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hey, are you one of those Transformers I keep hearing about?

hey, are you one of those Transformers I keep hearing about?

PG-13

Will Smith, Bridget Moynahan

Del Spooner: You are the dumbest smart person I’ve ever met in my life!

It’s the year 2035, and robots have become standard place on the streets and in people’s homes as helpers.  When a top scientist seems to commit suicide at the company that creates these robots, detective Del Spooner (Smith) starts to suspect that a robot may have been responsible for what he thinks is a murder.  During his investigation, Spooner quickly stumbles upon a robot that seems different from others of his kind.  Is he just a rogue robot killer, or is there something more to the story?  Well, I guess it wouldn’t be a very long movie if there wasn’t more to it…

If I were to sum up this movie in one sentence, I’d say:  It was reasonably entertaining, but extremely predictable.  Oh, and it also kinda rips off 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Will Smith is his usual charming self, even working in his “Awh, hay-ell no!” catch phrase at least once.  The other actors do okay, though everybody seems so subdued, it’s hard to feel much emotional connection to any of them.    Apparently Alan Tudyk plays Sonny, the robot murder suspect, but aside from his voice, it’s hard to see where he’s used in the character at all.  Maybe they filmed his face, digitized it, then put it on the robot head, but I don’t really know.  Either way, the robot is the most interesting character in the movie, mostly due to the vocal work.  The visuals seemed a little strange, as he – and the rest of his type – all jumped and climbed around like Spiderman.  They are seriously nimble machines.

As I mentioned above, it is very predictable.  It’s directed in a very non-subtle way that points right at everything that will come into play later.  The moment they made a point about something (Will Smith winking to somebody, for instance), I knew it would come into play at a critical moment later.  It takes some of the fun out of it when there’s no surprises in a movie.

It’s mindless, it looks good, and lots of things “blow up real good” as Roger Ebert likes to say.  If that’s your sort of thing, it probably won’t disappoint.

If we build intelligent, powerful robots, it is inevitable that they will one day want to kill us.  So, the key is to create dumb, wimpy robots that can’t do anything more than, say, vacuum for us.  Hey wait, like the Roomba!  Wow, it’s like we’re living in the future…

10 – 2.4 for being very predictable – 1.1 for lack of character development beyond Smith’s character – .2 because I thought the robots were a little dull = 6.3