that Akiva Goldsman akiva’d it up a bit. It was being directed by one of my favorite modern genre film directors in Alex Proyas, but I’d heard nightmare production rumors that Will Smith had taken over the film and locked Alex out of post-process, but then he got back in… And none of the advance screenings did anything, but lower my enthusiasm… and then there were those damn trailers, specifically that very first one, which I hated.

Coming away from the final film, I have to say I have a few complaints, but overall, I enjoyed the movie.

Let’s start with the problems.

1) The film should not be titled I, ROBOT, as it really isn’t at all Isaac Asimov’s writings… In fact if they had done something as simple as titling it, “iROBOT” it would have been more apt. After all… The film is essentially about an Apple-esque roll-out of the next generation ‘miracle of design’ machine, that is eerily perfect. But, the design for these new robots, well… I work off that dome iMac here at Geek Headquarters, and as I type now… just looking at the system, I wonder… will it start glowing red and attack me in my sleep. So much of the intellectual and serious minded hard-science-fiction has been replaced with fluffy ‘sci-fi’ littered with unWillistic action sequences, that no matter their lack of Willism, they still managed to produce a smile… but the whole time, behind that smile was, Asimov would freak playing over and over in my head. Even a microscopic change in the title… would just separate it that much further from being the exact title of a work, which means… one must think of this as an adaptation, when really… this is nearly a wholly original take-off on aspects and some rules of the Asimov universe, but this isn’t at all Asimov’s stories. As is, Isaac’s credit reading, “Suggested by Isaac Asimov” is kind of an insult, and the proper credit with this title intact should probably read, “Apologies To Isaac Asimov.”

2) This complaint has a lot to do with the design of the film. There’s a lot I like, and all the older robots, well, I like them quite a bit, but these new robots… It’s like this, the film takes place in the year 2035… and given how lame most products look in 2004, I think if in the next 31 years, that with the astonishing advances that the Japanese and Koreans seem to constantly be making in robotic movement and their ability to mimic human motion and speed, albeit in little 16” to 24” robots… Well, I just don’t think it’ll be too long till the scale of these suckers get up to more humanoid scale. Meanwhile, I’m sure there’s mounds of information and “brains” being worked on for AI and AI-seeming computer systems that can and will be incorporated. Already, object recognition and heat recognition are going great… and they’ve developed systems by which Robots can touch and feel things. This will end up happening… I just hope… I really hope that the systems won’t be this bland looking.

3) Bridget Moynahan is so stiff and bland a character, and I realize that that was on purpose to show she’s grown closer to robots than humans, but then… Sonny is more human than she is… but then, Sonny is more human that Will Smith is too. But more on that in my Sonny’s pretty darn cool section of the review. Also – it’s unfair… We get to see Will Smith’s nude butt in a shower scene that had women giggling and shouting their approval at our screening, but when Moynahan has her shower moment… she has a fogged up blurry piece of snowed glass in front of her obstructing her, surely wondrous buttocks. This film is way too sexist in all the wrong ways.

4) Chi McBride’s character of Lt John Bergin is so damn tired. He’s that senior division cop/officer that is always overweight, acting like they’re chewing a cigar and bitchslapping the “hero” of a by the numbers action flick sort of thing. He never trusts his officer, always suggests a therapist and at some point will always take the “hero’s badge,” which generally means the hero will… “buck the system and stay on the case no matter what,” and yeah… that happens here too.

5) The weird feeling that this is a film taking place in the exact time and world of Spielberg’s MINORITY REPORT – as it seems that Kiwi lenser Simon Duggan was following Janusz Kaminski’s lighting package to the f-stop. And that Patrick Tatapoulos was ape-ing Alex McDowell’s Production Design throughout. That being said, in my ways I prefer this film. Even though it has a more pedestrian plot line and it seems less developed… I just thought the sense of fun was greater in this movie, and that ultimately I was more entertained in this one.

Ok… Those are my complaints… What worked?

Well - I just like it. Maybe it was that I was thinking I would just hate it from beginning to end and walking in with those expectations, it was impossible to not be pleasantly surprised… Or perhaps, there was just a Pavlovian-reflex action the second I saw robots and I just love robots. Or maybe it was the thin slices of Asimov’s moral questions about the creation of machines to do the things we humans do and call life. Maybe it was Will Smith’s blatant promotional love of CONVERSE shoes circa 2004, but then the odd part was… while everyone seemed to comment on his shoes… I don’t believe we ever saw or were highlighted what shoes had become in the future… so in a way, it was just a crazy little Doris Wishman moment or two that I kinda dug. Maybe it was how Will Smith’s Detective Chicken Little was always raving about the sky falling, or that there was a big bad wolf in the meadow, to everyone’s complete and collective yawns.

Then there is Alan Tudyk’s Sonny… the robot that allegedly murdered James Cromwell’s Dr. Alfred Lanning. Who is Alan Tudyk? He was the hilariously great Wat in Brian Helgeland’s A KNIGHT’S TALE… you know the guy that said, “Un, betray us, and I will fong you, until your insides are out, your outsides are in, your entrails will become your extrails I will w-rip… all the p… ung. Pain, lots of pain.” I loved his character in that film, and often find myself using the phrase “I will fong you!” due to him. Some loons mentioned at the screening that he’s in some sort of firefly, but those mainly come out at twilight, and I’ve never seen him in one. BUT ANYWAY – in I, ROBOT – he’s the key feeling robot, and like Andy Serkis’ vastly superior character of GOLLUM, the character work is excellent here. And instead of playing him like a robot, he plays him more like a prisoner on death row. One that has resolved himself to his fate and his place in the world. I liked this character quite a bit, and in the third act… I legitimately love love loved his character and had wished that the film had had Sonny partnered with Will throughout the film in a more 48 HOURS style situation. Alas.

While the script may be pedestrian, the strength of Alex Proyas’ sure-handed direction and vision, kept me interested in the layers of the visual level of the film. I missed the rich bleakness of his THE CROW and DARK CITY… and wished that this had more of that type of style, but also appreciated the divergence visually he took from that universe, but I hope his future films won’t be this clean and antiseptic.

