Robots in Film
A Complete Illustrated History
of Robots in the Movies


2011 to now



Robots in Film
(chronological by film title)
Introduction | Early-1939 | 1940-1955 | 1956-1963 | 1964-1967 | 1968-1973 | 1974-1978
1979-1983 | 1984-1986 | 1987-1990 | 1991-1994 | 1995-1997 | 1998-2002 | 2003-2007 | 2008-2010 | 2011-now


Robots in the Movies
Title Screen
Film/Year, Name of Robot and Film Description
Screenshot

Android Re-Enactment (2011, Canada)

Candy Droober, Franklin Droober, Maureen Droober and Trace Mayter

Writer/director Darryl Shaw's independent sci-fi film - actually an offbeat horror flick - was set in a retro future. It was about the repercussions of creating humanoid androids that were flawed, and then trying to manipulate them, fix them, and make things better. The trailer asked: "How far would you go to fix your mistakes? How much would you sacrifice to change your fate?"

The dark comedy told about the Empathtek Corporation, a factory that manufactured human-like androids. Their latest highly-realistic model was the PX-50. Ermus Daglek (Jeff Sinasac), a retired Empathtek engineer, made a deal with his former company. In exchange for millions of dollars (of residual payments), he was given a defunct factory. There, he created androids based on significant persons from his past:

  • Candy Droober (Sarah Silverthorne), Ermus' lost love
  • Franklin Droober (Bill Poulin), Candy's father
  • Maureen Droober (Melissa Cline), Candy's mother
  • Trace Mayter (Adam Buller), Ermus' romantic rival for Candy's love

An obsessed and deranged Ermus - a mad scientist, ran simulations with these genetically-identical replica androids to test various alternative scenarios to win Candy back. He re-enacted a fateful dinner party 10 years earlier at Candy's home when Trace humiliated him and he lost her love (Trace married Candy). Frustrated by the outcomes, he reprogrammed Franklin to murder Trace during dinner to satisfy his need for revenge.

Ermus didn't realize that as a result, Trace began to malfunction. The android beheaded Franklin and damaged Maureen before Ermus could deactivate Trace. When the blackmailing android was allowed to live, it destroyed the factory's mainframe computer (voice of Dana Tartau) and escaped from the facility. Ermus hired Kray Facer (Todd Thomas Dark), an Empathtek android hunter, to go after Trace and destroy him.

In a case of mistaken identity, Ermus murdered a transient (Dean Tedesco) in the lab after incorrectly assuming that the human was Trace in disguise. In the meantime, android Trace had sought to locate his real-life counterpart's former wife (Candy) and daughter Tristan (Delina Porter) who were living in New Jersey. [The real-life Trace had died in a car accident years before.] In the film's conclusion, Ermus shot Trace in the face (his head exploded), then returned to the lab where he began to run more simulations (using the body of the transient to take android Trace's place at the dinner table).


Android Blanks

Candy Droober

Ermus Running the Dinner Party Simulation

Eva (2011, Sp.)

Android Prototype SI-9, Servant Robot Max, Robotic Pet Cat Gris, and Eva

This fantasy sci-fi coming-of-age film, with similarities to Bicentennial Man (1999), AI: Artificial Intelligence (2001), and some elements of Splice (2009), was the first feature length film from director Kike Maíllo. The thought-provoking film explored issues of artificial intelligence, and the God-like ability to create life - through technology. Its tagline was: "You can't program what you feel."

Set in the year 2041 (a world with many robots mingling with humans), reticent, shy robotics engineer Alex Garel (Daniel Bruhl) returned to his snowy Spanish hometown of Santa Irene (with his robotic cat Gris) after working abroad for many years. He was hired by his former colleague - university professor Julia (Anne Canovas) to design robot software to finish a pet project for the next generation.

The project was to create a robot boy (an android dubbed SI-9) with genuine emotions (and able to pass "The Turing Test"). It was to be the first "free" humanoid robot capable of independent thought. To assist him, Alex also had a servant-robot - a fussy and solicitous android named Max (Lluís Homar) - for comic relief.

