I know. Shut up.
I have been circling this topic for a very long time, for very good reason: although my taste is already suspect and not exactly befitting of someone who wants to be taken seriously as a film critic, there are certain movies that I like that I feel would probably cheapen anything I say in the eyes of the internet film populace. In essence, I’ve been that kid in high school who wants everyone to like him, with some slip ups (I will never apologize for Batman and Robin for instance).

Then the thought hit me: who cares? This is my little part of the world wide web and I should be able to say whatever the hell I want about whatever films I want to talk about, regardless of flack and what my “peers” and readers think. That brings us to today’s topic of discussion: my love for Bicentennial Man, the 1999 movie directed by every film fan’s worst nightmare Chris Columbus.

I love this movie. I flat out love it. I’ll have moments where I’m sitting down, eating a sandwich, and I’ll randomly think “oh man I really want to watch Bicentennial Man” and then I’ll pop it in (yes, I own it), sit through the whole thing, and be satisfied. Hell, when it was released in theaters, I remember seeing it with my family and a bunch of other people and being one of the only people who didn’t fall asleep or walk out by the end. I goddamn freaking love Bicentennial Man.

That’s not to say it doesn’t have its flaws, because it does: some of the acting and dialogue is horrid, it’s very sappy, and Chris Columbus’ direction can be flat and boring at times. However, the movie excels for me for two reasons: Robin Williams and the overall story arc of his character of Andrew.

Since you probably are smart and haven’t seen this, here’s a longwinded overview: Bicentennial Man begins in the near future when robot technology has gotten to the point of where humankind can now purchase and own a robot to do all the chores and labor we don’t feel like doing anymore (apparently no one in this time period has ever seen The Terminator or The Matrix…). Andrew belongs to a rich family, The Martins: father and patriarch Richard (Sam Neill), his wife (Wendy Crewson), and his two daughters Grace and Amanda. Amanda is affectionally known as “Little Miss” by Andrew and is played by Hallie Kate Eisenberg (the Pepsi girl and sister to Michael Cera lookalike Jesse Eisenberg). At the start, Andrew is just there to do chores and the bidding of his human masters, but soon he shows signs of growing his own personality and ideas. After accidentally breaking Little Miss’ glass horse (why you’d give a glass horse to a robot I don’t know, but shhhh let’s sweep that under the rug), he makes her a wooden replacement just by seeing a design and carving it out of a log.

Richard notices this and fosters Andrew’s growing intellect, teaching him about life and the arts. As the years go by, the Martins grow old as Andrew continues to develop, eventually creating many wooden grandfather clocks and amassing a fortune when Richard starts to sell them (again suspension of disbelief people!). While everything up to this point has been hunky dory, Andrew decides that he wants to be declared free and asks Richard for his independence. Richard angrily agrees, and Andrew moves out.

As the years go by, Andrew watches as the Martins he used to serve begin to grow old and die, and cannot bear the pain. He journeys around the U.S. looking for robots like him, and that lands him in the office of rogue engineer Rupert Burns (Oliver Platt) and with his help, Andrew begins to update his body to become more and more human, from skin to organs, and he strives to finally match how he feels on the inside (much like a transsexual). He even falls in love with Portia (Embeth Davidtz), Little Miss’ granddaughter, but the world does not accept this and that drives his transformation even more. As you can guess by the title, it takes place over a period of about 200 years.
While writing that synopsis, I can already feel your eyes rolling and I get it, I really do. Some of what I was typing out felt a little suspect. Bicentennial Man runs for over two hours, and the pacing can get to the point of where it drags, but it’s the story of Andrew himself that keeps you engaged. That is thanks to the work of Robin Williams, who takes a cheesy screenplay and injects some of his god given talent into it to make it work. Bicentennial Man takes on the ideas of what it takes to be human and what exactly defines humanity and creates what I think is an engaging tale. It is also helped by an excellent supporting cast, with Davidtz pulling duel roles (as both Portia and the adult/eldery version of Little Miss) and Oliver Platt doing his usual scene stealing excellent work. There are also appearances by Stephen Root as the head of the company that designed the model of robots that Andrew belongs to and Bradley Whitford (The West Wing) as the adult version of Portia’s brother.