Overall, I came away from the film having conversations afterwards about what really we as a human race would do with Robots. I mean, if at every level of manual labor, Robots were applied, what would that do to national and international employment. All those people out of jobs, what do they do? In fact, it seems the only sort of job that would be safe would be creative, if only because the Robots aren’t creative. We also agreed that the development of Robots as a classless slave worker unit, to replace the underprivileged regular hard-working joes… well, to me, that’s such an evil Republican Big Business model, that it just felt too real and too scary. There’s even quite a few obvious parallels in terms of the robots’ thinking of how to protect us, that seem to follow the same logic faults that the current administration has fallen over to. Using the various fears of danger, to hand over more and more controls of us humans’ normal lives over to them. Everything from security to kitchen work. So, of course the liberal in me appreciated and enjoyed the parallels as just another in the constant subtle and not-so-subtle attacks on the future un-President and his mandates.

In the end – the film is entertaining. Of the 3 main Genre films of Proyas, this is my least favorite, but that’s THE CROW and DARK CITY… both of which I think are perfect… so, this had pretty high competition in terms of Proyas’ career.

Remember, low expectations meant pleasantly surprised, but not blown away.

Readers Talkback
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  • July 14, 2004, 5:05 a.m. CST

    I ROBOT not based on Asimov's work shocker!!

    by afraidoffans

    I sussed that out from the trailer. I mean, C'mon does anyone remember an army of robots going mad/trying to take over the world in his books? I think, maybe that that would have stood out.

  • WHO WILL BE NEXT?? Julia Roberts? This is bad folks, really bad.

  • July 14, 2004, 5:47 a.m. CST

    It's "Tudyk", not "Trdyk".

    by spillor

  • July 14, 2004, 6:28 a.m. CST

    I must be ill

    by NetSlut

    cos this review made me laugh and actually appreciate Harry for once.

  • July 14, 2004, 7:03 a.m. CST


    by Sgt. Black

    Somewhere in this jumbled knot-of-christmas-tree-light thoughts is a review... I am sure of it.

  • July 14, 2004, 7:25 a.m. CST

    No word on the BATMAN BEGINS trailer?

    by squidman

    I read that the trailer would be attached to this movie. The fact that Harry hasn't commented on it tells me one of two things: either he saw a screening that didn't feature the trailer, ... OR he saw it and was so disappointed that he chose not to comment. Not commenting is so unlike Harry. I hope for the prior.

  • July 14, 2004, 7:58 a.m. CST

    Coffee Enema

    by shaitan117

    Who are you to tell those what they should and shouldn't see. Have you seen any of the screenings to come to a conclusion? And even if you've seen the screening, does just your opinion justify what is a good movie and what isn't for others? Lemme guess, you've got a whole backing of fans who've also not seen the movie saying its going to be crap right?

  • July 14, 2004, 8:15 a.m. CST

    Coffee Enema is an ignorant shit-flinging tool

    by LargoJr

    I felt Dark City & The Crow were better then most of the films released in the last 20 years (highly entertaining and fun), and the second he opened his festering gob I felt like shoving my elbow in it.

  • July 14, 2004, 8:17 a.m. CST

    Will Smith has a beer and cheats on his toaster

    by LargoJr

    Will Smith couldn't act his way out of a wet paper doggybag, and every movie hes ever been in has been an exercise in restraint to endure his presence

  • July 14, 2004, 8:36 a.m. CST

    What about the Other Screen Play

    by LostDragon

    I have a copy of the screen play that Harlan Ellison wrote for I, Robot. It was brilliant and really stuck close to the stories from the book. Why does Hollywood take perfectly good stories and destroy them?

  • July 14, 2004, 8:43 a.m. CST

    Fuck Akiva Goldman - Forget Joel Shumacher, he's the one who rea

    by TheGinger Twit

  • July 14, 2004, 8:45 a.m. CST

    Hmmm... Politics again?

    by MJAYACE

    How come whenever I picture Harry writing his political ramblings I picture the librarian guy from Blade???? You know the fat dude that sat on the couch and watched over the Vampire records then got melted. Sorry Harry, but it keeps coming up in my head.

  • July 14, 2004, 8:53 a.m. CST

    Harry, I love your reviews... but sometimes you stop to think an

    by TheGinger Twit

    You're right about one thing, This administration does have an eerie rotob run feel to it.

  • July 14, 2004, 9:02 a.m. CST

    How much you wanna bet they'll adapt "The Caves of Steel" for th

    by rev_skarekroe

    "He's a human. He's a robot. They're cops." Someone get Owen Wilson on the phone, quick! sk

  • July 14, 2004, 9:13 a.m. CST

    What is GIT:SAC

    by Trevor Goodchild

    Cannot for the life of me figure out what film these initials stand for. I am with the boycotting side here. I loathe predictable Hollywood films like this. Paticularly when they tag on an iconic name for no other reason than marketing. Imagine if they gave Arthur C Clarke's 2001 the same treatment. "Oh HAL no"

  • July 14, 2004, 9:22 a.m. CST

    Hey Harry I, think you, need to work on your, placement of comma

    by timmer33

    Here's an example: "While the script may be pedestrian, the strength of Alex Proyas

  • July 14, 2004, 9:41 a.m. CST

    I said it before and I'll say it again...

    by Wungolioth

    If they made any Asimov novel into a movie and it was true to the original material, it would be the biggest borefest ever. You Asimov fans know it's true.

  • July 14, 2004, 9:49 a.m. CST

    Alan Tudyk

    by godric

    You also know Alan Tudyk as Wash on Firefly...makes me want to go see this.

  • July 14, 2004, 9:56 a.m. CST

    Proyas made FOUR genre films, Harry!!!

    by godoffireinhell

    Have you never even heard of his post-apocalypse film SPIRITS OF THE AIR, GREMLINS OF THE CLOUDS???

