Robot movies have always been popular. From Metropolis by Fritz Lang to Transformers, movies featuring all types of robots have enjoyed more than 70 years of recurring success. Let's explore the main themes of robot stories as I pick up a few of my favorites movies along the way. For my Top 3, though, you can check my top 3 favorite robot films.
The whole idea of progress is that science and technology will bring a better life to humans. But some people are skeptical and think technology will ultimately bring destruction to mankind. It was the story of Atlantis, but it has been regularly used in robot movies as well.
Actually, the first movie featuring robots was Fritz Lang's Metropolis and the robot was designed for pure evil. The android will try to bring anger and destruction in the futuristic society of the Metropolis. It's a great classic, but 2 hours and a half of silent film may be hard to swallow for some.
So if you look for more straightforward action movies, I guess The Matrix is cool, and Terminator too (though in each movie the theme is developed more in the sequels).
But not all machines will go against humankind. Some robot movies will build on the fact that it's the way you use it that makes a machine evil or good. The beautiful Japanese animation Laputa, Castle in the Sky by Miyazaki is such a movie.
And many robots actually follow the 3 laws of robotics, that prevent them to harm any human. Robbie the Robot is such a robot.
What is the difference between a you and an animal? What is the
difference between you and a machine? Some scientists even think
human beings are no more than very complex machines that can be
studied piece by piece... I talk about this in
robots and artificial intelligence.
But many robot movies make it a central theme. The popular movie I Robot with Will Smith explores the link between humans and dreams. But just like Terminator 2 (where Schwarzenegger becomes more and more human), the movie emphasizes on spectacular fighting scenes rather than the psychology of the robot. But I love them for they are.
If you want more feelings and psychology, but still with some action, the dark Blade Runner is for you. Here the robots are more like artificial humans (I don't think they have computer parts inside), but they want to become humans all the same. They long for freedom and love, while the society just wants to get rid of them.
Still on the dark side of the cinema, Mamoru Oshii's Japanese Animation Ghost In The Shell tells the story of enhanced humans becoming more and more robots and an artificial intelligence who wants the right to live... Pretty confusing but skillfully directed. These last two movies have great scenery, but the sequel of Ghost In The Shell, Innocence, has some of the best pictures I've ever seen in a Japanese Animation (but the script is way too complicated...).
Finally, if you want even less action and always more feelings, Spielberg's AI: Artificial Intelligence and Columbus' Bicentennial Man are great family robot movies. They are both about a robot who wants to become human. While Spielberg focuses on the quest itself, Columbus follows the novel of Asimov and the evolution of the robot into a full fledged man.
Robot movies may use robots just because it's cool. Look at Star Wars: robots are useful tools, following maniac habits and faithful for ever to their masters. But on another side, R2D2 represents the cool side of tech gadgets, while C3PO represents the annoying side of rigid artificial intelligence (the one that make you want to throw your phone away when the automatic answering machine doesn't propose the right choice for you...). More on the R2D2 robot here.
Cool robots also appear as the future of computers in many sci-fi movies. You have the home robots from the 5th Element, the sinister robot from Alien, the super robotic car from Knight Rider and many more...
robots have been quite popular in the last decade for motion pictures.
Robots is a good example of how androids are used to replace humans just
like they usually do with animals. And surrender to the cuteness of
Wall-E and Eve, one of my favorite motion pictures of these last few
Click here to read a review of the TV animation Cubix Robots for Everyone.
Read why I love Robots the Movie so much, and why you should watch it too.