Wednesday, 4 August 2004

I, Like-A-Lot

Isaac Asimov's books are probably the only science fiction books that I have read more than once, and can can remember most of. In fact, in my humble and technologically-ignorant opinion, Asimov's Foundation series is the Lord of The Rings of Science Fiction.

Anyway, the reason I'm talking about Asimov now is because I just watched the I, Robot movie last night, and boy was it good. Before watching it, I was wondering how they would film a movie based on a book that is essentially an anthology of short robot stories, and not a complete novel.

As it is, the movie does not even pretend to be 'based' on the book, but is merely 'suggested by Isaac Asimov's I, Robot'. Nevertheless, I came away very happy with the film, mostly because it captures the essence of the book's stories while managing to stand alone as a story that happens apart from the book.

You see, most of the stories in the book revolves around Asimov's self-coined Three Laws of Robotics, which are:
  1. A robot may not harm a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given to it by the human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence, as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

You can read all about the history and how Asimov came up with the laws in this link here. For now, I just want to say that the movie's plot, happily, also revolves around the Three Laws, though it has more to do with the First and Second law than the Third (and even going into a Zeroth Law, which is another story). In this sense, the movie has captured the essence of what the stories in the book speak of, albeit, with hell of a lot more action, some Will Smith posturing and wisecracking, as well as a much prettier version of the uptight and severe Dr Susan Calvin than I imagined her to be.

It is probably one of the better movies this year. It combines good action sequences with great special effects, as well as a good storyline that is executed well. Add some cool 'acting' by Sonny the robot (Alan Tudyk in an Andy Serkis/Gollum-type role), some nice eye candy (Bridget Moynahan) and some sharp wise-cracking dialogue, and you've got yourself a good summer movie that is both entertaining visually, as well as intellectually. Go watch it.

Oh, and also, if you haven't read the book, what are you waiting for? Watch this space for more on the I, Robot BOOK and the rest of Asimov's work.

1 comment:

CV said...

i, too, had read asimov's i, robot series and went to watch the movie with a sense of trepidation. the fact that will smith was the hero - lagi lah. so i was surprised to find myself actually enjoying the movie.

it seemed to convey asimov's ideas aptly. only when the movie credits rolled and it said 'SUGGESTED by isaac asimov', then only i knew. the movie wasn't trying all all to adapt asimov's series. it just borrowed the idea and the title. for that, the moviemakers concerned have earned my respect.