  • July 14, 2004, 10:15 a.m. CST

    GITS:STC = Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex

    by LargoJr

    It was a sort of follow-up TV series to the original first film, which had developed quite a following. 20 episodes + 10 'Tachikoma' Specials

  • July 14, 2004, 10:17 a.m. CST

    "Using the various fears of danger..."

    by zacdilone

    " hand over more and more controls of us humans

  • July 14, 2004, 10:29 a.m. CST

    thats right harry..

    by casmcthorn

    Relax lube up and take it inch by day you'll be a real boy

  • July 14, 2004, 10:35 a.m. CST

    A Blade Runner rip off set in Minority Report's world?

    by ExcaliburFfolkes

    Please don't tell me this movie is going to be that derivative and re-hashed. Oh wait, it stars Will Smith, of course it will. Why am I even asking?!?

  • July 14, 2004, 10:50 a.m. CST

    Asimov on film

    by dmitrineilovich

    I hate to say it, being a huge Asimov fan, but I have to agree with Wungoliath. The direct-to-video "Nightfall" was a very faithful adaptation of the short story of the same name. Mind you, that's not to say that it was a riveting film. It wasn't. It was directed by Gwyneth Gibby and starred David Carradine and a bunch of b-listers. I tried to watch this some years ago with my (then) girlfriend who could at least tolerate well done sci-fi film, and this bored her to tears. The part of me that geeks out on good sci-fi film was screaming to be let at the remote, but the literary sci-fi fan managed to beat him two throws out of three and I went the distance. I still have this on DVD, but I don't think I've watched it again since. Pity. Also, don't forget that Bicentennial Man was credited to Asimov. Also a pity. Listen for the subterranean spinning. Peace out.... D

  • July 14, 2004, 11:05 a.m. CST

    Why didn't they just MAKE Caves of Steel?

    by Recognizer

    Come ON. A Robot Designer Murder Mystery? R. Daneel Olivaw is also the coolest "whatthefuck" name ever. And you get the "partner" dynamic... and you need less makeup 'cause Olivaw looks so damned human. It's a better story than whateverthefuck Akiva came up with. Also, the new pics from the set of "Serenity" are up, and Wash has ditched the Hawaiian shirt for some badass flight fatigues, as in

  • July 14, 2004, 11:15 a.m. CST

    John Kerry will JUMP THE SHARK this November!!!!

    by aceattorney


  • July 14, 2004, 11:17 a.m. CST

    Caves of Steel

    by dmitrineilovich

    Actually, Caves of Steel was done by British TV back in 1964 (according to IMDB). There's quite a bit of Asimov work that's been attempted at one time or another. And I didn't know that he was one of the science advisors for Star Trek: The Motion Picture. What was he thinking...?

  • July 14, 2004, 11:28 a.m. CST

    Fuck Asimov

    by cookylamoo

    He used to grab women's asses at sci-fi conventions. He was a dirty old man.

  • July 14, 2004, 11:41 a.m. CST

    Leave it to Harry

    by RickP66

    Leave it to that disgusting, Moore-worshipping tub of goo Harry to turn a review of I, Robot into a political screed. What a predictably idiotic fuck.

  • July 14, 2004, 11:45 a.m. CST

    moviemack, you're starting to sound like those psycho LOTR puris

    by mortsleam

    "Tom Bombadil isn't in this! Glorfindel has been replaced by Arwen! Jackson has fucked with the basic premise of the story! IT WILL SUCK!" Let it the fuck go already, you whiny fucking baby.

  • July 14, 2004, 12:03 p.m. CST

    Republicans and Robots

    by orlandocfa

    It would be ashamed the day that robots take over the jobs that nobody but the illegals want. Maybe we can make robots illegal and then they would be ok to do manual labor instead of humans. Harry, just so you know, manual labor is doing physical work outside, you know that place on the other side of the window.

  • July 14, 2004, 12:03 p.m. CST

    Thank you, Dmitri.

    by FluffyUnbound

    How on earth did I NOT know that there was a DTV version of "Nightfall"? MGM Home should send you a commission check. I must have this product immediately or I will feel deprived and inadequate and that would make me uneasy and surly. Let me ask you, where do they end it, in this film version? When the "stars" hit? Or do they show the aftermath?

  • July 14, 2004, 12:40 p.m. CST

    At least Justice league:Starcrossed..finally came out.

    by zathras34

    Im waiting for everyone to tell me good or bad on Irobot...personally I cant wait to see "Before sunset"..on dvd..cause with my tv and stereo, its cheeper and since there will be no good shows on the air this fall (NO BUFFY OR ANGEL!!!) I will need something to do.... But as I said..At least..Justice league:starcrossed finally came out on dvd..(never saw it on tv) but its nice not to have commercials..) But thought I would drop that down..for those who may want to rent it locally wherever your at... Peace...

  • July 14, 2004, 1:01 p.m. CST

    *Sigh* Dammit, Harry...

    by WillowFan2001

    Can't you just leave politics alone? Y'know, this is a summer blockbuster, not a political movie of any kind. I suppose your fanboy dribbling over "Fahrenheit" was understandable, but this is unreal. I thought this site was supposed to be for people who love movies, and now it's starting to turn political. I GO TO MOVIES TO ESCAPE THAT! Well, so be it...I can get advance news a day or two later from I'll miss Herc's TV reviews. But I just can't stick around here anymore.

  • July 14, 2004, 1:32 p.m. CST

    Not only do I get Alan Tudyk whenever I want with my Firefly DVD

    by Lenny Nero

    That kid's going places.

  • July 14, 2004, 1:48 p.m. CST

    Will SMITH SUCKS!!!

    by Rcamacho2278

    i Robot can suck it. I don't buy harry's review. this is coming from the guy who loved van helsing

  • July 14, 2004, 2:03 p.m. CST

    What can Harry say?

    by RabidFerret

    The check cleared. Heh heh. I like Proyas A LOT but I don't trust Harry as much as I could throw him. Throw him. Throw him. He must be around...I think I echoed through his various canals and crevious. At least he mentioned how LOTR Gollum was better. I wonder if he gets a check every time or if Peter Jackson just gives him clay shavings from the set of LOTR and lets him massage his feet.

