Sonny - I, Robot
The intentions of robots have long been misunderstood in movies. Some humans see them as sinister and malevolent creations, while others try to instill some form of humanity in their actions. The story is overused in movies – a special robot is created with advanced human-like functionality and thus becomes a threat to humans even though it means well. Sonny is no different. But the world in which Sonny exists is a much more threatening one than most of these stories produce.
In a world driven by robotic advancements, there are set rules to the way robots can interact, in order to limit their humanity. Will Smith’s Del Spooner is one of the biggest supporter of the Three Laws of Robotics. His past is marred with a deadly interaction in which a robot uses statistics instead of heart when it chose to save him instead of a drowning child. But once his angst wears off (during an investigation in which Sonny reveals the hidden agenda of a major corporation), Spooner becomes fond of the robot and we find Sonny to be an endearing and caring individual simply made of alloy instead of skin.
Terminator - The Terminator
Bipolar disorder would be a good description of the attitude adjustments associated with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s T-101. In one movie he is a killing machine and in another he is a friendly protector. Fans of the franchise understand that the android (well, technically he’s a cyborg) is significantly different in the first and second movies, but the overall scope of his actions can make for one confusing experience to newbies. Re-programmed from his original intentions to kill John Connor, it is Connor himself who sends the T-101 back in time to protect himself from an even more deadly time traveler, the T-1000.
While the T-1000 is awesome in his own right and arguably deserves to be on this list, we will stay loyal to one of the most iconic metal men of all time, The Terminator. He defines the term relentless and adds an entirely differently level of tenacity to Schwarzenegger’s already lengthy resume of tough characters. But it is in his relationship with young John Connor that reminds us of The Terminator’s most endearing quality – his devotion.
V.I.N.CENT - The Black Hole
The Black Hole was supposed to be Disney’s answer to Star Wars – though it ultimately failed to achieve the same amount of critical acclaim or box office success. They gave the movie an unprecedented $20 million dollar budget, threw in some mild cursing and a death scene to give it a PG rating, and even tried unsuccessfully to hire Industrial Light and Magic to create the visual look. Just like Star Wars, The Black Hole had plenty of robots, but none as memorable as the small free-floating robot V.I.N.CENT (Vital Information Necessary CENTralized).
Voiced by the late veteran actor Roddy McDowell (Fright Night, Planet of the Apes), V.I.N.CENT shared a lot of personality traits with Stars Wars’ C3PO – he was a smart-aleck, preferred the company of his human companions to that of other robots and was really good at his job. He also sported two arm lasers and was a top-notch shot defeating S.T.A.R. in a target match. His arch-nemesis in the film is a large intimidating evil red robot named Maximilian who he defeats with his sharp wit and even sharper drill. If we travel into space and manage to get sucked into a black hole then we would want V.I.N.CENT there to keep us company.
Wall-E - Wall-E
One of the cutest creations on this list is Wall-E. His emotional range is unparalleled in the robot universe and his mannerisms are just fun to watch. Alone on Earth cleaning up our mess, Wall-E shares a relationship with his personal effects. There are no humans for him to learn the way of life from. There is only a friendly cockroach that gets on his nerves from time to time and old movies to watch. Wall-E is filled with personality and his clear connection both emotionally and physically to Johnny 5 brings back fond memories of the other kind-hearted robot on our list.
Wall-E’s greatest strength is his courage. Although he is thrust into a bizarre off-planet experience, he becomes the unforgettable hero that brings humans back to Earth after decades of abandonment in space. His efforts, albeit mostly accidental, were all the more heroic for their honest nature. All he wanted to do was impress the female bot that approached him on Earth. It’s not often you see a robot who just wants somebody to love.
So there you have it. Our 20 favorite movie robots of all time. Many of them just want to be more like their human counterparts, but it just doesn’t seem to work out that way in the end. One of the important lessons to learn from all of these movies is how we can build better robots in our own reality. As long as scientists remember to stay away from those autonomous servant robots, we should be okay.
Share your thoughts on our list or add your own that weren’t listed above in the comments section below.