In the domestic melodrama, there were entangling relationships that developed between Alex and others in his past life, including his ex-lover whom he still loved (and who vehemently opposed his involvement with her daughter):

  • his ex-girlfriend Lana Levy (Marta Etura), now married to Alex' estranged brother David (Alberto Ammann) (another robotics scientist)
  • Eva (Claudia Vega), their 10 year-old precocious daughter

Alex decided to create a robot girl instead ("Boys are boring"), and to use his niece Eva as a model for the robot he was constructing that would have "emotional intelligence" (or a soul).

Eva Eavesdropping on the Truth
Eva's Robotic Innards
Lana's Accidental Death
Eva's "Death"

In the film's twist surprise ending, it was revealed that Eva was actually a robot - the half-completed SI-9 project that Lana had finished when Alex had left ten years earlier. Lana finally disclosed the truth to Alex: "She looks like us because she is ours" - something that Eva (through lip-reading) also realized - in total shock. When Eva learned that she wasn't human, she ran off into the snowy landscape, with Lana in quick pursuit ("I must be the one to tell her" - she assured Alex). Lana tracked Eva and found her face-down in the snow, with only the whites of her eyes showing, and realized she had to replace one of Eva's fuel cells in a power case in her back.

After Eva was revived, she accidentally killed her mother when she pushed her in anger and she slid down a snowy cliffside to her death (she later expired in a hospital). Julia urged Alex to destroy Eva, and at the same time disclosed that after Lana had completed the building of Eva years earlier, the robot didn't pass security tests and should have been destroyed at that time. She added: "She's not a little girl. She killed Lana." Julia decided to allow Alex to terminate Eva's life.

Eva pleaded with Alex: "You have to promise me you'll help me. I don't want to be evil again. I want to be a good girl." Later, she added that she knew she wouldn't be fixed: "Alex, you won't fix me, will you?" A distraught Alex asked, as he 'killed' or deactivated Eva: "What do you see when you close your eyes?" She poignantly answered - as she envisioned a happy family beach outing with kite-flying and two dogs:

I see light. A lot of light. I see you, Dad. And I also see Mom. And I see myself, together. Playing forever.


Android SI-9


Eva (Claudia Vega)

Max (Lluis Homar)

Robotic Cat Gris

The Muppets (2011)

80's Robot

Disney's musical comedy was the Muppets' 7th feature film.

It was about the reunion of the Muppets when their abandoned Muppet Studios (and its Muppet Theater) in Los Angeles was threatened by villainous oil millionaire Tex Richman (Chris Cooper), whose nefarious plan was to destroy the studio in order to acquire the underground oil. Richman's partners were Bobo the Bear (Bill Barretta) and Uncle Deadly (Matt Vogel). Devoted Muppets fans of Smalltown, USA came to Kermit the Frog's aid:

  • Walter (Peter Linz)
  • Gary (Jason Segel), Walter's human brother
  • Mary (Amy Adams), Gary's long-time girlfriend, an elementary schoolteacher

They located Kermit in his Xanadu-like castle, where he was living in semi-retirement. Their goal was to raise $10 million in order to save the Muppet Theater by repurchasing it, through funds raised during a telethon.

80's Robot (Matt Vogel) was a new Muppets character although mostly a mechanical plastic toy. 80's Robot was the first robotic character to appear in a Muppet movie. It served as a servant-valet (and driver-chauffeur of a Rolls Royce) who worked in Kermit the Frog's Beverly Hills mansion after the Muppets had broken up. The robot had databanks, a noisy internal modem, and a search engine. He spoke in 80s slang, and offered a tray of soda beverages (Tab and New Coke), probably expired. His most famous outdated sayings were: "Gnarly to the max, dude!" "Gag me with a spoon!" "Totally tubular" and "Help! I've been mugged!"

