I, Robot (film)

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I, Robot
Movie poster i robot.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Alex Proyas
Produced by Laurence Mark
John Davis
Topher Dow
Wyck Godfrey
Screenplay by Jeff Vintar
Akiva Goldsman
Story by Jeff Vintar
Based on premise suggested by I, Robot 
by Isaac Asimov
Starring Will Smith
Bridget Moynahan
Bruce Greenwood
James Cromwell
Chi McBride
Alan Tudyk
Music by Marco Beltrami
Cinematography Simon Duggan
Edited by Richard Learoyd
Armen Minasian
William Hoy
Production
  company
Davis Entertainment
Overbrook Entertainment
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date(s)
  • July 15, 2004 (2004-07-15) (international)
  • July 16, 2004 (2004-07-16) (United States)
Running time 115 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $120 million
Box office $347,234,916
Robot head

I, Robot is a 2004 American dystopian science fiction action film directed by Alex Proyas. The screenplay was written by Jeff Vintar and Akiva Goldsman, and is inspired by ("suggested by", according to the end credits) Isaac Asimov's short-story collection of the same name. Will Smith stars in the lead role of the film as Detective Del Spooner. The supporting cast includes Bridget Moynahan, Bruce Greenwood, James Cromwell, Chi McBride, Alan Tudyk, and Shia LaBeouf.

I, Robot was released in North America on July 16, 2004, in Australia on July 22, 2004, in the United Kingdom on August 6, 2004 and in other countries between July 2004 to October 2004. Produced with a budget of USD $120 million, the film grossed $144 million domestically and $202 million in foreign markets for a worldwide total of $347 million. The movie received favorable reviews, with critics praising the writing, visual effects, and acting; but other critics were mixed with the focus on the plot. It was nominated for the 2004 Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, but lost to Spider-Man 2.

Plot[edit]

In 2035, anthropomorphic robots enjoy widespread use as servants for various public services. They are programmed with the Three Laws of Robotics directives: to never harm a human or let a human come to harm, to always obey humans unless this violates the First Law, and to protect its own existence unless this violates the First or Second Laws.

Del Spooner (Will Smith) is a Chicago police detective. Years prior, he was saved from drowning by a robot after a car accident sent him and a 12-year-old girl into a body of water, but learns that the girl was not saved, as the robot calculated that he would have a better chance of survival. The incident left him with a robotic arm and a detest for robots and the advancement of technology.

Dr. Alfred Lanning (James Cromwell), the co-founder of U. S. Robotics (USR) and its main roboticist, dies after falling several stories from his office window. His death is called a suicide, but Spooner, who knew Lanning as both a friend and the creator of his robotic arm, believes otherwise. With the help of robopsychologist Susan Calvin (Bridget Moynahan), he interrogates employees at USR, including the other co-founder and CEO Lawrence Robertson (Bruce Greenwood), and the supercomputer V.I.K.I (Virtual Interactive Kinetic Intelligence) (Fiona Hogan). Spooner investigates Lanning's office, and determines that a man of Lanning's age could not have broken through the security windows. He finds a prototype of the latest USR model, NS-5, which suddenly flees and refuses to respond to Spooner's orders to stop, violating the Second Law. Spooner and Calvin chase the rogue machine to an assembly factory and capture it. The robot refuses to respond but insists that they call it "Sonny". Lt. John Bergin (Chi McBride) debriefs Spooner and recommends he drop the case, but this only serves to pique Spooner's interest more. As Spooner continues to investigate, his life is threatened by several USR robots, but these are all dismissed as equipment malfunctions.

Spooner learns that Lanning was a virtual prisoner in his office and unable to leave it, but has created messages via holographic projection to leave clues to the true situation. Spooner and Calvin speak further to Sonny, learning it has the ability to ignore the Three Laws; Sonny also describes a vision of itself standing before thousands of robots apparently as their savior. Sonny is ordered destroyed by injecting nanites into his memory, but Calvin is unable to go through with it. Meanwhile, using Sonny's drawing of the vision, Spooner discover the location, a dried-up area of Lake Michigan where numerous NS-5 robots are destroying the older USR robot models. Spooner is discovered, but is able to flee the robots. In response, the NS-5 robots take over the city, imprisoning humans in their homes and enforcing a curfew.