  • July 14, 2004, 2:07 p.m. CST

    Harry, please, please keep your politics to yourself. It's gett

    by Fandude

    Asimov and Will Smith do not mix. Ever since I first heard that Will Smith was going to be in a movie based on Asimov's ground breaking I,Robot I said to myself, "what the...." I'm surprised you didn't see it coming a mile away. Will Smith does not have the acting cohones and seriousness to play it straight. Again, Enough with the leftist liberal crap - just stick to movies. Fandude

  • July 14, 2004, 2:11 p.m. CST

    Sheesh, moviemack. Sorry I asked ...

    by squidman

    So the BATMAN BEGINS trailer is "F-oo cares-kuh"? Wow. Thanks for that insight. I know now why they call you ... the mack.

  • July 14, 2004, 2:41 p.m. CST

    Hey, where the hell are my...

    by Gilkuliehe

    ...Amazon links? Come on Harry! I want to buy THE CROW, DARK CITY, MINORITY REPORT and everything you mention, don't make me go and open a new window myself...

  • July 14, 2004, 2:59 p.m. CST

    Another potential blockbuster ruined by Smith

    by Eye_H8_U

    Who the hell ever thought that Will Smith was a good leading man? The guy is about as 1-Dimensional as the funny pages in a newspaper and not nearly as entertaining. If I have to see his wanna-be tough-brotha routine, one more "Aw Hell Naw!", one more lame ass white-joke, I am gonna snap and go sniping the Movie Execs that greenlight this garbage. WILL SMITH sucked back in the day- he SUCKS now, and he WILL ALWAYS SUCK! The big-dumbo-eared bastard should go back to his cheesey raps and stay the hell away from fucking up movies.

  • July 14, 2004, 3 p.m. CST

    Another potential blockbuster ruined by Smith

    by Eye_H8_U

    Who the hell ever thought that Will Smith was a good leading man? The guy is about as 1-Dimensional as the funny pages in a newspaper and not nearly as entertaining. If I have to see his wanna-be tough-brotha routine, one more "Aw Hell Naw!", one more lame ass white-joke, I am gonna snap and go sniping the Movie Execs that greenlight this garbage. WILL SMITH sucked back in the day- he SUCKS now, and he WILL ALWAYS SUCK! The big-dumbo-eared bastard should go back to his cheesey raps and stay the hell away from fucking up movies.

  • July 14, 2004, 3:50 p.m. CST


    by vinylsaurus

    "The first law of robotics is for me to KICK YOUR ASS!" Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan go back in time to stop rogue robot Dick Cheney from becoming Vice President in a stolen election. Watch for the giant CGI robo-gator.

  • July 14, 2004, 4:22 p.m. CST

    It's flicks like this that make watching "The Player" less fun

    by Trav McGee

    Instead of enjoying biting parodic satire it feels like biting dramatic commentary. Dammit. This is right out of a goddamn pitch meeting from the opening tracking shot. "Keep the title, keep the author on it, dump the story, and you've got T3 with a hip Will Smith vibe and built-in name recognition. Position this correctly and goodbye Spider-Man."

  • July 14, 2004, 4:41 p.m. CST

    if they had made a film which religiously followed asimovs text.

    by slappy jones one would go and see this mother fucker because it would be a boring load of shit...same for LOTR and most book to film translationS...but you know what....why isnt it a two way come no one complains about MOVIES WHICH LATER BECOME BOOKS?? huh...tell me, like the official paperback edition of say spider was no where near as good as the film......i am starting this right now...I am going to watch a film and then read the official book adaptation and then go to and complain and bitch and moan.....

  • July 14, 2004, 4:41 p.m. CST

    American's Are Already Robots.

    by cookylamoo

    Rock 'em Sock 'em robots. The blue one is Republican, the red one is Democrat. Punching each other is much more fun than actually helping people.

  • July 14, 2004, 4:41 p.m. CST

    I urge all of you to go see Spider-Man 2 again when this thing o

    by mortsleam

    That'll learn 'em.

  • July 14, 2004, 4:44 p.m. CST

    Asimov deserves better

    by estwald

    Asimov's robot stories were so unique and revolutionary because Asimov deliberately rejected the big cliche that had been used in all previous robot fiction - that the robots would get too powerful and turn on their masters. Asimov created the 3 Laws so that he could avoid the trite story about robots-taking-over, and explore much more interesting territory: how would we live with robots? How would they change our culture? He did have one or two stories with a robot coming close to malfunctioning and hurting people, but for the most part his robot stories were really about humans. If a robot takes away all our work and toil, what are we left with? How do we define ourselves? So not only is this movie completely ignoring the interesting stories that Asimov wrote in I Robot, but in general it's betraying Asimov's commitment to never offer a "Don't tamper in God's domain" story, which he was very vocal about.

  • July 14, 2004, 5:32 p.m. CST

    Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots

    by zacdilone

    Best. Toy. Ever.

  • July 14, 2004, 5:49 p.m. CST

    Sounds fucking great

    by Cabron

    Enough comparisons to expectations. It sounds like a good movie.

  • July 14, 2004, 6:26 p.m. CST

    DatoMan413 Black does not equal ghetto

    by MrCere

    Dato - Ghetto is not the opposite of white and ghetto does not equal black. Ghetto isn't skin color, its culture and social setting. Eminem IS ghetto, Bill Cosby is not ghetto. Walter E. Williams, Michael Jordan and Denzel Washington are not ghetto. Mr. Washington has played ghetto in a movie or two where the CHARACTER called for such a portrayal. Will Smith's character - at least I don't think - does not call for such a portrayal. He has a great deal of on-screen charisma but he tends to play the same character again and again, appealing to hip, urban teens, or at least that is what I thought somebody was trying to say.

  • July 14, 2004, 6:56 p.m. CST

    Harry's not really a leftist

    by greatajax

    He's just a suckup. And if you want to suck up to hollywood types and get into free screenings, you better spout the leftist line at every opportunity.

  • July 14, 2004, 7:15 p.m. CST


    by Eye_H8_U

    Oh Wait-- same thing my bad!

