I, Will smith and other machines: dubby’s dvdiscussion

Dubby Bhagat


Every year there is a Big Willy Weekend in America when a Will Smith movie makes box office history. For example one year we had, ‘Independence Day’ and another year there was ‘Men In Black’. In 2004,Will Smith brought in the hit. I, Robot which, did extraordinarily well but didn’t do as well as ‘Spider Man 2’.

‘I, Robot’, based an Isaac Asimov’s short stories, is about robots, men and mayhem that has preoccupied Hollywood for decades.

There was, ‘Blade Runner’ in 1982,which had Harrison Ford trying to rid a futuristic Los Angeles of a rogue robot. Before that in 1977 there was, the ‘Demon Seed’, which featured a man-made computer with ideas of it’s own.

But the classic computer-on-the-rampage movie was Arthur C Clarke’s frightening story, ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’, brought to stunning classical life by Stanley Kubrick as early as 1968.

Some critics described, ‘Space Odyssey’ as ‘’ponderous, ambiguous and arty,’’ and the movie which is often listed as one of the 100 Best Films, had mixed reactions.

Rock Hudson walked out of the premiere of the film saying ‘’will someone tell me what the hell this is about?’’

‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ is about a venture into space, controlled by a supercomputer called HAL who has a seductive voice, sinister intentions, and murder on its mechanical mind. The movie won Kubrick two Oscar nominations and an Oscar for the Best Special Visual Effects. Do watch it while you wait in line for the hugely popular ‘I, Robot’. It will show you how Sci-Fi movies have progressed.

But memorable Robotics goes back to 1973 in Hollywood when Michael Crichton, best known for ‘Jurassic Park’ wrote and directed, ‘Westworld’ which critics Mick Martin and Marsha Porter describe, ‘’The film concerns an expensive World for well-to-do vacationers. They can live out their fantasies in the Old West or King Arthur’s Court with the aid of programmed robots repaired nightly by scientists so they can be ‘’killed’’ the next day by tourists. Richard Benjamin and James Brollin are tourists who come up against a rebellious robot (Yul Brynner).’’

In ‘I, Robot’ Will Smith plays a paranoid detective, Del Spooner, who has suspicions about the world where people are becoming increasingly dependent on Robots.

Then the inventor of the machines is murdered and the suspect is a Robot called Sonny who seems to have feelings, memories and clues to the crime.

Will Smith aided by Robot psychologist played by Bridget Moynahan race through an action packed movie trying to unravel the murder and hell bent on figuring out how the Robot, Sonny broke the Law Of Robotics: robots must protect humans.

Will Smith say’s that despite a movie driven by special effects, Director Alexas Proyas puts the plot first, “I think he captured where action movies in the future are going to go. You just can’t blow stuff up anymore and think you’re going to have a successful film. You have got to start with a story that would work without special effects.’’ But lest you get the wrong idea, ‘I, Robot’ is packed with special effects and computer generated imagery. Will Smith:’’ It’s definitely the most special effects work I’ve ever been involved with, and I’ve done some big special effects movies.’’

Smith says he knows he’s been successful at playing men who save the world, but his next film has no special effects, it’s a romantic comedy called ‘The last First Kiss,’ due out in 2005.

Critic Bret Fetzer best sums it up with ‘’I, Robot the action movie, isn’t prepared for any ruminations on the significance of artificial intelligence. This likable, efficient movie won’t break any new ground, but it does have an idea or two to accompany its jolts and thrills, which puts it ahead of most recent action flicks.’’

Because they’re so mainstream, so big time, and because all of you have seen Governor Arnie’s ultimate robotic series, ‘The Terminator’, we’ll leave them with just a mention, while ending with Steven Spielbergs, ‘AI: Artificial Intelligence’.

Of this movie Messer’s Martin and Porter say,’’ In the not-so-far future, the greenhouse effect cause the polar ice caps to melt further polarises American society. The ‘’haves’’ rely on ‘’mechas,’’ androids capable of doing just about anything.The genius behind their creation decides to experiment with a robot capable of feeling love; in particular, a boy given to a bereaved family whose son is being kept in frozen stasis until a cure is found for his disease. When this medical miracle transpires, the loving little robot is cast aside in an unfriendly world he doesn’t understand. ‘2001’ meets ‘ET’ is a bit simplistic but somehow apt for Steven Spielberg’s realisation of a film planned by Stanley Kubrick before his death.