There's a story leading me up to seeing this 'version' of I, Robot. It started, I'm not sure how long ago, grade school I think. I tried reading Asimov's "Foundation Trilogy." I say tried because at that time it was a tough read and I didn't stick with it. I tried it again a year or two later, this time sticking with it, and falling in love with the writing of Isaac Asimov. I read a number of his books, including others in the Foundation series, Empire series, stand alone novels, and of course, the Robot series. The writing was phenomenal, intelligent, engrossing, they were hard to put down. The three series were all interconnected in the same universe spanning hundreds, thousands of years, it's own complete and growing universe. I will admit, at this point, that it has been years since I read any of them and my memories of the details are fuzzy.
Fast forward a large number of years, I read that I, Robot is being turned into a film. I start getting happy. I then read that Alex Proyas will be directing. Now I lose it, Asimov and the director of Dark City? Sounds like a perfect marriage. Then reality hits, Will Smith has been signed to star. All of a sudden it went from intelligent science fiction to summer blockbuster in one fell swoop. Now please, don't get me wrong, Smith is an excellent performer and I have enjoyed most of his movies (except that excrement known as Wild Wild West), but I just didn't see him as the right guy for this project. His signing indicated, at least to me, that they were not going with the straight sci-fi, that it would include amped up action, one-liners, and a big summer budget. My hopes rested on the shoulders of Alex Proyas, a promising young director poised to make a huge Hollywood hit, and maybe this would be it. He proved he had talent with The Crow, and a great eye and ability to tell a visually interesting and intellectually stimulating science fiction story with Dark City.
Fast forward a bit more, the trailers start to appear. My apprehension starts to set in again. The trailers are of the whiz-bang variety, meaning it is full of big action, one-liners, and not much else. I thought the effects looked good, but I didn't really care for the feel of the movie. It just didn't strike me as Asimov, at all. Now I am always trying to convince people to not compare films and the books upon which they were based, but I draw the line here. I know stuff will get changed, often times drastically, but the only thing that was really Asimovian (is that a word?) was the inclusion of the Three Laws of Robotics, outside of that there is the very basic plot point of a robot accused of murder, and nothing else. I do like to have my adaptations at least have a bit closer resemblance to each other. I think The Shining book and film were more closely resembled each other regardless of Stanley Kubrick's and Stephen King's mutual disdain for the other's take.