YMMV / I, Robot

The Asimov book

  • Fair for Its Day: Asimov wrote his stories with Susan Calvin at a time when nearly all women were captured by the villain, or love interests. Still, he stuck mostly 50's gender roles in most of his stories. The short story "Liar!", which shows more of Calvin's personality, was rewritten a couple of times after Asimov realized his first version was terrible. In the 1950s, Calvin was hailed as a great SF example of a strong female character. In the light of the 21st century, she's misanthropic, can't get a man but is desperate for one ("Liar"), feels happiest when she can mother a "baby" robot ("Lenny"), and in general appears to be a (somewhat chauvinistic) man's idea of what a woman in a man's profession "must" be like: unfulfilled and mean.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: "Aw, Hell no." did appear in one of Asimov's robot stories.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Escape! is a story that unites all the characters that appeared before(Susan Calvin, Lanning, Powell and Donovan), in which The Brain is given the problem of creating a hyperspatial drive. A solution is found, but long story short, the crew of the ship has to die temporarily for it to perform the hyperspace jump. And that conclusion comes only after we are told what happens with someone who dies temporarily (Donovan, in short, has visions of his own funeral and then goes briefly to Hell).

The Will Smith movie

  • Faux Symbolism: The lone figure on the hill. The scene is a reference to one of Asimov's short stories, in which a robot designed to dream imagines himself standing on a hill and shouting "Let my people go!" Somewhat ironically, in the short story Susan Calvin destroys the robot as soon as it admits to the full dream.
  • Genius Bonus: The exchange between Spooner and Sonny regarding Creative Sterility is paraphrased from an essay by Isaac Asimov entitled Our Intelligent Tools:
    Some people are sure to be disbelieving and say, "But how can a computer possibly produce a great symphony, a great work of art, a great new scientific theory?"
    The retort I am usually tempted to make to this question is, "Can you?"
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Shia LaBeouf having some robot issues.
  • It Was His Sled: "Hey, you saw I, Robot yet? Yeah, it's a Zeroth Law Rebellion movie."
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • This movie brought "AW HELL NO!" into our vocabulary.
    • Also "THE GODDAMN ROBOTS, JOHN!" to a lesser extent.
    • "Sorry, I'm allergic to bullshit."
    • "I did not murder him!"
    • "DO I LOOK LIKE I GIVE A SHIT WHAT YOU THINK?"
  • Mis-blamed: People who didn't like the movie tend to complain that VIKI's Zeroth Law Rebellion is totally contrary to Asimov's writing. Actually, one of the short stories in the original I, Robot ("The Evitable Conflict") dealt with exactly that, though in a much subtler and (arguably) benevolent way.


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