LowComDom Performances Presents
Film Review - Bicentennial Man
I have to say from the beginning that this a far better film than I expected. Bicentennial Man reminded me much of Command Data of Star Trek The Next Generation, an android who wanted to be human. I think Bicentennial Man takes this idea to a much higher level than Data ever did.
In the not too distant future a man buys for his family a robot. It is clean and sterile, and not that interesting at first. One of the children hates the machine. Slowly, the machine does something very strange. It becomes truly creative. And soon it becomes sentient. This is all an accident. The company that made the robot is worried and wants to disassemble it. But the man will have no part of that. He helps the robot in it's quest to reach its potential.
That's what this story is all about. It's very human, and is about people following their hearts and reaching potential. This being the goal of the film, the casting of Robin Williams is right on the money. Williams brings real life to the robot. Especially when acting through a hard shell mask. In many ways when the mask is replaced by Williams' own face the performance is slightly detracted from. However, Williams does stay on the mark as his character ages. He is not really playing a robot. He's playing someone from outside the normal human experience. All the questions a three or four year old will come up with, he does at the intellectual standard of an adult. This perspective gives the audience a chance to re-think many of their taken for granted ideas.
I mentioned at the beginning that I was very surprised. This film is far better than I had hoped for. That's because Bicentennial Man did so poorly at the box office (budgeted 100 million dollars and it took in 58 million at the US box office). One can get stuck in the rut of the mass audience. I also believe that over the years Williams had given us uneven performances from film to film. So I will admit my prejudice in this area. This is precisely why one should from time to time watch a film one thinks they will not really like. This gives us the pleasure of surprise.
Directed by Chris Columbus
Released in 1999
MPAA Rating: PG
Reviewed by Mongo