Saturday, July 17, 2004

I, Robot (IMDB) (Netflix)
Suggested by Isaac Asimov's, classic sci-fi collection. It's Chicago in 2035, and Will Smith is a detective who's not fond of the ever-growing population of robots who—to his mind—are taking over the world. Of course, everyone else thinks he's nuts, even when the premier robotics scientist dies under mysterious circumstances.

Strip away the effects created by the dozen or so special effects houses (I lost count), and you have a pretty basic plot: rugged individualist suspects conspiracy even though everyone doubts him, and enlists the aid of an attractive sidekick (Bridget Moynahan) to fight evil. Even Smith's boss is a skeptical-but-sympathetic beefy black guy. But enjoyment is in the selling, and Will can sell. The reveal of how Smith came to his beliefs is nicely paced and the "am I machine or being" thread is reasonably portrayed. Mix in some inventive action scenes, and you have a crowd-pleasing popcorn movie with intellectual aspirations.