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Old 18th June 2004, 12:11 AM   #1 (permalink)
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I Robot movie (Isaac Asimov)

http://www.irobotmovie.com/

Anyone got any news?
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Old 18th June 2004, 10:07 AM   #2 (permalink)
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From what I heard this film has absolutely nothing to do with Isaac Asimov or his book "I Robot” (an anthology of nine unrelated short stories that was published in 1950.)

It was originally to be called "Hardwired" and was written as a 'robots-gone-mad' 'action-packed flick'. To give it a greater marketing presence they cynically added Asimov as a writing credit, inserted a reference to the 'Three Laws of Robotics', and stuck in a character called Dr. Susan Calvin (who Asimov reused several times.)

Where Asimov's 'Laws' prevent any robot from doing harm, this film has the opposite occurring.
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Old 19th June 2004, 03:27 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Doh.

Wonder if they will ever do some decent Asimov films. I would love to see the foundation books made into films on the scale of Lord of the Rings .... can't see it happening though.
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Old 19th June 2004, 03:40 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Director does think its about i-robot

http://www.apple.com/trailers/fox/i_...tte/ap_lg.html
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Old 13th July 2004, 12:01 AM   #5 (permalink)
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interesting

I read the synopsis on their cool flash website and it sounded alot more like one of Asimov's robot detective novels (Elijah Bailey and R. Daneel) than any of his short stories. The characters in his short stories usually have their original assumptions completely blown away, rather than confirmed.

Oh and the roboticist looked a little younger than the main roboticist in the story (as I remember).

The movie looks worth seeing however, just on the basis of its outstanding computer graphics. The masses of lined robots reminded me of that massive chinese tomb of an emperor who had an entire army of clay men (and horses) buried with him (no expert, can't even remember the name).

(yay, my first post on a forum based around a topic I love)

EDIT: On an interesting side note, Will Smith was selected to play the main character. I think this was done specifically because Asimov rarely mentions race, and when he does I (who have read much Asimov) have noticed that all of his main characters are white and usually white males. Thus, they have already shown his readers in a very specific way that this movie will not be simply a transcription of his writing.
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Old 13th July 2004, 12:11 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Well done and welcome, Archon!

I would agree that the synopsis does sound as if it is going further than the original stories on first pass. But I think it is mix and matching bits from various stories.

We do have a thread in films discussing it here http://www.ascifi.com/forums/showthr...threadid=15774

Personally, the only major qualm I have is the star of the show (Wil Smith).
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Old 13th July 2004, 12:53 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I didn't mean to say that the movie wasn't worth seeing, but I think many people will be seeing it under the assumption that it is an adaptation of an Asimov book, and I think that's wrong. New paperback copies of the book that have been rushed out even have a photo of Wil Smith on the cover.

There was an 'Outer Limits' episode called 'I, Robot' too, Written by Brad Wright. Leonard Nimoy was in it. It has nothing to do with that either, but it does show that many people think that 'I, Robot' is a cool title to use.

Apparently, what has really got some people worked up is that an authentic screenplay adaptation of 'I, Robot' already existed, having been written by Harlan Ellison in the late 1970s and reportedly given approval by Asimov (the two were friends).
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Old 14th July 2004, 07:49 PM   #8 (permalink)
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All the movies I have seen that attempt to tie in with Asimov's laws of robotics fail to grasp the concept that these laws are inviolate. I know that they have to have murderous malfunctioning robots to make it at the box office and humaniform robots with quasi human emotions (ie. Cmdr Data) are too good for Hollywood to pass up. But Asimov created suspense and tension without actually breaking any of the laws. (true, the zeroth law is a cop-out). I think they (Hollywood) should stop invoking "The Three Laws" when they have no intention of treating them as laws.
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Old 19th July 2004, 09:49 PM   #9 (permalink)
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It is a problem with adapting books to movies in general...

(apologies for long post but i think it is an interesting article)

http://www.usatoday.com/life/movies/...-fi-main_x.htm

Quote:
"Hollywood thinks it's making something good when a movie is an IMAX-sized Game Boy or a testosterone pinple-fest for boys," says Susan Shwartz, a Wall Street exec and author of several Star Trek books. "Frankly, most insult an audience's intelligence. (Studios) are listening too much to focus groups and marketers than audiences," she says. "They think most of us are fools who will pay to see anything. I'll see I, Robot because Will Smith is fun, intelligent and was fabulous in Independence Day, but I think I'll be disappointed."

