i,ROBOT


2004

DIRECTOR: Alex Proyas

Isaac Asimov dreamed of robots. Will Smith and Alex Proyas came along and tuned this into a nightmare! What could have been an insightful Sci-fi thriller, revolving around robot homicide and the famous Three Laws with their inherent interpretations or misinterpretations, was turned into one of the most crass Will Smith vehicles that I have ever seen.

He’s cocky, rugged and everything that gives Smith a bad name, and the narrative and direction only to go to compliment this sub par Smith. Proyas’ direction is appalling in parts, with as much subtly as a sledgehammer. The fact that Smith has a quirky character trait of liking old-fashioned 2004 sneakers, (PRODUCT PLACEMENT ALERT!!!) was turned into an entire grating scene, rather than being subtly played as he noticeably wears them throughout.  There’s a series of hollow CGI action sequences which are supposed to be stunning but instead come across as boring and pointless, as it is just CGI, CGI and more CGI!

Saying that, there was a nice moment towards the beginning, where Smith, after wrongfully chasing down a robot whom he believes has stolen a purse, attempts to explain himself to another black person by saying “I saw a robot running with a purse, what was I supposed to think?” Possibly the best bit in the film?

But then we end up with the thrilling finale which played out at the top of  a massive tower/gantry as our heroes(?) fend of an army of aggressive Apple iRobots. The camera work is nothing short of appalling as it spins around 360 degrees, zooms here, there and everywhere! The story, which at its heart is interesting, if not done to death in Star Trek, is ruined by hammy and wooden acting, poor direction and cinematography, a boring screenplay and an absolute over reliance on SFX.

The result: The textbook definition of how NOT to make a blockbuster.

Asimov should be turning in his grave… Though at least the credits do distance him from it by stating that it was only “Suggested” by his book.

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