Monday, September 13, 2010

To Live Like The Hu-Man -- Part 2

Previously on Clear's Own--

I was killing a piece of my soul by watching the film adaptation of Isaac Asimov's Bicentennial Man until I got distracted by a butterfly and decided to leave it at the movie's halfway point. Until now. And now, the conclusion of Bicentennial Man.

Bicentennial Man is taped before a live studio audience.

1:03:38 -- Andrew's former owner and friend Richard Martin has died. This spurs Andrew to get the son of Little Miss, now a lawyer, to sue NorthAm Robotics to tell him the whereabouts of other NDR series robots like him under the Freedom of Information Act. I'm pretty sure the FOIA only covers the government and not privately owned companies but the hell with that. I'm more interested in the fact that Little Miss now has a son in his 30s which would put her in her 50s. When she was 20, she looked 35. Now that she's aged over 30s years she still looks...35. Chris Columbus hires people who are as good at doing age makeup as he is at directing.

1:06:30 -- I'm trying to think of the best way to describe what I just saw. The cleverest and most cogent analysis I can think of goes something like this: AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!! More later.

1:19:00 -- Sorry about that. Andrew finally tracked down a NDR robot that was still functional in a Farmer's Market in San Francisco. It was built to look like a female, had a high pitched voice and, after buying some tomatoes, hit a button on her side and started dancing through the marketplace AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH oh sorry. My head throbbed after seeing this bit of trademark Chris Columbus stupidity. Anyway, turns out the robot didn't evolve a personality but rather had one programmed into her by a man named Rupert Burns who says that he's able to make a robot that physically looks human. With that convenient plot point out of the way, Andrew is now able to go home to Little Miss looking a lot like that guy who played Mork. As I said on Friday, Andrew is a genius except when Columbus thinks it's entertaining for him to be a moron so, when he meets Portia, Little Miss's lookalike granddaughter, he's unable to grasp the concept. Portia is also played by Embeth Davidtz who, like her grandmother, looks 35 at age 20. At least this means she'll look great in her middle age years.

1:34:00 -- The death of Little Miss spurs Andrew to work with Burns to develop upgrades to would make him even more human. This looks expensive but Andrew has apparently made so much money from selling clocks and driftwood sculptures that he can afford the multi-billion dollar price tag. Meanwhile, Andrew accompanies Portia to a dance. Judging by the music here and in other parts of the film, Chris Columbus thinks that people in the 22nd century will only be listening to songs written between 1930 and 1970. This is simply another example of a condition rampant throughout this movie that Isaac Asimov never had: a stunning lack of imagination. Oh, Portia has inherited her grandmother's robot fetish. At least Andrew now has a robot dick for her to crave. I think he does, anyway. Columbus failed to let us know about that.

1:44:45 -- Ok, turns out he didn't have a robot dick. But he does now. Ew!

1:50:00 -- Andrew convinced Portia to call off her marriage to another man and be with him and they had hot, machine-like sex (all off screen of course). Andrew now has the ability to fart in bed too, something that Portia, Chris Columbus and all the world's 7 year olds found hilarious. Good news: the movie only has 20 minutes left.

2:11:35 -- Confession: the final one hour and eleven minutes were viewed over two days. Bicentennial Man's lack of compelling content meant I kept getting distracted by just about everything. This isn't the worst movie ever made. It's just lame in the same way that other Chris Columbus efforts like Mrs. Doubtfire and Stepmom were. It substitutes in-your-face schamltz for actual emotion and mediocre slapstick for comedy. I'm annoyed because the filmmakers took Isaac Asimov's wonderfully simple and touching story of a robot's quest to figure out what it means to be human and changed it into an artificially sentimental entry in the series of man-child roles that even Robin Williams himself says he regrets doing. Anyway, Andrew wanted to be recognized by the world's governing bodies as human but they won't because, unlike humans, Andrew is immortal. As in Asimov's story, Andrew makes the ultimate sacrifice and adjusts his body so he will one day die and he is then recognized as human. The most memorable and touching part of the story is when Andrew is on his deathbed and utters the words, "Little Miss," so, naturally, Columbus cut that line. Instead, Andrew quietly passes away as his humanity is being acknowledged and Portia dies with him. This is what I consider to be a happy ending because the movie has, in fact, ended.

No comments: