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Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP Ministry)
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(2004), PG-13 -- It was that good. And it was that bad.
Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): 20th Century Fox, Davis Entertainment, , Overbrook Entertainment
Distribution (US): Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Director(s): Alex Proyas
Producer(s): John Davis, Topher Dow, Wyck Godfrey, John Kilkenny, James Lassiter, Laurence Mark, Steven R. McGlothen, Anthony Romano, Michel Shane, Will Smith
Written by: Isaac Asimoc (base book); Jeff Vintar (screen story); Jeff Vintar, Akiva Goldsman (screenplay)
Cinematography/Camera: Simon Duggan
Music: Marco Beltrami
Film Editing: Jeffrey Ford, William Hoy, Richard Learoyd, Armen Minasian
Casting: Juel Bestrop, Coreen Mayrs, Jeanne McCarthy
Production Design: Patrick Tatopoulos
Art Direction: Chris August, Helen Jarvis
Viewed At: Driftwood Theater 6
Note that this is an atypically long report. Please be patient. It has much to say
Shades of Skynet(tm) in Terminator! But instead of the Skynet computer network in Terminator developing an attitude to eradicate the biological infestations on the planet, V.I.K.I. (voice of Fiona Hogan), the central computer of US Robotics (USR) corporation in i, ROBOT which built servant robots, developed an attitude. Well, I guess the message is that if we let computers get an attitude we are in trouble.
The robots were used to perform tasks such as walking the dogs, picking up garbage and delivering FedEx packages. The faceless NS-4 robots with C3PO(tm) heads having slits for eyes and mouth had been in reliable service for many years but were becoming aged and outdated. In 2053, USR introduced the NS-5 model, a state-of-the-art machine with human features to make life easier for man in even more intricate and complex tasks. But the NS-5 robots started to make their own decisions, to have dreams and to have secrets. The ingenuity of the writers of this screenplay indeed reached into the very fiber of human life to build their story of conflict between man and machines that try to usurp him.
All NS-5 robots were controlled by USR and each was restricted by its programming from harming any human by three laws, much the same as the T-101 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) in Terminator and Murphy (Peter Weller) in Robocop. But there were ways around the programming while still obeying its restrictions. And here is another point where I congratulate the ingenuity of the writers. The logic and reasoning all made sense even though the sense it made could be fatal to story characters. Such dazzling logic can be dangerous in view of the power of the influence of modern entertainment and its values which often conflict with God's Word. [Col. 2:8, 1 Cor. 15:33]
Then one day V.I.K.I. became self-aware and got ideas of its own about how and from what -- and whether -- humans needed to be protected. As it turned out, which I will not reveal in case you decide the content of this film as revealed by the Findings/Scoring section is acceptable, the antiquating NS-4 robots were of more benefit to the human race than the state-of-the-art NS-5 robots -- if servant robots could benefit us.
One day Dr. Alfred Lanning (James Cromwell), the brains of USR and developer of the NS robots was found splattered on the lobby floor of the multi-story USR complex, apparently from suicide. Detective Del Spooner (Will Smith) developed a sneaking suspicion that the death of Dr. Lanning was not by suicide but by murder, murdered by one of the NS-5 advanced robots which called itself Sonny (voice of Alan Tudyk). A robot giving itself a name? There is clue number one.
Dr. Susan Calvin (Bridget Moynahan) is assigned from the USR corporation to assist Spooner in his investigations and to provide access to all necessary information. Dr. Calvin insisted that there is no way any NS-5 could have committed any murder, but Spooner's tenacity was overpowering. So overpowering was Spooner's tenacity and so strong was his distrust of robots that he chased down a robot which was running with a woman's purse thinking it to have snatched the purse, only to find that it was delivering its owner's breathing treatment to her who then threatened to do bodily harm to Spooner if she could breathe better. This and another episode of indiscretion led to Spooner being suspended from the police force. But did that stop him? Spooner's tenacity was overpowering for a good reason which I will not share with you should you decide to view this film while knowing what you will get as revealed in the Findings/Scoring section. We tell you what is there, you decide.
During an interrogation of Sonny by Spooner, Sonny burst out with "I did not murder him!" with a threatening gesture that left deep imprints of Sonny's fists in the steel table in front of it. From that point on, Spooner was convinced, though without adequate evidence, that Sonny had murdered Dr. Lanning. But never in the history of the USR robots had any one of them committed a crime of any kind. Still, Spooner would not let go of the hunch that Sonny murdered Dr. Lanning. While I will not say whether Spooner's suspicion about Sonny proved correct I will say his suspicion was appropriate in relation to a much larger agenda in the movie.
CGI is fantastic in this newest of the installments into computer-generated figures. The impression of an uncountable number of robots was inescapable. And human-cgi interaction onscreen was impeccable. But unfortunately, much of that interaction was graphically violent. Actually, human "contact" with any of the computer-generated figures was very minimal, limited to,for example, a robot hand on the arm of a human, a hand with obviously much fuller fingers than those of a robot when seen in its entirety. But the story combined with the cinematography easily led the viewer into imagining full physical interaction. It was that good. And it was that bad. More on "it was that bad" to follow.
