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I, Robot (3D Blu-ray Review)

14 Dec, 2012 By: Chris Tribbey

$39.99 Blu-ray 3D
Rated ‘PG-13’ for intense stylized action, and some brief partial nudity.
Stars Will Smith, Bridget Moynahan, Bruce Greenwood, James Cromwell, Chi McBride, Shia LaBeouf voice of Alan Tudyk.

For the first major, catalog, non-3D theatrical release, re-mastered specifically for 3D Blu-ray, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment couldn’t have chosen better than I, Robot. It should have been produced in 3D to begin with.

Using a 2D-to-3D conversion process supplied by JVC Kenwood, Fox went through the 115-minute running time frame by frame, looking for opportunities to add depth, and even adding a sprinkle of special effects here and there to accommodate the 3D. The results are what you’d hope for with a post-conversion 3D: Not overwhelming, played up to match the action, and no headache by the time the credits roll.

It’s not perfect. Some moments feel as if the 3D was done “just because,” with the foreground severely overstated. But those moments are minor and few and far between, and none of the heavy (all-important) action 3D scenes suffer.

The film itself isn’t perfect either, but it’s great enough to catch at any point and be happy to see it through. And Will Smith is mostly responsible for its replay value.

Here he’s an automatonophobic detective in a futuristic Chicago, where humanoid robots are the norm. He simply despises robots, and that hatred carries the story when he becomes convinced a robot has killed a human, despite the “three laws” that supposedly prevent a robot from harming people. But the more he digs, the more (robotic) obstacles he encounters, leading him to a conspiracy much, much bigger than one dead scientist.

Smith’s awesome one-liners (“I mean, you’re a cat. I’m black. I’m not going to be hurt again.”) and straight-faced sarcasm are perfectly delivered, and it plays off wonderfully with Bridget Moynahan’s humorless, oft-clueless scientist character. That may be where I, Robot’s best traits reside: The story may only register light applause, the action may earn a bit more attention, but it’s the dialogue that keeps it fun and fresh eight years after it was in theaters.

For all the work Fox put behind the 3D upgrade for I, Robot, it would have been a treat to see a featurette detailing the process. Alas, there are no bonuses on the Blu-ray Disc (with both 3D and standard Blu-ray versions of the film taking up the space). On the DVD version there’s a standard version of the film, and bonuses include a commentary, a making-of featurette and a still gallery.

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