Cyber Monday can also be a real drag, can't it?
Do they really expect us to do all of our online shopping today?
Don't they have any idea who they're dealing with?
Do we have any idea who "they" even are?
By it's very nature, Cyber Monday is a bit of hype cooked-up by "e-tailers" to bring attention to the impact of online shopping on the holiday season. Now that major retailers like Walmart are joining the party, major ad campaigns are pushing Black Friday's cyborg cousin right down our throats.
So, following our listing of 10 Good Movie Robots in honor of Cyber Monday, let's take a trip to the dark side and chronicle some Bad Robots, with apologies to J.J. Abrams, of course.
10. Sonny: I, Robot
Was Sonny a good guy, or a bad guy? I actually forget how it ends. All I know is that when the robots start killing the humans, no matter what their motivation, it's time to shut 'em down. Hear that, Dr. Graystone?
9. Pris: Blade Runner
With so many versions of Blade Runner on the market, let's all agree on one thing: Pris is a bad ass replicant! The dark side of A.I.'s Gigolo Joe, Pris plays for keeps.
8. WOPR: WarGames
The machine just did as it was told. It wanted to play chess...but noooooo. Matthew Broderick had to get all uppity. There's a lot of "following orders" in the world of "bad" computers. Which is what makes them bad...or morally ambiguous at least.
7. Gort: The Day the Earth Stood Still
Like WOPR, Gort is not bad, per se. He is obedient, and willing to do damage by just looking at you...and shooting a pesky LASER from behind his too-cool-for-school Michael Vick visor. In true cold war fashion, Gort and his keeper Klaatu are here to issue a warning: we don't care if you want to blow yourselves to smithereens here on Earth, but bring your little war show to outer space, little Earthlings, and we WILL hurt you. This is not a message of mutually assured destruction, just assured destruction.
6. GERTY: Moon
Sneakily voiced by Kevin Spacey, GERTY is the heir apparent to (#4) HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey. He seems nice enough, what with that reassuring smiley face. But it feels like he is up to something.
5. The Terminator: The Terminator
Let's get one thing straight: wWhen Arnold becomes a "good" Terminator in T2: Judgment Day, WTF? I know that Robert Patrick (and some amazing CGI) as the liquid metal mercurial T-1000 is really, really bad ass, but really. Really? Arnold is a TERM-IN-A-TOR. His job is to kill. Not protect kids (who are apparently already emancipated from their parents by the way...) Each subsequent time-jump to assassinate and/or rescue John and/or Sarah Connor diminishes the franchise into a rice paper mash of nonsense. If you can keep coming back to kill and/or save them, why should we care? If you succeed, can't we just go back even earlier, and save him again? Or transport him to the future to make sure he survives after all? Or...it is a mess...see? The first film is a perfect, self-contained time travel lariat loop. Like The Matrix (#1), this franchise is best when it is uncoupled from its subsequent load. Arnold checking off "Sarah Connor's" from the phone book, and driving a cruiser into the police station, with clunky logical efficiency is
4. HAL 9000: 2001: A Space Odyssey
HAL (one letter off from IBM, get it?) scared a generation away from technology. Why do you think it took so long for them to develop the PC? These days, HAL wouldn't even have to spy and read lips. Forget shutting down the oxygen supply, he'd just check into your Facebook account, tweak your status, post some malicious updates, photo shop some incriminating evidence, and let the mayhem ensue.
3. Maria: Metropolis
Fritz Lang's silent expressionist parable is a visionary feast and a marvel of art direction. If, like me, you missed the newly restored 35mm print traveling the circuit featuring additional footage long thought lost, there's good news. The restored Metropolis is now available on DVD (with an amazing 50% Cyber Monday discount!) from Kino International.
2. Alpha-60: Alphaville: A Strange Adventure of Lemmy Caution
Godard's dystoian sci-fi film noir mash-up is post-modern, stark, and hilarious. Cut from the same cloth as Blade Runner, Godard's New Wave exercise exemplifies his mid-60's free-flowing style. A cinematic treat for those willing to heed the film's titular warning, these are strange days, indeed.
1. Agent Smith: The Matrix
You don't have to be Neo to know that Agent Smith is one bad mother...shut your mouth! Arguably, Agent Smith may be the only thing worth watching in the other two installments, most notably the Agent Smith über-battle.
But I think it is best to stick with the first, and watch the master work, and get worked.
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