I, Robot is more than eye candy

I, Robot will be the big action-packed, sci-fi, money-spending (but more money-making) blockbuster film of the summer, but something is different this year — it doesn’t stink.

More often than not, summer sci-fi special-effects orgies, such as Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, released last year, or Men In Black 2, released in the summer of 2002, are nothing more than exactly that. I, Robot, however, is different: although it is not Academy Award material, this film will provoke more thought than the average robots-take-over-the-world scenario while still providing the ever-dropping audience attention span with lots of pretty explosions.

Very similar to a pre-Matrix scenario, I, Robot delves into the idea that robots can become a danger to humanity should humanity become complacent. Fans of Animatrix will relate this film to The Second Renaissance, a short film written and directed by the Wachowski brothers, creators of The Matrix, detailing how robots took over the world. The only difference in I, Robot is that the humans win, all thanks to Will Smith, who plays detective Del Spooner.

The other star of this film is not a real person, but a computer-generated robot named Sonny — a twist that is becoming a common trend. In very predictable fashion, Spooner, who has a deep prejudice against robots, comes to accept and even like Sonny. Unfortunately these sub-plot lines and even the main plot line are a bit predictable and contrived, but not to the point where the film becomes boring; just enough to allow you not to think.

What makes this movie stand out is the detective-type story line. After the forerunning robot engineer falls from his office window, detective Spooner immediately rules out suicide and goes right for the robots, who, under specific programming law, cannot commit crime. From then on, the audience follows Spooner’s investigation until the point at which the engineer’s motive for suicide becomes clear and it may be too late. Taken from the script for a very futuristic episode of “L.A. Law,” the story sucks you in and makes you pay attention.

As for the affects, they get better with every movie, and I, Robot just continues the evolution. Flawless integration between live actors and computer-generated ones make the story that much more conceivable, while the direction of the film gets the blood pumping; again, very Matrix-like , cinematography, with lots of bullet time to be had.

With a decent story and excellent graphics, all this movie needed was a big name. Well, Will Smith is a big name, but, in a very surprising outcome, he did not perform as expected. Present were the Smith one-liners, and at times, good acting, but some of his scenes would make even Smith cringe. His performance, however, was more good than bad, so all in all it was average.

This one is worth the time, especially in a theatre that offers good sound. Not an award-winning piece of monumental art, but a solid and entertaining movie nonetheless. Perfect for getting away from summer school or your monotonous job. Let someone else be a robot slave to society and take the night off to go see this movie.

Rating: B+
PG-13, 105 min.