I Robot on DVD
Okay, so its an action adventure sci fi movie. That doesnt mean
Dr. Asimov needs to spin in his grave at the liberties taken with his short
story collection from which the title of this Alex Proyas movie was taken.
In fact, this I, Robot is true to the spirit of Asimovs robot stories
and rather than trying to take those nearly unrelated stories and make a movie
out of them they have instead taken that world and created a ripping yarn that
blends Asimov with Philip K. Dick (as in Minority Report) Tron and
many other science fiction classics. And though its a bit of a mishmash
and not entirely unpredictable, it works and its a very enjoyable film.
A bulked up Will Smith stars as police officer Del Spooner. When a leading
roboticist dies suddenly of an apparent suicide, only he is suspicious that
the dirty deed may have been done by a droid. The only problem is, robots dont
kill people. Robots have to obey Asimovs three laws of robotics (you may
remember them from Bicentennial Man as well, and theyre spelled out a
couple of times during I, Robot) and that means they are incapable of such an
Spooner gets no support in his theory, because a robot has never even committed
a crime let alone a murder. But he pursues his theory doggedly, unwrapping a
conspiracy that in the end threatens human society as these people know it.
There are plenty of nifty twists and turns in whats basically a neat
whodunit (or, possibly, whatdunit) with action scenes thrown in to keep the
popcorn crowd interested. And thats fine. Sci fi fans should love it and
Asimov fans will be thrilled that despite the lack of a truly "Asimovian"
plot the Masters ideas have made it to the big screen and have
been treated with respect.
Smith is very good in his role as a man swimming against the current of everything
everyone around him knows about robots. The supporting cast are pretty much
along for the ride, but they dont get in the way. This movie is really
Smiths and Proyas and its a dynamite looking and feeling flick.
Proyas, who also made The Crow and Dark City,
has crafted a world thats believable (except that in the real world not
everyone drives an Audi) and richly textured. The film is a feast for the eyes
and ears, with stunning special effects, the script is intelligent (witty in
places), though with a little more profanity than necessary. And it gives a
remarkable insight into how our world may look in a couple of decades, when
robots are generally available as more than rudimentary vacuum cleaners and
paper towel dispensers. And the robots in I, Robot are extremely well thought
out and rendered.
The DVD is first rate as well. Available separately, alas, in widescreen and
Pan&Scan versions, we were fortunate to receive the widescreen version (16x9
TV compatible) for review. The video quality is superb, reference material stuff.
Blacks are deep and rich, theres excellent detail and the image displays
Audio is offered in the choice of Dolby Digital and dts 5.1 surround (we generally
prefer the dts, mostly because were snobs) and it is also top drawer.
Theres excellent fidelity as well as wonderful use of the surround channels.
Extras abound as well. First up is a running commentary from director Proyas
and writer Akiva Goldsman. Theres also a making of featurette
thats mostly merely promotional, a still photos gallery, a commercial
for the TV sitcom Arrested Development and Inside Look, which is
a series of trailers for upcoming Fox Stuff.
I, Robot, from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
114 min. anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1, 16x9 TV compatible), Dolby Digital and
dts 5.1 surround
Starring Will Smith, Bridget Moynihan, Bruce Greenwood, James Cromwell
Produced by Laurence mark, Jon Davis, Topher Dow, Wyck Godfrey
Written by Jeff Vintar and Akiva Goldsman, directed by Alex Proyas
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