  • July 14, 2004, 7:34 p.m. CST

    So that's why Harry doesn't have a spell checker

    by ZeedarTeretz

    He can't figure out the combination of keys on his Mac. Boy are those machines ever crazy.

  • July 14, 2004, 8:01 p.m. CST

    The robots all look like Chris Elliott.

    by Mosquito March

    They should call this I, CABINBOT.

  • July 14, 2004, 8:13 p.m. CST

    This could have been a serious scifi , but it's become a comedy

    by 900LBGorilla

    Yes just like Farse-enheit 2000 Sorry had a Harry Moment... couldn't ... resist...

  • July 14, 2004, 9:25 p.m. CST

    iMac's SUCK

    by AlwaysThere

    Thats all you need to know, fat buddy.A

  • July 14, 2004, 9:40 p.m. CST

    iMacs do suck.

    by FluffyUnbound

    As does Linux. Hating Microsoft is so five minutes ago.

  • July 14, 2004, 10:49 p.m. CST

    The Future of Menial Labor

    by Guncrazy

    Geez, Harry. I suppose you mourn the loss of jobs in the buggy-whip and wagon-wheel sectors. The "outsourcing" of menial tasks to automatons is a good thing. It allows goods to be produced more cheaply, more consistently and more efficiently. Also, there are more job classes than just "manual labor" and "creative." Even if robots took over all the scut work, like janitorial jobs, fast-food jobs, food processing and agricultural jobs, and mass manufacturing jobs, there would still be plenty of areas exclusive to human employment. Creative jobs span not only the creation of art, but technological innovation as well. Engineering jobs would still be available. So will medical jobs. Humans will still qualify for educational positions, judicial and law enforcement jobs, and opportunities in the entertainment and amusement fields. Financial services will still be largely based on human interaction. The buying and selling of goods and services will also require a significant human presence. In short, there will never be a short supply of meaningful human endeavors--opportunity is as limitless as the human imagination. As for the robots, it is highly unlikely that automation will destroy our economy, and more likely that it will create a future where people have more time to envision their dreams, and more economic freedom to pursue them.

  • July 14, 2004, 11:16 p.m. CST


    by DCcomicMAN

    Harry! You're such a loon! But seriously...How f*cked up is that!?!?

  • July 15, 2004, 12:26 a.m. CST

    "iMac's SUCK"

    by Bond77

    >> "iMac's SUCK" Incorrect, I'm afraid.

  • July 15, 2004, 12:28 a.m. CST


    by Bond77

    No apostrophe required.

  • July 15, 2004, 12:30 a.m. CST

    Why people take books more personally than movies...

    by TheFastTheFurion

    Because books ARE personal. Everything is happening in your own head, at your own pace, and since these are characters are fleshed out in your imagination, they're more intimate to you than say, Will Smith on a movie screen in a crowded theater. I think people are (rightfully) selfish with the books they read, so when a movie is made from such a book, people are going to be cynical about it. Alot of it has to do with the fact that deep down, we don't want to see books we read made into movies, because it takes our experience and gives everyone the cheap version. Its like every book we read, whether it's some obscure translation, or the last John Grisham, we consider OUR story,and noone else really deserves to experience it.

  • July 15, 2004, 1:12 a.m. CST

    This review is further proof that Dubya has liberals on the run!

    by Silver Shamrock

    Now Harry's finding timely political content in a Will Smith vehicle, further proof that libs go looney when they're out of power. Can't just review a damn movie on it's own merits, gotta read into it with a liberal slant. Good thing ID4 didn't come out this year or Harry's head would have exploded at the cosmic timing and significance of that Will Smith/Apple tie-in. And can we please put a rest to the rich Republican stereotype? That was one of the greatest ploys by the Democrats, pretending that they are still the party of the poor. Truth is, they are the party of Rockefellar, Edwards, Kerry-Heinz, and Ted Kennedy, all public servants, all millionaires. And Ken Lay? A Clinton golfing buddy, but I'm sure Bill did not have financial relations with that man. I'm not saying Republicans aren't rich, but darn it, don't pretend the Democrats are somehow less evil and not money grubbing greedheads as well. Maybe John Edwards didn't get rich off the evil big business model, but it's not like being an ambulance chasing trial laywer is somehow more virtuous. Same goes for John F'n Kerry marrying into big money.

  • July 15, 2004, 1:35 a.m. CST

    I say, old bean, frightfully considerate of those evil robots to

    by FrankDrebin

    What we need are more Larry Niven adaptations, starting with WORLD OF PTAVVS!

  • July 15, 2004, 1:39 a.m. CST

    To COOKYLAMOO: Not only was Asimov a dirty old man, he even wrot

    by FrankDrebin

    One of his 200+ books was THE SENSUOUS DIRTY OLD MAN, a collection of spicy limmericks. (The title was a parody of a self-help book that was briefly popular in the 70's, THE SENSUOUS WOMAN by "J".)

  • July 15, 2004, 1:48 a.m. CST

    Republican Big Business model?

    by Bi-Mn-Sci-Fi-Con

    It would be truly frightening for liberals to have robots replace humans doing drudge work. With millions freed from manual labor, who's going to join the labor unions? What's going to happen when goods and services can be provided more cheaply? The gap between rich and poor will shrink even further, and liberals will have fewer victims to recruit.

  • July 15, 2004, 2:22 a.m. CST

    Looks like the Animatrix episodes

    by iamarayya

    A robot that kills and everyone is surprsed ad it leads to a robot revolt?

  • July 15, 2004, 3:45 a.m. CST

    This thing just reeked of death since the marketing campaign ope

    by WeedyMcSmokey

    Just had 'DOOMED' written all over it.

  • July 15, 2004, 4:21 a.m. CST

    I saw a clip. The "YOU ARE EXPERIENCING A CAR ACCIDENT" bit was

    by Tall_Boy

    Smith was on Letterman pimping it. not a big fan of the "oh hells no" line but I really liked when the robot jumped on his car, smashed the window, grabbed the wheel and yelled "YOU ARE EXPERIENCING A CAR ACCIDENT!" that's pretty neat if you ask me. As for this flick, I'll wait for a rental. Even though I love killer robots and sci-fi (and I even dig wil smith at times!) It just looks like a kinda empty-headed adaptation of what should be some thoughtful sci-fi.