Even hard-core sci-fi fans have been dulled by an overload of too-similar computer games, effects-laden fantasy films such as the Lord of the Rings trilogy and more textured, plot-driven TV sci-fi programs.

"Science fiction literature's focus is on ideas, the concept of change and the impact on humanity," says James Gunn, head of the University of Kansas Center for the Study of Science Fiction. "Those concepts are hard to capture on film. They work better in the mind."

Yet film formulas, no matter the genre, tend to be milked if they're a commercial success. When it comes to sci-fi, that's meant more focus on costly special effects than appealing stories, says Gunn, author of some 30 science fiction books, including The Immortals.

"Hollywood is spending too much money on special effects, and the more money that's spent, the more gasoline is burned - you have to have a big finale where everything's blown up," says Fahrenheit 451 author Ray Bradbury, whose latest short-story collection, Cat's Pajamas, was released July 6. "The public
comes to expect what you give them.

"The best science fiction films had good scripts and screenplays," says Bradbury, 84. Outside of 2001 and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, there's been no outstanding sci-fi movie in 25 years, he says.

Blade Runner, a commercial flop with just $27.6 million in ticket sales, is regarded by many aficionados as the genre's best since 1968's 2001. But purists have yet to forgive Hollywood for mucking up the film, based on Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Dick's novel ends with bounty hunter Rick Deckard committing suicide. But in the 1982 film, Ford's Deckard drives off into the sunset with a comely robot played by Sean Young.

"It gets to the point where you hope they don't make movies out of the classics," says Maggie Nowakowska, a Seattle graphics planner at aerospace giant Boeing who began devouring science fiction books as an 8-year-old in the 1950s.
"They don't have to have happy endings. Maybe if they were more character-driven, they'd be more fun. Too many are action-thrillers that don't explore the tactile ideas of science fiction."

Harlan Ellison, a veteran sci-fi writer who wrote an I, Robot screenplay in 1978, agrees.

"The beauty of science fiction is each story is different. They postulate a 'what if' scenario that's logical," he says. "But the people making science fiction movies are not trained in storytelling. They don't understand science. So they make stupid, silly stuff that's been made five or six times before."

Bringing a book to screen

Ellison is understandably bitter. Warner Bros. sat on his screenplay for decades. 20th Century Fox later acquired rights to the I, Robot title, abandoning Ellison's work.

Asimov's concepts were eventually melded with Jeff Vintar's Hardwired screenplay - which also languished for years - by Proyas, veteran screenwriter Akiva Goldsman and Smith.

What appears on screen "is a robot-run-amok special-effects marathon," says Ellison, who has seen only parts of I, Robot. "If Asimov could see this, he would be spinning like a gyroscope. It's a movie that won't be remembered a year from now."

Some sci-fi diehards have urged a boycott of the film, contending that beyond the title and references to Asimov's laws of robotics, the film has virtually nothing in common with his 1950 book.

Ellison's screenplay closely followed Asimov's work, nine tales of robotic development told Citizen Kane-like through 75-year-old "robo-pyschologist" Susan Calvin. In the film, Calvin is a 30ish action babe played by Bridget Moynahan, second fiddle to Smith's Spooner.

Studio exec Rothman says Ellison's screenplay simply wasn't effective, underscoring the difficulty of bringing a concept to the screen.

"Harlan's literal retelling of a collection of short stories didn't make for an exciting movie," Rothman says. "We took the spirit of Asimov's ideas and his universe and we developed a movie around those principals."

Asimov died in 1992 at the age of 72. His daughter Robyn applauds the film, which "conveys the essence and spirit of his stories," she says.

"If this attracts a new generation to buy my father's books, to interest them about the future, to perhaps encourage and educate people to have ideas and participate in the creation of the future he foresaw, then this movie does right by him."

After signing on, Smith wanted to work on the script to ensure I, Robot wasn't a top-heavy special-effects blockbuster with little plot, like his widely panned Wild Wild West in 1999. The $170 million movie brought in just $114 million. "The audience is too smart for that," Smith says.

Smith connected with Goldsman at the 2002 Academy Awards, where Goldsman won an Oscar for best adapted screenplay for A Beautiful Mind and Smith was nominated for best actor for Ali.

"We spent six weeks going through the script, paying attention to details and scenes. We wanted to create a story that was aggressively smart, that could stand without depending on special effects," says Smith, who insists I, Robot is deeper, more thought-provoking and character-driven than typical sci-fi
fare. "The special effects are very cool, but they're like an added treat to the story."

