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"LAW I: A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
LAW II: A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the first law.
LAW III: A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the first or second law."
The above is found printed on-screen at the beginning of this sci-fi action film.
This movie is loosely based ("suggested by," according to the end credits) on Isaac Asimov's short-story collection also entitled "I, Robot."
Some people don't seem to like this movie, but I found it interesting.
This movie is set in Chicago in the year 2035. By this time, anthropomorphic ("human-looking") robots are doing menial tasks for humans. All robots have as their core programming the three laws indicated above. But something seems to go wrong and a human is found dead. (Not just any human, but a genius roboticist played by James Cromwell.)
Enter homicide detective Dell Spooner (Will Smith who also was one of this movie's executive producers) who has to try to solve exactly what happened. A robopsychologist (Bridget Moynahan) aids Spooner in his investigation. (Believe it or not, even robots need shrinks.)
Yes, this movie has plenty of action and special effects. The action, though, is not mindless and I found myself pausing to think. As well, the special effects were done well and did not take over the movie. I liked especially how the robots interacted with humans. (The technique used for the robots was "motion capture" and I found it to be quite effective.)
As I said, this is an action movie that gives you pause to think or consider artificial intelligence and even what it means to be human with respect to such things as consciousness, uniqueness, death, having a purpose in life, free will, creativity, and evolution.
This movie has good background music that aided each scene.
Finally, the DVD itself (the one released Dec. 2004) is excellent in picture and sound quality. It has several extras.
In conclusion, this is a good, futuristic sci-fi movie that causes you to think. And don't worry: no actual robots were hurt during the making of this movie!!
(2004; 1 hr, 55 min; wide screen; 39 scenes)
<<Stephen Pletko, London, Ontario, Canada>>
I, Robot  [3D Blu-ray + 2D Blu-ray + DVD] [UK Release] Superstar Will Smith rages against the machines in this futuristic action thrill ride and now available in eye-popping 3D for the ultimate ‘I, Robot’ experience. In the year 2035, technology and robots are a trusted part of everyday life. But that trust is broken when a scientist [James Cromwell] is found dead and a cynical detective [Will Smith] believes that an advanced robot may be responsible.
Cast: Will Smith, Bridget Moynahan, Alan Tudyk, Bruce Greenwood, James Cromwell, Bruce Greenwood, Adrian Ricard, Chi McBride, Jerry Wasserman, Shia LaBeouf, Fiona Hogan, Peter Shinkoda, Terry Chen, David Haysom, Scott Heindl, Phillip Mitchell and Ian A. Wallace
Director: Alex Proyas
Producers: John Davis, Laurence Mark, Topher Dow and Wyck Godfrey
Screenplay: Akiva Goldsman and Jeff Vintar
Composer: Marco Beltrami
Cinematography: Simon Duggan
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish: 5.1 DTS-HD, French: 5.1 DTS-HD, German: 5.1 DTS-HD and Italian: 5.1 DTS-HD
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French, Danish, Nederland, Suomi, German, Italian, Norwegian and Swedish
Running Time: 110 minutes
Region: All Regions and Region B/2
Number of discs: 2
Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Andrew’s Blu-ray Review – Set in Chicago in the year 2035, 'I, Robot' introduces a futuristic utopia where harmless, humanoid robots are commonplace in every home and on every street corner. While most Americans are caught up in the convenience of their new 21st century labour force, Detective Del Spooner [Will Smith] has a troubled past with the machines. When he's assigned to investigate the murder of a brilliant doctor [James Cromwell], he finds himself face to face with the robot Sonny (voiced by Alan Tudyk) accused of the murder. Unlike the soulless legions of labour-robots in the general populace, "Sonny" seems to have obtained sentience and insists he didn't kill anyone. Forced to come to terms with his own past, Detective Spooner must uncover the secret behind Sonny's sentience and stop a dangerous robotic uprising brewing in the shadows.
Attributed to Isaac Asimov's short story collection of the same name, 'I, Robot' is actually a loose adaptation of a 1939 short story by Eando Binder. Asimov's infamous "Three Laws of Robotics" are used as a central component of the plot, but otherwise the film works hard to divorce itself from Asimov's writings. It's a good thing too and director Alex Proyas ('The Crow' and 'Dark City') floods the film with so much kinetic gunplay and explosive action that Isaac Asimov would still be rolling over in his grave. For the most part, Alex Proyas's production is a lone wolf effort that follows its own path, ideas, and message, while harkening back to many of the themes explored by the director in his previous films.
