I, Robot

2004, Davis Entertainment et al

Will Smith was definitely the actor of choice for a surprising number of science fiction films. Inspired by Isaac Asimov's short-story collection, if only in title, this big-budget, effects-heavy, action-packed blockbuster was, IMO, the wrong way to handle the concept; consequently, instead of something thought-provoking and sophisticated, along the lines of Ex Machina, we got shootouts, high-speed chases and seriously overblown robot army battles. There's no question we got more than enough of state-of-the-art effects (it won an Academy Award in that category) and the performances were solid. But somehow it still felt unsatisfying. Had it been given a different title, it might have changed our expectations, and fared better—sometimes the subtlest change can make a surprising difference. Maybe Robot Wars?

     

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