There’s a lot to be thankful during the Thanksgiving holidays. Especially big screen TVs where you can park the kids and grandparents while coping with a food coma. Here are RTSF’s top 10 robot movies to be thankful for:
1. WALL-E (WALL-E) A delightful movie featuring a realistic, non-anthropomorphic robot with no “take over the world” or ”wants to be human like Pinocchio” tropes. A great way to learn about morphology. See https://www.roboticsthroughsciencefiction.com/single-post/2018/07/30/WALL-E-A-lowly-trash-compactor-robot-has-a-lofty-physical-morphology
2. R2D2 and BB-8 (Star Wars franchise) Science fiction wasn’t cool until Star Wars. We wouldn’t have the big blockbuster movies or franchises if R2D2 wasn’t so lovable. See the Science Robotics article on whether BB-8 would work on those sandy planets See https://www.roboticsthroughsciencefiction.com/single-post/2018/03/02/ANNOUNCEMENT
3. The Iron Giant (The Iron Giant) is a cult classic of a boy who finds an alien robot, who may or may not be predisposed to blow up the world (after all, it was written during the Cold War and the assumption was that we could ourselves up, thank you very much).
4. Westworld (Westworld 1973) yes, it’s a family movie not like the HBO series and still pretty accurate as to how robots work and the intense behind-the-scenes work it takes to keep them running. See https://www.roboticsthroughsciencefiction.com/single-post/2016/02/21/Westworld-1973
5. Maria (Metropolis 1927) A classic for cinephiles – this is one of the first “art” films which a huge budget and special effects never seen before- and not for decades after. You’ll notice snippets have appeared in other movies and advertisements. It also shifted the portrayal of robots from biological piecemeal originally proposed in R.U.R. to mechanical creatures. Get the version scored by Freddy Mercury and Queen.
6. Gort (The Day the Earth Stood Still) The original, skip the Keanu Reeves version (watch John Wick again instead, though not with the kids. My dog liked the first one- 1 dog = 77 people but I digress). It really visualized robots as different from us and perhaps better than us. See https://www.roboticsthroughsciencefiction.com/single-post/2018/03/12/The-Day-The-Earth-Stood-Still-1951-Gort-as-the-ultimate-teachable-moment-about-autonomy-and-in-the-5-movie-on-the-AFI%E2%80%99s-Top-10-Science-Fiction-Movies
7. Robby the Robot (Forbidden Planet) We wouldn’t have Robot from Lost in Space, either incarnation, without Robby the Robot whose costume appears in a gazillion bad movies. We also wouldn’t have the visual effects in Star Wars of the Death Star without the shots of the Krell laboratory.
8. Baymax (Big Hero 6) who introduced the world to the field of soft robotics, an emerging area of research. See https://www.roboticsthroughsciencefiction.com/single-post/2018/08/01/Big-Hero-6-Have-You-Hugged-Your-Soft-Robot-Baymax-Today
9. The Terminator (Terminator franchise) well, it created the franchise. And led to Arnold as the Governator. FYI: The Terminator: Dark Fate is worth watching, it’s a return to the original two movies in tone and pacing, shame it didn’t do well at the box office.
10. Bishop (Aliens) and not just Bishop, the exoskeleton Ripley uses is pretty awesome too. See And if you’re driving in the car, the audio play of the script by William Gibson rejected for Aliens 111 is brilliant with most of the actors returning for their roles