Wednesday, July 20, 2005

I, Robot

I'll start today with something light: a brief movie review of I, Robot.

I am probably best described as a casual fan of classic sci-fi. I've read the core Foundation novels, spits and spurts of Clarke and Heinlein, and dabbled in a half-dozen other classic authors in bits and pieces. I'm far from an expert, but I've accumulated some exposure over the years.

I went into I, Robot not knowing what to expect. I left it feeling much the same way. I'm not sure the folks making the movie knew what they wanted, or what they got.

First off, Will Smith fails in this role. I don't know how -- but he does. He nails half of his character's personality, but just isn't convincing enough at other times. I can't really blame him, because it seemed like they didn't know what they wanted his character to be.

This is the continuing problem with the movie. Is it an action movie or a deep sci-fi movie? Is it trying to be both (ala The Matrix) or neither? I can't tell, and I'm not sure they could either while making it. They wind up an interesting "hard sci-fi" sort of open-ended story, and then at the same time try to spoon-feed everything to you with a pretty bow and lots of explosions.

The movie basically makes promises it never delivers on, and leaves you wondering what you just watched. It was a solid disappointment, because instead of aiming low and succeeding, or aiming high and failing, it just sort of limps along with uncertain expectations and uncertain delivery.

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