  • July 15, 2004, 6:34 a.m. CST

    Harry, Dr. Calvin was like a robot. Read the book.

    by krylite

    There was only one plot bit where Dr. Calvin put on makeup because she thought some other doc was attracted to her then found out he had his bimbo. The rest of the book, she was a total nerdy professor and logical enough to almost put Spock to shame. Will Smith is the ghetto. See him in entertainment news. He talks in rl the same way as he does in his movies, boasting in eubonics about how he gets to show off his naked ass. Forgot anything about Asimov in this movie. It totally trashes it into another Aliens remake except the monsters look like toys. Another Terminator I-II-III ripoff too.

  • July 15, 2004, 6:44 a.m. CST

    I,Robot is Asimov's best book no thanks to this travesty.

    by krylite

    estwald, exactly right on, Asimov's best was putting meaning into Robots besides turning on the masters again. Explores robots in hard sci-fi and psychological way. Like that story with the robot hopping around in circles on one an outer solar system plane, in a consistent radius demonstrating it's loop of undecidability being stuck between two of the laws. Even showed how robots helped humans invent hyperspace travel. This could have been another 2001, but devolved into a Flatulant Prince of Bad Air in Disney FutureLand.

  • July 15, 2004, 7:33 a.m. CST

    Ghost in the Shell

    by Saluki

    The second season of the new TV series, now called "2nd Gig" is rocking just like the first season. Also, it isn't just 20 episodes, it's 26 for the first season. The 10th episode of the second season is now fansubbed, and descriptions are up all the way up to episode 16 on the Production I.G. website.

  • July 15, 2004, 7:45 a.m. CST

    Props to A.I.

    by Evil Chicken

    ZombieProblems wrote: "Most Underrated Dark / Hard SciFi / Robot / Mythic Journey / Fairy Tale / Morality Play / Apocalypse / Allegory / Crtitique of Modern Parenting EVER..." Speaking of Spielberg

  • July 15, 2004, 8:35 a.m. CST

    Big Willie Vs. The Army of the Honkybots!

    by Shawn F.

    That is what the title should have been of this misfire. I saw this the other night in Boston (the screening was about halfway full-not a good sign for its success) and I knew that this film was in trouble right from the beginning. Smith is miscast, Moynahan was nice to look but that is it, the script was a joke and the directing was all over the place. What a shitty month July is turning out to be at the moronplex!

  • July 15, 2004, 8:58 a.m. CST

    Got Coffee?

    by reluctant

    This review is nearly incoherent. I don't think it's my lack of sleep. Perhaps it's Harry's. Ellipses and commas flung randomly like so much poop at the monkey exhibit. That is all.

  • July 15, 2004, 2:07 p.m. CST

    Saw NYC 7/13 screening- thought I'd hate it...loved it

    by pastoralia

    I was sure this film was gonna bite...what with Will Smith's "On-no-you-dinnit robot" attitude and the writer of some of the sci-fi genres greatest travesties behind it. But it did have Proyas which was a good sign...and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised and even found myself (gasp!) smiling at some of Smith's one liners. The highlight is Sonny the robot. Some people here whine about the design...I liked it and Sonny was just damn cool. I get goosebumps every time I hear "I DID NOT MURDER HIM!" So...bottom line: See the movie this weekend. What else ya gonna see? A Cinderella Story? Spider-Man 2 again?

  • July 15, 2004, 2:54 p.m. CST

    What, no Firefly bashing???

    by GypsyTRobot

    Is it possible that the word on Firefly finally got around? that it's good despite the lack of vampires or werewolves, robots or aliens? YEAH, WE LIKES OUR SCI-FI DRY!! Eat it Harry! In other news, Barry Woodward -- AKA bwstarwars and Donnie Darko, infamous on AICN for his Buffy rapping and Star Wars misinformation -- is the #2 fan on the official firefly website (ranking achieved by collecting points for various actions). What's really sad to think is that there's someone trying even harder than Barry to collect points on a cheesy corporate web site.

  • July 15, 2004, 4:03 p.m. CST

    Issac Asimov is lame!

    by franken-jesus

    Asimov is NOT a great writer. He wrote hundereds and hundreds of books and almost all of them sucked. PS I still can't figure out why anyone would like Van Helsing.

  • July 15, 2004, 4:58 p.m. CST

    "Welcome To Erf"!

    by Aquatarkusman

    When the final shot of the trailer showed the Fresh Prince, all Matrix-y, flying off a motorcycle with guns blazin', I knew that this movie had very little chance of ever being the shit, and a very large chance of being shit.

  • July 15, 2004, 5:12 p.m. CST

    I can't wait for Smith in "I Am Legend"

    by user id indeed!

    "It just be rainin' black people in post-apocalyptic New York!"

  • July 15, 2004, 5:17 p.m. CST

    It wasnt a disaster..but it was pretty mediocre...

    by Jon E Cin

    I could really care less about any of the characters. Will Smith was good..but everyone else was FLAT! I hate when movies think they are getting too confusing so they have to repeat things through voice overs again and again..

  • July 15, 2004, 5:25 p.m. CST

    Cloudrider..I would have to say "Sonny" is definately gay

    by Jon E Cin

    I dont know about the others.

  • July 15, 2004, 5:27 p.m. CST

    How does Will Smith take over the movie post production?

    by Jon E Cin

    How is that possible? I cant see this happening.

  • July 15, 2004, 5:31 p.m. CST

    Dato , wake the FUCK UP!

    by Malebolgia

    Do you live in an environment where there are only black and white, you oblivious piece of shit. open your eyes asshole! Every type of person out there who listens to hip hop comes off as ghetto. Maybe you don't live in a big city but ghetto is all around.

