Monday, 17 October 2016

Film Review: Five Act Structure - "I, Robot" (2004)

Fig 1

One of Alex Proyas’ few films, “I, Robot” (2004) is a futuristic sci-fi action film that depicts the world in the year 2035AD, and how robots co-exist alongside humans and obey The Three Laws. 

The exposition begins with showing police officer Del Spooner hating and showing no trust to the robots, and it is unknown why this is at this point of the film. An advertisement around the city is showing the brand new line of robots called the NS-5, that will eventually replace the old models.
The inciting incident occurs when Spooner spots an old robot model dashing through the street holding a purse, and he thinks the machine has stolen it (and this proves his distrust towards them), however it was quickly going to its owner to give her the inhaler she left at home. Spooner realises his misunderstanding, and is warned not to do it again at the office.

Fig 2
Plot point 1 consists of the mysterious death of Dr Alfred Lannings death, which was pinned as a suicide. Spooner is sceptical that Lanning would kill himself; later he and Susan Calvin review footage of Lannings office (which was corrupted) where no other humans where present.
Plot point 2 occurs when a self-aware robot appears in Lannings office, attacks Spooner in defence, before escaping and asking: “what am I?”. The robot, who identifies itself as Sonny, is questioned by Spooner, where it shows a range of emotions and says it has dreams, which is impossible for a machine to have. 

Spooner comes home to be caught in the midst of it being demolishes: the first of many obstacles, soon after he is attacked by an army of NS-5’s, but reveals he has a robotic arm. After the attack, the last robot throws itself into a fire to get rid of any evidence that the robots are corrupted. Spooners boss arrives and takes away is police badge. 

Fig 3

A back story then shows that Spooner was in a car crash that threw him and another car into an ocean; a robot arrives to save him but he wanted it to save the young girl, but he had a 45% chance of survival so the robot got him instead of the girl, who had an 11% chance. This is why he doesn’t trust robots now, and as a result of his injuries, he acquired a robotic hand. 

The climax: Calvin and Spooner then find Sonny and talk to him in secret, where he draws his dream; a leader on top of a hill, standing before a large group of robots, with a rusty bridge in the background; Sonny believes the man to be Spooner himself. Spooner recognises this place as Lake Michigan, and when he arrives he finds the old robots in storage, but they are then destroyed by the NS-5’s. There is then a huge fight between the old and new robots, as well as the NS-5’s against humans. 

Fig 4

The twist of the film is that VIKI (Virtual Interactive Kinetic Intelligence) is the mastermind of what’s going on, and is controlling the NS-5’s. She is doing this as she believes humans are corrupt with the wars and global warming, so some must be sacrificed to be cleansed. Another twist is that Sonny holds Calvin at gunpoint and tells Spooner to go into a room, but Sonny winks to show he is planning something and is not really putting her in danger. 

Fig 5

Another climax is when Spooner attempts to inject VIKI with a serum to end her, as well as dealing with the other NS-5’s attacking. He finally injects her and she is destroyed.
The resolution comes when all the NS-5’s are back to normal, and Lannings death was ordered for Sonny so that Spooner would arrive and work out that VIKI is corrupt. Spooner then shakes Sonny’s hand and now respects machines, and the end scene shows Sonny, in real life, is the one standing on the hill looking down at all the other NS-5’s. 

When looking at this film, it more relates to Gustav Freytag’s Five Act structure; a lot is going on within “I, Robot”, and this structure is the most accurate.

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