Bicentennial Man got screwed over when it came to the marketing and the typecasting of Robin Williams. Back when I watched the trailer as a kid, I assumed that this would be a comedy, with Williams playing a whacky robot. The ads seemed to play up the more comedic elements and I was a big Mrs. Doubtfire fan, so I put two and two together. While there are some funny moments (mainly between Williams and Platt as they design the organs and skin and other stuff Andrew needs for the transformation), this more of a drama about a robot’s plight to become human. You follow Andrew through over 200 years of human development and you watch as the world around him changes even though he himself does not have the power too, and in that regard, it’s heartbreaking. It’s scary to even lose your loved ones, but what if you had to watch everyone you love die when you could not age? All the things we take for granted are the things Andrew wants most in life, and when he begins to achieve them (like being able to taste), you get excited for him. I totally bought into his cause and got more and more pumped as the movie went on and he could finally taste and digest food, and have sex, and all sorts of other human/mammal things.

A complaint I have read about this movie is the fact that Little Miss falls for Andrew once she is an adult, and I feel the need to defend that. When he makes her the horse, it creates a bond between the two and since the Martins treat Andrew like a normal person (except for Grace, who hates him), it makes sense that Little Miss would grow up thinking Andrew was like anyone else and that she would develop feelings for him. I have no problem with this plot point, and I needed to shoehorn this in there to say it.

Bicentennial Man conveys the future as best as it can, but it is hard to judge what the world will be like in 100 years, so I can understand how a lot of it is downplayed. You see the world change in technology and some backdrops of futuristic cityscapes, but this is more a character driven story and it focuses on that, which probably saved them a good amount on the budget. Speaking of, if there is one thing I did not like in this movie, it had to be Williams’ robot suit. It looks insanely hokey and you are desperately waiting for him to finally put on the skin so you don’t have to see that stupid robot costume anymore.

Unbeknownst to her, Andrew is a Coca Cola robot.
Look, Bicentennial Man is cheesy, hokey, and the pacing will turn some people off. You feel all two hours and five minutes of it, and some of the dialogue and story points can get really eyeroll inducing…but you know what? I don’t care. For me, the movie is about Andrew’s journey and I get 100% invested into it every time I watch it. It raises some good questions about the nature of humanity and Robin Williams (although he probably wants us to forget this) puts in a very excellent performance. If this had been under a different director and could have been a bit less PG, Bicentennial Man could have possibly done better (although it did win an Oscar for Best Makeup, so SUCK IT!).

You know, I feel better already about admitting this. I’m still scared that people will see this and go “wow this joker has NO right to talk about film ever again”, but whatever. As I said earlier…this is my piece of the web and I’m entitled to my opinion, and my opinion is that Bicentennial Man does NOT suck. So there, confession over.
4/11/2010 08:26:37 am

I loathed this movie, entirely because it bastardized the novella so badly, but I can certainly imagine someone who isn't a hardcore Asimov fan enjoying it. I actually think you shouldn't read it as it would probably ruin your enjoyment of the movie.

I do have to give it credit in that was still way more loyal than I, Robot (which had NOTHING to do with the book whatsoever).

8/31/2010 01:36:34 pm

Nice post. I like your writing style. and your blog structure is simple kind. It give me a feeling of comfortable. Thanks. So great.

9/5/2010 01:34:02 pm

Never expect the perfect man, it's not because that u cannot find, but just becoz there is no perfect man. Do you think so?

9/6/2010 11:05:57 am

Like the beautiful shoes or like comfortable shoes? Believe that many people will say like beautiful and comfortable shoes. You can enter into our website to see it, there is what you need. Thank you!

9/13/2010 11:51:59 am

Wives are young men's mistresses; companions for middle ages and old men's nurses.

9/15/2010 11:41:55 am

I would truly want to see your refrigerator as very well. Ours ordinarily seems to be like like a explosive device went off in it! We’re commencing a cooking location remodel thus need to have each and every one of the allow I can get with group. I’m also excited about the ideal method to arrange a preparing food area pantry. Delight in your weblog! <a href=" http://www.airmaxs.net/"> Nike Air Max 90</a>

9/20/2010 11:55:53 am

It truly is my 1st time I've went to your site. I noticed an awesome deal of intriguing data inside of your internet site. Inside tons of feedback with your subject material content, I guess I'm not the solely 1! Joyful to share, the happiness of potential.