  • July 15, 2004, 9:05 p.m. CST

    How can Harry bitch about...

    by corvette63

    the Evil Republican Big Business Model when he's got Napolean Dynamite plastered all over his friggin site? Harry joined the dark side a long time ago even if he rationalizes his slide by getting all touchy-feely with Michael Moore. Shiver!

  • July 15, 2004, 11:16 p.m. CST

    Offending half of your readers

    by Ninja_Master

    Every time Harry shoves his agenda of stupidity down my throat, I get a little closer to never coming back. Can you not understand that you are alienating half of your readers? Or do you honestly think someone will be converted by an overweight movie reviewer who can't spell? ("oh, this movie reviewer doesn't know 3rd grade grammar, but he probably knows politics better than I do, so I'll vote for Kerry!"). If I want to be spoon fed liberal propaganda, I'll go your Hezbullah funded mentor's website. I come here for movie news. The rest of you AIC guys better get a leash on Harry, or you will be seeing 50 percent fewer hits.

  • July 16, 2004, 4:56 a.m. CST

    "All those people out of jobs, what do they do?"

    by porco_rossi

    build and maintain those robots!

  • July 16, 2004, 5:45 a.m. CST

    "If fat, semi-literate losers are the best they can do, flame on

    by STOMP1234

    Hey, leave Rush Fatball out of this! The poor junkie has had a hard enough time lately!

  • July 16, 2004, 8:28 a.m. CST

    I want to see Will do "The Shrirking Man"

    by cookylamoo

    "Hey, yo, Spider" Do you see this pin? Now if you don't chill out, I'm gonna take this pin and stick it straight into your ugly, hourglass shaped butt. Now what do ya think of that, you eight-legged sport hummer?"

  • July 16, 2004, 10:19 a.m. CST

    Just think of it as a prequel to "Blade Runner"

    by The Ghost of Scrappy Doo

    You know, where are the replicants/androids were banned from Earth after they went beserk and tried to kill the Fresh Prince of Bel Aire. Oh, and Harry, I can't wait to read your first movie review after GWB is re-elected ("The Incredibles" stole my heart the same way THE EVIL REPUBLICANS STOLE THE WHITE HOUSE AGAIN AIEEEEEEEE! MICHAEL MOORE WHY HAST THOU FORSAKEN ME?"), assuming your iMac doesn't short out from all your blubbering tears and the Hostess Ho Ho crumbs wedged in mounds between your keyboard.

  • July 16, 2004, 11:39 a.m. CST


    by floppybunnyyhead

    Now I heard from NUMEROUS RELIABLE SOURCES that the teaser trailer for BATMAN BEGINS was shipping in cans with I, ROBOT. Guess what? It ain't there. Warner Bros., staying true to form in another notoriously idiotic move, have decided to wait for a different movie to attach it to. What's even more bizarre is that it will not be attached to CATWOMAN (which is a really stupid move for WB because the only reason I can think of to shell out $$$ to see that horrific man-sized turd is to see that teaser on the big screen!). And now we have no fucking clue when or what film we'll be seeing it with. WHY WHY WHY WHY?!?!?!? WHY IS WARNERS SO FUCKING STUPID?!?!?!? There aren't a whole lot more films coming this summer to get excited about, and you'd think that they would want to get the word out early. The only other films I can think that it might be attached to would be HELLBLAZER... oops, excuse me... CONSTANTINE (WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY?!?!?!?!!? Despite what Gaiman said about Moore not hating the makers of CONSTANTINE, I can't believe that the preeminent comic genius of our time wouldn't be thinking that this is going to be a total piece of monkey shit. Oh, by the way, a HOLY SHOTGUN? Where's Brother Maynard with the Holy Hand Grenade?) or if you really want to put the right teaser with the right film, put it with SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMMOROW. That way, you get genre fans that are going to see a movie that they actually WANT to see as opposed to the other comic-related smegma coming soon. Well, time to hop on out of here. Floppybunnyhead out. P.S.: Spider-Man 2 still fucking rules the world.

  • July 16, 2004, 6:54 p.m. CST

    Spidey 2 isn't that much better than I, Robot...

    by UnChienAndalou

    ...and those of you who are still trying to fool the world into believing that it's literally the greatest thing since the inception of sliced bread need to realize immediately that: A) The original was better and B) The notion that it's the greatest super-hero/comic book movie ever is absolutely preposterous. Thanks for your time.

  • July 16, 2004, 10:09 p.m. CST

    Saw the movie today and I liked it.

    by corvette63

    Plays kinda like a cross between the original Terminator and the Animatrix. The critics are panning it but I think there's enough robot creepiness to keep you on edge. I wasn't too impressed with the villain and the ending reminded me too much of Tron but still worth seeing.

  • July 17, 2004, 2:09 a.m. CST

    Awww, Shut Up!

    by utz_world

    Can any of you idiots "constructively" criticize Will Smith's talent without making Black/Negro/N****/Honky references??? I thought not! P.S. Movie kicked ass, haters!

  • July 17, 2004, 4:46 p.m. CST

    my view

    by i,robot_gurl

    first off, i would like to say, that I happened to love this movie, and i respect your opinion, but I would like it if you could please, get the facts straight. I, Robot, is LOOSELY based on the asimov stories, that is why at the beginning they say suggested by isaac asimovs stories. Too many movie critics pay no attention to this, including you. As you may have seen in an ad for I, Robot in the New York Times, Asimov's daughter had written a commment, saying that the movie was in the spirit of asimovs stories, and that her father would have loved the film. This just goes to show, that it matters not whether the movie is at all like the book, it matters instead if it is in the true spirit of the story. Also, does it reallt matter if you see will smith half naked, and not bridget moynahan? that is completely irrelevant to how the movie is, and bridget may have her own reasons for not wanting to show herself, and nor should she have to. She could be embarrased, or maybe she'd like to keep that bit of her private. Other than that, the review was fine, but I would prefer it if in the future, you got your facts straight.

  • July 17, 2004, 4:57 p.m. CST

    Predictions -

    by Mel Garga

    It is inevitable that somewhere in the course of a Will Smith movie his character will be slighted somehow, prompting Smith's catchphrase: "Ah, Hell Naw."

