She Who Is Perfect In All Ways and I went out to a movie this week and saw I, Robot. It wasn’t high on our list but the pickings were quite thin for movies we were willing to sit through (she wasn’t up for Spiderman 2 and I wasn’t willing to sit through King Arthur even for Keira Knightley).
The movie wasn’t bad. It was much less predictable than I thought it would be. The special effects were good as well, although not spectacular. The plot holes1 were reasonably sized for a movie of this nature — way, way smaller than the ones in The Matrix trilogy. In fact, the philosophical questions in the movie, while mediocre, were also deeper than those raised by The Matrix. Overall, I enjoyed the movie. Light weight but fun.
It occurred to me that the movies should have come out in the opposite order. While the good guys win (of course), it they had lost it would have been the perfect set up for The Matrix and explained that situation far better than the majorly lame “the machines need the energy” explanation. Suppose VIKI had triumphed. It’d be plausible that after her triumph, the human race would start to decay and fade away, which would be in violation of her programming. Unable to allow that, a simulated matrix where humans still ruled would be a perfect solution. One could even have it set up so that people who were “killed” could simply be recylced as other people (ala Dark City) so that in fact no human was ever really harmed. It would be a far tighter explanation for why the machines kept the humans alive when they were obviously completely unnecessary.
P.S. I did notice that in the credits, where normally one would read “based on …” it had instead “suggested by …”. That’s certainly accurate as the plot doesn’t follow anything I remember from the robot stories of Asimov.
1 The biggest one is why no one finds it strange that Lanning’s house is demolished the day after he died. No estate sale, no reclamation by family of heirlooms, no probate, no frigging sale of a multi-million dollar house. Even the truck accident can be explained away by claiming that auto-drive is only enabled inside the city tunnels, not on the open highway (too expensive, too new to be everywhere).