With a final score of 53, i, ROBOT is one point under the very top of the scoring cell earned by R-rated movies (54 and below out of 100) in our comparative baseline database complied from 39 films in 1994. Thus, it is indeed another R-13 but just barely. Nonetheless, there is much in this film which addresses Harvard University's 2004 "ratings creep" study which is in complete agreement with the CAP Movie Ministry findings which we revealed in 2000 as "R-13" and updated in 2001 and 2002, awaiting funds to calculate the trend for 2003 and beyond in our on-going research into the impact of the entertainment industry on our youth.
The individual CAP scoring thermometers reveal where the concentration of assaults on morality and ethics lie. Clearly, i, ROBOT is a very violent film saturated with the use of foul language. In a glance at the CAP Thermometers for i, ROBOT, while the film is easily equivalent in envelope or magnitude to many PG movies in Sexual Immorality (S), Drugs/Alcohol (D) and Murder/Suicide (M) and equivalent to PG-13 movies in Offense to God (O), it is clearly equivalent to many R-rated films in Wanton Violence/Crime (W) and in Impudence/Hate (I).
However, if you see the score of 78 in Sexual Immorality as implying a somewhat sexually tame film, please refresh yourself in CAP Methodology and how it operates with objectivity not subjectivity. (See also the BEFORE You Read On... link at the top of this page.) If the score is less than 100 in any investigation area, some assaults on morality and decency by God's Word are present. The listing in the Findings/Scoring section (the heart of the CAP Analysis Model) specifies the assaults on morality and decency so you can decide whether a film is fit or not.
In the case of i, ROBOT the strongest presence of sexual immorality is full unobstructed male side nudity for several seconds and full female nudity for a few seconds through a steamed shower door. [**] And, or course, neither instance of sexual immorality added a single erg to the energy of the film. They were simply eye candy.
Since the lowering of the acceptance threshold of sexual immorality [Rom. 1:21-22] by, among others, Titanic, 1997 (PG-13) with its full upper and partial lower frontal female nudity plus all the drawings of nudity; by Cider House Rules, 1999 (PG-13) with its immoral display of an adult man taking a shower with full view of his gender-specifics; by The Fifth Element, 1997 (PG-13) with a nude male atop a nude female, ostensibly engaged in intercourse, there seems a high likelihood of no sexual decency in PG-13 movies. [Ps. 12:8]. In addition to being able to trend ratings skewing in all four ratings classifications (we haven't and won't analyze NC-17/X), we will also be able to reveal trending of the content of films by each of the six investigation areas such as Sexual Immorality. But, sad as it is, it all depends on money.
Note that there were a number of killings but since they were done by robots led by a computer the killings were incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime instead of Murder/Suicide. [Prov. 3:31-32] Foul language was thoroughly represented with all manner of the three/four letter word vocabulary except the most foul of the foul words. [Prov. 22:11] And God's name was used in vain with and without the four letter expletive. [Deut. 5:11]
Note that there were a number of killings but since they were done by robots led by a computer the killings were incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime instead of Murder/Suicide. [Prov. 3:31-32] Foul language was thoroughly represented with all manner of the three/four letter word vocabulary except the most foul of the foul words. [Prov. 22:11] And God's name was used in vain with and without the four letter expletive. [Deut. 5:11] Drinking and smoking [Eph. 5:18] were held to what may be thought of as a minimum for a PG-13 film but pointing them out is indicated in view of a recent study. The American College of Physicians (ACP) revealed that adolescent exposure to drinking and smoking in entertainment leads to an undeniable increase in alcohol and tobacco abuse. The finding entitled Relation Between Parental Restrictions on Movies and Adolescent Use of Tobacco and Alcohol reports that of 4544 youths from grades 5 through 8 of fifteen Vermont and New Hampshire middle schools (90% were under fourteen years old) only 16% were completely restricted from viewing R-rated movies (and this is a PG-13 film likely having no restrictions). Whether the movie is rated R or not, the focus is the influence of adolescent exposure to drinking and smoking in and as entertainment. The report further states the prevalence of having tried smoking without parental knowledge was 35% for those with no restrictions on viewing R-rated movies, 12% for those with partial restrictions, and two percent for those with complete restrictions. The prevalence of having tried alcohol without parental knowledge was 46% for those with no restrictions, 16% for those with partial restrictions and four percent for those with complete restrictions. Rather revealing of the influences of the entertainment industry wouldn't you say? And influencing children to sin with drink in and as entertainment screams of violating Luke 17:2.
The listing in the Findings/Scoring section will reveal all that was found. Please consider reading it thoroughly before deciding whether to take you family to see i, ROBOT.
If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ]. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.
***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
(The heart of the CAP Analysis Model)
Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
Sexual Immorality (S)
Offense to God (O)
Single Christian Network
Kids, Teens and Home Vertical Portal
|There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our more than eight years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.|
|In the name of Jesus: |
Lord, Master, Teacher, Savior, God.
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