I, Robot raises some profound questions. Like, why did God create man? Indeed, a vibrator cannot mow the lawn, and broken plumbing doesn't fix itself, but if you have robots that do all of this, well… that question… it comes up. Save the rotten tomatoes, fellows, for the movie that has Isaac Asimov turning in his grave.
I, Robot is set in the year 2035, and witnesses an age where human beings are an outdated configuration as robots become indispensable to human existence. USR is the biggest robotics company, run by Lawrence, a high powered business tycoon. In fact, so rich is he that you'd expect him to have a tall secretary for taking down notes in longhand, a short secretary for shorthand and a tiny secretary for making footnotes. Ah, but he doesn't. He has a robot!
Will Smith plays Detective Spooner, a hardcore anti-robot activist who believes that the humanoid chunks of metal are a menace to mankind, biding their time before they take over the world. While the three laws of robotics, that are etched into every robot's positronic brain, clearly indicate that a robot can do absolutely nothing to inflict any kind of harm upon a human, our man, Spooner, doggedly believes otherwise.
He tries to get people to see that a program cannot be trusted, and after MS Windows it is surprising that people do not see his point. Anyway, Spooner dogmatically keeps at his mission - in fact, he is a real live-wire salesman. Except, he doesn't sell live-wires. He's a cop, remember? So when the father of robotics, Alfred Lanning (yep, not Asimov), falls off his office window, located at an obscene height, Spooner must prove that what is believed to be suicide is, in point of fact, a homicide.
The perks of the job of a Hollywood cop include close encounters with really pretty ladies. Spooner meets Dr. Susan Calvin (Bridget Monyahan), a robot-shrink, and together they must figure out why Sonny, Lanning's favourite NS 5 robot, can think independently, feel, and, basically, seem more human.
Sonny, for his part, is brilliant. The visual graphics give it a whole range of emotions, leaving you hoping Monyahan had solicited the same help. The movie from this point on becomes rather interesting, even though it starts to bring back memories of Frankenstein, AI and The Matrix.
The plot of the movie unfolds beautifully once the first half is up. It holds a few subtle surprises that you will, for the most part, see coming. But the special effects leave almost nothing to be desired. And neither will Will Smith's smarmes. If you do not desire.
I, Robot makes for a fairly good movie-going experience. While the first half of the review may have made it seem otherwise, the second half leads up to this logical conclusion. Are we being ambivalent? Well, yes and no.