I, Robot

Can Robots Dream?

Main Cast: Will Smith, Bridget Moynahan, Bruce Greenwood, James Cromwell

Director: Alex Proyas

“We’re going to see that film inspired by the robot book series written by Isaac Asimov.” It would be churlish of me not to lead off with that quote from my friend Brian, who told anyone and everyone this very thing before we went off to see the film. And so we did. And I must state right now, it was much better than I’d expected.

The movie stars Smith as Del Spooner, a police detective in a large city circa 2035 (Lije Bailey, anyone?). In this time there are robots, which now take care of all the unpleasant jobs… without unions! Indeed a miracle. Spooner suffers from bad dreams and a hatred of robots, which are explained later. However, at the beginning, he merely makes his dislike very clear. Just back from an unspecific time off, his first case is an apparent suicide, one of the top scientists at the huge Robotics corporation. The plot follows his investigation of the suicide, and repeated attempts on his life. He meets Susan Calvin (Moynahan, another name from the books, although if I recall she was much older), another scientist who also has ties with the dead scientist, and she is drawn into his investigation.

The dead scientist was working on the next generation of robots, who are much more advanced than the previous, and at 1 robot to every 5 people on Earth, there will be plenty of them. Spooner has some doubts about them, which are dismissed by just about everyone, but… well, I won’t spoil it, but I will simply state that when the hero has doubts, they usually pan out. Adding to his unease is Sonny, one of the new robots and an actual suspect in the investigation. Is Sonny more than a robot? He (it?) claims he/it even has dreams…

This is a very good movie. There are action scenes, of which most are seen in the trailers, but not covered is the rich plot and actual conversations. Yes, in an action movie, but this is Sci-Fi, which has a tradition of brains as well as action. And this movie delivers. And it’s nice to see the hero and heroine start and then build on a relationship, not just jump into bed after the first half-hour. They don’t even kiss! But I have a feeling they will, someday.

Please, if you had doubts, lay them aside and go see this one. I suspect you will be pleasantly surprised.

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