Bicentennial Man 1999 Movie Scene Robin Williams as Andrew showing the Martin family three laws of Robotics

Bicentennial Man [1999]

Robots, you can’t live with them and you can live without them. Mostly because they haven’t been invented yet here we have the Bicentennial Man. It’s based on Isaac Asimov’s short story of the same name and subsequent novel The Positronic Man. Dealing with a wide range of issues, sometimes it feels drawn out and disjointed. Mostly because the director wasn’t really sure what kind of movie he’s making. However, the source material is just so damn potent that combined with Robin Williams’s stellar performance it saved the entire thing.

Robots who become self-aware are all the rave now. But, if you look at the history of cinema, you will find countless movies dealing with the same subject. You could also say that The Metropolis from 1927 is among the first. What makes this movie different is its story, written by one of the best science fiction writers. All this being said, this is a much more stylized movie than I was expecting. It’s like it’s aimed primarily at children and with a heavy heart, I must accept that as a good and not a bad thing. If this is the movie that will make them love science or science fiction, I’m willing to let go of this issue. I just can’t help wondering what it would feel like with a bit more serious approach.

Welcome to the world of tomorrow! The year is 2005 and the Martin family just received a special package. Inside a large metal crate is the latest technological wonder, an android called Andrew. His purpose is to help around the house and just be generally of use to the family. And this is where the story gets interesting.

Bicentennial Man is above all a thought-provoking movie, prompting us to think about our own mortality and what it means to be human. You can use the slower pacing to think about these issues. I just wish that they avoided all the melodrama towards the end but what can you do. It also lacks the edge that would emphasize the magnitude of the questions it poses. Still, this is an engaging and authentic science fiction movie. And as I already mentioned, it offers a narrative that the younger audiences might like more. This certainly doesn’t mean, we old farts can’t enjoy it.

Director: Chris Columbus

Writers: Isaac Asimov, Robert Silverberg, Nicholas Kazan

Cast: Robin Williams, Embeth Davidtz, Sam Neill, Oliver Platt, Kiersten Warren, Wendy Crewson

Fun Facts: Robin Williams ad-libbed all of the jokes.


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