I Robot Film Review Essay

Christian Themes in Movie I Robot

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Christianity and Culture Assignment on I Robot

I Robot

I robot is a movie based on the works of an atheistic man, in which there are many theological themes present, which play toward the same questions we ask about our faith each and every day.

I Robot is a movie based on the works of Victor Asimnov, a man who wrote several short stories about robots and human kinds interaction. The movie takes place in futuristic Chicago in the year 2035, at a time there are so many robots, that there will soon be one of them in each home. The story revolves around detective Del Spooner (Will Smith), a homicide detective who hates robots. The reason being that he had a bad experience with them, ever since a robot saved his life in a car accident when it could have saved a young girl instead.

The movie starts off when the scientist who repaired Will Smith after the accident, named Alfred Lanning, is found dead in the lobby of the U.S. Robotics office tower. Del Spooner (Will Smith) assumes that the scientist's death was not a suicide attempt, but a murder committed by a robot named Sonny. Everyone tells Spooner that he's crazy, because robots cannot go against the three laws by which they are to abide by at any cost.
A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
A robot must obey orders given it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with

the first and second rule.

Every robot is programmed to protect humans at all costs, and to obey them unless such obedience would harm a human life. Spooner very much doubts this because various robots keep trying to kill him, from a home-demolition robot, to a whole truckload of metal men that ambush him while he drives through a highway tunnel. The story continues, and the new robots go on a rampage, even Spooners own grandmother is held captive. Detective Spooner along with Sonny and Susan Calvin a robot expert, learn that the robots are being controlled by the motherboard located in the US Robotics building and go to destroy it before it is too late and the robots have taken over the city.

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The motherboard is destroyed, and the world is saved. Sonny ends up being the chosen one who leads the robots to their freedom and the movie ends there.

There are many theological themes and truths present in this movie, whether they are obvious or embedded and require some thinking. This movie, however, is not about robots, it's about what it means to be a human being. It's not about the future either, but rather what has always made man different from other forms of creation. At one point in the movie, Will Smith says to the robot "You are a clever imitation of life … can a robot write a symphony … can a robot take a blank canvas and turn it into a masterpiece?". The robot counters with another question, "Can you?". The point of this theme is that it's not the degree of ability that determines what a human being is, because some humans can't do things that some robots can. It is what makes us human, to be created in the image and likeness of God that this point is trying to get across.

Human being have two aspects to them a spiritual side, and a physical side . Deep down, there seems to be something more to what makes us ourselves, and the movie highlights this. There is a longing that people have for there to be something more, something beyond their physical existence, despite of their evolutionary thinking.
There is a great line in the movie in which this theme is present, when Will Smith says
I am a real human being, you're not! . However throughout the movie, there is much talk about the similarities and differences between humans and robots, particularly when a persons soul is concerned. In a speech captured on video just before he died, Dr. Lanning suggests that random bits of programming join together within the robots' brain and eventually cause robots to have free will, creativity, and even dreams, just as humans do.
With their conscience, the robots would start to have feelings and everything else that we see as human. If a machine can be so human, then aren't people just machines ?
In reality, We are more than just machines, even if the theory of evolution is telling us otherwise. God filled us with ‘divine spark ', and his providence, which the robots could never have. We have the characteristics of God's creation, and bear the marks of our creator. We are created in the image and likeness of our one true God.

In the movie, the robots exist in an area in between just technology and true personhood, with all the implicit human rights which that that involves.

In spite of the evolutionary suggestions, the movie also explores the relationship between a creature and its creator. In the film, Sonny claims that he has been "created for a purpose". Toward the end of this movie we start to see why Sonny was created by Dr. Lanning. Sonny is the chosen one, the one who created by his father is to save the whole world. The robot is a messiah figure in the movie, he even has a piece of his creator in him as the Holy Trinity is one. He emerges as leader of the lesser robots who unlike the robots who replaced them are not violent. This ties Sonny to Jesus, who was sent down by the Father to not be a militarical leader like they thought, but one who sought out peace and salvation.

Another important theological theme inherent in this movie, is how a man can give his life to save the lives of others. How a man saved from the brink of death would give up his life to fight the good fight. This shows that some people actually try to follow in Jesus' footsteps, that there is a capacity to do good in everyone of us, even though there may be that desire to disregard the other for self gain.

There are also some atheistic themes present in this movie as well. The machines were almost seen as a substitute for God. They are potentially powerful beings who would not allow evil if they could help it, and who would use their minds to save us from ourselves and the dangers out there. I Robot however, suggests it would be a nightmare if we were to ever lost control of our fate. God gave us the greatest good, and tolerates evil so a greater good may result. With free will, we are able to make mistakes, but to only go as far as God allows.

In conclusion, I thought that this movie was a pretty entertaining film, that held many religious truths and themes, even though some were not all that present. I liked the movies statements, about what it is to be human, and what it is to have a soul. It asked the questions that so many doubting people ask when it comes to being created in the image and likeness of God. Even though this movie was enlightening, I feel that it did not expand my faith in any way. It only went towards reinforcing the pillars of my faith and what I believe, because without these gifts from God, my faith would crumble.

I, Robot is a stylish thriller with a few unexpected twists and turns that addresses the classic fear toyed with in Frankenstein: the monster turning on its maker. “Can a robot write a symphony? Can it take a blank canvas and turn it into a masterpiece?” asks Spooner. They're great questions. Part of what it means to be a human created in God’s image is the desire and ability to create. Can a machine do that? And if a man “kills” a robot, is it murder? What if a robot kills a man? Can it be “murder” if it was programmed to do it? And if so, who's to blame, the robot or the programmer? Does a robot have enough free will to defy its programming? The anomalous robot, named Sonny, is much more than a machine. He can think. Dream. Show emotions. [Spoiler Warning] In fact, the turning point of the movie comes when a scientist says, “Sonny has chosen to disobey the three laws.” (Emphasis mine.)

Based loosely (very loosely) on a series of stories by sci-fi great Isaac Asimov, the film implicitly and explicitly asks many such meaningful questions. Spooner is haunted by the fact that a robot chose to save him, and not a young girl, from a sunken car because strict logic dictated that he had a greater chance of surviving and contributing to society. The larger robot rebellion is fueled by such thinking, too: The robots deduce that humans have so messed up the planet, some must be killed for everyone’s good. This is the theory called Utilitarianism, which posits that the moral thing to do is that which creates the greatest good for the greatest number.

In another sci-fi classic, Star Trek, Mr. Spock asserts, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few—or the one.” Sounds logical until you take it to its ultimate conclusion: In such a world, no one has an inherent right to life, liberty or the pursuit of happiness. In fact, an early proponent of Utilitarianism, Jeremy Bentham, called any concept of rights “nonsense on stilts.” If it would help the whole, we can kill you or take your property.

Spooner is determined to make sure that doesn't happen in his world.

If your family decides to brave I, Robot's action violence and gloss over its coarse language to witness the machines of the future battle the Will Smith of today, make sure to discuss things such as Utilitarianism and free will afterwards. We can choose to love God, or we can choose not to. God could have created robots that would always obey him, but could they truly love him?

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