A/V Room









I, Robot - US reaction and Box Office

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 Fox.

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 backdrop'.

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'. 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'.

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