Guest Author - Michelle Taylor
Now it is time to take a look at the robots that have been in films since the 1980s. (This is by no means a comprehensive list, just a few of my favorites).
First we will start off with Data (Brent Spiner) from “Star Trek the Next Generation”. Data is an android that desperately wants to feel human emotions. He is endearing to the audience because of his loyalty, his innocence, and his love for his cat, Spot. He is the Enterprise’s science officer and his lightning fast reflexes and knowledge have saved the crew more than once.
On the other end of the spectrum we have Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving) from “The Matrix”. It is arguable whether Smith is an android or just a computer program – but since he can cause severe damage, we’ll go with robot on this one. Weaving does an amazing job playing the unfeeling, uncaring Smith. His voice is so unique; it is hard to picture anyone else in this role. He just defines it.
Our next robot played by Jude Law in the film “A.I.” is Gigolo Joe. Joe was designed to be exactly that – a gigolo. Yet when he meets up with the young robot, David, he is quick to give his help. He is a happy smooth talking robot that dances at the drop of a hat. Unfortunately he gives up his life trying to help David.
At the beginning of “I, Robot” it looks as if Sonny (Alan Tudyk) is a murderous robot. It seems as if he has just killed his creator. As the film goes on we find out that Sonny has emotions just like humans, and is more compassionate than many of the humans surrounding him. He teams up with the detective investigating the murder (suicide?) and winds up helping to save the human race.
One of the more interesting robots on the list is Marvin (Alan Rickman) the chronically depressed robot from “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”. He has been manufactured with GPP – Genuine People Personalities, unfortunately his personality seems to be sad to the nth degree. Luckily he is very intelligent, so although his advice is given in the voice of a funeral director, it is generally helpful.
Now we come to one of my favorite robots of all time – Bumblebee from the “Tranformers” franchise. Bee has been sent to Earth to protect the human, Sam Witwicky. He becomes more than Sam’s protector, he becomes his friend. Since his vocal transmitters have been damaged he speaks through the radio, using snippets of different songs to get his point across. In the 2nd movie he actually cries at the thought of Sam going to college without him – it is very endearing. I want a car that cries when it misses me! Bumblebee will move heaven and earth to protect Sam, even at the expense of his own body.
Finally we end with the little robot that could Wall-E from the film by the same name. Wall-E is a cleaning robot left on Earth to try and clean the filthy planet so that one day humans might be able to return to it. (Right now they are living on space stations similar to cruise ships). His only friend is a little cockroach. Then out of the blue a space ship appears and drops off another little bot named Eve. Eve’s prime mission is to look for signs that Earth is coming back to life – in other words searching for plant life. When Eve leaves the planet, Wall-E decides to follow her and meets a whole new, ragtag bunch of robots (including the incredibly adorable MO) that he quickly befriends.
These are just a few of the robots that have shown up in the movies over the past 20 years. Be sure to join us in the forums to discuss who your favorite robot is!