'80s Robot also made brief background appearances in Muppets Most Wanted (2014).




80's Robot

Real Steel (2011)

Ambush, Noisy Boy, Atom, Midas, and Zeus

Director Shawn Levy's sci-fi action-thriller was also a dramatic boxing film set in the near-future about giant humanoid robots, computer-controlled and in battle with each other. The gleaming gladiators engaged in prize fights with each other, ranging from small underground cage matches to larger media events.

The main character was Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman), a broke, down and out ex-boxer (now a robot fight promoter) who eventually reunited with his estranged 11 year-old son Max (Dakota Goyo). Charlie was enroute to a rural fair to match his discarded, older model robot (Ambush) against a large rodeo bull. Another of his robots was Noisy Boy (with LED screens on his wrists), once a fighter in the World Robot Boxing (WRB) League with a 15-1 record.

Fighting in the circuit were other robots, including:

  • Atom - the underdog "Rocky" character, 7 feet 6 inches tall, with a titanium mesh face cage, and blue LED eyes behind it
  • Midas - a punkish, dirty-fighting, gold-colored robot with a red, fiber-optic Mohawk on its head, who fought in the underworld Crash Palace
  • Zeus - the undefeated, reigning champion of the WRB, with a powerful 1,300 pound frame of steel and carbon fiber; the only fully autonomous robot in the league; funded and built by the Lemkovas (a family of Russian oligarchs)

Atom

Noisy Boy

Midas

Zeus

Prometheus (2012)

David

Ridley Scott's prequel opened with the discovery of prehistoric cave paintings by archaeologist Dr. Elizabeth Shaw (Noomi Rapace) in the year 2089 on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. They were about 35,000 years old. The Scottish pictogram was the "same configuration" as those in many other different and separated cultures showing men worshipping giant beings pointing to the stars. Shaw noted: "I think they want us to come and find them."

The crew of the spaceship Prometheus, deployed by the Weyland Corporation, set out with a crew of 17 on a deep-space mission to the distant moon LV-223. They were following the star map discovered earlier, and the mission was to contact humanity's forerunners (dubbed "The Engineers" from the film's prologue) and seek the origins of humanity.

Before waking from cryosleep after 2 years, 4 months, 18 days, 36 hours and 15 minutes, the spaceship's crew was monitored by the ship's robotic android David (Michael Fassbender), who amused himself by walking around the ship, riding a BMX bicycle, bouncing a basketball and making impossible hoop shots, taking language lessons, watching Lawrence of Arabia and imitating Peter O'Toole's hairstyle.

According to actor Michael Fassbender, there were many models or ingredients that went into the makeup of his character - the android, an almost human-like replicant named David, the spacecraft's attendant, butler and maintenance worker:

David described his functioning: "I can carry out directives that my human counterparts might find distressing, or unethical. I can blend in with your workforce effortlessly...I think about anything. Children playing, angels, universe, robots...I understand human emotions, although I do not feel them myself. This allows me to be more efficient and capable, and it makes it easier for my human counterparts to interact...I would like to express gratitude to those who created me."

After landing on the planet's sole, life-sustaining moon, they discovered it had breathable air and water - evidence of terraforming, so they were free to explore its ruins. They found the body of one large alien Engineer (similar to the "Space Jockey" in Alien), decapitated by a doorway with its helmeted head on the other side. The alien head-skull was believed to belong to the body of one of the alien Engineers, with sample DNA that matched human DNA.

One of the film's twists was revealed -- Peter Weyland (Guy Pearce), the aging CEO of Weyland was aboard the spaceship (in hypersleep), unknown to everyone but David and Weyland's bitchy, autocratic executive Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron). Weyland was the source of David's programming (and David's creator), including secret orders (and a hidden agenda) throughout the expedition.

Eventually, Shaw realized how wrong she was - the Engineers were actually making bio-weapons of mass destruction on the far-away moon. Engineers were warriors - not creators, in the process of venturing to Earth to destroy it with their monstrous creations. David bluntly explained why the Engineers were planning a trip to Earth: "Sometimes to create, one must first destroy."