Says Goldsman: "Will's a sci-fi geek in a movie star's body. He has a fever and passion for sci-fi."

Veteran Hollywood producer John Davis, whose 60-plus movies include Predator, Waterworld and Alien vs. Predator, says Hollywood is on the verge of exploiting scores of sci-fi novels and short stories.

"There's such a rich trove out there," Davis says. "I think science fiction will be hot the next four to five years."

Smith, an aficionado since watching Star Wars as a second-grader in 1977, hopes I, Robot will lead a new sci-fi film wave. He'd like to star in several.

"I'm not settling for a trilogy," he says. "I'm going for an octilogy."
I'm not sure I agree with the Blade Runner criticism, since Deckard realises he is an android too in the end, and it really doesn't matter if he leaves with Sean Young or not, there is no getting away from that.

Otherwise, I mostly agree with what they say, though there should be a distinction between making a short story into a film (when it is perfectly acceptable to add new plot and fill it out) and adapting a novel to film (when it ought to be fairly close to the original.)

Harlan Ellison always seems to have some axe to grind. He still complains about Gene Roddenberry re-writing his 'City at the edge of Forever' 'Star Trek' script, but I think he is probably right when he says Asimov would be "spinning like a gyroscope".

-- Dave
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Old 20th July 2004, 10:57 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Saw a trailer for this last night, hadn't realised it was already in book form (if that makes sense). It does look good. Perhaps I'll have to get a copy of the book to read. What do you think?

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Old 20th July 2004, 01:21 PM   #11 (permalink)
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The book is a collection of short stories from the 1940's published in 1950.

Robbie
Runaround
Reason
Catch that Rabbit
Liar!
Little Lost Robot
Escape!
Evidence
The Evitable conflict

None of them has anything to do with the plot of the movie. I think the woman in the film Dr. Susan Calvin, is a character in many of Asimovs strories
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Old 25th July 2004, 11:05 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I haven't had time to see this film yet, but I do want to sometime. This article in the 'San Fransisco Chronicle' refutes all those claims that Issac Asimov would have hated the film, and the author of it seems to be the best placed to know, even better than Harlan Ellison:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...TL&type=movies

Quote:
ASIMOV LEGACY IS SAFE

Robyn Asimov
Sunday, July 25, 2004


To loyal fans of science fiction and Isaac Asimov, the only thing more disconcerting than robots attacking humans -- a violation of the author's First Law of Robotics -- is that the camera filming "I, Robot" focused clearly on a buff Will Smith in the shower but not on the statuesque Bridget Moynihan, as Asimov would have preferred.

Yet the world's most loyal Asimov fan actually likes the new summer blockbuster that bears the title of his 1950 book of robot tales. Of this I am sure, because I am that fan, and Isaac Asimov was my father. I believe he would have liked this movie, too.

But let's put it right out there: The movie departs in many ways from his book.

"I, Robot" was nine stories that addressed the questions my father loved to consider: Could machines be aware of their own existence? Would such sentient beings have morals? Could they be corrupted? And what were the limits of the laws themselves? Did they permit robots to scheme? Be tricky? Display empathy? Even love?

As thoughtful a futurist as he was, my father never did imagine when he wrote "I, Robot" that in the 21st century, his readers would be asking similar questions about a highly stylized Hollywood action film packed with special effects.

Many readers who care deeply about "the Good Doctor" fear it might insult his memory.

My father understood well how any deviation from what is familiar and feels right breeds suspicion. Populating my father's stories were legions of such skeptics -- people who feared robots and who did all they could to avoid co-existing with them. It was a perspective that my father knew intimately. The same man who sent literary starships across space and time did not travel by air. And he resisted using a personal computer. (When one computer company at last persuaded him to try its product, my father phoned in triumph to announce that the machine did not work. A repairman was immediately dispatched to my father's living room, where he picked up the power cord and plugged it in.)

And yet my father loved his robots and tended to give them the benefit of the doubt. (He didn't call me Robbie for nothing.) For my part, I was the doting, dutiful daughter who at times felt fiercely protective of him. My father loved this in me, and a dozen years after his death that role has evolved into the guardianship of his large body of work. Like other Asimov fans, I felt apprehensive about the movie and was prepared to take umbrage if the translation from page to screen did him wrong.

