I, Robot Boycott
Posted 16 Jul 2004 at 06:09 UTC by steve
By the 1940s Isaac Asimov grew
tired of reading endless pulp stories about masses of evil,
attempting to destroy their creators. His answer was a series of
stories in which Susan Calvin, a robopsychologist, solves mysteries
caused by conflicts in the Laws of
Robotics, a set of ethical rules governing robot behaviour. Asimov's
first collection of robot stories was titled I,
Robot. Hollywood is trying to pull a fast one by
licensing the title of Asimov's book for a completely unrelated
movie, originally called Hardwired,
about masses of evil, marauding robots attempting to destroy their
creators. A hasty rewrite of the script added a few references
to the Laws of Robotics and renamed some characters to match Asimov's
story. There's a Susan Calvin in the film but
she's just along to watch Will Smith shoot things. A petition
failed to persuade 20th Century Fox to change the name of the film and
now growing numbers
Science Fiction fans request that people boycott
the opening week of I,
Robot. I plan on joining them, in an
effort to put a dent the highly valued opening week revenue. If the
marketing tactic makes money this time, Fox will likely use the recently
titles to Asimov's Foundation novels to market more unrelated films.
Having just seen the movie, I think it's ok. If you don't mind
spoilers, my write-up is here.
Basically, it wasn't a Frankenstein story. Although, it was
probably closer to "Caves of Steel", than "I, Robot", it's still a
valid Three Laws kind of story.
I plan to watch it for alterior motives, two of my robots are in the
film. Frankly I think we need to support robotic movies, they are few
and far between and it's this kind of thing that keeps robots on the
front of peoples minds.
I actually hope there will be a sequile (already in the pre-process),
because they've asked to use my bots again in that event.
I'm not big on robot movies that portray robots in this kind of manor,
but then I don't care for Battlebots much either yet they brought hobby
robotics back to life in a pretty big way.
For the record, I think the iRobot robots look stupid and if I were a
character in the movie, I certainly wouldn't buy one. I'd be more likely
to take a strole through that robot repair shop and pick out a cute
little "antique" like Little Johnny... Ok, so that's my bot, but you
get the idea.
If you watch the movie, my robots are in the repair shop with the giant
I won't argue that it's a bad movie until I get a chance to see it (I'll
let you know in a week). But it's clearly not based on the stories about
Susan Calvin collected in Isaac Asimov's book, I, Robot. And it's not
true to Asimov's style ("violence is the last resort of the
incompetent" comes to mind). That's the
problem. If they had left Asimov's name out of it, I don't think
anybody would have a problem with yet another Terminator-like movie.
This isn't the first time this has happened. Quite few Robert Heinlein
fans went to Starship Troopers expecting to see something at least
vaguely related to the book and, instead were treated to a typical
Verhoven bloodbath about giant insects vs dimwit teenage soldiers. Like
I, Robot, a script re-write renamed some of the characters and a stuck in
a few random references to events in Heinlein's book.
One of the reasons that the Lord of the Rings was so successful was that
they actually adpated the story for film. If people had gone to LotR
turned out to be a story about the Keebler elves, the film might not
have been accepted as well.
I'm all for supporting a film adaptation of Asimov's robot stories (or
Simak's or any of a dozen other well-written SF robot stories). It's the
intentionally misleading use of a well-known Author's book to promote an
unrelated movie that's got people so worked up.
The irony of it all, of course, is that "I, Robot" wasn't the original
title of Asimov's book. An editor renamed it, borrowing the name from
EandO Binder's earlier short story of the same name.
Anyway, a week won't be that bad. Use the time to read the real I, Robot
or, if it's in your area, see Greg Pak's science fiction film about
robots called Robot
boycott!?!, posted 16 Jul 2004 at 21:20 UTC by ROB.T. »
Does it have robots in it? Sorry, gotta see it.
Another movie based on a book that didn't follow the story line
was "Star Ship Trooper" who's story line was obviously based
on "Armor" by John Steakley (One of my all-time favorite scifi books).
There's a pretty good overview of the Asimov, robotics, the I, Robot
book and movie and assorted other stuff in a new Nature
I have several things to say about the I-Robot movie
1)I like to see Will Smith Shoot and blow up stuff
2)I like to see robots shoot and blow up stuff
3)I like even more to see Will Smith and robots shooting and blowing up
I have to say, who cares if the movie doesn't match the book; it was a
lot of fun, nuff said.
I do have a question about the robots that people sent in, as I didn't
see anything in the movie that resembled something we might create;
all the robots, although very cool, appeared to be CGI; If you sent in
your robot, please point out the scene where your robot is used. May
bee they didn't make the cut, we might have to wait for the director's
edition to see them. :(
This is a lost cause. If Hollywood is gonna make movies about robots
then the story lines will include human's worst fears - Robots (or any
technology) attacking people.
Robots and AI are particularly good subject matter because they are
sufficently complicated to produce actions that are unexpected and
screen writers can use that to create story lines that meet all the
typical requirements. You'll never see a high-tech thriller where TV
remotes go wild because they are simple enough that we have don't have
fear of what they might do. This idea can only be taken so far and
computer viruses are a good example. Most of us do not fear our
computers, yet we shutter to think what would happen if a hacker in
Nigeria gained access to our Quicken files.
Didn't see an ARobot in the movie but I may go again to look some
Will Smith beat all his past summer blockbuster records with "I, Robot,"
which chalked up an estimated $52.25 million over the weekend. As
reported by WTEV.com, Los Angeles. Read more here:
Unfortunately, the scene that would have contained all of the Hobbyist's
"Prop" robots was completely cut. They sure paid a lot of money to not
even use the footage, but that's show biz.
If you've seen the movie, you'll remember the part just after Spooner
shoots Sonny and Sonny is fleeing the USR building wounded and spilling
fluid. Spooner looks at Dr. Calvin and asks "Where would a robot go to
repair itself?" and she replies "a robot repair shop" or something like
that. Anyway, the next scene is in the USR distribution center and Sonny
is all fixed. I suspect that an entire scene where Sonny breaks into the
repair shop (where our hobby robots are), the building with the giant
robot head, and finds the tools to repair himself.
I know that the Michael Billings set design company would not have
spent so much on our robots and other costly internal detail if they'd
have thought only the outside of the building would be filmed and that
only for a few seconds. I know from photos that the other store front
sets did not have internal decore. If you're interested in what else was
cut from the film, take a look at early pictures at this site pay
special attention to the link with pictures from Front street in
I loved the movie and think this boycott is silly. We should be glad
that the movie industry is including our pedly robots and willing to pay
us for them. I support robot movies, I don't boycott them.
If you'd like to see the robots that I sent to be filmed in the movie,
you can go here --> http://www.sorobotics.org/dgates/
I'd like to know what other hobbtists robots were filmed, Roger
Arrick's?? Which ones?? Any pics??
More Raves about i, Robot can be seen here -->
another link, posted 19 Jul 2004 at 18:18 UTC by steve »
Sequile, posted 19 Jul 2004 at 19:30 UTC by topazx2 »
I hope the numbers mean a sequile... one that needs more hobby robots!!
I just read the link posted in the opening to this thread
<href=http://plyojump.com/weblog/2004_04_25_archive.html> and almost ALL
of the claims are TOTALLY unfounded.
The movie follows almost to a
'T' what the writer says Proyas over looked even down to the "a few
robots get around the First Law - but only by creating an even more
powerful Zeroth Law that forces them to guard all of humanity."
recommend that if you've seen the movie, read the comments in the above
link that this whole boycott is based on and post whether you think this
boycott is appropriate.