Now that I’ve officially seen Transformers: Rise of the Fallen (yeah, I’m that slow), I can put this list of Top 10 Movie Robots together.
Criteria: Has to be a mobile machine; nothing hand drawn; only one candidate eligible from a film or film series.
Robot: Johnny 5
Film(s): Short Circuit, Short Circuit 2
A military prototype (hence the # 5) who becomes a sentient being due to a short circuit. If a robot can be cute and adorable, Johnny 5 would be the poster boy (even if he is so “clunky”). He also gets a nod due to him being the obvious inspiration to Disney-Pixar’s WALL-E.
Robot: The Gunslinger
Film(s): Westworld, Futureworld
Initially built for western gunfight duels with amusement park goers, The Gunslinger (played by Yul Brynner) rejects his programming and begins killing those that duel him. The bulk of the movie revolves around his methodic and very Terminator-like hunt of one of the park attendees.
Film(s): Star Trek: Generations, Star Trek: First Contact, Star Trek: Insurrection
How can the android replacement for Spock in the Star Trek series not be included in a list of the top robots? Played by Brent Spiner, Data was at the forefront of the “where is the line drawn that distinguishes robot and human” debate. More often than not, he erased them.
Film(s): The Day the Earth Stood Still
It doesn’t do much in the film other than look ominous but that’s all that was needed to strike fear into the populace in the 1950’s. Oh yeah, it’s got a laser thingy slit for an eye that vaporizes objects at will and, if instructed, it would have wiped out all of humanity.
The lone female formed robot to grace the list and the earliest too (1920’s). She is used by the privileged to try and keep the underclass in line, and represents how a beloved icon of the people can be used against them with ofttimes unexpected results. Did I mention she was an exotic dancer as well?
Film(s): I, Robot
Another sentient robot, this time from the mind of Isaac Asimov. Sonny finds himself at the center of the robot/human boundary – on one hand he can remain “aware” and help with the cleansing or on the other risk his new found attributes and remain loyal to the Three Laws of Robotics. Thankfully, he decides on the latter. Being transluscent and having abilities like Spider-Man is a nice touch too.
Film(s): The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
How can a robot be depressed? Simple – by knowing it has the computing power to solve every mathematical problem in the universe in seconds but is only used to do menial tasks, that’s how. Marvin is an added comedic bonus to what is Douglas Adams’ crowning achievement.
Film(s): Star Wars I – VI
Although simple in design (basically a trash can with knobs on it), R2D2 is instrumental in the fight versus Separatist and Imperial forces. Both Anakin and Luke rely on the quirks and buzzes of this little workhorse that moseys along yet always manages to get done at just right the time.
Film(s): The Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
There is certainly space on this list for a second robot with a singular purpose – your death. The fact that it is modeled on the massive frame of Arnold Schwarzenegger only makes this robot that never stops hunting you down all the more awesome.
Robot: Optimus Prime
Film(s): Transformers, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Simply put, Optimus Prime is baddest bot out there. He lands at the number one position after I saw him manhandle the entire Decepticon gang in a ten minute slugfest in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Of course, transforming into a Mack truck with flames painted on the sides doesn’t hurt either.
Yeah, there are more, I know. Focus on my criteria before shouting rude things at me.