  • July 17, 2004, 11:52 p.m. CST

    Will Smith has a nice ass.

    by Barry Egan

    I'm just saying.

  • July 18, 2004, 4:55 a.m. CST

    Chicago Problem

    by new

    What is the Brooklyn Bridge doing in Chicago at the end???? Is this a total fuck up or did I miss something?

  • July 18, 2004, 9:11 a.m. CST

    I'm sick of Will Smith's minstrel show antics.

    by Batutta

    He ruined this movie with his "hip black man" shtick. The thing that mystifies me is that he seems to be aware of his shortcomings as an actor. He said recently he regretted turning down the role of Neo in The Matrix, but realizes he would've ruined it with his constant need to perform. Guess what Will, you just ruined your own movie with that same pathetic need...Just service the story, don't give us Big Willie.

  • July 18, 2004, 9:20 p.m. CST

    big bucks but it still sucks

    by fokke

    More than 50 million in its opening weekend isn't too shabby. But this doesn't mean that it's a good flick. I say during a pressviewing and I thought it was a piece of crap. Give me Minority Report any day of the week instead of this Smithvehicle. The plot was really thin and none of the major characters were were interesting enough to built a movie around. So it must be the special effects that explains this openingweekend? Euh, maybe I'm just spoiled after Spidey 2, but I found the sfx a complete let down. The robots were unconfincing. The set design on the other hand was pretty nice. I only hope that isn't going to be a I Robot II, The Revenge of the Machines, but with Will Smith you'll never know.

  • July 19, 2004, 7:19 p.m. CST

    Alan Tudyk in "Firefly"

    by KirkDogg

    I apologize if this has already been stated, but Alan Tudyk had a role in a brilliant but short-lived series on Fox back in the fall of 2002 called "Firefly", which was a terrific cross-genre Western, sci-fi dramedy that was produced and written by Joss Whedon, the same guy who did "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel". The show was nothing less than incredible, but the idiots at Fox didn't give it a chance to succeed.

  • July 19, 2004, 8:18 p.m. CST

    Alan Tudyk in I, Robot

    by rlbisanar

    Alan, in MY opinion, better known as "Wash" in the sadly, short-lived series, "Firefly", on FOX, as the pilot.

  • July 21, 2004, 5:05 a.m. CST

    One of the most gratuatious product placements...

    by bb6634

    Just me or the Converse sneakers product placement thing just piss you off? Not once but three times in the movie...

  • July 21, 2004, 5:16 p.m. CST

    Nina Master

    by shyster

    If you were offended by Harry's mild political aside, why don't you follow your instinct and abandon this site. Good riddance, I say! On less right-wing Republican cretin to listen to.

  • July 22, 2004, 5:50 a.m. CST

    Please help!!!

    by Doctor_Cousin

    When Will Smith

  • July 22, 2004, 7:29 a.m. CST

    Asimov's laws: a realistic way to safe AI?

    by nickhay

    Although fictional, many people take Asimov's laws seriously. It is supposed that by somehow encoding a set of laws in each intelligent robot, we can ensure robots act safely. This suggestion leaves much to be desired, and realistic approaches are needed before intelligent robots can be safely developed. follows in Isaac Asimov's own footsteps, examining the issues surrounding Asimov's laws, in particular their shortcomings. A must read for anyone who has wondered about robot ethics, or about the practical application of Asimov's laws.

  • July 23, 2004, 12:52 a.m. CST

    Just saw it and...

    by Darth Thoth

    I actually really liked it. I thought I would. The promotional stuff actually intrigued me versus scaring me away. Will is solid and I've enjoyed watching him grow as an actor. The chick was hot. Sonny is the man. The last action sequence was bananas. And you got Asimov philosophy interwoven throughout the thing. I couldn't ask for more. These days instead of nickpick, I just enjoy movies aimed at a sci-fi/ genre audience. Trust me, they are few and far between.

  • July 24, 2004, 1:23 p.m. CST


    by utz_world

    Dr. Cousin, that song would be "Superstition" by Steve Wonder.

  • July 27, 2004, 12:49 a.m. CST

    Harry, doesn't Proyas' "Garage Days" count as a genre film, too?

    by Lenny Nero

    If that's not a stereotypical (yet wonderful) rock 'n roll comedy, I don't know what is.

  • Aug. 1, 2004, 10:34 a.m. CST

    I, Rebut

    by DeeJay

    This was an enjoyable flick, and it not only incorporated a number of the "I, Robot" short stories, but also an oft-cited key concept from "The Positronic Man"--- another Asimov work. I will acknowledge the plot shortcoming of the "reason" for the robots attacking people (something that still contradicts and violates the hard-wired programming of the 1st law of robotics). Overall, however, this was a good film wih solid performances and extremely strong human themes (the need to know one's purpose in life, the need for--- but illogic of--- chivalry). Yes, I could have done without the shower scenes, thought the robots looked too human, and wished Smith's character would've at least been one taken from one of the original stories. Having smart cars & roads, futuristic (nanotube?) construction, localized holography and advanced replacement surgery in the film was at least thought-provoking. While it had some flaws, this film was at least well thought-out. Also; it was more science fiction than science fantasy--- something which, in and of itself, makes it more positive than negative.

  • Aug. 1, 2004, 10:46 p.m. CST

    This film is making a huge profit for the studio

    by Rupee88

    Will Smith earned his $28 million paycheck and everyone is making millions of dollars in profits on this film. It was kind of dumb, but films aren't made to be good, they are made to make money and this one is doing it.

  • Aug. 8, 2004, 7:47 p.m. CST

    I'd rather eat my own shit

    by Drunken Rage

    than see this again. To say it sucks is an understatement. To say Alexy Proyas has every directed any good movies is idiocy; to expect Will Smith to play any character other than Will Smith is madness. On the bright side, Bridget Moynahan's a damn sexy woman. Too bad she's kind of channeling Sandra Bullock in "Demolition Man" or Rob Schneider in "Judge Dredd."