Raising the Call: Boycott the Opening Week of “I, Robot”


(This isn’t the usual lies.com fare, but I have a pulpit and I feel compelled to use it. Besides, I’ve never mocked jbc’s LOTR and Winona fetishes, so hopefully he’ll humor me on this.)

Simply put, I want to spread the word that people should boycott the movie “I, Robot” during its opening week in protest of 20th Century Fox’s blatant abuse and misuse of Isaac Asimov’s classic book. I don’t expect that anything I say will make a dent in the movie’s bottom line, but maybe — just maybe — the studio will get the message: don’t mislead your audience.

If you don’t follow movie buzz, then you may not yet know about “I, Robot“. It raised a few eyebrows in the press when the first “teaser trailer” came out, because it was made to look like an actual commercial for a personal robot, with no indication that it was promoting a movie. But in addition to the media buzz, there was a separate buzz among Science Fiction fans everywhere: someone was finally giving Isaac Asimov‘s classic work the film treatment it deserved.

You see, Isaac Asimov was a Sci-Fi pioneer. He redefined the concept of “well-written science fiction” and was one of the first people to write stories about robots that didn’t involve them being maniacal monsters going haywire and killing people. As he put it


“I quickly grew tired of this dull hundred-times-told tale …. Knowledge has its dangers, yes, but is the response to be a retreat from knowledge? …. I began in 1940, to write robot stories of my own – but robot stories of a new variety …… My robots were machines designed by engineers, not pseudo-men created by blasphemers”

He developed “The Three Laws of Robotics“, which prevent any robot from doing harm. By incorporating these laws into his stories, Asimov forced himself to write more complex plots in which robots were more then just weapons. They had personalities that made them genuine characters. Not only did these laws rapidly become universally accepted by other Science Fiction writers, but Robotics Engineers and Technology Ethicists take these laws seriously and incorporate them into the designs of Artificial Intelligences.

I, Robot” (the book) is an anthology of nine unrelated short stories that was published in 1950. Each story is included in its original form, but Asimov wrote a special introduction and connecting narration between each of them. As a whole, the book serves as a fictional “history of robotics” told as anecdotes by Dr. Susan Calvin, a character Asimov reused several times.

Which brings me to the similarities between the book and the movie:

  • It’s called “I, Robot”.
  • Asimov has a writing credit.
  • It has a character named “Susan Calvin”.
  • It prominently features (a version of) The Three Laws.
  • The full trailer features a swarm of robots violently waging war on humanity.

… uh … Doing what with the where now?

Well, you see, this movie was not based on the book at all. It was written to be a swash buckling, action packed, robots-gone-mad flick called “Hardwired”. Fox and the Director (Alex Proyas) just decided to call it “I, Robot” and throw in some Asimov references to capitalize on the name. Proyas claims to be familiar with the original book, but as others have pointed out, his description is “exactly opposite what the I, Robot stories were about“.

Which brings me back to my original point. This may turn out to be a good Sci-Fi movie, it might even be a great Sci-Fi movie. It may one day be considered on par with 2001, Blade Runner, Alien, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It may turn out to be a great action flick, with stunning visuals, and magnificent special effects. Hell, for all I know, it may have a decent script, with Oscar-caliber acting — I won’t know until I see it. Yes, that’s right, I’m sure I’ll eventually see it; probably at a movie theatre and probably within a few weeks of its release. I’m too much of a Science Fiction geek to boycott it completely, but I won’t see it the first week it’s out. And neither should you.

Hopefully you’ll skip the opening weekend because you agree with me that movie studios shouldn’t abuse the names and reputations of great authors to boost their sales. And maybe if enough people spread the word about this idea, some other movie will beat out this “Summer Blockbuster” during its opening week and send a message to Fox that we respect Isaac Asimov’s memory more then we care about seeing Will Smith get it on with Bridget Moynahan while mowing down hordes of robots with a machine gun.

108 Responses to “Raising the Call: Boycott the Opening Week of “I, Robot””

  1. hossman Says:

    PS: There’s an online petition urging Fox to change the name of the movie. I’m guessing the odds of that happening are 10,000,000,000 to 1, but I wouldn’t want to discourage anyone from signing.

  2. Charles2 Says:

    Damn.

    I was so looking forward to this movie. I had purposely avoided reading anything about it – as I do with movies I’m really anticipating. But I dropped by here this morning…

    Asimov’s work was seminal in my becoming a SF geek. To hear that this work – one of my favorites – is going to be so abused is so disappointing. I’ll be joining you on this “boycot.”

  3. a_stupid_box Says:

    You want the movie boycotted yet you yourself are going to see it in the theatre. You’re exactly the audience this movie is targeting.

  4. ymatt Says:

    box… he’s boycotting the marketing trick, not the movie. Those first weekend returns are all marketing — after that, let the movie stand on its own merits (and I’m hopeful still as I like Proyas).

  5. John F Says:

    In response to Hossman’s post: Online petitions accomplish nothing. The most futile sit eonli8ne is Petitions online. No one at Fox will ever see it, Alex Proyas will never see it, Will Smith will never see it…

    The biggest “Petition” would be a boycott by fanboys and sci-fi fans alike.

  6. Sean Says:

    I agree with your evaluation of the movie’s use of an author’s name for it’s cache. I also agree with your “boycott opening weekend” idea. I rarely see movie’s in the theater anymore, but when I do it’s usually action stuff like this.

    The most important thing this post did for me was remind me of how long it had been since I read “I, Robot” and so I went out and bought a new copy. Instead of seeing the movie, I’ll stick to the original. Will Smith will be fine without my $10.

  7. JoeZer0 Says:

    I was so excited about this movie…until I saw the trailer. with Will Smith’s dumb one-liners and the stupid action shot of him flying in the air, while jumping off of a motorcycle, while shooting, made one thought come into my mind: Bad Boys 3(this one just replaces Martin Lawrence with robots)

  8. Fred42 Says:

    Agree with everything, am filled with rage.

    But…

    Remeber how, in later books, there was the space colonies, and one of them had robots outnumbering humans 10 000 to 1? Well, there was this thing where these robots could kill visiting humans because they were programmed to only consider the planet’s native as truly human. What if (this is a stretch, I highly doupt these hacks have half the brain needed to think this up) that movie’s robots are like that? Like, racist robots? Programmed to only think that white people, or british people (or whatever) are true humans?

    But since I’ll boycott it, I guess I won’t know ;-)

  9. Tom Boucher Says:

    I *knew* this would happen when I saw Will Smith would star in it.

    They need to either quit naming movies something when he stars in them, or find a new actor. Will Smith can’t do a movie and play a character, he’s always just Will Smith.

    The movies should be Will Smith Plays a Cowboy, Will Smith Fights the Aliens, Will Smith and the Robots, Will Smith and the Aliens, Will Smith and the shitty script with one liners.

    While it looks entertaining as far as a kick butt action flick it looks nothing like I, Robot and everything like Will Smith Fights the Robots.

  10. Peter Says:

    They say that downloading ruins the business – so be sure to ruin it!

  11. hossman Says:

    1) I’m aware that online petitions almost never work. Hence my comment.

    2) ymatt is dead on … I have no complaints against the movie, I object to the marketting ploy of slapping the “I, Robot” marketting on a completely different movie.

    3) Fred42: I’m not sure what books you’re talking about. They certainly don’t sound like anything Asimov ever wrote.

    4) I submitted a link to this story on a SciFi site I read. Some people there have made some really great comments I thought interested parties might want to check out. Particularly fiziko’s assessment.

  12. Jayson Jordan Says:

    ARE YOU ALL DUMB?… This movie will be GREAT…GO SEE THE MOVIE THEN COMPLAIN!

  13. Drift Says:

    JJ, you don’t get the idea that even if this movie is the greatest thing since sliced bread, it’s still wrong that they called it “I, Robot” and ripped off Asimov since the only thing it seem to have in common with the book is that there are robots in the movie.

    Either that or you’re one of those living spam generators the movie industry hires to generate publicity for their crappy movies.

    Or you’re like, 9, or something…

  14. Jane Says:

    > 3) Fred42: I’m not sure what books you’re talking about. They certainly don’t sound like anything Asimov ever wrote.

