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I, Robot

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
I, Robot Movie Poster Image
Will Smith almost redeems generic man vs. machine actioner.
  • PG-13
  • 2004
  • 90 minutes
Popular with kidsParents recommend

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 23 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 69 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Human beings have to be watchful as they develop newer and more complex technology; There is a danger inherent in letting automation take over so many aspects of our lives. The hero faces ridicule and punishment for following through on his beliefs; sometimes doing what you think is right has consequences.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Heroes come in all sizes, shapes, colors, and genders: African-American police officers and supervisors, female scientific expert, etc. Leading character begins as "robo-phobic," but learns to accept, even respect, the robotic beings. 


Heavy on violent Robot versus Human action. Numerous scenes in which robots are shot and "terminated." Robots chase and attack humans in several sequences. A particularly intense car accident results in major destruction of the robots. A little girl is shown trapped underwater in repeated visuals. A dead human body is seen on the floor with blood around the mouth. Character jumps out of window.


Brief shot of naked backside.


Frequent cursing: "ass" in various forms, along with "s--t," "goddamn," "hell," "damn," "sonofabitch," "kiss my ass," "pissed off."


Obvious and frequent product placement including JVC, Converse, Fed Ex, and Audi.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some alcohol consumption: drinking from a bottle, social drinking, one high ball.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that though most of the violent attacks are directed at robots, the creatures (some with distinct personalities and human voices) are crushed, dismembered, exploded, shot at, and destroyed. The results of one car crash are particularly intense. Humans are also in danger: a scientist is dead and bloody on the ground having fallen from a great height; repeated flashbacks show a young girl trapped and drowning in a car; a great, military-like force of robots chase and try to kill humans. Swearing is relatively mild, but there are many instances of  "ass," "s--t," "goddamn," "hell," "piss," etc. In one early scene, Will Smith is seen in the shower, naked from the back, perhaps to compare the human physical ideal with the robotic form, otherwise it seems gratuitous. Product placement is obvious and frequent.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written by4Spice October 22, 2009

great movie a real classic

very good will smith movie you could call it classic lots of action and drama mild violence worth watching and buying 12 and over for the drama
Parent of a 13 year old Written byTsion January 10, 2009

An Engaging and Thoughtful Thriller!

I, ROBOT is well worth seeing. It promotes much thought and discussion and has an intriguing plot, plus great acting and special effects. But can your kids se... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old December 31, 2009

Amazing Action Pic but has Swearing Throughout.

This movie with will smith is a winner! This movie has great special effects, acting and amazing storytelling. The worst issue is swearing but I Tell you, Will... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old December 23, 2010

good for tweens and up.

LOVED this movie! lots of action. and the semi creepiness of this movie was cool. my only concern was the small amount of language in this movie, but other than... Continue reading

What's the story?

Chicago, 2035. Robots are an integral part of society's daily life. On the eve of the launch of a new, advanced order of robot technology, the scientist responsible for its development (James Cromwell) is found dead, presumably a suicide. Police Detective Del Spooner (Will Smith) is called in to investigate. Spooner, who admits to an ongoing prejudice against robots, believes the scientist was murdered. His suspicions are bolstered when he confronts a renegade robot, "Sunny," who appears to have broken the accepted robot code. Spooner becomes a target himself as he pursues his theory against the wishes of the police establishment and in defiance of U.S. Robotics, a corporate giant. As Spooner gets closer to the truth, war between Man and The Machine becomes inevitable.

Is it any good?

On some levels, the movie works: There are lots of good special effects, imaginative settings, the requisite mayhem, destruction, and suspense. I, ROBOT is inspired by a collection of Isaac Asimov stories; in those stories, basic laws for robot behavior are set down: 1) a robot cannot harm a human or allow one to be harmed; 2) a robot must obey human instructions less those instructions conflict with Law #1; and 3) a robot must protect himself unless doing so conflicts with Laws #1 and #2. Using those basic rules, director Alex Proyas and his team set out to make an entertaining "good versus evil" action movie with hero Will Smith reliable in his likable "everyman" role. Unfortunately, very little attention has been paid to wit or originality. Even less attention has been paid to the quality of some key performances: a few characters are one-note wonders and others seem even more robotic than the automated fellows with whom they interact. Entertaining, yes; memorable, no.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about technology. What do you think the filmmakers are trying to say about the fast pace of developing technology? What are the positive effects of the changes? What are the dangers?

  • Do you think that movie violence is easier to watch when the object of destruction is not human? How does that compare to "cartoon" violence?

  • Was the movie successful at creating the year 2035? How did the sets, visual effects, music, and costumes contribute to your experience?

  • Del Spooner seems to be the only person suspicious of the robot culture. What kinds of pressure does he have to face because of his beliefs? How does he change over the course of the story? How does he change others?

Movie details

For kids who love sci-fi and fantasy

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