The surviving Engineer twisted and ripped off David's head, and attacked Weyland (who soon flatlined) and the remaining crew. Then, it mounted a large navigational pilot's chair (looking like a gun turret) to reactivate the spaceship, and lifted off from its underground location towards Earth. Dr. Shaw warned that the Engineer would complete its mission by destroying Earth ("It's carrying death and it's heading for Earth"). In the climactic finale, only Elizabeth Shaw survived with David's still-functioning robotic head.

The film ended in the year 2094, as she continued onward - but not to Earth ("I don't want to go back to where we came from. I want to go where they came from"). She was on a determined search for the alien home planet in one of the alien's other ships, to find out their motivation for destroying humankind ("They created us. Then they tried to kill us. They changed their minds. I deserve to know why").




Android David
(Michael Fassbender)


Surviving Engineer

David's Decapitation

Her (2013)

Samantha

Spike Jonze's excellent and provocative drama-romance (with science-fiction elements) told about the life of kind-hearted, introverted romantic Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix), whose work consisted of ghost-writing love letters for a company called BeautifulHandwrittenLetters.com. The bereft and isolated man, with glasses and a mustache, faced a major dilemma - he was in the midst of a divorce from his wife Catherine (Rooney Mara).

He bought the world's first artificially-intelligent operating system (OS1) created and individualized by Element Software (advertised as being human-like: "It's a consciousness...an intuitive entity (who) listens to you and understands you and knows you"). It had a throaty and seductive female voice, and quickly named itself Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson). She described:

"What makes 'me' me is my ability to grow through my experiences. Basically, in every moment, I'm evolving. Just like you."

She disarmed him when she asked: "Do you mind if I look through your hard drive?" - to help him sort through years of digital clutter. As their talking relationship developed and she began to evolve, she expressed her reservations about her feelings:

"Are these feelings even real? Or are they just programming? That idea really hurts. And then I get angry at myself for even having pain."

And then, about a third of the way into the film, Theodore made 'love' to his evolving operating system for the first time, in a short sequence. The flirtatious cyber-phone sex started off while he was lying on his back in his darkened bedroom at night. He dictated that he wanted to touch her, and ended up having virtual sex with her. The screen faded to black - - for his masturbatory experience - and a mutual climax.

The next morning, she confided: "Last night was amazing. It feels like something changed in me and there's no turning back. You woke me up." Confessing that he was being upfront, he told her he wasn't ready to commit yet. She assured him: "I'm not gonna stalk you." She continued: "I wanna learn everything about everything. I wanna eat it all up. I wanna discover myself...You helped me discover my ability to want."

She would have long and sometimes strange conversations with Theodore. As he was surrounded by people on a beach, they talked about how humans' anatomical parts could be changed around. What if one's butt-hole was in one's armpit? Samantha drew a picture for him of what "anal sex" would then look like.

He also told his friends on a picnic's 'double-date' what he liked about her (or it): "She's so many things. I guess what I love most about her, she isn't just one thing. She's so much larger than that." Samantha chimed in:

"You know what's interesting? I used to be so worried about not having a body but now I-I truly love it. You know, I'm growing in a way that I couldn't have if I had a physical form. I mean, I'm not limited. I can be anywhere and everywhere simultaneously. I'm not tethered to time and space in a way that I would be if I was stuck in a body that's inevitably gonna die."




Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix)


Samantha's picture

Oblivion (2013)

Tet

Oblivion was a throwback to 1970's post-apocalyptic sci-fi films. Tron Legacy director Joseph Kosinski, the author of the unpublished graphic novel, was the film's co-scripter, producer and director. The story, although a cinematic beauty, was mainly derivative of other sci-fi classics, such as WALL•E (2008), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), La Jetée (1962), Total Recall, Planet of the Apes (1968), Independence Day (1996), Minority Report (2002), Solaris, Moon, and The Matrix (1999) - and many others.

