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I, Robot
DVD disk
Dec 7, 2004 By: The Shootin Surgeon
I, Robot order
Director:
Alex Proyas

Actors:
Will Smith
Bridget Moynahan
Alan Tudyk

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
The year is 2035 and governed by three simple laws that make them completely safe to humans, robots have become a part of everyday life. Or so everyone thinks. Based on Isaac Asimov's classic story, I, ROBOT tells the tale of one police officer (Smith) who may very well decide the fate of humanity when a robot stands accused of the murder of his creator.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?

Is it a good movie? That, as usual, depends on what you're looking for. If a great story, awesome special effects and super slick action are your bag, then chances are this'll get you going. If you toss in a blockbuster superstar like Will Smith, a drop-dead hottie like Bridget Moynahan and a supporting cast with the likes of James Cromwell, Chi McBride and Bruce Greenwood, then you can be sure this flick will turn your head and maybe even leave you with some of the ol' whiplash in the morning. It sure turned mine right off the top and didn't let go until the very end. Those who've lead lives boring enough in the past to actually read the trash I pass off as reviews will be aware of my languishing desire to avoid anything Will Smith. Even the likes of me however must admit that he was perfect for this role. He didn't ruin it by hamming it up and juicing every second of screen time like he often does la Robin Williams. He also didn't overdramatize, a trap many actors fall into when shooting these sci-fi flicks where the fate of man is decided. In short, he was a regular guy who just happened (or will happen) to live in 2035.

The real star of the movie however was Sonny, the robot having seemingly acquired the ability to feel and think beyond the code in his artificial brain and standing accused of the murder of his creator (Cromwell). Voiced by Alan Tudyk and probably the single best uses of CGI since that slimeball Gollum went looking for his precious, Sonny the robot is precisely the kind of character that comes to mind when one things of the potential of computer graphics. I've always felt that CGI should be used to make things that don't exist, not to make things that do exist but that would be costlier and longer. Then again, I'm not the one who fronts the cash for movies to be made but hey, we've all got our own two bits no? Moynahan was another upside, making her character attractive while not making her look like a bimbo. As good looking as that woman is, she's always good at making you listen to her through your own film of drool. The only real drawback to the movie was the very noticeable shift of pace that occurs almost exactly halfway through. It slowed down considerably although it still remained pretty engrossing and eventually closed up with a bit of a cheesy final frame. Overall though, I, ROBOT is a great ride for both sci-fi fans and even those who don't naturally identify with the genre. 

THE EXTRAS

There's not much here in terms of extras which implies that the fourth law of DVD-making will most definitely apply, that law being "A studio shall only release a packed special edition once enough fans have shelled out for the bare-bones first run and sales of the latter begin to bottom out". In the meantime, while we wait to have our pockets picked, we can hang back and listen to a full-length audio commentary by director Alex Proyas and screenwriter Akiva Goldsman. Proyas is a pretty interesting guy and Goldsman is probably one of the most inconsistent writers in Hollywood, capable of writing great films like A TIME TO KILL and A BEAUTIFUL MIND yet also capable of putting together crappage such as BATMAN & ROBIN. Now while they both may be very talented filmmakers, this commentary thing obviously isn't their bag. I was secretly hoping Will Smith would interrupt and start singing that horrible rap tune from WILD WILD WEST (which I believe was entitled Wild Wild West). Following that is a 12-minute long featurette entitled The Making of I, Robot. It's alright and all the stars show up but it doesn't really stray too far from the usual "we did this, we did that" routine. There's also a stills gallery containing thirty pictures, mostly concept drawings of the robots.

FINAL DIAGNOSIS
I, ROBOT is a definite keeper as far as the movie is concerned but I can't, in good conscience recommend this as a purchase knowing full well that sooner or later, a stacked up edition of the DVD will pop up. That being said, not everyone goes for the special features and if that's your case, you should definitely pick this one up. The movie is excellent and delivers that rare combination of intelligent script/good effects. I rate the film a "buy" and the DVD a "hold".
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