18 Jul 2004 @ 5:22 PM 

Went to see I, Robot today. Yeah, um…it’s not very Asimov is it?

Spoilers ahead. OK, maybe not really big spoilers, but I will be speaking in sweeping generalizations that will expose some of the story, especially if you are as insanely well-versed in Asimov as I am…

I think it was a good action movie, and a good mystery. It had a bit of a twist that was very much in the tradition of the Grandmasters, but it wasn’t a twist that Asimov would ever have used.

The partial introduction of the Zeroth Law was kind of cool, so that was a good Asimov point. That was pretty much the only thing which didn’t beat up the basic intention of the Three Laws, though. In fact, there wasn’t much in the movie that I think old Isaac would have liked. It venerated feelings over logic; the hero is anti-logic and his sidekick is a robot that is illogical. And those are the good guys. Not Asimovian, not at all. I was worried that this movie would cause him to spin in his grave. I wouldn’t get too close to his tombstone right now.

On the plus side (and it was much more plus than minus), the society was beautifully rendered, the technology of 30 years from now was not wildly out of line with what could be possible in such a short time period, and the mystery was fantastic. Perhaps I was blinded by my Asimov reverence, but I never for an instant would have predicted the twist. Maybe it was obvious to people without the blinders I was wearing. I was reading an article about the movie while waiting for it to start (my Clie is cool), and apparently the original concept didn’t involve the Three Laws, but they bought a license and tacked it on later. It was tacked on.

Will Smith is fantastic, of course. Chi McBride was his usual gruff lovable self. Bridget Moynahan has no business being Susan Calvin, but she was nice to look at anyway.

For those who don’t know, Susan Calvin was written in the stories and novels as being as plain as an old post. It was integral to her self-image and personality. Of course, the movie really doesn’t adhere to anything Asimovian, so why should I expect that one piece to? For that matter, except for the name of the company, the only proper noun that came from the Asimov stories is Susan Calvin. Kind of odd. I guess nobody wanted to grab R. Daneel Olivaw and get truly pasted by the geekarazi.

Oh, and the preview for Paparazzi looks pretty damned cool, for a revenge movie.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 22 Jul 2004 @ 08:37 PM

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  1. Lysa says:

    Well, it was my understanding that it was only inspired by the original Asimov story, and not meant to closely follow it at all. And according to Ralph’s Movie Beat, there was also another story involved in the inspiration. So I guess you could take it that someone took inspiration from two stories, created their own unique one, and then tipped a nod to Asimov for creating the inspiration. Or something. 🙂
    I loved the movie. I love the way they combined high tech cars and robots with old buildings and normal clothing. Nothing unrealistic and unachievable for 30 years from now, as you said. The characters were well played, and Will Smith didn’t ham it up. He was funny when he needed to be, and serious without any melodrama, which some comedic actors never manage. Moynahan was charming, and I always love McBride. The robots were so well done, for a time, I believed they were real and not CGI. And sometimes they made me so sad, I could almost cry for them. The story was intelligent and creative, and had some wonderful plots twists to captivate any good mystery fan. All in all, I thought it was a great movie, and I can’t wait to buy it on DVD when it hits shelves.


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