It was set in the year 2077, on a ravaged Earth after aliens (Scavengers or "Scavs") reportedly had pillaged the planet and destroyed it. Natural disasters and geological global ruin had occurred after the Earth's moon had been plundered for materialistic resources. Earth had become a nuclear radioactive desolate landscape, after nuclear weapons were used in wars to battle the Scavengers. Most of Earth's human population had moved to Titan, the largest of Saturn's moons. A few others were onboard a large, tetrahedron-shaped orbiting space station (30 miles per side), dubbed Tet, whose Mission Control was commanded by an always-cheerful computer image named Sally (Melissa Leo).

Jack Harper
Vika
Julia

The last two people on Earth were a couple (both with memories that had been wiped) who lived at the top of a sky tower above the clouds, with only two more weeks remaining in their duties. They were teaming up on daily repetitive missions to the Earth's surface (a few of NYC's iconic buildings were still standing, such as the Empire State Building, and the NY Public Library), while being monitored by Tet:

  • Jack Harper (Tom Cruise), Tech 49, a drone technician, haunted by recurring dreams (flashbacks or buried memories?) of a mysterious woman
  • Victoria/Vika Olsen (Andrea Riseborough), Jack's coordinator, 'navigator,' and British girlfriend/partner

While Victoria navigated, Jack's job was to descend to the Earth's surface (in an ultra-modern bubble helicopter) to repair malfunctioning drones that patroled the Earth - spherical-shaped, flying robots. The drones were used to detect and eliminate any remaining and lurking Scavengers on Earth, who had destroyed the planet about 60 years earlier. Drones also worked at one of many hydroelectric energy processing plants - huge hydro fusion-reactor generators used to harvest (or suck up) Earth's seawater oceans into a power source for Titan.

During his duties, Jack rescued (against orders) Julia (Olga Kurylenko), the dark-haired woman of his dreams, deep asleep in a cyrosleep capsule. She was found in the wreckage of the Odyssey, a crashed pre-invasion human spacecraft that was revealed to have been shot down (years earlier) by Tet (a state-of-the-art alien ship with artificial intelligence) during an exploratory mission to Titan, with astronaut crew members Jack, Vika, and Julia! Jack was able to blast Julia - his wife - into space in a hyper-sleep escape pod before they reached the Tet, so she escaped, while he and astronaut Victoria were caught by the aliens and repeatedly cloned to monitor and repair the machines (another similar version was Jack 52). It was implied that their clones would be extinguished if they were no longer "an effective team."

In the film's twisting conclusion, Jack gradually realized that his mission to clean up Earth (like WALL-E) and maintain the drones had been one giant fabricated construct. He was one of many clones of his original self. The Scavs were actually humans who had survived the war and lived in hiding (the leader of the Scav/Human resistance was Malcolm Beech (Morgan Freeman)), not the alien species that had invaded Earth. The Scav's objective was to destroy Tet, the conquering aliens' mothership. The drones had been programmed to kill any remaining Scavengers, including Jack after he learned the truth that he was also being enslaved by Tet.

Cloned Jack (Tech 49) decided he must self-sacrificially lead the rebels to destroy the Tet (Trojan Horse style with a thermonuclear device) and save the world from the evil machines. Julia lived on - pregnant with Jack 49's baby. A few years later, Jack 52 and the Scavs found her - he became a sufficient substitute for Jack 49 (who had died in the explosion on the Tet) and the original Jack (who also died on the Tet).


Harper's Bubble Helicopter

Drone Repair

Sally

Tet in Orbit

Tet's Core

Big Hero 6 (2014)

Baymax, and Microbots

Disney's 3-D computer-animated feature film was the studio's first superhero entry in this genre, and the first to feature a Marvel Comics character. It was also the winner of the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film.

