Inspired by the short stories of famed visionary author Isaac Asimov, I, Robot is a high-tech, sci-fi thriller worth checking out – and you don’t need to be an Asimov fan or even a sci-fi fan to enjoy it.
Set in the not-so-far-fetched future, in the year 2035, cars drive themselves and robots are, according to the three laws of robotics, a trusted part of everyday life. Detective Del Spooner (Will Smith) isn’t convinced. Aren’t all laws made to be broken? Sporting vintage 2004 Converse sneakers, and yearning for the simple times, Spooner is a bit skeptical when it comes to technology and robots – particularly when the number of robots in the U.S. is about to triple. With the release of U.S. Robotics’ latest model – the NS-5 Automated Domestic Assistant – there will now be one robot for every five humans, not to mention one very powerful company.
When Dr. Alfred Lanning (James Cromwell) the technical genius behind the rise of U.S. Robotics, is found dead, Inspector Spooner is called to the scene for what is suspected as suicide. But having discovered “a ghost in the machine” that threatens the safety of the human race, Lanning creates holograms of himself that, after his death, provide Spooner with clues of Lanning’s murder. The murderer? An NS-5 named Sonny who’s found a way to circumvent the three laws. With the help of Dr. Susan Calvin (Bridget Moynahan) an ultra-rational robot psychologist who prefers robots to people, Spooner (who is coincidentally newly divorced from his ex-wife) embarks on saving the human race from being completely wiped out by the new NS-5s.
There’s a nice twist to the story (which I won’t give away) and on top of that – it’s all very believable…frighteningly so. Director Alex Proyas was right to steer away from the usual Hollywood theatrical approaches to the future. He doesn’t employ flying cars. People don’t travel through time warps. Instead, you get a sense of reality. You believe you’re in a world populated by robots. You believe that this is really the natural 30-year progression from our world. And who knows, maybe it is.
-The Making of I, Robot