InsidePulse DVD Review – I, Robot



Alex Proyas


Will Smith………. Del Spooner
Bridget Moynahan………. Susan Calvin
Alan Tudyk………. Sonny
James Cromwell………. Dr. Alfred Lanning
Bruce Greenwood………. Lawrence Robertson
Chi McBride………. Lt. John Bergin

Fox Entertainment presents a Davis Entertainment /Laurence Mark Productions / Overbrook Entertainment Production. Running time: 114 Minutes. Rated PG-13 (Intense stylized action, and some brief partial nudity).

The Movie:

I,Robot is exactly what one would expect of a summer blockbuster: Large scale, intense, and filled to the brim with special effects.

Directed by Alex Proyas, who is one of the more stylist young directors in Hollywood, I,Robot stars Will Smith as Detective Del Spooner who is a self described robophobe. One of the first things that is established in I,Robot is that Spooner does not trust Robots for various reasons. Yet, in the reality of the I,Robot world, robots are designed to not hurt humans. Considering, programmed into every robot are the three laws, and because of these laws it is impossible for robots to harm humans.

Or is it? Suddenly Dr. Alfred Lanning (James Cromwell), head designer at U.S Robotics, has an accident and the only suspect is not human, but a robot. Lanning’s body was thrown out of a window in the U.S Robotics headquarters, making quiet the indent in the floor below, oh yeah, and it killed him. When Spooner does to investigate Lanning’s office, he is attacked by a robot, thus the gears are in motion for a fast paced, interesting science fiction.

There are some standouts in I,Robot, first is Smith himself. According to Hollywood insiders, Will Smith is the single most ‘bankable’ actor in North America. With that, he turns in a good performance in I,Robot. Smith plays the robophobic cop perfectly, torn between his own past and his duty as a police officer. When I first heard Smith was acting in Science Fiction, I was a little hesitant, but one quickly warms up to the Fresh Prince.

Besides Smith, the supporting cast is works well. When the headlining star is as big as Smith, the main job of the supporting cast is to keep the film moving and focused on the lead. Chi McBride stands out as the best, playing a police chief and somewhat father figure to Spooner. While Bridget Moynahan falls a bit flat playing the love interest to Smith.

For me, the best aspect of I,Robot is the vision Alex Proyas brings to the film. Proyas idea of the future is extremely relatable, thusly the audience can connect quickly to a world with robots. It speaks volumes to the skill of Alex Proyas, because in all of his films, he has created worlds that are interesting, unique, and relatable. I,Robot is easily his most accessible looking film, it’s not nearly as dark as ‘The Crow’ or ‘Dark City.’

Proyas is one of the brightest lights, directing wise, and I,Robot shows how masterfully he can craft a image of our future. Heck, I’m looking forward to a FedEx robot. Think ‘Minority Report’ without the annoyance of Tom Cruise.

The drawback for me is in the adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s short stories. I realize that Asimov’s stories are the backbone for Jeff Vintar’s screenplay. Yet, points the screenplay seems to be hallow and jumpy, more focused on action sequences then on the growing divide between humans and robots. Asimov focused on the replacement of humans with robots, and how that could spell the demise of the human race. Asimov’s stories are much darker then Vintar’s screenplay, and I believe anyone who really enjoyed I,Robot, should read the works of Isaac Asimov.

Score: 7.5 / 10


Video: Shiny pretty things!

I’m not really the type of play attention to the video, and this is the third time I’ve watched I,Robot (Theatres, the original DVD release, and the Special Edition). With that said, I saw no difference between the original DVD and Special Edition, video wise. The video contained no problem, and the picture looked great. The transfer is exact same as the original DVD.

Score: 8 / 10

Sound: Oh, the ringing!

It sounds fine. Presented in 5.1 DTS and 5.1 Dolby, it sounds exactly like you’d expect in the theatre, minus the 14 year olds making out behind you. That sound just can’t be recreated by DTS or Dolby. Oh, the intangibles. Nothing stands out about the sound to make it less then an 8.

Score: 8 / 10

The Extras: Sweet mother of god… The extras.

Ok! So. I’m not the type to be wowed by extras. Generally speaking, deleted scenes are deleted for the right reasons [normally pacing] and different endings are different because they suck. This is no different in I,Robot. These deleted scenes are exactly what one would expect, scenes that just don’t fit in the film.

There are three commentary tracks, one with director Alex Proyas and screenwriter Akiva Goldsman, another with audio commentary by production designer Patrick Tatopolous, editor Richard Learoyd, visual effects supervisor John Nelson, associate producer John Kilkenny, animation supervisor Andy Jones and visual effects supervisor Brian Van’t Hul. Finally, a boring commentary by composer Marco Beltrami. The best track is Alex Proyas, as he gives you a great feel into the picture, but besides that, the other commentaries are just to bulk up the audio section of the DVD.

The making-of feature is the same as the original DVD. Your run of the mill making of feature. They spend a lot of time on the design of the robots, which is interesting… I guess.

Finally, the second disk featurettes. There are 4 or 5 hours in total, and too much for a average viewer to digest. Frankly, these are boring. I understand that many people would be interested in features about the CGI, and pre and post productions of this film, but the features tended to bore me silly. The individuals interviewed in the features were flat and just kind of frustrated me. Overall, these features are designers for people who are big fans of I,Robot, and not the casual viewer. Nerd alert, the I,Robot All Access DVD will eat up many, many hours of your life… not like you have anything better to do.

Score: 6.5 / 10 – Quantity over Quality.

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