Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5. USA/Germany, 2004. Twentieth Century Fox, Mediastream Vierte Film GmbH & Co. Vermarktungs KG, Davis Entertainment, Laurence Mark Productions, Overbrook Entertainment, Canlaws Productions. Story by Jeff Vintar, Screenplay by Jeff Vintar, Akiva Goldsman, suggested by the book by Isaac Asimov. Cinematography by Simon Duggan. Produced by Michael Lee Baron, John Davis, Topher Dow, Wyck Godfrey, Laurence Mark. Music by Marco Beltrami. Production Design by Patrick Tatopoulos. Costume Design by Liz Keogh. Film Editing by William Hoy, Richard Learoyd, Armen Minasian. Academy Awards 2004.
Isaac Asimov’s popular science-fiction story has been liberally adapted into an exciting action thriller with Will Smith as a cop who is not pleased with the modern advent of robot technology. In 2035, android workers are as common as household assistants and companions, with three programmed laws built in to them to make sure they never for a moment harm any human beings. Smith doesn’t trust these laws, and starts to suspect robot involvement when United States Robotic’s primary designer (James Cromwell) is found dead of a suspicious suicide. Smith’s colleagues insist that no robot would ever harm a human being, but he continues on his quest to find the truth, recruiting a dedicated robot psychologist (Bridget Moynahan) to help him. All the story’s elements don’t congeal as well as they should, an uncomfortable compromise between Asimov’s bubbly view of the future and the filmmakers’ desire for darker, more modern action film cliches, but it is enjoyable and features some very nifty and creative special effects. The computer-generated robot named Sonny (voiced by Alan Tudyk) is an especially clever creation whose personality is brought to life with graceful flair. Performances are strong and production design is beautiful, making for a good, if not great, movie watching experience.