    Robots & Empire *** SPOILER ***

    The robots on Solaria outnumbered the humans by 10,000 to 1; the Solarians programmed the robots to include the Solarian accent as part of the definition of a human being.

  15. Ray K Says:

    Much ado about nothing – Fans of the Destroyer series by sapir and warren were horrified to see what hollywood did to it in remo Williams – It all went downhill from then.

    Need Proof? Watch Star Wars Episodes 1 and 2.

  16. Michael Says:

    Come on people! You can complain about the movie all you want but have you ever tried adapting a book into a screenplay? It’s not as easy as it seems. As much as you try you cannot please everyone who loved the book. Quit whinning about the marketing ploys. Quit whinning about the movie! There is not a damn thing you can do about it! Protest all you want! It’ll never accomplish anything! You guys are ripping a movie apart even before you have seen it! Quit making assumptions about the movie! See the movie then complain all you want and then maybe people will take your opinion serioulsy. Until then quit you complaining!!!

    People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones..

  17. SOme Random Guy Says:

    This is starting to sound like the abortion arguement…
    Nobody is saying anything negative about the movies CONTENT – nobody has seen it so why bother?
    The issue is the movie’s MARKETING STRATEGY –
    I.E. using the name of a well known work that the movie bears little resmeblance to…

  18. Fred Mulligan Says:

    Apparantly we’ve solved all of our world issues such as hunger, war, racism and the environment, so now we’re free to move along and tackle these new abominable atrocities against humanity that have been commited by the Fox corporation. Kudos to all of you for your activism!

    PS – The estate of Mr. Asimov would have had to sell the rights and title of his book to Fox, so he is by no means a victim here.

    PPS – Idiots.

  19. Bender Says:

    No need for boycott. This abomination’s is destin to share the
    same tepid accolades given to SOLARIS, Spieberg’s AI and heartwarming
    POS: Robin Williams:Millenium Man.

  20. DHudes Says:

    The Robot stories were great stuff and I’ve enjoyed the sequels by Greg Bear and Greg Benford. The teaser about personal robots sounded real interesting. The trailer with humanity vs. robots war is awful.
    One may assume that this is the premise of the movie otherwise the studio wouldn’t put it in the trailer.

    I will not be going to this movie in the theater. I would love to find the right contact information to send my comments directly to the decision-makers at FOX. In the meantime I endorse the idea of the petition but caution people not to rely on even a paper petition.
    Studios pay attention to the volume of mail they receive.
    Remember the drive to save Star Trek where NBC was deluged with letters and postcards.
    If FOX receives 25,000 pieces of mail complaining about the movie
    before it ever hits theaters — pieces of mail politely and concisely explaining the issue — they will pay attention.
    Make that 2 million and someone’s head will roll.

  21. Raybot Says:

    If you ask me, the plot was a cop-out. How many times will we be subjected to a massive invasion, in which only one man stands alone.. to save the world… ?

    Done, redone, overdone….

    This movie had very real possibilities with many storylines but they copped out and went for the lowest common denominator.. violence, man against machine…

  22. Braddock Gaskill Says:

    One kinda ironic fact to point out is that, as I recall, “I, Robot” wasn’t Asimov’s original title for his story. His editor suggested it as a catchy title…Asimov protested becuase there had been ANOTHER story called “I, Robot” a couple years before by a different author, but the editor won. Hey, maybe this movie is really based on the original non-Asimov story…

    -braddock

  23. Vincenzo Beretta Says:

    I watched the trailers. Except for Susan Calvin being a babe, I didn’t find a single scene going against Asimov’s ideas.

    1) In the book, at least two robots convince their kind to disobey or ignore human orders: one in “Reason” and one in “Little Robot Lost”.

    2) At the beginning of the trailers we see Will Smith questioning a robot – but we do not actually know if it is the *same* robot, or if he is questioning different robots. In “Little Lost Robot” Susan Calvin questions over sixty robots, one by one, about the same matter, looking for different reactions.

    3) In “Little Lost Robot” Susan Calvin creates a situation where the robot with the “small difference” in its brain “jerks upright and takes two steps toward her”, while scores of other robots do not move at all. This scene is in the trailer: the jumping robot could actually be attacking no one.

    4) Let’s not forget “Law Zero”: Humanity, *as a whole*, is more important that the individual. There are many “asimovian” ways for a robot to develop “Law Zero”: a construction defect (like the one producing a mind-reading robot in “Liar!”) or experience; a single robot finds himself in a situation were it can either save one guy or ten others. He saves ten guys, resolving the First Law conflict by deciding that “many lives are more important than a single one”. From this, the next logical step would be that “humanity is more important than the single”.

    5) Let’s imagine this scenario: a robot develops Law Zero; the robot discovers a conspiracy to kill or enslave humanity. The robot acts, first by convincing the other ones (an ability shown by Asimov in “Reason” and “Little Robot Lost”, then by going against the conspiracy. The robots will try not to kill or harm human beings *except* if this is necessary to preserve humanity as a whole, because Law Zero is stronger. They will not obey human orders, if these orders would put in peril humanity as a whole, since Law Zero is stronger than Law Two. Last, the robots will try to preserve themselves. Humanity and trailer-watchers *belive* that the robots have rebelled, but the truth is another.

    I made all of this up – if I got the movie right then I’m just lucky. But my point is that I didn’t saw ANYTHING in the trailers which goes against Asimov’s ideas. Yes, there is action, but Asimov simply didn’t liked to write action. The escape from Trantor,in the second Foundation book, is identical to the escape from Tattoine on the Millenium Falcon in “Star Wars”: Asimov describes the events, while Lucas gives us an exciting scene, but the contents are basically the same. In “Little Lost Robot” at the end the rogue robot almost attacks Susan Calvin. The situation is quickly solved, but it could have led to an action scene. Either way, Asimov ideas leading to the scene would have been left untouched.

    So, if Proyas was able to put up an hollywoodian show, with action and bangs, while preserving Asimov’s ideas, he has my respect. And, again, I do not find ANYTHING in the trailers disproving this. Watch them again.

  24. Tim "Scolo" Cooper Says:

    I like the idea, Beretta… but there’s just one problem with that.

    That assumes that Hollywood is willing to bet that the American Movie-Watching Populace (TM) can actually follow ironic misdirection. The fact that they can is irrelevant; most US movie producers (like FOX) err on the side of “caution” and make movies that are more testosterone BLAM BLAM KILL THE BADDIES AND SEX UP THE WIMMINS than anything else.

    Reference things like “xXx” or, possibly more appropriately (in the context of book-to-movie-rape), “Starship Troopers.”

    Michael… please, less exclamation marks! It is difficult to write a screenplay, indeed, BUT it is still possible to make an entertaining movie without completely raping the source material. LotR is a good example; purists will complain (accurately) that parts were left out and others were changed but the basic storyline and theme of perserverance-in-the-face-of-evil remained. “Starship Troopers” was a bad example because it took a book about a militaristic yet pragmatically so society (more than anything else) and turned it into a campy send-up of fascist propaganda (thanks to Paul Verhoven’s complete inability to actually read what he’s “basing” his movie on).

    “Solaris” is a good example, and it’s recent enough that its marketing can be analyzed. Stanislaw Lem’s theme was the difficulty of communication… while this got changed to some sort of love story, that’s a remnant of the Mosfilms production. Still, remember the trailer for that? Just panning shots of the surface of Solaris and that sorta eerie music in the background. Appropriate. They could’ve shown the crew blowing away hordes of Constructs but they didn’t.

    What does the “I, Robot” trailer look like? The trailer to “Resident Evil.” The skin-care drug made by Umbrella Corp that, oh, yeah, side effects… ZOMBIE-FACE! Oh, here’s your new personal robot… THAT GOES NUTS AND JUMPS THROUGH WINDOWS! Technology is to be FEARED for it can go awry! Which, as Asimov said in the 19-bloody-40s was overdone ever since Rossum’s Universal Robots and completely goes against his theme of technology being essentially neutral.

