The Films of Alex Proyas #5 – I, Robot (2004)

photo-will-smith-i-robotIs director Alex Proyas to sci-fi what my favorite horror director John Carpenter is to horror, as I have heard on more than one occasion from several different sci-fi junkies, whose opinions I all strongly respect? There’s only one way to find out; by watching all of Proyas’ films in chronological order. My take on his fifth feature I, Robot, after the jump.

two-stars1From I, Robot – Detective Spooner: “You are the dumbest smart person I have ever met.” My sentiments exactly. Only substitute the word ‘person’ with ‘movie’ and you have I, Robot in a nutshell.

A main character wearing a trench coat – check. Futuristic cityscape – check. overall theme of hope – you bet ya. Make no doubt about it, this is an Alex Proyas film. Though not his best (not even close), and certainly not his worst, it is a Proyas film. I just wish it wasn’t such a frustrating one to watch.

Raking in over $347 mil at the box office, Alex Proyas’ return to the realm of sci-fi after his awkward attempt at small budgeted indie comedy is easily his most financially successful film to date. Honestly though, do you really give a damn about how much money a movie made? If you’re anything like me, you just want to see a good movie, and I, Robot for the most part is pretty good. Then again, for the most part it’s also pretty bad, except for when it’s being pretty good. Then just as I start settling in to enjoy it, BAM!, it becomes eye-soringly bad again.

I legitimately felt frustrated while watching this. Is that normal? Let me answer that for you. No! It’s not normal. Sure, I can understand a sense of frustration while watching social or political wrongs being depicted in more serious fare, but from a summer blockbuster starring Will Smith? I would have been happier if the movie was bad from start to finish, at least then I wouldn’t have had the knowwithall of seeing flourishes of brilliance, hence, there would have been nothing to be disappointed over come the sucky parts, hence again (that’s a double-hence for ya), no moments of frustration.

Listen, by the time I reached the closing credits of this dizzying indecisive bipolar roller coaster ride of extreme goods and extreme bads I was too exhausted to even try to contemplate any of the science fiction ideas being presented, yet alone give a good God damn.

If I may, two prime examples if the unevenness I speak of:

1. The special effects ranged from fantastically real looking robots worthy of the film’s only Oscar nomination to laughable cartoony cars spinning out of control that wouldn’t even be worthy of a Razzie.

2. I’d like to say that the acting ranged from being over emoted and forced to even somewhat entertaining, but sadly I can’t. Oh, for God’s sake, why is Shia LaBeouf in this – and as the comic relief? I’ve seen better casting on a Playskool fishing pole.

Well, Alex Proyas, I’m willing to forget this one if you are. Actually, I think I already did. So, what do you have in store for me next?

Up next: Knowing, starring Nicolas Cage. I am so ready for this one!

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Categories: Director Spotlight, Reviews

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