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'bicentennial man' is a family film without any external motive with the exception of providing the minimum dose of entertainment .
chris columbus , the director who gave you " mrs . doubtfire " , plays on sentimental strings and mushy dialogue to make his point .
based on the short story by isaac asimov , it is supposed to be a science fiction story about a robot who wants to be human , which as you can imagine is very difficult .
starting in a not too distant future the film concentrates on a wealthy family that buys an android to help them with the house and children .
soon this robot , called andrew ( robin williams ) shows abilities that makes his owner mr . martin ( sam neill ) very curious .
andrew is interested in art and music , he " enjoys " making clocks , which clearly shows that he has genuine emotions .
it shows out that because of a small failure in the " electrical circuits " and " positronic brain " andrew has accidentally gained a soul .
this makes him unique and his evil creators worried .
then mr . martin decides to teach andrew all the things he wasn't programmed to do .
soon andrew wants to leave the house in pursuit of freedom , destiny and love .
this film can be described as a disney version of blade runner , a film that still shines as the biggest gem in the crown of science fiction .
ever since that film , the subject of humanity still stands as one big controversy .
what makes us human ?
the thoughts ?
the emotions ?
is it possible to become human ?
at what point can we say to a robot " now you are one of us " ?
these are very tough questions that require a serious and thurral approach .
it is obvious that columbus didn't take them very seriously .
when you think about it , this film is not really meditating on the question " when is a robot no longer a machine , but a human being ? " , but tells a story about racial discrimination and lack of understanding .
andrew is so complex and emotional from the very beginning that the audience immediately accepts him as a human being , and only the society has troubles with it .
in other words , it is as far from reality as from the academy awards .
further more , there are other annoying problems .
to this day no serious filmmaker has dared to speculate about the future in more than 50 years from now .
this has not been done for obvious reasons , because the filmmakers are well aware of the fact that they lack the knowledge and imagination to perform such a difficult task .
columbus is the first to have crossed that line .
the result is , as you might imagine , primitive , unrealistic and incredibly disappointing effort .
the world is simply frozen in time .
neither the society , fashion , culture or values have changed over 200 years .
mom is still working at the kitchen , doing the dishes .
when you think back to the late 17th century and then compare it to the world we live in today , you'll see a slightly bigger difference .
i am not saying that everything should change .
it is unlikely that the human rights will change , but it's even more unlikely that there will not be any progress in science , technology and fashion .
i suppose it's possible to watch this as a some sort of bizarre fairytale , but it's really hard .
robin williams is hidden behind c and speaking in a robotic way .
as always he does a decent job , as does sam neill .
but it doesn't really matter .
it is the sentimentality and length that turns this picture into a tiresome experience .
pretty much like last year's " meet joe black " , this is a primitive and unresolved story which is presented with a splendor and professionalism that it doesn't deserve .
great actors and a talented crew have worked hard to achieve something that will be instantly forgotten .
when isaac asimov wrote this story , the future seemed far away and magical .
everything seemed possible .
now is the future of asimov's time , and we know that it is not as magical and perfect as it seemed a long time ago .
for the same reasons that the young generation of today can not be amazed by julius verne's " 20 000 leagues under the sea " , so can't we accept this story as a potential reality .
let us hope that next year's " a . i . "
will be more rewarding .