'I, Robot' is a fine piece of filmmaking. When I first watched the film, I was worried it would just be another Will Smith summer blockbuster attempt. Thankfully, Alex Proyas delves into the story's sci-fi roots with gusto and spends a considerable amount of time questioning the ethics of robotics, the dangers of arrogance, and the reality of class warfare. His vision of the future isn't shaped by special effects, but by ideas. He actually works to develop his characters, rather than slapping them into action scene after action scene as they hurtle toward a predictable ending. The director even manages to throw a whopping sucker punch at the audience with a surprising denouement. Alex Proyas proves, yet again, that he should be on the shortlist of directors best equipped to handle any film that encroaches on the dark fringes of sci-fi and fantasy.
The actors do a great job with the material as well. Alan Tudyk performs miracles with his voice work and helps Sonny emerge as the most endearingly human character on the screen. Beyond Tudyk, Bridget Moynahan, Chi McBride, and Shia LaBeouf pop up to contribute additional layers to the story. They handle their smaller parts in stride and make the most of every scene. Last but not least, Smith delivers a great performance, despite the fact that he relies on his usual screen persona a bit too often. While an uncomfortable abundance of stereotypical one-liners limit the tone of the otherwise heady sci-fi plot, Will Smith grounds the film in reality when it comes time for the robots to attack.
To its detriment, the third act overflows with action, so much so that the story takes a back seat to the scurrying foot soldiers of the robot army. At any given moment, swarms of robots make it seem a bit unlikely that a human detective could outwit and outrun a vast army of machines. It makes for a tense experience, but it also feels hurried and frantic compared to the rest of the film. Consistent pacing is one of those elements that transform a great film into a classic. It may sound strange, but 'I, Robot' is a great film in my opinon.
Alex Proyas is the only director who is the one to give his personal grim visual style and believable characters transcend his source material to provide a compelling film. For all intents and purposes, 'I, Robot' was probably meant to be little more than a summer blockbuster that would generate millions for the studio. Luckily, Alex Proyas injected enough intrigue and thought-provoking questions to push this blockbuster higher than the usual action dreck.
Blu-ray Video Quality – 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment 'I, Robot' is available in the 3D and 2D version on the same All Region Blu-ray disc.
Alex Proyas's sci-fi actioner arrives to 3D Blu-ray in a beautiful 1080p encoded image. Presented in an open matte aspect ratio of 1.78:1. Depth and dimensionality is apparent and can be pretty cool in several sequences, especially during scenes with long hallways, whenever Spooner drives through the freeway tunnel or when the action suddenly moves in slow-motion. Background objects seem to be at great distances, further extending the image, and the final battle against V.I.K.I. has some of the best 3D effects of the entire movie.
Even with the 3D glasses, the intentional photography with its lightly greyish, somewhat lifeless tone comes through perfectly as contrast is quite vivid and crisp without ruining other aspects of the presentation. Black levels are rich and luxurious with deep penetrating shadows and excellent delineation. The colour palette is bright and bold, particularly the warm, full-bodied primaries. Facial complexions appear natural with exceptionally lifelike textures which reveal every wrinkle, pore and blemish during close-ups.
In the 2D format, the video remains the same jaw-dropping quality as the previous high-definition release, except it, too, is presented in the unmated 1.78:1 format. Definition is razor-sharp from beginning to end with outstanding, crystal-clear fine lines on clothing, inside homes and the outside of skyscrapers. One very minor moment at the beginning shows a slight moiré effect as the camera slowly pans over the city, but it goes away just as quickly as it is noticed for a brief instant. Little bits of rust spots and scratches on older model robots are plainly visible and distinct while the newer models expose every joint, wire and other miscellaneous parts of metal with extraordinary clarity.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – The film comes with a brilliant 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is the identical audio presentation as its high-definition 2D counterpart, delivering a wide and amazingly expansive front soundstage. A wall of sound displays extraordinary channel separation with excellent warmth and fidelity. With crystal-clear clarity and often astonishing room-penetration, dynamic range is precise and extensive; separating the highs from the mids with distinct detailing that never loses focus. The attack/accident scene inside the tunnel terrifically demonstrates how remarkable this high-resolution track is, providing the smallest piece of shrapnel to be heard as clear as the loudest crash without distorting. The low-end is mostly in the mid-bass area, but its packs a deep, impactful punch with a few amusingly thunderous moments that rattle the walls. Amid the chaos and mayhem, vocals are intelligible and well-prioritised.
Rear activity is also exceptional and spectacular, continuously providing random sounds, action and some light commotion in the background. Bullets whiz by in the sides and overhead. Glass shatters in all directions and fills the room with debris. Evil robots jump like grasshoppers behind the listener, to the left and right and sometimes directly right in front. Even quiet scenes come with some form of activity in the back, like the distant noise of people arguing, cars driving by in traffic or dogs barking at nothing. Pans and directionality are flawless and convincingly discrete; creating a 360° sound field that's terrifically immersive and ultimately makes the movie a good deal of fun to watch.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
All the following Special Features are only available on the DVD copy of the film. But the item entitled "Continue Your 3D Journey" is ONLY available on the 3D Blu-ray disc.
