We now have the full I, Robot experience with this new “All Access Collector’s Edition”. We have more a lot more supplements but, unfortunately, the movie is not improved. It’s still a fun couple of hours though. I, Robot follows the story of Will Smith (and his character name, if that matters, is Detective Spooner) as he tries to solve the murder of a robotics scientist (James Cromwell). Smith must overcome his prejudice against robots, as he tries to solve the case.
There are a lot of “c…ol” scenes, and I really enjoyed the universe created by Alex Proyas. One of Proyas’ previous films, Dark City, is a startling work of imagination. The special effects are very modern, but the story is as creaky as an old rocking chair. We’ve seen all this before: the chases, the one note characterizations, the one-liners, the Will Smith-ism. This is ain’t Bad Boys. The movie is caught between an intelligent futuristic tale and a Will Smith vehicle. The two cancel each other out. What’s left is a watered down film that’s only “suggested” by Isaac Asimov’s original work. Fans didn’t seem to mind though. The excellent box office summer receipts proved that Will Smith is still a force to be reckoned with. I enjoyed I, Robot, but I took it for what it was…and not as it should be.
Crank it up. We have a great mix on our hands. You can listen to this film in DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1, and Dolby 2.0 Surround in French and Spanish. Both DTS and 5.1 are the best options here (but I prefer DTS when push comes to shove). The mix is very aggressive and active. Your speakers get a real workout here. Sounds of shattering glass, explosions, metallic noise, and dialogue can all be heard with equal clarity. It’s a busy mix, but well delineated. Like I said…crank it up
Seen in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, this video transfer is very strong. Clean, without any noticeable defects, the picture looks flawless. Colors are bold with lots of detail. Blacks are lush and deep. I don’t think any improvement was made from the previous release. There’s no need to. This is one good looking movie.
This is where the new edition puts the old one to rest.
We have three commentaries on the first disc. The first is a carryover from the original release: director Proyas and screenwriter Avika Goldsman talk. I liked this commentary. Proyas and Goldsman are different personalities, which always makes a commentary more interesting. The second commentary is by production designer, Patrick Tatopoulos, editor Richard Learoyd, and the visual effects. There is a lot of “tech talk” here, but I learned a lot. The third commentary is by composer Marco Beltrami. Beltrami doesn’t speak the whole time; there are moments of isolated score.
Disc Two advertises 4 hours of featurettes. Each featurette features an introduction by director Alex Proyas. “Days Out of Days” is a feature movie length production diary; it’s packed with material. “CGI and Design” is a half hour featurette detailing the CGI process for the film. “Sentient Machines” is another half hour featurette, this time about robots in particular. “Three Laws Safe” are featurettes that consist of conversations with people such as Isaac Asimov’s daughter Robin and Asimov’s editor, Jennifer Brehl. The screenwriters, Jeff Vintar and Akiva Goldsman, also pipe in about the influence of Asimov, and other sources, on the writing of the film.
“The Filmmaker’s Toolbox” is a feature that can be broken down into deleted scenes and alternate endings and compositing breakdowns: visual effects how to’s. The deleted scenes aren’t earth shattering stuff. The alternate endings include an ending that belies the last shot of the finished film; the other is a half finished possible alternative ending. The “How To’s” are visual reconstructions of various effects shots. Now each shot was created by a different visual effects house. Each of these houses, Digital Domain, WETA, and Rainmaker, are mentioned.
While not a great film, I, Robot is a nice guilty pleasure. It’s fun, but with some really stellar effects. Throw the other disc in the trash. This new “All Access Collector’s Edition” is a keeper. It’s got great sound, a great transfer, and extras that’ll keep you busy for hours. Highly recommended.
Special Features List
- 3 Audio Commentaries
- Production Diary
- CGI and Design featurette
- Sentient Machines featurette
- “Three Laws Safe” featurette
- Deleted Scenes
- Alternate Endings
- Visual Effects How To