    While it may still be pre-emptive, there’s nothing wrong with skipping the opening week to make a point. If the movie actually /does/ turn out to be good, it’ll either get its money or will get its accolades. If it sucks (as I fear it will) then the first wave will go, warn the rest, and then it will become MST3K-party fodder when it comes out for rent.

  25. Vintar, screenwriter of I, Robot Says:

    You couldn’t be more wrong about the film, but god bless you, I love your passion. Go see it in July and have an extra candy bar for me, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Keep fighting the good fight!

  26. Chris Says:

    I was so excited until I saw the trailer for this movie. Exactly where in “Little Lost Robot” did robots start attacking people willy-nilly? Nu-uh, I’m not going to see this. I looked at the site, which is competely NON-helpful in every way, and can’t even figure what story they are supposed to be adapting. I admit that I’m not geeky enough to know how they tweaked the Three Laws (I’m only a semi-geek), but I know enough about the Laws that I know that robots can’t start assaulting human beings all over the place, which is what I see every time I watch a trailer. It’s VERY upsetting. I came to read Asimov WAY later in life (I think I was near thirty when I read the first book or story of his), but this movie seems an abomination of what his robot stories were about. If only I could locate my copy of I, Robot in all the boxes left over from moving a couple months ago…

  27. hossman Says:

    I keep forgetting to mention that there’s more … ah, let’s call it “lively” discussion on this topic over on the IMDB Message Board for “I, Robot”.

  28. Dan Says:

    I just finished I, Robot as I wanted to get the true story before the move was out, and a great book it is. As has been said, Asimov wrote the opposite of the simplistic “robots vs man” story were robots basically replace vampires, aliens or whatever other mindless evil monstrosity the charming hero must face.

    When I saw that Susan Calvin was going to be the typical gun-toteing side-kick motorcycle riding babe I knew immediatly this was a pathetic attempt to capitolize on Asimov’s work without bothing to actually read his books.

    I didn’t have to read the book however to know the movie was going to suck in the first place. The second I saw Will Smith was the main character that was all that I needed to know. He turns every movie into a copy of the last mindless action movie he made. He is incapable of playing any role other than the badass black cop.

    Leave it to hollywood to take a book about the different ways of Thinking about things into another mindless computer animated shoot em up.

  29. hottie Says:

    I loved Terminator 3 sooooo much… I can’t wait for this sequel! Sorry, I can’t join your petition but good luck! Lol!

  30. Tim Says:

    Why did Fox have to name this movie “I, Robot”? Now nobody will be able to make a movie (or TV series) about the real stories from the book. Too bad, because Wil Smith would be great as one of the wisecracking interstellar robot troubleshooters. If you haven’t read the book, buy it and read it the first week. Then go see the movie…it looks cool!

  31. John Warren Says:

    Personally, I agree that it is wrong to use a classic piece of literature as a marketing punchline. But, let’s not forget that by this time, we should be used to the Hollywood studios taking a good (or in this case, great) book and ripping it to shreds. Remember Congo? Starship Troopers? The Sum of All Fears? Flight of the Intruder? It is incredible what they won’t do for money. They are even preying on their own with horrible remakes. (Gone in 60 Seconds, Th Italian Job, Planet of the Apes) Not that it’s any consolation, but the studios don’t really give a shit whether or not people who atually read the book like it, as they know they will make millions giving kids a movie to ignore while necking in the theater. I signed the petition, and I’ve made sure my friends won’t see it, but it’s still like driving a riding mower at the Indy 500.

    P.S. hottie, you may be the dumbest person I have ever come across.

  32. hottie Says:

    “P.S. hottie, you may be the dumbest person I have ever come across.”

    That’s too bad, because perhaps I am the HOTTEST… Lololoololololololol
    Right back atcha Dilbert.

  33. Beef Says:

    Just some brief comments:

    Isaac Asimov definately was a pioneer in SF writing. However we WAS a writer by profession, if he could have marketted his work to get more money, he would have. Movies are a business, it is simply marketing, everything is marketed to get the most appeal and sales out of. Hell, I notice this site has a nice Shwag section marketing themselves, shall we promote boycotting this site also because they are marketing themselves?

    I also loved Isaac’s work, but it is fantasy. Anybody with decent computer or robotics knowledge and takes the time to think about it, the 3 laws Asimov came up with hold up as well as fairy godmothers and peterpan. (e.g. the amount of engineering and programming it would take to make a machine “think” or abide by the 3 laws is astrinomical, heck, it is hard enough to get HUMANS to abide by them).

    I can’t wait to see the movie, oh, the motorcycle jump is lame, but the rest of the movie plays out really good. I have a big group of friends hitting it opening weekend.

    Just a touch of reality
    Beef

  34. Chris Devers Says:

    So what? Since when is a film adaptation ever *really* faithful to the original book, especially when that original book is at all abstract, as in the case of _I, Robot_ ?

    The fact is, to make an interesting, cohesive movie out of what is basically a short story collection, compromises can’t be avoided. The same thing happened when the book _The Lone Ranger & Tonto Fist Fight in Heaven_ was turned into the movie “Smoke Signals”. Both the book and the movie are interesting works on their own terms, but they’re really only tangentially related to each other, with a handful of common characters & plot points. But who cares? I think the movie “Smoke Signals” works far better as the adapted work that it is than it would have as a slavish translation of book to screenplay. (Note that in that case, the author of the book was also actively involved in making the film.)

    Or for that matter, compare the movie “Adaptation” to the book _The Orchid Thief_. The movie actually places the mutilating process of converting a good book onto the silver screen as the central agonizing theme of the story — and it works way better than a more faithful adaptation ever could have.

    So now someone is doing the same with Asimov, and again I can’t see what the problem is. Books and movies are different media, and what works well on one falls apart with the other. I’m glad they’ve adapted the concepts, even if the result isn’t likely to be anywhere near the artistic achievement that the book was. If it’s at least a fun movie that gets average people to think a little bit, it will have succeeded on the terms of cinema, and you really can’t expect any more than that.

  35. madmongol Says:

    Optimistic things:
    1. Will undoubtedly boost sales of the book, as Starship Troopers (yuck) did.
    2. Perhaps the elements of the original works (the connected setting of Robots/Empire/Foundation) will be more than window dressing for a Will Smith action film. Then again, maybe it won’t. I’m seriously hoping those robots have a good reason for going berserk – maybe that corporate guy who says “my robots don’t kill people” in the trailers?
    3. At least the title doesn’t have “Isaac Asimov’s” in it.
    4. If this movie blows, a Foundation movie might be better (there might be one in the works, I think), without an obvious movie cliche (man vs. monster/alien/machine in this case) for studios to lean on.

    Pessimistic things:
    1. Didn’t Asimov purposely attempt to avoid the Frankenstein stereotype of man vs. dangerous technology?
    2. In the Robot novels, the robots themselves were far superior in physical strength to humans – fleshy folks like us shouldn’t be able to duke it out with the machines.
    3. It’s an action film? Asimov’s characters tend to resolve things with logical thinking instead of impulsive violence. The trailers make it obvious that movie elements which have been repeated ad nauseum are present in this film.
    4. It’s a Will Smith action film. The Fresh Prince as the lead in a film purportedly based on a classic work by Asimov? Umm…
    5. The official website (irobotmovie.com) doesn’t even mention the name “Asimov,” so someone unfamiliar with the title couldn’t even make a connection between book and movie.

  36. Exactor Says:

    i seen a early cut of the movie. (i’ve read the book) and its like it in a very very general way. the characters, then plot(loosely) happens. it plays out like this, the first hour of it was all detective like and actually wasnt that bad. The second half an hour is like helm’s deep battle in lotr. its just action. thats it. either way, its no blade runner.

  37. kustomer Says:

    thats messed up, they’ll ruin another good thing, they are just ripping off asimov : (

  38. Majic Man Says:

    I, personally, won’t be seeing the movie, but won’t be around to stand around the theatre trying to get people to turn away (I would if I could, personal matters, though). Let’s hope that this movie completely fails, just like Riddick will :)

  39. Dr Jonah Says:

    Movies Vs Books

    I’m sooo tired of this debate.