9/23/2010 04:23:16 pm

I really feel so exciting after reading your blog. Ideal! Additional reading much more clever. Thank you incredibly very much. Should you work far more challenging, you perhaps do far more being successful.

9/29/2010 06:29:13 pm

The photo is beautiful. Thank you for you personally site. Also, I desire to share the expertise with you, we must learn much more material within the internet ahead of we store for any pair of Supra Shoes.

10/7/2010 11:53:09 am

In your life, there will at least one time that you forget yourself for someone, asking for no result, no company, no ownership nor love. Just ask for meeting you in my most beautiful years.

10/13/2010 10:57:43 am

Fortune never helps the man whose courage fails. We need courage in our life, then we can reach a success.

10/20/2010 05:28:41 pm

The journey of life there are many, Are also well, Who are busy day for harvest, Can harvest has also bitter sweet. Both are rich people are poor, Jack is difficult to buy fitness, So I hope you always happy.

10/22/2010 02:05:10 pm

You see, "Practice makes perfect. " I wish that practice bring us progress somewhat.

11/23/2010 03:07:02 pm

The article is of magnificent momentum, and sophisticated statements.

11/24/2010 11:42:42 am

The greatest happiness is to work for education.

11/28/2010 01:51:05 pm

Happiness depends on our attitudes to life

12/7/2010 09:24:39 am

A mother's love never changes.

12/10/2010 09:56:49 am

Christmas, children, is not a date. It is a state of mind.

12/23/2010 02:17:43 pm

At Christmas and always, may peace and love fill your heart, beauty fill your world, and contentment and joy fill your days.

12/27/2010 11:46:12 am

Thanks for sharing.
Thank you for the support of the blog owner.
Hope 2010 is a year of your success.
And wish you luck in 2011.

1/9/2011 02:30:16 pm

Second comment that isn't spam, nice!

I just finished watching it for about the fourth or fifth time in my life. Its a brilliant concept and an amazing journey, and probably one of the most optimistic stories I've ever experienced. It may be sappy but ffs most film critics are joyless harpies with no souls, they love rating down classic movies because they aren't quite smart enough for their tastes.

2/20/2011 11:59:18 am

Going on your remarkable writings, I realize it is of the extraordinary experience and suitable thoughts.Think that I will certainly receive which I really want coming from your blogs.Best Regards!

3/18/2011 06:56:34 pm

Your blog is so great . I'd like to read the information about it, so how does it work? Do you want to know the MBT shoes ? MBT shoes on hot sale ! Absence to love is what wind is to fire. It extinguishes the small; it inflames the great.

3/29/2011 07:00:59 pm

Life is just a series of trying to make up your mind.

4/11/2012 04:34:18 pm

Your blog too good, I will soon come back again, to keep at it.

4/11/2012 04:42:10 pm

Thank you to let me see your blog, I love you blog style, very cool.

6/19/2012 07:17:40 pm

http://www.louisvuittonhandbagsoutlet.org/ Louis Vuitton Handbags
http://www.pradabagoutlets.org/ prada bags outlet
http://www.burberrybagoutlet.net/ burberry outlet
http://www.louisvuittonhandbagsoutlet.org/ Louis Vuitton Handbags Outlet
http://www.pradabagoutlets.org/ prada handbags outlet
http://www.burberrybagoutlet.net/ burberry bags
http://www.louisvuittonhandbagsoutlet.org/ Louis Vuitton purses
http://www.pradabagoutlets.org/ prada purses
http://www.burberrybagoutlet.net/ burberry bags outlet

9/21/2012 04:10:52 pm

kudos! A trustworthy blog, thanks for putting an effort to publish this information. very informative and does exactly what it sets out to do. thumbs up! :)

Joseph Aidan

10/17/2012 02:08:30 pm

Don't apologize for what you feel or believe (Bi-centennial Man review). Good review (I love it too). Stay true to what you believe in.

1/1/2013 09:44:43 am

I’m impressed. Very informative and trustworthy blog does exactly what it sets out to do. I’ll bookmark your weblog for future use.



Leave a Reply.