Word In Stone-Robot Stories review
Another indie science fiction film, I stumbled upon this one when listening to an interview on NPR with writer/director Greg Pak. This is an anthology film, with four stories about Artificial Intelligence in different forms and how it affects our relationships.
The first, and my favorite, is Robot Baby. In this future setting, before couples can have a baby, they must go through an "evaluation" period. They are given a robot baby by the evaluation agency. For a month, they care for this baby like they would a human child. It needs to eat, needs to be changed, needs to sleep, needs attention and love, etc. And it's personality and interaction will develope over that month, depending on it's internal variables and depending on it's parents and other external factors, like a real child. The father seems a natural, and is ready for it. The mother, on the other hand, didn't have the warmest of families, and finds herself emotionally running into walls, especially when her husband has to leave town for a week, leaving her alone with the robot baby.
The second story is called The Robot Fixer. A mother estranged from her son tries reaching out to him, now comatose and dying, by reconstructing his toy robot collection. Oh, the cool part is that the toys used, though they aren't called that, are childhod favs of mine, the Micronauts.
After that is Machine Love. Greg Pak plays iPerson Archie, an android office assistant, newly arrived to his place of work. The humans there seem awkward around him, bouncing between making fun of him and staring at him awkwardly. Archie seems to not notice all this, just dilligently doing his work. But then, he notices another android, a female, in the office building across the street. She notices him, too. Archie becomes determined to meet her.
The last story is called Clay. An elderly sculptor is approaching his dying day. His long dead lady love exists as a digital recreation on a network. He has the option of joining her in that digital domain after his death. But...will he?
Imaginative science fiction filmmaking, much better than the far more expensive I, Robot,which would in itself had been better, if it had stuck closer to the Asmiov original material. Not a bad film, pretty good, in fact, but when it comes to the imaginative exploration of such ideas, Robot Stories delivers much more on a fraction of the budget.
Check it out.
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