    To be fair, I must put my cards on the table and say I watch many many more films than I read books.

    Movies are Movies and books are books. You cannot make a truly faithful book adaptation, due to this very elementary fact.

    The arguement here, that a film shouldn’t take the name of a book and create a whole new story maybe valid, however it may not be.

    The original Frankenstien has bugger all to do with the book, but book and film live together in perfect harmony. Kubrick’s the shining has bugger all to do woth Stephen King’s the shining (and is actually a completely different story), but both are great and help to mutually aid each other.

    If you are a fan of a book, don’t go and see the film of it, you will be disappointed. By the same token, I never read novelisations of films.

    Hollywood realise that in many cases, bad books make great films, take silence of the lambs as an example – but answer me this? What would you rather watch? A film based on a good book, or one based on a poor book but would make a great film? Put like this we’d go for the latter, but the point is, we wouldn’t know about the naff book because not many people will have read it, and so we’d go for the good book adaptation.

    Apologies for going on a bit, I’m just saying that this isn’t the first time this marketing ploy has been used, and it won’t be the last.

    I’d thought everyone would have accepted the situation by now.

  40. Yeago Says:

    Before this discussion goes any further, please see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwins_law

  41. rocapa Says:

    Well, look at it this way. The film revolves around a violation of the laws, and the laws are basically the main thing connecting the book and the movie. Well, Fox’ll still have to pay Asimov’s estate for the right to use the laws, so they figure they might as well get a title and a character out of the deal as well if theyre going to pay x amount of money.

  42. Kerry Says:

    OK, a couple of bits of reality I would like to point out: #1 the people that see the movie and get the wrong idea about Asimov’s works, probably don’t read much of anything anyways. #2 The people that are intelligent, which is probably 30% of audiences, will go and buy Asimov’s books, and see for themselves what the real story is. #3 This happens with all books…but eventually, over time, the movie will face, while the novels themselves remain.

  43. Smart one Says:

    F-u]ckin nerds

  44. Treefrogie Says:

    There’s one thing wrong with the “intelligent people will go buy the book and read it”… unless they’re a hard core geek, or friends with one, they don’t even know that the book exists. I, Robot is not one of Asimov’s better known books, nor is it something kids (or youth or young adult, take your pick) are going to sit down over their summer break and read. Anything by Asimov has (rightfully) picked up the LITERATURE rating, complete with capital letters, which scares kids away faster than anything. Point: how many of those teenagers in the movie theater when you went to see Starship Troopers do you actually think went and read the book? The classic sci-fi, written by men (mostly) who are considered demi gods in today’s society, also does not hold the attention of most teens minds.
    The intelligent watchers of the movie may very well indeed go buy/borrow the book… but only if they know the book exists! Movies like this thrive on teenagers, this is one of the first summer blockbuster movies to be released, and lets face it, my generation knows nothing about classic sci-fi beyond what our parents told us.
    (personally? i won’t see the movie until it comes out on video… i’m boycotting movie theaters).

  45. PooFace Says:

    I’ll wait until i have actually seen the film before i comment…………………………………………………………………………………

  46. Antoine Waked Says:

    watch the damn movie first, then you can complain as much as you can!!!
    I hate it when people criticize movies they haven’t seen!

  47. Crazy LS1 Driver Says:

    It may be a good movie, just mistitled. If you read the Isaac Asimov collection “Robots and Murder,” you’ll find a story remarkably similar to this premise. I want to see it before I pan it. If it tirns out to be another “Starship Troopers, ” though, I’ll just stop going to the movies at all.

  48. Moses Says:

    The movie trailer reminded me this was the 1st sci-fi book I ever read so I went and bought it again. Just glad it didn’t have Will Smith on the cover.

  49. gripdamage Says:

    All I needed to know about this movie was that they weren’t using the script by Harlan Ellison. Regardless of how you feel about Ellison or if you even know who he is, I urge you to read the script and see the caliber of material they could have drawn from. To make a film like this when such a script exists is simply evil.

  50. Watson Says:

    In my opinion
    It lies in the fact that a long-standing book of classic Sci-Fi, with a base of avid and dedicated readers, is being altered to fit the Hollywood machine of profit over all else. Hell, I’m waiting for Hollywood to remake “The Bible” starring Paris Hilton and Ben Stiller with CGI effects, quirky little catch phrases, wrath of God shoot outs with the Devil, Chariot chases and a new ending, because the book ends on such a downer. (insert sarcasm)
    True, they can’t make a 100% accurate adaptation of a book to a movie. Just look at LOTR. BUT, at least when somebody left the theater after seeing LOTR, a Tolkien fan felt the books were dealt justice and the Tolkien novice was able to go pick up the book and not feel mislead by Hollywood.

  51. James Says:

    “1) In the book, at least two robots convince their kind to disobey or ignore human orders: one in ‘Reason’ and one in ‘Little Robot Lost’.”

    Agreed, but that isn’t a violation of the laws: in “Reason,” the robot knew that robots could keep the beam aligned better than any human, and that misalignment would injure humans. First Law wins. There was a rational explanation for the behavior of the robot in “Little Robot Lost” as well.

    This movie is going to be utter dreck, yet another mindless pandering to technophobes.

  52. Tim Says:

    So what’s new? Look at all of the Edgar A. Poe crap Hollywood turned out in the 50s. Vincent Price corned that market. I must admit that I was pleased when I caught wind of this project last fall. After the trailers I am disapointed – but not surprised.

  53. Obelistron Says:

    I beleive that every person that has written something here before me is a complete butthead. Let me explain:

    1. This is not the first time hollywood, fox, marketing industry, or advertisement has done this type of ploy.

    2. It will not be the last

    3. You can do absolutely nothing about it at this point

    4. If you could, it would be pointless, contracts have already been signed, the filmed produced, and even if you were to have your little happy happy ‘boycott’ (look up in the dictionary for godsakes), all it would do is downgrade other people’s enjoyement of the movie..

    In all the possibilities that could come from this endeavour, the most optimistic is that they would change the movie tittle after it was released, since the film has already been produced…However since I stated above; they already have the contract signed; it will be virftually impossible to get the productions reversed…thousands of dollars becaused of your stupidity.

    The other thing is that it really does not matter—people know that hollywood is hollywood, and they are known to not be historically or scientifically acurate, they are the modern day version of entertainers; and although television and movies are a form of communication and cultural connection. The people that watch the movie and come out of it not knowing whether the movie is accurate, most probably have not read Asimov’s book, and most probably will not read it later on since they are the equivalent of the modern day mass retardation…The people that have, will know that it was not accurate. So–in essence nothing has changed–just take it as a movie–and enjoy from it what you may–give it your personal rating…And that’s it.

    If you beleive it is nothing, then it will become nothing; just simply do not give the movie—the merit that it takes—but enjoy it…and if you truely beleive this–then you will be happy–and not sad–

    Just KNOW that FOX is composed of entertainers… and that is all..do not give them any more merit than they deserve.

  54. Paul Says:

    There are many people out there (in the world) who have never heard of
    Asimov or the books that he has written (fictional and non-fictional).

    People who see this film may decide that they want to look into Asimov’s writings, that can only be a good thing. It is at that point, that they can make their own mind up about the film.

    I don’t believe that adding Asimov’s name to it would make it a success or a failure. In many ways you could look at like this, the guys who made the film where inspired by I, Robot and were not copying it.

  55. DeepForestGreen Says:

    Oh my gosh! I just saw the ‘I, Robot’ trailer and I noticed that there is action in it! And will Smith yells, ‘Hell no’ when some robots jump on his car! This totally goes against Asimov! Hey, I am using a lot of !’s, someone should get onto me about it!

    OK, look, there not enough evidence from the trailer to say that the film goes against the book, I have seen all the trailers many times and there just isn’t enough evidence I am afriad. Just because Will Smith uses one liners doesn’t mean the film is anti-asimov for cryin’ out loud. I would say ‘hell no’ or something worse if those ‘bots jumped on my truck.

    Keep in mind, this dierector adapted ‘The Crow’ from comic book form and did a superb job of making the film a unique story that did well on film but did not take away from the graphic novel.

