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A view from the Blu (-ray) on DVDBeaver by Leonard Norwitz

I, Robot - Blu-ray

(Alex Proyas, 2004)







Review by Leonard Norwitz



Theatrical: 20th Century Fox (USA)

DVD: 20th Century Fox Pictures Home Entertainment




Region: 'A'-locked (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:54:43.251

Disc Size: 41,086,910,700 bytes

Feature Size: 28,400,295,936 bytes

Video Bitrate: 25.24 Mbps

Chapters: 40

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: March 11th, 2008



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video






DTS-HD Master Audio English 4178 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4178 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio French 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / DN -4dB



English, English SDH, Spanish, Chinese, French, and Korean, none



• 3 Full-length Commentaries from the Director & Screenwriter, Production Designer, and Composer.

Day Out of Days Production Diaries

• CGI and Design Featurettes

The Filmmakers' Toolbox: VFX How-To Clips

• Trivia track

• Deleted Scenes & Alternate Ending

• Enhanced for D-Box Motion Control Systems


Standard Blu-ray case: 1 disc

50 GB dual layer

Release Date:



I, Robot ~ Comment

Do robots dream of electric humans?  I wonder.  In I, Robot Will Smith plays Detective Del Spooner, a man with a kind of racial hatred of robots that goes beyond the usual distrust and "whatever happened to the good old days" of PF Canvas Shoes and homemade sweet potato pie.


I like Will Smith, and I like him here.  He's a charming actor who can connect us with the pain and the humor, the dark side and silly.  He doesn't quite stay jiggy with it in every scene, letting go of the tension occasionally, as if forgetting where he was moments ago.  As for its story and the dynamics between characters, I, Robot certainly breaks no new ground.  There is the clichéd strained relationship between the detective and his superior; the good-natured, but resistant psychologist (Bridget Moynahan) – a woman, no less - to offer the detective a buzz without the romance; and the corporate monster (Bruce Greenwood).  That said, I have to admit that I liked this movie a lot more than when I first watched it on HD cable TV a couple years ago.  There is at least one nice twist near the end, and the character of the robot most likely to have committed the dirty deed – he calls himself "Sonny" – is especially intriguing – a kind of take-off on HAL. (Alan Tudyk, whom you might remember from A Knight's Tale, though I'd be surprised if you recognize him in this CG transformation, plays Sonny.)




I, Robot ~ The Score Card


The Movie : 7

I, Robot is a Who-Done-It set not far in our future where robots live right alongside humans and would soon make up nearly a fifth of the population.  Kind of like in Woody Allen's Sleeper but without the inanities.  Everything seems in control until one day, Dr. Alfred Lanning (James Cromwell), the creator of the robot designs and the laws that govern their behavior, is found splattered on the floor of the atrium of USR Corporation, an apparent suicide.  Lanning had sent a message to Detective Spooner to come investigate his death.  But that's the least of the strange circumstances that surround the mystery.  How did Lanning break through the thick safety glass of the room in which he apparently locked himself into?  And why is a robot holed up in that room when Spooner comes to investigate?  And why and how does that robot have dreams?  The company's robot psychologist is mystified that a robot might have killed Lanning, which is Spooner assertion, since it would have violated one of Lanning's three rules governing robot behavior – and so far, there hasn't been so much as purse snatching by a robot.



Image : 9.5 (9~9.5/10)

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

The score of 9.5 indicates a relative level of excellence compared to other Blu-ray DVDs on a 10-point scale.  The score in parentheses represents: first, a value for the image in absolute terms; and, second, how that image compares to what I believe is the current best we can expect in the theatre.




This is a dynamite image: clear, clean, sharp, highly resolved, with the CG nicely integrated into the live action.  I believe that the high contrast and shadowy blacks are intentional – they certainly support the dramatic implications as well as show off the difference between plastics, metals, the high tech and the old school, the sense of optimism and that of danger – all of which this movie has in abundance.

















Audio & Music : 9/8

A sci-fi thriller needs to have an exciting audio mix with surround bits of different weights in all the right places.  The car chase & robot attack in the tunnel is the high point and done bloody well, I felt.  I also like the music by Marco Beltrami that underscores mood, character and action very nicely.




Operations : 7

Things go well until you get into some of the bonus features, where variable response times and less than clear directions can muddle one's fun.  These features make use of those red, blue, yellow and green buttons on your remote that you may have never noticed until now.  Punching them up offers another layer of choice and control.  I liked how the Commentaries button worked, bringing up the interface over the feature film for all three tracks.  The subject details of each track change as the movie progresses, and you can move seamlessly from one commentary to another with a single click after moving your curser to the one you want at the moment.  On the other hand, I was annoyed with being redirected back to the start of the feature after a mere couple of minutes of red button production documentary diaries.  I'm sure I'll wake up from a deep sleep some night with that mystery solved.  In any event, the elapsed time to get out of and back to the feature was not brief. Maybe it was my Sony S300 player.  I like the annotated guide, but not where it was placed. I can't see any good reason to superimpose the notes on the feature film.  With all that room in the letterbox, why not make use of it? 


Extras : 8

There are three separate commentary tracks (see Operations, above): Alex Proyas and Akiva Goldman, the Director and Screenwriter helmed one; Production Designer Patrick Tatopoulos, Editor Learoyd, Visual Effects Supervisors John Nelson and Erik Nash were joined by Associate Producer John Kikenny and Digital Animation Supervisor Andrew Jones for the second track, the Legacy & Design Commentary; and on the third, Composer Marco Beltrami would offer his thoughts on scoring the movie from time to time.  After watching the film uninterrupted I went back from the beginning and sampled each of the tracks, finding them all informative and none too chatty.  The so-called documentaries found in "Behind the Camera" were of variable quality from any point of view, which is not to say that some weren't interesting.  I regretted the time it took to get in and out of them, however.  The disc is also D-Box Motion Code enabled for those of you who have that capability.



Recommendation : 9

Fox offers us an outstanding transfer to Blu-ray on a single disc loaded with unusually accessible commentaries and on-the-spot production clips, if you take the time to explore them.  Highly Recommended.

Leonard Norwitz
March 9th, 2008

September 2010








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About the Reviewer: I first noticed that some movies were actually "films" back around 1960 when I saw Seven Samurai (in the then popular truncated version), La Strada and The Third Man for the first time. American classics were a later and happy discovery.

My earliest teacher in Aesthetics was Alexander Sesonske, who encouraged the comparison of unlike objects. He opened my mind to the study of art in a broader sense, rather than of technique or the gratification of instantaneous events. My take on video, or audio for that matter – about which I feel more competent – is not particularly technical. Rather it is aesthetic, perceptual, psychological and strongly influenced by temporal considerations in much the same way as music. I hope you will find my musings entertaining and informative, fun, interactive and very much a work in progress.

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