So it was with all of this in mind that I went to Los Angeles to meet one of "I, Robot's" screenwriters, Akiva Goldsman ("A Beautiful Mind"), and its director, Alex Proyas. My own skepticism about the movie was balanced by other prejudices I carried: sympathy toward those who had spent years trying to refine my father's nine cerebral stories into one cinematic narrative, and the fact that Proyas' "Dark City" was one of my favorite films.

I was told that while shooting the movie, copies of the book had been strewn around the set. The idea was to stay faithful to my father's sense of optimism and his hope that humans and robots could co-exist in harmony. In fact, the actors and many of the Fox studio people I met seemed almost apologetic that the movie departed from the book. Yet they were eager that I see what they saw in the film -- that it and the book both explored the idea that thinking machines will inevitably be a part of our future.

I thought of my father as I watched the movie. As science-minded as he was, he was also good-natured, appreciated beauty along with brains, and favored cats. Will Smith saves a cat. I could feel my father's approval.

But would he like the movie?

One of the benefits of having a father as prolific as mine is that he is likely to have written something, sometime, to address any given situation. So it was natural that I turned to my father to understand the answer. And, as usual, he did not disappoint me. My father once wrote: "My nonappearance on the screen has not bothered me. I am strictly a print person. I write material that is intended to appear on a printed page, and not on a screen, either large or small. I have been invited on numerous occasions to write a screenplay for motion picture or television, either original, or as an adaptation of my own story or someone else's, and I have refused every time. Whatever talents I may have, writing for the eye is not one of them, and I am lucky enough to know what I can't do.

"On the other hand, if someone else -- someone who has the particular talent of writing for the eye that I do not have -- were to adapt one of my stories for the screen, I would not expect that the screen version be 'faithful' to the print version."

Aha! My father did not write for the screen -- but he did appreciate the talent it took to convey scientific ideas in a humanitarian context, something which, to my mind, came through in this movie. There was no greater fan of, say, "Star Trek," than my father. What he liked was that the show introduced these concepts to a far larger and more diverse audience than the small sector of the population that seeks out science fiction. And that's what my father would have liked most about "I, Robot," the movie.

It was always his intention to inspire people to think seriously about the future of humanity -- and to entertain them at the same time. It's what he did best.

To my father, there was no greater goal than to pass on the torch of education, knowledge and curiosity about the future to new generations.

Well, maybe there was one. He liked people to buy his books. It would not have escaped him that although this movie will turn many "I, Robot" readers into "I, Robot" viewers, the reverse will also be true.

Watching the movie, I felt my father's presence. He cared little for Hollywood, but he was respectful and generous with others who promoted science and science fiction. In that regard, "I, Robot," the movie, succeeds.

So I think it's safe to give it four thumbs up.
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Old 25th July 2004, 07:51 PM   #13 (permalink)
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well, that sounds good enough to me. if his daughter likes it, it can't be too bad. she sounds a lovely person.

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Old 16th August 2004, 01:53 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: interesting

Quote:
Originally posted by Archon
I read the synopsis on their cool flash website and it sounded alot more like one of Asimov's robot detective novels (Elijah Bailey and R. Daneel) than any of his short stories. The characters in his short stories usually have their original assumptions completely blown away, rather than confirmed.
I've seen the film now and also read 'The Caves of Steel' and I would say you are spot on. The film isn't based on any of his stories in particular, but you can see all the same themes there. I've made a rather extensive review of the film in the thread in the film forum that Ray linked, so I won't repeat myself here.

Quote:
Originally posted by Archon
On an interesting side note, Will Smith was selected to play the main character. I think this was done specifically because Asimov rarely mentions race, and when he does I (who have read much Asimov) have noticed that all of his main characters are white and usually white males. Thus, they have already shown his readers in a very specific way that this movie will not be simply a transcription of his writing.
Del Spooner, the character played by Will Smith has an interesting reason for his dislike of robots that you discover about 3/4 of the way through the film. Up until that point you assume that it is because he is what Asimov called a 'medievalist' or a 'Luddite'. Susan Calvin mentions that maybe his father lost his job to a robot, and says that is a 'rascist' attitude. There are also a number of other black characters in the film including the police lieutenant who is his boss. My own take on this, was that they were trying to reinforce the impression of robots as the new slaves, doing the work of humans for no pay.
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Old 13th February 2007, 05:09 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: I Robot movie (issaac Asimov)

Terrible film, shocking
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