Friday, 9 October 2015

Film Review (Archetypes) - I, Robot (Alex Proyas, 2004)

Fig 1. I, Robot Poster.

I, Robot is set in the near future of 2035 in the American city of Chicago. Del Spooner is a detective for the Chicago police department. He is shown to mistrust robots which is later explained to be because of their cold mathematical thinking process. This hostility began when he was in a car accident along with a young girl, a robot saved Spooner instead of the girl because he had a higher chance of survival. The film follows along a path where detective Spooner's mistrust eventually ends up saving the city from a hostile robot takeover.

The Hero:
Detective Del Spooner is without a doubt the hero of this film. He is at the very centre of the story, a story which revolves around Spooner's hatred towards robot-kind.

The Shadow:
V.I.K.I, the A.I. that controls all of the new NS5 robots turns out to be the shadow at the end of the story. However for most of the story the audience is lead to believe that Lawrence Robertson, the CEO and head of US Robotics, is the shadow. Due to his position of power it is easy to point blame at him and detective Spooner does so with ease. Near the conclusion of the film V.I.K.I is shown to have evolved beyond her programmed duties and turns the newly developed robots against humanity. She believes that she is saving humanity from its own destructive tenancies by removing humanity's free will. She is stopped by Spooner when he injects 'nanites' (a serum designed to destroy the brain functions of robots) into her core at the heart of the US Robotics building.

The Mentor:
The mentor in this film is quite easy to spot. It is Dr Alfred Lanning, the audience is introduced to him after his death at the beginning of the film. A holographic recording of him and old videos guide Spooner towards the answers that Dr Lanning left for him to find.

Fig 2. Dr Lanning Hologram.

The Threshold guardian:
Sonny, the robot created by Dr Lanning seems to be the threshold guardian in this film. It is revealed soon after his appearance that he is different from other robots. He has the same rules and laws inside him that govern the other robots, but he was built to be able to choose whether to follow them or ignore them. Early in the film Detective Spooner interviews this unique machine and this is the threshold. During the interview, Spooner starts to understand that something is wrong, he starts to realise that Dr Lanning is trying to tell him something and that this robot may be the key to solving it.

The Herald:
This would seems to be Dr Lanning. His voice appears occasionally at key moments in the film, narrating the scenes with lines that sound like they are out of a textbook on robotics. His physical appearances in his hologram and in the videos that Detective Spooner watches also seem to narrate the scenes, at least partially.

The shapeshifter appears to be Sonny in this film, at the beginning he is perceived as an enemy. He is immediately suspected by Detective Spooner as the core reason for Dr Lanning's death. Later in the film he begins to earn Spooner's trust and they become allies to stop the robot takeover. In a smaller way however, Lawrence Robertson is the shapeshifter. He is seen to be the villain for the majority of the film, the hero only realizes who the real villain is after they find Robertson dead in his office.

Fig 3. Sonny the Robot.

The trickster in this film is Farber, Detective Spooner's young friend who comes in and out of the storyline throughout. His appearances are always in between key moments, this makes it seem as though he is there only for moving the story forwards. He appears multiple times when the hero is journeying to a certain goal. Farber also provides most of the comedy relief in this film, this mostly comes from trying to impress Spooner and becoming a nuisance or distraction to him.

There are three core allies in this film, Dr Lanning's hologram is the first to appear to Spooner, followed closely by Dr Calvin and then shortly afterwards Sonny jumps into the storyline as a perceived villain. Eventually, after trust is gained between Detective Spooner and Sonny, Sonny becomes an ally.

Illustration List

Proyas, A (2004) Figure 1. I, Robot Poster.,-Robot_7115_1.jpg (Accessed on 07/10/15)

Proyas, A (2004) Figure 2. Dr Lanning Hologram. (Accessed on 09/10/15)

Proyas, A (2004) Figure 3. Sonny the Robot. (Accessed on 09/10/15)

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