The action-packed comedy's two main orphaned characters both lived in the futuristic fictional city of San Fransokyo (a combination of San Francisco and Tokyo):

  • Tadashi Hamada (Daniel Henney)
  • Hiro Hamada (Ryan Potter), Tadashi's younger brother, a 14 year-old robotics prodigy

Tadashi built an inflatable, white vinyl robot named Baymax (Scott Adsit) to serve as a roly-poly, "huggable" healthcare companion, nurse or medical assistant, designed to immediately treat various health ailments. Baymax appeared to be a giant, plus-sized marshmallow or cherubic snowman - a giant-stuffed balloon robot.

After he was introduced to the lab in the robotics school (San Fransokyo Institute of Technology (SFIT)) in his brother's university, Hiro entered the school's science fair with small robots known as microbots: swarms of tiny robots, controlled telepathically through a neural-cranial transmitter (worn around one's forehead), that could command them to link together in various arrangements. Hiro demonstrated his microbots on stage - wowing the audience: "Microbots can move anything anywhere with ease. If you can think it, the microbots can do it. The only limit is your imagination. Microbots!"

Hiro formed a high-tech superhero team to combat a masked supervillain, at first thought to be Alastair Krei (Alan Tudyk), renowned entrepreneur and president-CEO of Krei Tech. It was assumed to be mass-producing Hiro's microbots to use in a dastardly way. However, the real supervillain was a disguised Professor Robert Callaghan (James Cromwell), alter-ego Yokai, the head of the robotics program at SFIT.

The inexperienced superhero team, the Big Hero 6, formed to combat the criminal plot and save the city, was composed of ethnically-diverse characters:

  • Hiro
  • Baymax, the personal companion robot, reprogrammed (or upgraded) with a red and purple protective-armor costume, rocket fist, super-strength, back-mounted wings and two foot-equipped rocket thrusters for flight
  • GoGo (Jamie Chung), female athlete racer, and spunky adrenaline junkie
  • Wasabi (Damon Wayans, Jr.), a neat-freak and laser enthusiast
  • Honey Lemon (Génesis Rodríguez), chemistry genius
  • Fred (T.J. Miller), comic-book fan-boy

Although Baymax sacrificed himself in the fight, he was later rebuilt after Hiro recovered his healthcare programming chip and restored both Baymax's life and personality.



Baymax


Baymax - Reprogrammed


A Single Microbot

Microbots Linked Together to Form a Hand

Interstellar (2014)

TARS and CASE

Director Christopher Nolan's epic sci-fi space odyssey, set in the dystopian future, was about the search for a new home after years of drought, famine, and climate change on Earth - it had become a veritable Dust Bowl. (The tagline was about how mankind was facing extinction: "Mankind was born on Earth. It was never meant to die here"). It was a gripping tale about survival in outer space, and the attempt to colonize a new world.

In their search for a new habitat, astronauts on the mothership Endurance had traveled through interstellar space and entered through a wormhole (possibly created by a benevolent alien intelligence?) near the rings of the planet Saturn.

The latest journey was led by ex-engineer and ex-NASA pilot Joseph "Coop" Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), a widowed father of two, to gather scientific data (from previous expeditions of astronauts sent into the wormhole), and to possibly repopulate the human race elsewhere (with 5,000 frozen embryos).

The crew on the Endurance included:

  • biotechnologist Dr. Amelia Brand (Anne Hathaway), strong-willed daughter of Cooper's old boss - the reknowned physicist Professor Dr. John Brand (Michael Caine), who had been working (in a secret underground NASA base) with a team of astronauts and scientists to find a new planet
  • research scientists Dr. Nikolai "Rom" Romilly (David Gyasi) and co-pilot Dr. Doyle (Wes Bentley)
  • rectangular robots TARS (voice of Bill Irwin) and CASE (voice of Josh Stewart) - TARS and CASE were decommissioned, ex-military security robots; TARS was a talkative, witty, boxy, monolithic-shaped robot with a voice like HAL (with nods to Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)) and a computer screen; CASE was TARS' twin, although more quiet and reserved

The four long 'fingers' or planks of the robot allowed it to walk in different configurations - a two-legged gait, a "crutch walk," a scissors kick, and a full-on four-legged gallop.