Audio Commentary by Director Alex Proyas and Screenwriter Akiva Goldsman: Director Alex Proyas and Screenwriter Akiva Goldsman sit down for an excellent chat about their vision and intentions for 'I, Robot.' Proyas constantly refers to his ongoing desire to ground the film in reality and he makes sure to point out everything in the film that accomplishes his goal. The two filmmakers go on to discuss the screenplay, changes to the story, content in the film that was inspired by Asimov and other science fiction writers, the cast, the shoot, and the final cut of the film. I was also pleased with Alex Proyas's candid evaluations of his previous films ('The Crow' and 'Dark City') as well as his explanations of the lessons he's learned along the way. I found myself enjoying this commentary far more than the other two and it answered every question I had and didn't grow dull at any point during the film. 'I, Robot' fans should definitely give this one a listen.
Audio Commentary on the Legacy and Design Aspect of the film: The driest of the three commentaries also packs in the most participants: screenwriter Jeff Vintar, Production Designer Patrick Tatopoulos, Editor Richard Learoyd, Visual Effects Supervisor John Nelson, Associate Producer John Kilkenny, Digital Domain Animation Supervisor Andrew Jones, and Digital Domain Visual Effects Supervisor Erik Nash. The topics are limited to design and special effects chit chat and I found my eyes glazing over as the boys forgot to clue me into what they were talking about. It's a decent technical track to be sure, but I continually hopped back to the Director's commentary for the best info.
Audio Commentary to the Isolated Score by Composer Marco Betrami: I wish soundtracks and scores received more supplemental attention. Composer Marco Beltrami sits down to talk about the melodies, ambient harmonies, and tone of his music. My favourite bits are those in which Marco Beltrami explains how different kinds of music and instrumentation can drastically alter the tone of any given scene. I doubt many people will spend much time here, but this is a unique commentary that should be experienced by anyone looking for something different.
The Making of ‘I, Robot’ Special [12:00] This making of documentary which runs for a little over twelve minutes. It’s the kind of thing which airs on TV not long before the film’s release, so in that regard it’s your typical average making of piece. The mix of interviews, clips from the film and outtakes just isn’t all that attractive in this kind of package anymore.
Still Gallery: Here you get to see 30 still images of an in depth look at the intricate details of the Robots and also other images of behind-the-scenes on the set of the film including some of the Actors and Crew.
PLUS: Inside Look: This is an Exclusive Insider’s Look at Upcoming Projects from Fox. First up is a long Film Trailer for the film ‘Alien vs. Predator.’ Next you get a sort of Prom Trailer for ‘Elektra’ which gives you clips of behind-the-scene activities and interviews of the film. Then finally you get another Promotional Advert for the DVD Box Set of ‘24’ and also informing you of all the extras you get to view with this box set.
For the 3D Blu-ray edition, Fox offers two very minor and ultimately forgettable high-definition exclusives. In the top right corner of the main menu screen, a small blue banner reads "Continue Your 3D Journey." When clicking on it, viewers are given two short preview clips from 'Prometheus' (1 minute) and 'The Darkest Hour' (2 minutes). Both are presented in 3D with 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtracks and subtitles.
Finally, it's strange giving rave review after rave review recently, but if the studios keep churning out top-notch product, I'm more than happy to continue writing glowing reviews. ‘I, Robot’ 3D proves once again that Fox is one of the leading studios currently producing Blu-ray content, both in terms of the quality of their films and the quality of the discs they release. Even though this movie doesn't stay very true to the stories of Isaac Asimov, it's still a great thrill ride, replete with plenty of exciting action, fantastic visuals and special effects, and a very good story. Fortunately, all of this is presented in a spectacular Blu-ray package that rivals anything on the market today. The audio and video qualities are second to none, and the special features are comprehensive and presented in a new, ground-breaking way. I generally don't give out the highest of recommendations unless the movie scores a perfect 10 out of 10 with me, but I'm going to bend that rule on this one. ‘I, Robot’ on 3D Blu-ray can’t get any better than this. I have sadly read other reviewers giving a very negative stance on this 3D Blu-ray, well I personally loved it and especially seeing it in stunning 3D and obviously they must have been viewing a totally different film and I cannot hold back and say, this gets a 10 out of 10 ratings in my opinion and it has now gone pride of place in my ever increasing 3D Blu-ray Collections. HIGLY RECOMMENDED!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No. Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom