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Three Laws rephrased

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The fake robot-ad trailer for the upcoming I, Robot movie came out a few months ago, but now there's a real preview available. According to Slashdot, the title was grafted onto a script that was originally called Hardwired (apparently no relation to the Walter Jon Williams cyberpunk novel); the movie looks to have very little to do with Asimov. It looks like it may be an entertaining action thriller, though, and I like Will Smith, so I'll probably see it.

Anyway, the real reason I'm posting this (other than to avoid work) is because the preview includes a great rephrasing of the Three Laws, repackaged for sound-bite delivery in a modern movie trailer:

LAW #1: THEY CANNOT HURT US.

LAW #2: THEY MUST DO WHAT WE SAY.

LAW #3: THEY CAN PROTECT THEMSELVES.

Note the clever reworking into "they" vs "us"; makes very clear exactly where the movie's conflict lies.

3 Comments

*spits*

I don't understand it. Why use the name and the supposed premise of the 3 Laws if it's not actually going to follow the story OR the Laws?

For most people, the title and the Laws won't have any external meaning... so it's useless for them.

For fans of the original, it's going to be disappointing because it doesn't follow the story OR the Laws (did you see the "Laws are meant to be broken" and the group of Robots beating the shit out of a room full of people?)

*sigh*


Oops, I meant to mention that "Laws are meant to be broken" line, but I forgot.

I suspect they're using the title 'cause a lot of people will recognize it. That doesn't bother me so much per se—it's kind of the inverse of what they did with Blade Runner (taking the title of a William S. Burroughs book based on an Alan Nourse novel and grafting it onto a story loosely based on a Philip Dick novel with a much more awkward title).

But I'm not clear on why they grafted a few Asimovian elements (like the Three Laws and the company name "US Robotics") onto an apparently otherwise unrelated story. (This is more or less what I gather they did with the recent Cheaper By the Dozen movie, which apparently retained the family-with-12-kids idea without keeping anything else about the original book and movie.) I'm guessing someone in Hollywood thought the Three Laws would make a cute gimmick.

I'm hoping that it's more than that; that there's some clever Asimov-style twist which allows the mayhem to take place within the context of the Three Laws. Hollywood has recently made some science fiction thrillers that I thought were pretty good; Red Planet notwithstanding, I think there are people in Hollywood who understand sf and can more or less get it right on-screen. So I'm continuing to hold out hope for this movie a little longer.


It's also possible that the option was up on I, Robot, and they had paid a gazillion bucks for that option, so they were damned well going to make an I, Robot movie, but no-one at that particular studio wanted to make an I, Robot movie so they just made a movie called I, Robot.

Redintegro Iraq,
-V.


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