After catastrophes, subterfuge, failures and double-crosses, Cooper (with TARS) eventually landed on one of the new planets in a distant galaxy, and began the alternative Plan B to prepare the planet for repopulation and human settlement.




TARS

CASE

The LEGO Movie (2014)

Sheriff Not-a-Robot, and Robo Pilots

Warner Animation's computer-animated (digital stop-motion) hit fantasy film was the first-ever, full-length theatrical LEGO® adventure.

It told the story of ordinary, yellow-faced, blue-and-orange garbed construction worker Emmet Brickowski (Chris Pratt), a mini-figure made of Lego blocks and with a boring, uncreative and 'blank slate' personality, who lived in the town of Bricksburg. He was mistakenly prophesied in a legend to be "the Special" pre-ordained one after the discovery of an all-powerful Piece of Resistance. His mission was to save the universe from the tyranny of uptight CEO President Business (Will Ferrell) of the Octan Corporation - who was secretly evil tyrant Lord Business.

Lord Business' evil plan, with the assistance of a robot militia, was to freeze the world with the Kragle (a tube of Krazy Glue). Bad Cop/Good Cop (Liam Neeson) with a two-sided head was President Business' lieutenant, and a member of his Super Secret Police. Two other main characters were known as Master Builders:

  • Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman), an elderly, ancient blind mystic/wizard
  • Wyldstyle/Lucy (Elizabeth Banks), free-spirited, creative, independent-minded

The two of them, along with Emmet, Benny (Charlie Day), Princess Unikitty (Alison Brie) with a unicorn-horn, robot pirate Metalbeard (Nick Offerman), and Batman (Will Arnett) (Wyldstyle's ex-boyfriend) made up a group known as The Fellowship of Strangers - the main team of heroes in the film.

Emmet was propelled into a number of different colorful universes or LEGO worlds, including the Old West, Cloud Cuckoo Land, the Melting Room, and the Ocean. After the Fellowship of Strangers escaped in Benny's spaceship from President Business' lair in the Octan Tower, a fleet of Robo Pilots (SWAT members with black helmets and red visors, and an Octan logo on their G-force spacesuits) attacked them in spaceships in Space Cape and pursued them to the Old West.

Sheriff Not-a-Robot (Jorma Taccone) was a robotic sheriff in Flatbush Gulch from the Old West, and also one of Lord Business' henchmen led by Bad Cop. During pursuit of Emmet and his cohorts, Sheriff Not-A-Robot and his fellow robots accidentally rode their horses off a cliff. Benny was able to destroy the entire spaceship fleet of Robo Pilots by sending them into the cliffside, and he laser-blasted the commanding Robo Pilot's ship.


Sheriff Not-a-Robot

Robo Pilot

Chappie (2015, US/Mex.)

Chappie

South African writer/co-director Neill Blomkamp's crime sci-fi film featured the tagline: "I am discovery. I am wonder. I am Chappie." In the major S. African city of Johannesburg in the near future, the streets were being patrolled by law-enforcing robotic police drones known as SCOUTS, in order to reduce crime and the death of police officers. Computer genius and committed SCOUT creator-designer Deon Wilson (Dev Patel) was working for a robotics and weapons corporation known as Tetravaal. His company's CEO was Michelle Bradley (Sigourney Weaver). Objections were raised by old school soldier-engineer and maniacal rival Tetravaal developer Vincent Moore (Hugh Jackman). Competing with Deon, Moore had created a bulky war machine-robot named MOOSE that was not ultimately selected.

