The Source for Youth Ministry

Movie Reviews
by Jonathan McKee

I, Robot (12/14/2004)

Directed by Alex Proyas

Starring Will Smith and James Cromwell

Jonathan's Rating: Theatre Worthy

It’s always nice to see something new. Most people in a given audience have seen hundreds, if not thousands of films. Why bore them with the same ol’ plot, same characters, same action scenes.

Originality scores high in my book. “I, Robot” delivers in originality.

Will Smith plays a cop named Del Spooner, one of the few people in Chicago 2035 who doesn’t like how robots seem to be infiltrating our everyday life. And mega-company U.S. Robotics is about to deliver the newest and most advanced generation of robots that the world has ever seen.

But there is a murder, and Del suspects one of the new robots. No one believes Del . . . it’s Del against everyone.

Okay, we’ve seen cop films, we’ve seen futuristic films, and yes—we’ve even seen the personalized robot films. So what makes this film different? Three things: Will Smith, original writing, and some very impressive action scenes.

The concept of this film is very creative and the writing is strong, but let’s be honest: Will Smith really puts the icing on the cake in this film. If you had the same film, but starring Steven Seagal instead . . . you just lost a huge chunk of the film’s appeal. Will is not only a stud, he’s funny, and he can actually act! (Sorry Steven!) You’ll still be chuckling at some of Will’s lines the day after the film.

The effects and action in “I, Robot” will make you turn to the person next to you and say “Wow” several times. That’s pretty good when I actually take my eyes off the screen to turn to my brother, my son or my friend and say, “Wow!” In my book, “I, Robot” achieved “Wow Factor” several times. Sure we’ve seen a few robots in films before, and the Star Wars films even introduced us to thousands of fighting robots. But imagine everyone’s household robot, as common as a vacuum cleaner, getting ticked and attacking Chicago. Fun stuff. Not to mention a couple of slow motion robot moments that are very cool.

Should kids see it?
I saw it with my 11 year old boy, but wouldn’t let my younger girls see it yet. Even though the film is basically clean, it’s sprinkled with profanity (sh*t, hell, ass, etc., the words that I turn to my son and say, “We don’t use that word in our house.”). And the film has these two “PG shower scenes” that make you ask, “What was that for?” (a foggy shot of the back of Will Smith in the shower, and another even foggier shot of the lead female’s “shape” in the shower, showing her non-explicit silhouette. Maybe you’ve noticed the phenomenon of shots like this that they can insert into the preview for the “sex appeal” marketing factor) But, aside from language, the film was basically clean with no sex or actual nudity.

This is a good action film. As I said in my review of “The Rundown,” it’s hard to find good clean action these days.

Conversation Starter
Three Simple Questions (with Answers You May Be Looking for):

  1. What are some of the messages or themes you observed in this movie?

  2. How do you suppose we—as serious Christ-followers—should react to this movie?

  3. How can we move from healthy, Bible-based opinions about this movie to actually living out those opinions?

Jonathan McKee Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices, If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, and You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.

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