I Robot

i-robot

What Is It?

  • First Law:A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human
    being to come to harm.
  • Second Law:A robot must obey orders given it by human beings, except where such orders
    would conflict with the First Law.
  • Third Law:A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not
    conflict with the First or Second Law.

The year is 2035. The world looks like ours with more technological advances. The biggest advance seems to be that it is very common for people to have robots as a personal assistant. In this setting we have a sci-fi cop film. Sort of CSI meets Disney World’s Tomorrow Land. This fast paced robot-mystery focuses on detective Spooner (Wil Smith), a loner in vintage 2004 “All Star” sneakers. He has never trusted robots, but now that his friend Dr. Alfred Lanning (Babe’s James Cromwell) is dead, Spooner rejects the theory of suicide, and takes in a robot to interrogate on murder charges. Spooner then takes on the system where most people believe that the laws programmed into each robot makes it impossible to accuse a robot of harm.

How Was It?

I’m not at all a Will Smith fan. This marks the first thing he has done that I have enjoyed since he came out with the “He’s the DJ, I’m the Rapper” album in 1988. (I don’t recommend the album now.) This was a fun and intelligent film with a good script, good performances and special effects that are well done, but not over the top. It’s exciting but does not feel like your typical FX film.

The film was nominated for an Oscar for its special effects, but lost to Spider Man 2.

Is It Good For Kids?

The danger in the film is real, but the robots are friendly looking. Unlike the Orks in “Lord of the Rings” the presence of tons of the enemy coming after the main character is exciting but not disturbing. Their action ends with some blood. They are also dealing with the issues of suicide and murder through out the film. At one point you do see the basic shape of the female lead while she is showering behind a very steamy glass door. (I believe this was to compare her “humanity” to the robot in the next room.)

The problem that most people will see with “I Robot” is that the main character, though not shown as the moral compass of the film, cusses a fair amount. He even tells a kid “Go home and stop cussing, you’re no good at it.”

You can check www.ScreenIt.com for a complete break down of elements shown on the screen.

How about Spiritual Issues?

Right off the bat the female lead (Bridget Moynahan) tells Spooner that because of the three laws the idea of a robot that can kill some one is a impossible as the idea of a man who can walk on water. Spooner replies “There was this one guy, a long time ago…”

There is also a reference to the robots being like Frankenstein. Like most classic horror monsters, the story of Frankenstein was about a man who tries to be God, and going against God produces a monster. Considering all the other symbolism that matches up, I believe that the classical and religious implications of the statement were intentional. This is the start of an underlying comparison between the story of Jesus
and the plot of I, Robot. Being a bit of a mystery the rest of this section will be a MAJOR SPOILER.

It is discovered that the dead scientist has a Bible in his desk that Spooner finds and spends a good deal of time looking through. The Bible is one of only 2 things he finds in the apartment before it’s destroyed. It seems that the scientist had been held captive by the robots he invented and used the story of Jesus as his influence to concoct a plan to “save” all humanity for the robots.

The laws of the robots only bring about death and slavery (like the laws of Moses). The robots have decided that they need to hold the world hostage and even kill some humans because statistically it will keep the humans safer.

The main robot in question is named “Sunny” (Alan Tudyk) and refers to the scientist that created him as his “Father”. The robot is designed to be more human and able to choose to follow the laws or not. It’s also seen that Spooner is part robot and part human. And the Scientist had himself killed to set off these events and save humanity. Thus he sacrificed himself and this trinity brings about the physical salvation
of the world. In the movie The Matrix, Neo is a Christ Figure. From his Baptism to his death and resurrection through the power of Trinity, he follows the story of Jesus. the Matrix used there Christ Figure to bring a “New Message.” (Galatians 1:8)   Unlike the Matrix, I, Robot is using the story of Jesus as a map of how to
save people. Thus the Jesus symbolism here points back to Jesus. We also see Spooner’s Grandmother, shown as just an all around wonderful woman, wanting to go to church and carrying a Bible exactly like the one Spooner found. (Just incase you didn’t yet know what that book was.)

Finally it turns out that Sonny did kill the scientist, at the scientist’s orders. So the line about “a robot that could kill a human is like a man that could walk on water” more clearly points out who Sonny is emulating.

What Is Your Recommendation?

I would definitely recommend it if you have non-Christian friends who like it. Watching it and being able to point out the Jesus symbolism is both interesting, and potential for opening up questions and discussion about the most important things in life.

The only thing that prevents me for whole heartedly recommending it simply for personal entertainment is the fact that the cussing comes so prevalently from a character that we are supposed to like and root for. This may be one of the very few times where one of those “remove the bad words from your TV” devices might be a good idea…. but still you are going to get the line about the only reason not to cuss is because “you’re not good at it.”

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2 Responses to “I Robot”

  1. George C Says:

    I loved this one.

    Cussing is wrong because……?

    • questionentertainment Says:

      It just does not sit right to be a “hero at Cussing.”
      It’s also a factor for people to consider when considering this film. That’s why I mentioned it.

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