Based on others reaction to this movie, I’ve concluded it’s something of a guilty pleasure to like I, Robot. But I still do. Having seen it at least six times now, I’m aware of its weaknesses, its telegraphed plot points and predictable action sequences. But compared with other Asimov film interpretations, in particular the horribly twee Bicentennial Man (or Bi-sentimental man as it might better have been called), it’s actually quite strong and certainly worth a repeat viewing.
I’m not convinced that it needs the ‘fresh prince’ comments that Will Smith movies appear to necessitate, but the production look of the robots is stunning – as is the work of Alan Tudyk as Sonny the NS-5 with a heart. Perhaps not as thought provoking as Alex Proyas previous directorial dip in the deep ocean of science fiction, Dark City, but enjoyable nonetheless.
So what did the Blu-ray genie do to this movie? Some nice things and some very unimpressive ones just for good measure.
First the good news; if you’re building a Blu-ray collection based on the quality of transfers then this has to be in there, because it’s breathtaking. It’s presented in the correct 2.35:1 ratio at 1080p resolution, with the VC1 encoder used to make best use of the disc space available. It’s crisp in a way that real life looks like someone smeared Vaseline on your eyes, and very possibly a new standard in digital film reproduction. Where this really shows through is in the very dark scenes, where black levels don’t descend into blotchy mush, or spawn new artefact thriving life forms.
For those with the right equipment the audio is almost as impressive as the picture, with the English soundtrack in DTS-HD 5.1, and Dolby 5.1 for both French and German. To say that the DTS audio is immersive is like suggesting that a mobile phone call is equivalent to being there. It goes way beyond what I’d expected in both clarity and resonance.
The bad news, or not so great is the extras. It’s a nice collection of featurettes and commentary tracks, but they don’t really add anything new to what the DVD limited edition included. They’re also disappointingly all in DVD resolutions, which contrasts with the movie in a manner as if someone poked you in the eye.
The only aspect of these additional items that impressed me was that they’d managed to make many of them accessible during the move, via the coloured buttons on the remote, along with the conventional menu options. I also loved the menu system which was styled to appear like V.I.C.K.I. from the movie.
If like me you love this movie, then you’ll be blown-away by the Blu-ray presentation of it, and quickly forget the rest.
I just hope they make another in this series at some point, as I think the ideas behind it deserve more screen-time.