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I, Robot

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: I, Robot

Starring: Will Smith, Bridget Moynahan
Director: Alex Proyas
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 111 Minutes
Release Date: July 2004
Genres: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Action, Suspense

*Also starring: Bruce Greenwood, Chi McBride, Alan Tudyk, James Cromwell, Aaron Douglas, David Haysom, Shia LaBeouf, Peter Shinkoda, Emily Tennant

Review by Susan Granger
3½ stars out of 4

Fans of the visionary science-fiction guru Isaac Asimov should keep in mind that this high-tech thriller is "suggested by" his short stories and adapted by Jeff Vintar and Akiva Goldsmith.

Set in Chicago in 2035, the futuristic story begins as robotophobic homicide detective Del Spooner (Will Smith) suspects that a rogue robot, Sonny, (voiced by British actor Alan Tudyk) may have killed its 'father,' inventor Dr. Alfred Lanning (James Cromwell). This archaic concept is ridiculed by U.S. Robotics' CEO (Bruce Greenwood) and his icy, humorless robo-psychiatrist (Bridget Moynahan), particularly since the company is set to roll out its new, more sophisticated prototype. Even Spooner's supervisor (Chi McBride) and his grandmother (Adrian Ricard) dismiss his Luddite fears as irrational. Everyone knows robots are benign machines, hard-wired never to harm a human and programmed to cheerfully do menial work. But Spooner's paranoia pays off when, inexplicably, a computer wildly malfunctions, inciting a robotics rebellion.

While the actors are certainly credible, Australian director Alex Proyas ("The Crow," "Dark City") concentrates on the combative visuals in this familiar, derivative, yet ironic, "ghosts in the machine" fantasy-action-adventure, relying on CGI legions of androgynous, human-faced, blue-eyed, "evolved" robots to repeatedly smash up the screen. The contrived dialogue is predictable and, curiously, the crux of a sub-plot involving a teenager (Shia La-Beouf) must have landed on the cutting-room floor - and what's with the Converse sneakers product-placement? While not as good as "Blade Runner" or "A.I.," on the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "I, Robot" is a sleek, stylish, sinister 8, a fun flick with a speculative metaphysical ending that makes you think.

Copyright 2004 Susan Granger

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