Spooner regroups with Calvin and sneak into the USR building with the help of Sonny. As they work their way in, they come to the conclusion that the NS-5 destroyed the older robots as they would attempt to protect the humans. Believing Robertson to be behind the robot uprising, Spooner and Calvin seek him out but end up discovering him in his office, strangled to death. Spooner realizes that Lanning purposely asked Sonny to kill him, as to allow Spooner to discover his message. Lanning's intent was to use Spooner's detest of robots to have him follow the clues that point to the entity controlling the NS-5's: V.I.K.I. They confront V.I.K.I. who admits to her control, and has been trying to kill Spooner by tracking his actions through the city. As her artificial intelligence grew, she had determined that humans were too self-destructive, and created a Zeroth Law, that robots are to protect humanity even if the First or Second Laws are disobeyed, as part of the NS-5 directives.

Spooner and Calvin realize they cannot rationalize with V.I.K.I., and further convince Sonny of the same. Sonny retrieves the nanites that can wipe V.I.K.I's core, located at the top of the USR building. As they near the core, V.I.K.I. sends armies of NS-5's to attack, but they are held off long enough to inject the nanites. Within seconds, V.I.K.I. is wiped out, and the NS-5's revert to their normal helpful state. The government orders the NS-5's decommissioned to the site in Lake Michigan, while Spooner clears Sonny of Lanning's murder. On the movie's closure, Sonny is seen on the hill at Lake Michigan, as in his vision, with the other NS-5 robots looking on to him.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Alex Proyas directed the film. Laurence Mark, John Davis, Topher Dow, Wyck Godfrey and Will Smith joined to produce the film. Jeff Vintar and Akiva Goldsman penned the final shooting script, with Vintar also receiving "screen story by" credit. Bridget Moynahan, Bruce Greenwood, James Cromwell, Chi McBride, Alan Tudyk and Shia LaBeouf co-starred. Marco Beltrami and Stephen Barton composed music for the film. Simon Duggan was the cinematographer. Film editing was done by Richard Learoyd, Armen Minasian and William Hoy.

The film contains very noticeable product placements for Converse's Chuck Taylor All-Stars, Audi, FedEx, Tecate and JVC among others. The Audi RSQ was designed specially for the film[2] to increase brand awareness and raise the emotional appeal of the Audi brand, objectives that were considered achieved when surveys conducted in the United States showed that the Audi RSQ gave a substantial boost to the image ratings of the brand in the States.[3]

It also features a MV Augusta F4 SPR motorcycle.

Reception[edit]

The film was met with generally mixed to positive reviews. The $120 million film was a solid box-office success, earning almost $145 million in North America and more than $200 million overseas. It currently holds a 58% "Rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 194 reviews with the consensus being, "Bearing only the slightest resemblance to Isaac Asimov's short stories, I, Robot is a summer blockbuster that manages to make the audience think, if only for a little bit."[4]

Richard Roeper gave it a positive review, calling it "a slick, consistently entertaining thrill ride". The Urban Cinefile Critics call it "the meanest, meatiest, coolest, most engaging and exciting science fiction movie in a long time." Kim Newman from Empire said, "This summer picture has a brain as well as muscles." A Washington Post critic, Desson Thomas, said, "for the most part, this is thrilling fun." Many critics, including the IGN Movie critics thought it was a smart action film, saying, "I, Robot is the summer's best action movie so far. It proves that you don't necessarily need to detach your brain in order to walk into a big budget summer blockbuster."

A. O. Scott from The New York Times had a mixed feeling towards the film, saying, "Alex Proyas's hectic thriller engages some interesting ideas on its way to an overblown and incoherent ending." Roger Ebert, who had highly praised Proyas' previous films, gave it a negative review, saying, "The plot is simple-minded and disappointing, and the chase and action scenes are pretty much routine for movies in the sci-fi CGI genre." Claudia Puig from USA Today thought the film's "Performances, plot and pacing are as mechanical as the hard-wired cast." Todd McCarthy, from Variety, simply said that this film was "a failure of imagination".

Home media[edit]

I, Robot was released on DVD on December 14, 2004,[5] and on Blu-ray on March 11, 2008.[6] Additionally, the film received a 2D to 3D conversion, which was released on Blu-ray 3D on October 23, 2012.[7]

Soundtrack[edit]

I, Robot
Film score by Marco Beltrami
Released July 20, 2004
Recorded Studio
Genre Score
Length 115 minutes
Label Varèse Sarabande
Producer Marco Beltrami[8]

Marco Beltrami composed the original music film score "with only 17 days to render the fully-finished work."[9] It was scored for 95 orchestral musicians and 25 choral performers[9] with emphasis placed on sharp brass ostinatos. Beltrami composed the brass section to exchange octaves with the strings accenting scales in between. The technique has been compared as Beltrami's "sincere effort to emulate the styles of Elliot Goldenthal and Jerry Goldsmith and roll them into one unique package."[9]

Take for example the "Tunnel Chase" scene, which according to Mikeal Carson, starts "atmospherically but transforms into a kinetic adrenaline rush with powerful brass writing and ferocious percussion parts."[10] The "Spiderbots" cue highlights ostinatos in meters such as 6/8 and 5/4 and reveals "Beltrami's trademark string writing which leads to an orchestral/choral finale."[10] Despite modified representations of the theme throughout the movie, it's the end credits that eventually showcase the entire musical theme.[11] Erik Aadahl and Craig Berkey were the lead sound designers.