    Maybe you guys just don’t like black people…

  56. joeXmaspunk Says:

    I never read the books (in fact I stay away from Sci-fi as much as I can, but often backslid), I read the 3 laws of robotics as someone left them in a friend’s yearbook as a signature. So even as non-sci-fi (in lit) fan, I know this is wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. (for the same reasons why I will not watch the new “king Arthur” film, but that is much harder to explain).

    You know you could buy tickets for another movie and sneak in to see this one. I plan to see “F9/11″, but I don’t like the idea givng money to Moore.

  57. Leanne Says:

    Boycott I,Robot?
    How big of a geeky nerd do you have to be to get so upset over the production of a movie.
    Perhaps it’s best that you and your anti-social, Star Trek, “The Truth is Out There” loving friends (if you have any), stay home and plot ways to stop the space invaders.
    Your silly comments will not stop a Hollywood blockbuster from succeeding at the box office, but it will stop you from getting a date.
    Don’t hate..appreciate.

  58. Stuart Says:

    Well it does sound likely that this movie will have NOTHING to do with the I, Robot stories… but…

    Is it possible the inspiration to this movie borrows more heavily from The Caves of Steel, The Naked Sun and The Robots of Dawn? With Will Smith assuming some of the characteristics of detective Elijah Bailey?

    Just a thought…

  59. absinthefreak Says:

    Perhaps this is intended (by Proyas, not Jeff Vartin) as a continuation of “I, Robot.” I actually agree that the film shouldn’t be called “I, Robot” in the first place because there are already films inspired by “I, Robot” (like the 1988 short “Robots”).

    Nevertheless… I think Proyas (in one of those light-bulb-over-the-head moments) decided that this would compliment Assimov’s stories.

    P.S. Don’t start calling me “stupid” or anything. This is just a thought.

  60. opy Says:

    who cares this film will rock the planet!

  61. AntiNerd Says:

    Who cares? You NERDS need to start caring about real things.

  62. Genki Says:

    It’s a shame, that shouldn’t be called art but market.
    But It’s about freedom.

  63. Michael Says:

    Actually, about half a year ago when I read about this movie, the main character *Will Smith* was Elijah Bailey, working alongside Calvan… I guess someone went and read the books *Hell, wasn’t Calvan just a spacer myth in Elijah Bailey’s time?*

    Let’s just say I have little hope for this movie, but it’ll get rave reviews from the critiques just because it has more shooting parts than talking parts in the end anyways.

  64. Butch Says:

    Much earlier in this debate, Vintar posted his assurances that we would be pleasantly surprised. I looked up his previous work. He wrote the Final Fantasy movie. I laughed out loud.

  65. Roderick T. Long Says:

    In this interview —

    http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/12.07/smith.html

    — Will Smith says:

    “This movie has a twist at the end that is the science fiction fan’s wet dream. Like in all Asimov’s stories, the robots do something that seems to go against one of the Three Laws of Robotics, and then you figure out: No, it fits into the logical paradigm of the laws.”

    Sounds like maybe we should wait and see before deciding this movie violates Asimov’s vision.

  66. deepforestgreen Says:

    What?!? Wait until we watch it? Then we cannot apply our immature pre-concieved notions! That is a terrible idea, i would much rather jump to conclusions and act on those, sheesh, wait until i see the film…

  67. Aaron Says:

    Although I agree that studios butcher great literature when they create their celluloid counterparts, most people will never notice, so why concern yourself with it instead of seeing a new spin on the old. I, like many others I’m sure, had never heard of “I Robot” before this movie, so I wouldn’t know whether or not it was faithful to the author’s vision. And those of you who do know the book, what difference does it make to you. You have experienced the original, and now if you chose to, get to experience a new, cool but more importantly DIFFERENT STORY that happens to have the same name and basic premise. YOU still win, YOU still know what the author wanted to say, the film makes no difference to YOU. If anything, it might get people interested in the story, and get people to read the book, which is always a good thing. Then they can choose what they like best. Anyway, don’t see it if you don’t want to, and see it if you do, but see it whenever it’s convenient for you, in the end, the studio is still making your money. And no they wont learn, because they have been altering things since the beginning of this industry, and people have been paying them, people will always pay them.

  68. NotIsaacAsimov Says:

    Starring Will Smith! Wow, I’m really jazzed about this – it’ll be the action comedy hit of the summer! I bet it’ll be almost as good as Men In Black II! But with Robots! Cool! Will’s gonna be all over this with his hilarious black shtick!

  69. Mack D. Male Says:

    If the movie followed the book word for word, it wouldn’t be much of a movie would it? I don’t see a problem with taking some creative liberties to make a good movie (at least I hope its good).

    Imagine if they had taken the same story with a different title and no reference to Asimov…the hardcore scifi people would then be complaining about the lack of a reference.

  70. Uncle Fester Says:

    Granted, the trailer creates the image of travesty in the minds of Asimov fans, but I think urging a boycott based on the trailer alone is even more of a travesty.

    Why?

    Go read the plot synopsis at:

    http://www.comingsoon.net/movies/i/irobot.php

    I’m an old (literally) fan of pulp and the so-called “Golden Age” and can see from the synopsis posted at the Web site above that there is the likelihood that those who object may be completely wrong. Will Smith aside, “I, Robot” looks like it could be a great movie giving Asimov’s “Laws” their just due. In other words, keep an open mind.

  71. Uncle Fester Says:

    For the URL impaired, this is what it says at the link I previously posted:

    Plot Summary: Will Smith stars in this action thriller inspired by the classic short story collection by Isaac Asimov, and brought to the big screen by dynamic and visionary director Alex Proyas (“Dark City,” “The Crow”). In the year 2035, robots are an everyday household item, and everyone trusts them, except one, slightly paranoid detective (Smith) investigating what he alone believes is a crime perpetrated by a robot. The case leads him to discover a far more frightening threat to the human race. “I, Robot” uses a spectacular, state-of-the-art visual effects technique to bring a world of robots to life.

    Hmmm…”…a far more frightening threat to the human race” is the key. In other words, the *real* threat is not the robots. How much more would we need to know without spoiling it? I’m going to boycott the boycott and see the movie when it opens. As a real fan of science fiction, I couldn’t do anything else.

  72. Some guy from Germany Says:

    “Will Smith stars in this action thriller inspired by the classic short story collection by Isaac Asimov”

    “inspired”!!

    Why can’t people read?

    This means, they took the idea and build a bigger story with it and that they actually made a movie out of the book.

    And like always people complain about stuff they’ve never seen and only knew through some texts and clips…

  73. Some guy from Germany Says:

    I meant “and that they actually not made a movie out of the book”!

  74. Rudy Lacovara Says:

    If you really want to send Hollywood a message, don’t see the movie at all. At the very least wait until it’s in the video stores, preferably as a bargain rental.

    Not only is this abuse of Azimov’s name, but it’s also an example of more of the same run and gun action crap coming out of Hollywood. If you go and see it, you’re telling the studios to just keep producing the same garbage, you’ll be happy to buy it.

  75. alex Says:

    I agree with all you say hossman, I have read a number of Azimov’s books and this upcoming movie doesn’t start to resemble it one bit..
    It’s really low of them to use his book just for the name and references… I can see why they would do it, there’s is never extra money as a saying there is in Russia…

  76. Tim Says:

    That stinks. Of course, I think it sucks that Will Smith is in it, so it wouldn’t be any good anyway for me -I can’t stand him.

    I really like Asimov’s writing, and this is going to be such a fiasco that it isn’t funny.
    Hopefully, some of the people who do see it, will go read Asimov’s books if they haven’t, and they’ll then know they were lied to about this movie.

  77. Janet Wilson Says:

    I would like to echo the comment by gripdamage. It is a tragedy that a movie like this could be made when an honest and superb adaptation by sf master Harlan Ellison has already been written. Quite apart from multiple awards for his science fiction, Ellison won the Writers Guild Award for Most Outstanding Screenplay FOUR times, so his brilliance as a screenwriter is also beyond any question (as anyone who has read his *original* version of “The City on the Edge of Forever” well knows). He and Asimov were close friends for many years and he managed to write a coherent and action-packed screenplay that remained true to Asimov’s stories without being a slavish pastiche, by clever use of a bridging plot and viewpoint character which was a great story in itself. Asimov thought the script was wonderful (and, in fact, shortly before his untimely death, wrote the foreword when the original screenplay was published in book form).

