Detective Del Spooner (Will Smith) really doesn’t like robots at all, and despite the fact that no robot has ever committed a crime he never trusted them.
The day before the newest model, the NR5 from US Robotics which downloads updates on a daily basis, gets released, its designer, Alfred Lanning (James Cromwell) jumps out of a window. Normally, Del would not be put on the case as it’s considered a suicide and not a murder, but because Lanning’s hologram called Del personally, he wants to do a double check nonetheless. While checking Lanning’s office, Del encounters a prototype of the NR5 which tries to escape. After a hectic pursuit, the robot gets caught and Spooner quickly realises that there’s something strange about it as it calls itself Sonny and can somehow emulate emotions, something a robot should not be capable of doing. Del thinks the robot has had something to do with Lanning’s death but before he can do a thorough interrogation, Sonny gets taken by USR’s CEO Lawrence Robertson (Bruce Greenwood) who doesn’t want any rumours about a problem with the NR5 on the eve of the launch of the new model. Since robots are bound by three laws that should prevent them from ever hurting any human, Del’s superiors don’t give any credit to his suspicions and close the matter as a normal suicide.
Meanwhile, robo-psychoanalys doctor Susan Calvin (Bridget Moynahan) has found out that Sonny isn’t a standard NR5 but that Lanning has modified him in such a way that he’s no longer bound by the three laws and doesn’t even have a link with US Robotics to receive his updates. This makes her believe that Spooner may have been right to a certain degree that there’s something suspicious about Lanning’s death and she decides to help Del in his continuing search for the truth behind what’s happened and why Lanning modified Sonny to be different from the other NR5’s.
Sound and Vision:
I, Robot is a movie with two sides. On one side there’s the dark atmosphere that is visually portrayed but on the other hand there are also several scenes with bright and vibrant colors. Bringing these two styles together isn’t always easy but in I, Robot this is done very well. Also the scenes with thousands of robots are shown extremely well and don’t have any problems on the visual front. There are some scenes that suffer from minor compression artefacts but luckily these are a minority and are well compensated by the large action scenes.
The soundtrack is very aggressive with lots of use of the surround channels aswell as the subwoofer and we like it a lot. Movies with lots of action scenes should always have effects coming from all sides, supported by a decent amount of bass and I, Robot delivers that perfectly as the dialogues remain clear and nicely positioned at the center speaker at all times despite lots of effects and music coming from the other speakers.
We got to check out the rental version so we can’t really say much about the extra’s that are present on the retail disks. On the disc we received there were only a couple of trailers.
I, Robot is based on the short story written by Isaac Asimov. Asimov’s books can be seen in two major lines, on one hand the Foundation novels and on the other the Robot novels of which I, Robot is a part of. True fans of Asimov will be disappointed a bit as the dark and compelling atmosphere has had to leave the room several times to make place for action scenes in which Will Smith can shine. Therefore it’s easier to see I, Robot as a creation of Will Asimov or Isaac Smith (which you like most). Will Smith fans will definitely like I, Robot a lot due to the above average storyline while Asimov fans can finally see a movie based on one of the writer’s stories on the big screen. And the general audience gets an entertaining action movie that’s fun to watch. Now let’s hope the Foundation books get filmed as well but have some less compromises concerning the atmosphere.