Robots rising against humans is hardly an original concept. With so many high profile films using this theme it's surprising how many are
still produced based on it. Especially when you consider how genre-defining films such as Jaws and Jurassic Park almost single handedly
scared away anyone from even attempting a shark or dinosaur film.
But that said, director Alex Proyas decided to give the "robo revolution" genre a try. And luckily, he gets it right.
The story follows detective Del Spooner (Will Smith) and his attempt to uncover the truth behind a bizarre suicide involving a revolutionary
robot designer. The plot is interesting and engaging, even though some of the dialog is a bit cheesy. Even better though, are the visual
effects driven action sequences.
Of special note is when Proyas pulls out all the stops in the climax of the film with some dizzyingly wild camera work. These are all possible
though thanks to the solid effects work by Digital Domain. The CGI robots move, act, and feel almost real... almost.
In fact the main robot character, Sonny, feels more human than some of the humans in the film (cough cough, stiff acting Bridget Moynahan).
The movie also falls into the frequent mystery gaffe of singling out the "obvious bad guy" so blatantly that we know it couldn't possibly be
that character... And when you find out who the real villain is... it's kind of a groaner.
Other than that though, I, Robot is a good film. Not great, but certainly good. Alex Proyas' steady direction and ambitious visuals put it above
the bar. And, hell, call it a comeback for Will Smith, this being his best film since Men In Black. And yes... I know that's not saying much...
* * *
(out of four)
Directed by: Alex Proyas
Written by: Jeff Vintar and Akiva Goldsman
Starring: Will Smith, Bridget Moynahan, Alan Tudyk,
James Cromwell, Bruce Greenwood
Cinematography by: Simon Duggan
Music by: Marco Beltrami
Released: July 16, 2004; 105 Minutes