    To me, it is beyond unethical to capitalize on Asimov’s stature by ripping off his title and the names of a couple of his characters and pasting them into an unrelated script just to provide another star vehicle for the vastly overrated Will Smith. I agree with other posters that no amount of petitions or fan boycotts will keep the studio and Smith from making a million megabucks on this movie. But anyone interested in a truly great motion picture adaptation of I, Robot will forego buying tickets and buy the trade paperback of the Ellison screenplay instead. It costs about the same, lasts a lot longer and is a lot better.

  78. Anton Says:

    Of course you can’t judge unless you actually see the movie. And, once you’ve seen it, if it fails to come anywhere close to the source material, you are free to march to the ticket booth and demand your money back! If you don’t get it, start marking up the protest signs. That’s my plan.

  79. DeepForestGreen Says:

    Harlan Ellison…he also is responsible for the Thor comic books in which Thor turns into a frog, yeah, way to go Ellison.

  80. ermine Says:

    Y’all should know better than to judge a movie by its trailer. Thirty seconds, or 90 or 120, rarely convey anything meaningful about a movie.

  81. Tony Stump Says:

    Even though I klnow a movie shouldn’t be judged by the trailer, I can tell right now it’ll be nothing like Asimov’s work, wimply because Asimov based everything in I, Robot around getting away from the cliche that robots are supposed to go mad and kill us all.
    I’ll join.

  82. Mycroft Says:

    Will Smith did an interview on tv tonight, while I missed most of it
    I’m told he hinted that the trailers are missleading. That’s what’s going on is a result of conflict in the laws resulting in the robots apearing to violate the laws in order to obey them.
    If that interpretation is correct it would better represent what I remember of some of Asimov’s stories that were driven by just such conflicts leading to unusual resolutions.
    In any event boycotting a movie because it ‘destroys’ the books it borrows from when you all you know of the movie is a few minutes ‘hype’ seems silly. How many movies had great trailers and hype only to find out the trailer 2/3 from the cutting room floor and not in the movie and the rest taken out of context and the only 35 seconds of the whole thing worth seeing.
    If you see good sf stories being trashed (Starship Troopers anyone) then write dead tree letters to those responsible and boycott thier next few movies. When someone does it right, go see it a couple of times and buy the dvd’s. And again write dead tree letters telling them WHY you liked the movie so much. Sending them e-mail saying ‘I’ve not seen your movie nor will I because I think it sucks’ is only going to get a ‘huh, how do they know it sucks if they know NOTHING about it?, dumb looser probably didn’t graduate 3rd grade with that kinda thinking’ and that is about all they’ll say assuming the e-mail isn’t auto-answered and/or deleted.

    Mycroft

  83. absinthefreak Says:

    Assimov’s daughter commended the movie. You can all shut up now.

  84. Mike Miles Says:

    First let me say that I am 45 years old and yes I have read many of Asimov’s books (many when they were published).

    It may seem silly to many of you to place such importance in the works of a Science Fiction writer but Mr. Asimov was so much more. He wrote in his lifetime over 500 books many of them non-fiction Science and History related. In addition he used to teach, travel, to give lectures, and write a monthly column for the magazine he edited.

    If anyone’s work should be respected it should be this man. Call this my
    soapbox but I too felt the way the originator of this thread when I say the “Robots fighting preview”. There is no way I am going to pay to see this ripoff. I may catch it on cable but Fox is getting none of my hard earned dollars.

    I believe that a great script was written by Harlan Ellison (yes I have read it) that was very faithful to the material and they should have used it. But since Will Smith is an executive producer I guess he gets
    to drive the story.

    Sorry this has gone on so long but there only a few things I am passionate about. Asimov is one of them.

    Mike Miles

  85. Mike Miles Says:

    Correction to my previous comment:

    Asimov was not the editor of the magazine he wrote the column for. The magazine did bear his name and as far as I know still does.

    Mike Miles

  86. Mike Miles Says:

    So Asimov’s daughter commended the movie.

    Isn’t it a shame that she is probably the one who sold the rights to the name?

    Can a line of Asimov Bobble-Head Dolls not be far behind?

    Mike Miles

  87. glacia Says:

    What the hell was that? I just saw ‘it’. I refuse to even say the name. I deliberately avoided reading or seeing anything about this movie in the hopes that it might be as good an adaptation as Lord of The Rings. I wish I could take that money and donate it to another movie.

    I found this site just now by searching for some explanation. If only I had searched befoe I could have spent the money on something more enjoyable like a swift kick in the nads with spiked steel-toed boots.

  88. Cantrell Says:

    My advice… go see a movie that is as close to the Irobot book as this movie but is an overall better movie.. . Like Spiderman

  89. Clarinet Says:

    Dr. Susan Calvin is one of my favorite characters in literature. So, I felt inspired to write my response to this film…

    “I, Robot: The Death of Susan Calvin”

    Dr. Susan Calvin had no desire to meet with either Hollywood or his grossly obese partner, Megabucks; and the sight of their flashy offices, dazzling with dollar signs and car chase scenes, in no way improved her attitude towards them. Unfortunately, her opinion did not matter in the grand scheme of events, either to the behemoth that was the movie industry or to the individuals who had sold Asimov’s legacy to Megabucks. Legal obligation brought her to their door.

    She walked in grimly, the lines of age on her plain face hardening as she cast a stony glance at the poster of a young woman with full lips, shapely legs and a pretty face. Above the poster, in sinuously curving letters made of hundreds of tiny glittering lights, were the words, “Sex Appeal.” Below, in finer print, was her own name: “Susan Calvin.”

    She turned her steely eyes to the two men in the room. They were seated behind a long black desk with a littering of action figures, snazzy holographic effects, and dollar-sign lights spread out in from of them. Neither of them had she met before, but she knew them by their descriptions.

    Hollywood was the handsome man who had undergone plastic surgery multiple times. His perfectly aligned teeth gleamed blinding white, his chest bulged with steroids, and the trendiest new clothes covered most of his vital areas. Only his eyes marred his otherwise handsome features. Instead of the proverbial windows to the soul, he had huge sockets that gaped, depthless and empty. It was a defect he tried to cover with a pair of designer sunglasses.

    Megabucks was a hugely fat man, bulging at the seams, yet strangely attractive to the people around him. Chortling and wheezing, he played with the dollar signs.

    “Yessiree, yessiree, the marriage of a science fiction legend and our modern movie-making capabilities will be a truly fortunate event. Fortune-ate. A fortune! Hah hah hah.” The fat man tossed his head and burbled.

    Hollywood, noticing Calvin, demanded, “Who are you? Get out of here! This office is no place for frumpy old ladies. We have an important meeting with Dr. Susan Calvin.”

    Having already dismissed both men as fools, Calvin did not so much take offense at the remark as regard it as further proof that her opinion was justified. She answered him in a tone of ice: “I am Dr. Susan Calvin.”

    “You?” Both men gaped at her. Megabucks cast a quick, worried glance at the portrait on the wall, then back at Calvin.

    “This won’t do!” he cried. “This won’t do at all. You’re not even pretty!”

    At this point, she would have gotten up and walked out, legal obligation or no, but Hollywood recovered himself and quickly interposed himself between her and the door. “Just a moment, Miss Calvin, just a moment-”

    “Step aside.”

    “Wait, please, Dr. Calvin,” he said cajolingly, smiling beneath his designer sunglasses. “You are under a legal obligation to be here. We own you, and much of your creator’s work. As much as you may like to, you cannot simply walk out on us. So let us work together. Perhaps, by uniting our forces instead of fighting, we can accomplish something that has never been done before.”

    “Great works of art have been destroyed before,” Calvin retorted frostily. “Bad scripts have been written before. Women have been relegated to the roles of sexual objects — mere visual eye-candy for men — throughout the entirety of human history. What do you propose to do that has never been done before, and why do you believe it is something in which I will agree to have any part?”

