Compiled by: Jack Foley
WILL Smith's latest thriller, I, Robot, has surprised many pundits
by knocking Spider-Man 2 off
the top of the US Box Office.
The sci-fi thriller opened with a better-than-expected weekend
ticket gross of an estimated $53.3 million (£28.5 million),
which marks a sizeable hit for the movie's distributor, 20th Century
The film had been aiming for somewhere in the region of $40m,
especially since Spider-Man 2 was expected to enjoy a long run
in the top spot.
However, I, Robot does mark a refreshingly more serious turn
from Smith, and opened to strong reviews, with many American critics
appreciating the level of intelligence it contains.
Leading the way was the Chicago Tribune, which
declared that it is 'a high-tech thriller that really works -
both because of its eye-popping visual feats and the ideas and
humanity behind them'.
While the New Times wrote that 'it has a slow
buildup, but its final third manages to generate some eye-popping
thrills without the usual obligatory dismissal of all narrative
in the face of explosions'.
The New York Post found it to be 'surprisingly
smart, cool-looking, nicely paced and well-acted'.
And the San Francisco Chronicle opined that
'the screenplay is good enough to keep things moving, to supply
Smith with one- liners and to provide an excuse for the compelling
Better still, was E! Online, which declared
that 'as far as popcorn summer flicks go, this one's error-free'.
It awarded the film a straight A.
A little more lukewarm, however,
were the likes of the Hollywood Reporter, which
wrote that 'the film works best as a kind of mindless, action-packed
B-movie. But on the A-level at which recent science fiction/fantasy
films operate, this movie falls woefully short'.
And the Houston Chronicle, which felt that it
'plays like a compendium of Summer blockbusters'.
Worse still, was Variety, which declared it
to be 'afailure of imagination'.
And USA Today, which found that 'performances,
plot and pacing are as mechanical as the hard-wired cast'.
Unimpressed, too, was the New York Times, which
felt that 'Suggested by' Isaac Asimov's book of short stories,
Alex Proyas's hectic thriller engages some interesting ideas on
its way to an overblown and incoherent ending'.
And the Toronto Star, which wrote that it is
'a CGI-laced action movie cum merchandising opportunity, warped
into insensate silliness by the pop-iconic demands of Smith's
megabucks macho action-hero persona and peppered with stock cop-on-the-
edge action-movie situations'.
But the positives were picked up, again, by the Philadelphia
Inquirer, which opined: "I, Robot is less compelling
as a drama of the human enslavement of androids than it is an
intriguing vision of a treeless, cashless future."
And by Box Office Magazine, which felt that
it is 'easily this Summer's most welcome big-budget surprise,
a studio film that isn't afraid to ask its audience to think'.
About.com felt that 'when Smith and Monaghan
are interacting with Sonny the robot, you swear he’s a real
person who just happens to look a bit odd'.
But the final word goes to One Guy's Opinion,
which decided that it is 'a visually impressive effort that mixes
the pizzazz of an action-oriented popcorn movie with a more humane
sensibility than is usually the case'.