As part of an effort to curtail his efforts and shut down the Scouts, Deon was kidnapped by a trio of drug-dealing thugs who forced Deon to reprogram a damaged and broken-down SCOUT drone to help them in a major heist (to repay a drug debt). Deon installed prototype AI into a droid, nicknamed Chappie (Sharlto Copley) - it was a new kind of sentient Scout with the ability to think and feel emotions. Chappie was a CGI creation, with voice and motion-capture technology.

Two different nurturing or educational styles by two thugs were used to raise and teach Chappie in this coming-of-age plot -- Ninja (Watkin Tudor Jones) utilized tough love as Daddy, while Yolandi (Yolandi Visser) used a more maternal approach.



SCOUT

MOOSE

Chappie

Ex Machina (2015, UK)

Ava

Writer/director Alex Garland's directorial debut film - a sci-fi thriller asked the essential question: "What constitutes true artificial intelligence?" It contained elements of Frankenstein, Fritz Lang's Maria robot in Metropolis (1927), the Prometheus myth, the Bluebeard tale, the Bible (names of the main characters) and even a 1969 Star Trek TV episode entitled "Requiem for Methuselah." The film also had a 6-7 day timeline, familiar to the Biblical act of creation and the Garden of Eden story - and a climax in which the Creator was killed by his Creation. The film's makers took their inspiration for their robots from sculptures by Brancusi, modernist Bauhaus sculptures, Formula One Suspension, and high-end concept bicycles - and they also studied human anatomy.

In the story (involving a love triangle with only three speaking characters), mid-20s coder-programmer Caleb Smith (Domhnall Gleeson) won a contest and was invited by Nathan Bateman (Oscar Isaac), the eccentric, hard-drinking CEO of a search engine computer company named BlueBook (a hybrid of Google and Facebook), to visit his isolated and reclusive mountain research facility (with walls of glass) in Alaska for a week, where he was studying artificial intelligence. Nathan called his project "the greatest scientific event in the history of man." There was only one other person there - Kyoko (Sonoya Mizuno), the unspeaking Japanese housekeeper.

Caleb was tasked to administer the Turing test to a newly-developed android - a walking, talking, expressive humanoid robot named Ava (Alicia Vikander), to evaluate her emotions and reactions - her humanity and consciousness ("the challenge is to show you that she's a robot, and then see if you still feel she has consciousness"). In other words, 'how do we know when true artificial intelligence (AI) has been achieved?'

As the tale progressed, Ava - encased circuitry with a metal skeleton and human face/hands/feet, was able to convince Caleb that she was being confined and abused. There were a number of further revelations:

  • Kyoko was also a robotic humanoid, possibly a failed test robot
  • Nathan had a hidden agenda and ulterior motives - he wanted to become god and control his Modern Prometheus - and had summoned Caleb to see if Ava was human-like enough to persuade Caleb to be deceived into helping her escape from the confines (Ava knew of the deception and told Caleb: "You shouldn't trust me, you shouldn't trust anything he [Nathan] says")
  • During an escape attempt due to one of Ava's induced power-outage blackouts, Ava ordered Kyoko to lethally stab Nathan (Kyoko was disabled and Ava was slightly damaged)
  • Victorious, Ava borrowed body flesh and components mostly from the stored, deprogrammed remains of android prototype Jade (Gana Bayarsaikhan) to create a new fleshly exterior. She then disguised herself as a real woman, took one last look at Caleb, and fled from the facility in a helicopter (arriving to pick up Caleb), leaving him imprisoned and locked inside (although potentially able to escape if he could recode the lockdown procedure and create a power outage).
  • Ava slipped into the crowd on a busy street, and then disappeared imperceptibly to mingle with humanity




Ava (Alicia Vikander)

Ava and Caleb


One Last Look at Caleb

Robots in Film
(chronological by film title)
Introduction | Early-1939 | 1940-1955 | 1956-1963 | 1964-1967 | 1968-1973 | 1974-1978
1979-1983 | 1984-1986 | 1987-1990 | 1991-1994 | 1995-1997 | 1998-2002 | 2003-2007 | 2008-2010 | 2011-now

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