5 Robots That Make C3PO Look Like Terminator (Mania.com)

By:Rob Vaux
Date: Tuesday, July 28, 2009


For every R2-D2 or T-800, there are scores of robots which… well, which look like cheap Halloween costumes assembled after a week-long bender. In some cases, they add the cheesy mot juste to a classic piece of unintentional camp. In others, they merely confirm the face-clawing awfulness we first suspected when we put in the DVD. In any case, they all blow dead hobos, and from their ranks, we have selected a list of the 5 indisputably lamest robots in movie history.


Bicentennial Man

5. Andrew (Bicentennial Man)

Robin Williams probably gets more crap than he deserves, but projects like Bicentennial Man make it awfully hard to defend the him. His "NDR" robot's 200-year journey toward adulthood is both massively annoying and deeply creepy, thanks to his obsessive yearning for various little girls/old ladies throughout the years. Isaac Asimov may have perfected the "ghost in the machine" question, but it took Hollywood just one piece of high concept garbage to ruin it.


Mecha Kong

4. Mecha Kong (King Kong Escapes)

Don't get us  wrong; We love the Mecha-Godzilla as much as the next man. But before the concept was perfected, it had to endure an exponentially more ridiculous predecessor. Mecha Kong(built to scour the Arctic for the precious element maguffonium and resembling the famous giant monkey for reasons not entirely clear)served as the focus for the 1967 epic King Kong Escapes and likely had Willis O'Brien rolling in his grave from the get-go.


Short Circuit

3. Number 5 (Short Circuit)

We’re not sure you could slap the taste out of a robot's mouth, but 1986's inexplicably popular Short Circuit really makes you want to try. A bolt of lightning grants "Number 5" sentience, much to the initial consternation and eventual delight of Steve Guttenberg and Ally Sheedy. The film's carefully calculated E.T. emulation would be far more forgivable if Number 5's "heartwarming antics" didn't play like WALL*E getting raped by Jar Jar Binks. Check out the sequel for that extra push required to finally make good on your suicide pact.



2. Val and Aqua (Heartbeeps)

Andy Kaufman's lifelong disdain for the mainstream picked a bad time to fail when he agreed to star in this justly forgotten 1981 disaster. He plays a robotic servant who, along with Bernadette Peters' Aqua, escapes domesticity in an attempt to start a family. Like Short Circuit, Heartbeeps went the adorable kid-friendly route, but the bizarre make-up and supremely baffling plotline stems from the stuff of pure nightmare. Given Kaufman's legacy, one wonders whether the whole thing was just another of his endless pranks on the audience.


Robot Monster

1. (tie) Ro-Man (Robot Monster) and The Robot (The Robot Vs. The Aztec Mummy)

This entire list could consist of robots from the 1950s--those magical amalgamations of cardboard boxes and tinfoil designed to give easily distracted kids some Z-grade matinee thrills. But two particular cases went far beyond the shoestring budget to a mystic Zen space of “What Were They Thinking.” The better-known of the two is Ro-Man--possibly the goofiest monster ever put onscreen--who terrorized the last eight humans on earth despite being nothing more than a gorilla in a diving helmet. The latter--initially doomed to obscurity but saved by the mad geniuses at Mystery Science Theater--didn't even have the funds to cover the actor's face. It featured the "disembodied head" of some hapless piece of cannon fodder, revived to power a mechanical body in the titular showdown with Quetzalcoatl's most tenacious former follower. Together, they exemplify a decade in which lame robots ran rampant--allowing us to better appreciate how awesome the Robbys and Gorts of the same period could be. Thanks boys. Now get the hell off our TV.