    “The choice is not yours, Dr. Calvin. It’s been made for you, I’m afraid.” Hollywood smiled apologetically, then added, “Let’s look on the bright side. It will make you and your creator famous. Yours will be a familiar face to moviegoers everywhere.”

    “Mine will?” she wondered sardonically. But, having no choice but to remain, she took a seat at the black table and stared into the cavernous sockets behind the sunglasses. “What you mean to say is that a beautiful woman with a marketable body will be recognized by moviegoers everywhere, but with my name attached.”

    “Let’s not jump to conclusions!” objected Hollywood. “You’re beginning to sound like those Asimovian purists…” He shuddered. “We’ll never please them, but they don’t matter, anyway. Right, Megabucks?”

    The fat man chortled. “Right you are, ‘Wood. Right, as always.”

    “It will be your face,” Hollywood assured her. “We want to show them Dr. Susan Calvin. But we’ll make you younger.”

    And, as he spoke, it happened: the Dr. Calvin facing him became younger. Her surprise was only momentary. She noted his frown with disapproval, observing with wry disgust the concerned look he exchanged with his partner.

    “Oh dear… still not pretty,” said Megabucks.

    “You’re right… it won’t do.” Hollywood sighed. He brightened. “Well, what does it matter what you really look like? People don’t know, anyway. We’ll put a little makeup on. Hell, we’ll give you a face lift. A body lift. Otherwise, people won’t come to watch the film. Dr. Calvin, fear not – your soul, your basic character, will remain intact, but we must change you superficially in order for your audience to appreciate you.”

    She frowned. “I told Peter Bogert once, and will repeat to you: It is a difficult choice sometimes whether to feel revolted at the male sex or merely to dismiss them as contemptible. That your target audience is composed of young males incapable of any level of thought beyond basic sexual instinct is an unfortunate reality that I acknowledge; but I will not pander to it. I am as my creator made me; I refuse to set aside artistic integrity for greed, or humiliate and objectify myself-” But at a nod from Hollywood she was, suddenly, quite beautiful. Her legs were long, the makeup on her face felt heavy, and a hot flush came to her cheeks. Infuriated, the robopsychologist snarled, “You cannot do this! Change me back now, or-”

    “Or what, Miss Calvin? We own you; you can’t do anything,” said Hollywood. “Now, be reasonable. It’s only a superficial change. A bit of makeup so that the men you despise will be able to like you. Men are, as you know, fools; sex appeal works wonders on them, and the only way to get them to respect you as a woman is to pander to their desires.”

    “You… you…” She was so angry that for a moment she couldn’t speak.

    Hollywood pressed on rapidly. “Miss Calvin, calm down and look at the script, will you? Here is what you have to do. We’ll discuss your appearance later, but for now just read. We know you like to make scathing quips at your coworkers, so we’ve thrown in a few. Like, when the detective exclaims in frustration that you’re the dumbest smart person he’s ever met, you reply that he’s the dumbest dumb person you’ve ever met.”

    “I thought of that one, myself,” confided Megabucks, and puffed with pride.

    Calvin answered disdainfully, “Yes, I see that the script is just full of your style of ‘wit’ – using the definition of that word loosely. I would prefer to say, ‘This is the dumbest script I have ever read–”

    “Um, yes, Miss Calvin,” interrupted Hollywood. “But to continue… Now, for the shower scene-”

    “Shower scene?” Calvin was aghast.

    “Yes.” Hollywood looked at her in quiet surprise. “You’re a woman. You’re hot. I mean, you will be for this film. Of course you have a shower scene.”

    Her lips quivered. Her whole body trembled with fury, and the eyes that stared out at him burned with infinite loathing as she set her fists on the desk top. “Mr. Hollywood, you may have legal control over my name, my body, my history – my character itself, now that Megabucks has obtained it for you. But you shall not have my soul. I will not participate in this – not one word, not one gesture will I give you for this travesty of a film. It will be a movie without Susan Calvin. Indeed, without Asimov!”

    Hollywood looked thoughtful, and lifted his glasses to appraise her with his soulless eye-sockets. Then he removed a gun from his pocket and pulled the trigger.

    The bullet struck Calvin through the heart. She fell back against the wall, her cry unheard outside of the office. Hollywood rose, adjusted his glasses, and dragged her corpse out to be disposed of. When he returned, he smiled at Megabucks.

    “She was right. It will be a better film without her. The soul of Susan Calvin isn’t really very marketable. Now let’s take the name and plaster it on a babe!”

    Megabucks chuckled. “Right you are, Hollywood.”

  90. The Nomad Says:

    I am tired.

    Tired of seeing remakes. Tired of people taking the work of others and bastardizing it into some flashy movie in the name of the all mighty buck. The lack of personal responsibility and accountability must stop. I care nothing for the people on this thread who argue back out of ignorance or simply to be argumentative.

    This movie is not Asimov’s work. It should have been named something else. It should have been trailered a different way. It was not. The only thing these people have done is GUARANTEE that I for one will not see this movie. Not only because of my issues with them using Asimov’s work and name as they have, but because of Will Smith.

    Someone earlier in the tread commented on how he does the same ‘bad assed black cop’ in every movie lately. That is a generalization that is unfortunately true. Any other actor I might have been tempted to give the movie a chance on video. But if I want to see this movie I guess I can just wait for the next time ID4 or MIB comes on cable.

    For the love of GOD could someone please write something original for a movie script? Is that too much to ask?

  91. Phoenix Fury Says:

    Just a quick question–for anyone who has read the book and seen this movie, is there a twist which makes it follow the lead of Asimov, or is it (as it appears) a complete violation of Asimov’s Three Laws? Just interested…

    PF

  92. mmr Says:

    isn´t neccesary to see the film, robots fighting with people suposes a total violation from the 3 laws because the first one (robots cannot hurt humans, or by inaction, let a human been hurt) is above the other two. asimov must be stiring in his coffin.

  93. Clarinet Says:

    There are two reasons the robots violate the three laws in the movie.
    1) One robot, Sonny has been constructed with an extra positronic brain that does not incorporate the laws, allowing him to choose freely whether or not to obey them (something along those lines, anyway). He chooses to remain essentially good, though he does hit Will Smith a couple of times.

    2) A supercomputer named Viki decides that in order to adequately protect humanity, humanity must be protected from itself. Therefore, Viki arranges for a robot takeover that happens to be quite violent, and involves robots trying to kill Will Smith over and over again, along with other people. Since Viki is trying to do this so that it can stop people from murdering each other, making war, etc., it is supposedly within the realm of the three laws. Hurt a small number of people in a violent takeover, to save a larger number in the long run. However, nothing like this ever happened in any of the robot stories which I have read (the ones in Robot Visions, plus a few others). In The Evitable Conflict, supercomputers manipulated the economy to eliminate threats to their existence, for the sake of protecting humanity. They did not, however, arrange any kind of hostile takeover or human death.

    Basically, the movie is a Frankenstein story poorly disguised as an Asimov story.

    And instead of robopyschology, Susan Calvin’s job is “to make [the robots] seem more human.” And look sexy in the shower.

  94. The Nomad Says:

    Supercomputer….

    Wargames……….

    Terminator………..

    The Matrix……………

    cough cough (RIPOFF)

    I have an idea. Why not actually try to write something ORIGINAL?

  95. topher Says:

    I am surprised that I haven’t read above that anyone saw some connection between the movie and Asimov’s short story ROBOT DREAMS. It seems very apparent that this short story should have been listed in the credits of the movie as it is apparent that “Sonny’s” dreams in the movie are almost identical to those of the short story. Shame on Janet Asimov and the Estate of Isaac Asimov for not catching this obvious rip-off of Isaac Asimov’s work.

    ROBOT DREAMS was written in 1986. I have it in a small collection of stories that was sent to me upon a subscription to Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine in 1990.

  96. drfunjohn Says:

    1.It’s called “I, Robot”. – today real robot can say this each meeting and introducing himself without any credit to Isaac Asimov.

    2.Asimov has a writing credit. – citation? Is it some thing wrong?
    3.It has a character named “Susan Calvin”. – Is it swear word?
    4.It prominently features (a version of) The Three Laws. – it’s LAW, if it exists, how do you can explain this in different words?
    5.The full trailer features a swarm of robots violently waging war on humanity. – OK, you do not like this film. Is that ALL?
    Thanks you about this review.
    Very intresting. I need see it!
    I think what this is ordinary, but now…

  97. The Nomad Says:

    drfunjohn,

    1) Learn to write English. What are you, 4? I know grade school children that write more concisely than you do.

    2) Wholesale raping of an author’s work by a Hollywood megalith is everyone’s concern. Asimov wrote about the 3 Laws. They could have called them operating parameters, rules, etc. They are doing a thinly veiled rip off of a great man’s work and then twisting it horribly to fit their demented screenplay. I for one think it is bad enough when they take a story and tell it poorly. In this case they took a story and rewrote it. The big issue here is them putting his name on something and taking his title. They could have easily put ‘Inspired by the book I, Robot’ in the credits and called it about ANYTHING else. Instead they are trying to build on the reputation of a genius who is unfortunately no longer here to defend himself.

    3) I would say that I hope you never have to suffer the same horrible bastardization of your work but after reviewing your short, somewhat incoherent entry I suspect there is no danger of you ever becoming even a romance writer, much less a great writer like Asimov.

    ‘Nuff said.

  98. Daneel Says:

    The Nomad,

    Some people, like me, do not speak English as their native language (actually it is my 3rd language), yet we make an effort and try to share our thinkings about this movie. If you knew more about people or if you tried and get out of your country some day, maybe you’d understand that very intelligent people can write English badly, maybe just because it is not their native language. How many languages can YOU speak? You should be less angry about other people’s lack of grammar and actually RESPECT them and try to understand what they say and what they want to communicate.

    Now, onto the movie itself…

    I am a big fan of Asimov stories and books, yet I liked the movie. If you actually see the movie, you see that there is no violation at all of the Three Laws. I am not going to give details because I don’t want to reveal the plot, but I encourage people to go and see it.
    The problem with this movie is that its trailer only focused on the ‘action’, Matrix-like scenes. That made Sci-fi fans think that the movie was bad. True, I didn’t like the 3 or 4 scenes where the movie is like Matrix, but I guess they are there to please the ‘normal’ spectator.
    So the people who started this ‘boycott’ actually thought the movie was bad before actually watching it. That’s called ‘letting your prejudices dominate your mind’.

  99. Matthew Walsh Says:

    Having just seen the film, I can assure you that the only violation of the Three Laws comes from a single source [the supercomputer Viki] who follows instead a version of the Four Laws. The manner in which she does this is plausible.

    Any other supposed violations of the Three Laws are due to the Four Laws bound Viki exercising her influence over the agressors, or in the case of the film’s robot hero, the built in ability to chose whether to follow the Three Laws or not.

    Overall, if you discount the initial few minutes of the film which read like an advertisement for some American shoe company which I’ve never [thankfully!] heard of, you’ll find the film to be substantially deeper and more involving than you’d otherwise expect.

    I will readily admit I had plans to boycott the movie based on the trailers alone, but the convincing given to me by my girlfriend has definately paid off.

    I honestly can’t see what all the fuss is about. Because of this movie, thousands of people who might never have heard of Asimov’s work will be persuaded to read through at least some of it. Two of the people I saw the movie with have expressed such interest.

    Asimov is resting soundly in his grave, I can imagine.

  100. alex Says:

    Saw the movie, nothing like I, Robot.
    It’s a poor combination of Asimovs books, it has
    some elements of I, Robot, loosely resembles Robots and Empire,
    The caves of steel, etc.
    The movie itself wasn’t bad, I liked the directors style.
    However major turn offs about the movie was the Holywood movie
    template… They have to stick everything in the movie to make
    it identical to all other super hero movies, and to satisfy Will
    Smith’s acting career.
    Will Smith’s acting, being a bad ass cop, having pure hatred towards robots.. If you read Robots and Empire, The caves of steel, the Earth detective Elijah Baley, which I think they might have based Will Smith’s character on, dislikes robots, but he is far more intelligent and charismatic than Will Smith.. Baley lacks the baddness, the super
    hero qualities, but has a very trained mind when it comes to
    detective work..
    The movie tried, they tried to make Will Smith seem like Baley,
    only they added a few extra super badass hero features to the character haha.

    I suggest renting the damn film, it’s an OK flick

    Here’s some extra I found amusic, the more I read of this guy’s work
    the more I agree :)
    http://maddox.xmission.com/c.cgi?u=i_robot

  101. sebasvard Says:

    Distinctly, incredibly, immensely…

    ….forgettable.

    About as unlike Asimov’s work as you could get. Save your $10/£6 and go buy some groceries instead.

    just about sums it all up.

  102. Slan-j_victorm Says:

    T2 was a better film. I wanted to stand in Theatre Entrys and protest also. I wanted to slam a greedy and malicious family of Asimov. I wanted to slam Will Smith for doing bad science fiction o a regular basis. I wanted people to care if there was a book a better story or something other than profit motive to moviemakeing. I saw, have not read yet, an article in the SF Chronicle by a granddughter or neice or some such who argued with the protest and liked the movie. Is this a defensive spin by movie industry types to support their killer robot flick? It’s all so sad. I Robot is linked by Robots of Dawn to Foundation and so much else. It’s one of those what’s next things I guess… Serious thinking and competent writeing gets short shift vrs. Megabucks.

  103. The Nomad Says:

    Daneel,

    English is not your first language?

    So what?

    I speak spanish but you don’t see me going to a spanish board and mucking around. If you want to practice your english that is fine but do not expect to get special treatment. If I wrote in spanish on one of those boards like you wrote in english over here it would be my expectation to catch shit.

    Grow up and get over it.

  104. Juu Says:

    I saw it, it was a good movie. I was sure the Asimov grognards will have a problem with it – and here they are, having a problem with it. I’ve only read the Foundation series.

  105. The Nomad Says:

    Juu-

    Grognards? That is a new one.

    I like to think of us as fans. Not rabid fans. Just fans. It is sad to see the work of a great man belittled like this. As previously mentioned this could have been avoided by saying the movie was inspired by I,Robot and giving it a different title.

    Paying homage is fine. Ripping off someone’s work is not.

    The saddest part about all of this is the way that everyone seems to embrace the fact that NO ONE is trying to come up with anything new. Each story is just a different version of something told before. Now while that might be a generalization it is begining to feel more like a truth.

    Glad you liked the movie. Personally I think that Will Smith phones it in and plays the same character everytime. But maybe that is just me.

  106. SomeRandomGuyAgain Says:

    Once again to remind people this thread originally started not to bitch about the movie’s CONTENT, but rather how it was MARKETED. Using the “I,Robot” name was the film’s crime – not it’s horrible plot or one dimensional lead actor…

  107. The Nomad Says:

    Will Smith.

    Get some help.

    Quit playing the same damn character over and over.

    Try acting again.

    As for them ripping off Asimov?

    I hope they can live with themselves.

  108. Aargof Says:

    I recently went to the book store and saw Asimov’s “I, Robot” book with a picture of Will Smith on the cover and “Now a major motion picture” at the top of the front cover. The fact is, “I, Robot” the plotlines that I’ve seen in all the stuff I’ve read about the movie have nothing to do with the actual book with the exception of a loose relation to the overall robot-filled world that Asimov created. They have the book covers and a bunch of the promo information written up the way Lord of the Rings was done, as though it was almost exactly like the book. I think this is the main gripe that people have. I enjoyed the movie but the marketing ploy really bugs me.

    Try to picture this. Instead of the recent box office smash of the LotR trilogy, someone comes out with a movie called “J.R.R. Tolken’s The Lord of the Rings” in which a hobbit stands against the orcish hordes with his trusty sidekick, the goofy old wizard Gandalf, and a few other minor humans/elves/dwarves that are mostly there for a little flavor. Oh, and he has a ring.

    That is pretty much the relationship between I, Robot the movie and the book.

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