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E.C. McMullen Jr.
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THE THREE LAWS OF ROBOTICS
1. A ROBOT MAY NOT HARM A HUMAN BEING OR, THROUGH INACTION, ALLOW A HUMAN BEING TO COME TO HARM.
2. A ROBOT MUST OBEY THE ORDERS OF A HUMAN BEING EXCEPT WHERE THOSE ORDERS CONFLICT WITH THE FIRST LAW.
3. A ROBOT MUST PROTECT ITS OWN EXISTENCE EXCEPT WHERE THAT WOULD CONFLICT WITH THE FIRST AND SECOND LAW.
Have you seen the trailer for I, ROBOT? It looks pretty cool and normally that would be enough for me to look forward to seeing a movie. But Isaac Asimov's robot stories are classics of science fiction.
If you're going to make a classic into a movie I've got to hold you to a higher standard and with that in mind I saw the trailer differently. It looked like a formula bad sci-fi plot, which would be an insult to Asimov's memory (plus, I'm still a little sensitive about the last classic science fiction story made into a movie: STARSHIP TROOPERS). So when I walked into the theatre to actually see I, ROBOT Well, let's just say I had a bit of an attitude.
I, ROBOT was directed by Alex Proyas (DARK CITY, THE CROW) and written by Jeff Vintar (FINAL FANTASY) and Akiva Goldsman (LOST IN SPACE, BATMAN & ROBIN, BATMAN FOREVER). Asimov is given a "suggested by" credit (i.e., "Suggested By the stories of Isaac Asimov"), which tells you the movie is loosely based on Asimov's material.
And three ideas central to Asimov's robots are displayed in the opening credits: the three laws of robotics.
This is Chicago in the year 2035. Detective Del Spooner (Will Smith: MEN IN BLACK) wakes from a bad dream. He heads in to work and all around him we see robots performing every menial task. Along the way Spooner spots what he thinks is a robot thief. This turns out not to be the case, much to his embarrassment. Spooner gets a good talking to at the station from his boss, Lt. Bergin (Chi McBride: THE FRIGHTENERS, GOTHIKA), showing that this isn't the first time something like this has happened.
The fact is Spooner just doesn't like robots. He doesn't trust them and doesn't want anything to do with them for reasons we find out later. Hence the irony when he is called to the towering U.S. Robotics skyscraper to investigate the death of Dr. Alfred Lanning (James Cromwell: THE SUM OF ALL FEARS, THE GREEN MILE, SPECIES II, STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT), robotics scientist and inventor of the Three Laws of Robotics.
Everyone is assuming Lanning's death is a suicide but Spooner quickly uncovers a series of inconsistencies. He points this out to Lawrence Robertson (Bruce Greenwood: THE CORE, BELOW), owner and CEO of U.S. Robotics and the world's richest man. Robertson is cooperative but mostly interested in keeping this whole thing quiet. His company is about to launch a new product: the NS-5 robot.
Robertson directs robotics scientist Susan Calvin (Bridget Moynahan: THE SUM OF ALL FEARS) to help Spooner with the investigation and the first thing they discover is a robot hiding in Lanning's lab. Much to Susan's amazement this robot refuses to obey her orders, something everyone in this era takes for granted. Sonny (voiced by Alan Tudyk: FIREFLY [TV]) the robot makes a run for it. He sure makes a good prime suspect. Did he kill Lanning?
This is a great movie!
Funny, action packed and pretty smart. The fear I had about the plot being formula proved unfounded and the story moves fast. I'm not sure Asimov would have liked it but maybe he would. I'm pretty sure he wouldn't hate it.
I also like to think that he wouldn't hate my
But I digress. The point is that I, ROBOT rocks! Four shriek girls!