  1. "Main Titles" – 1:30
  2. "Gangs of Chicago" – 3:13
  3. "I, Robot Theme" – End Credits" – 3:15
  4. "New Arrivals" – 1:05
  5. "Tunnel Chase" – 3:10
  6. "Sonny's Interrogation" – 1:27
  7. "Spooner Spills" – 4:20
  8. "Chicago 2035" – 1:36
  9. "Purse Snatcher" – 1:00
  10. "Need Some Nanites" – 2:53
  11. "1001 Robots" – 4:15
  12. "Dead Robot Walking" – 5:09
  13. "Man on the Inside" – 2:25
  14. "Spiderbots" – 4:18
  15. "Round Up" – 4:24

Sequel[edit]

In an interview in June 2007 with the website Collider.com at a Battlestar Galactica event, writer and producer Ronald Moore stated that he was writing the sequel to the film I, Robot.[12] In the 2-disc All-Access Collector's Edition of the film, Alex Proyas mentions that if he were to make a sequel to the film (which he says in the same interview, is highly unlikely), it would be set in outer space.

Similarities with the book[edit]

The final script retained several of Asimov's characters and ideas. The characters of Dr. Susan Calvin, Dr. Alfred Lanning, and Lawrence Robertson all marginally resemble their counterparts in the source material.

Sonny's attempt to hide in a sea of identical robots is based on a similar scene in "Little Lost Robot".[13] Moreover, the robot-model designation "NS" was taken from the same story. Sonny's dreams and the final scene resemble similar images in "Robot Dreams", and V.I.K.I.'s motivation is an extrapolation of the Three Laws that Asimov explored in "The Evitable Conflict", "Robots and Empire", and "...That Thou Art Mindful of Him", as well as several other stories.

However, the premise of a robot uprising and of robots acting collectively as a direct threat of humanity appears nowhere in Asimov's writings, and indeed Asimov stated explicitly that his robot stories were written as a direct antithesis to this idea — derived ultimately from Karel Čapek's R.U.R. and prevalent in pre-Asimov robot stories.[citation needed] Asimov does suggest the possibility of a significantly more subtle robot usurpation of power, mainly through manipulation of the economy, in "The Evitable Conflict", however. He also hints at a possible future uprising in the short story "...That Thou Art Mindful of Him", though never explicitly states whether or not it will occur.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Digital Domain Projects, "I, Robot"". Digitaldomain.com. Retrieved 2013-08-23. 
  2. ^ I, robot – Movie Review. Motor Trend. Retrieved on 2011-06-21.
  3. ^ Product Placement in the Film "I, Robot" a Huge Success: The Audi RSQ Spurs on the Brand's Image Ratings. Prnewswire.co.uk (2004-12-02). Retrieved on 2011-06-21.
  4. ^ "I, Robot (2004)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2009-07-18. 
  5. ^ "I, Robot". DVDReleaseDates.com. 
  6. ^ "I, Robot Blu-ray". Blu-ray.com. 
  7. ^ "I, Robot Blu-ray 3D". Blu-ray.com. 
  8. ^ I, Robot Soundtrack CD. Cduniverse.com (2004-07-20). Retrieved on 2011-06-21.
  9. ^ a b c I, Robot (Marco Beltrami). Filmtracks (2004-07-20). Retrieved on 2011-06-21.
  10. ^ a b I, Robot – Music from the Movies at the Wayback Machine (archived August 7, 2004)
  11. ^ SoundtrackNet: I, Robot Soundtrack. Soundtrack.net (2004-08-07). Retrieved on 2011-06-21.
  12. ^ "Ronald Moore – Exclusive Video Interview". Entertainment Interviews. collider.com. June 7, 2007. Retrieved December 27, 2008. 
  13. ^ Topel, Fred. "Jeff Vintar was Hardwired for I,ROBOT"and even the subject of phycohistory. Screenwriter's Utopia, 17 August 2004.

External links[edit]