May 18, 2022

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Technology Loves You

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Famous Movie Robots – Illustrated History of Film Robots

14 min read

Robots in the Movies

Title Screen
Film/Year, Name of Robot and Film Description

Screenshot


And You Thought Your Parents
Were Weird (1991)

Newman

Two inventive Carson brothers, Josh (Joshua Miller)
and Max (Edan Gross), won the local Junior Inventor science fair
by inventing an automated or robotic garbage can – voice-activated,
that could move and collect garbage from one place to another.

With their prize money, they then went on to create
a more sophisticated robot named Newman. It was cylindrically-shaped
and colored red, with eyes and arms, a round head, and looking similar
to a canister vacuum cleaner.

Newman soon demonstrated a capacity
for emotion when its memory chips were invaded (through a Ouija board)
by the reincarnated spirit of the boys’ dead inventor-father Matthew
(voice of Alan Thicke), a computer genius who was thought to have
committed suicide two years earlier.






Newman


Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey
(1991)

“Evil” Bill
and Ted Robot Doppelgangers

This sequel after Bill & Ted’s
Excellent Adventure (1989)
, a surreal science fiction comedy,
was a parody of the time-travel inthe two The
Terminator (1984)
and Terminator
2: Judgment Day (1991)
movies.

Future
tyrant Chuck De Nomolos (Joss Ackland) from the 27th century created “Evil
robots” that
were android-cyborg doubles (robot doppelgangers) of two heavy-metal
rockers:

  • Bill (William S. Peterson, Esq.) (Alex Winter)
  • Ted (Ted “Theodore” Logan) (Keanu Reeves)

The two Evil Robots were sent back to the year 1991
in San Dimas, CA. They were instructed to murder and replace
the Wyld Stallyns band members, Bill and Ted, to prevent them from
winning a Battle of the Bands contest.

The two robots were successful, when they killed the
two by throwing them over the side of a cliff at Vasquez Rocks.
Bill and Ted were sent into the afterlife of Hell where they had
to defeat the Grim Reaper/Death (William Sadler), outwit Satan/Devil
(voice of Frank Welker) (“the
Dude Downstairs”),
and challenge Death (with board games like Battleship, Twister, and
Clue). After defeating Death, they were transported to heaven where
they talked to God.

Their goal was to defeat their
evil counterparts with “good” robots.
With the help of an alien named Station and a pair of hairy, oval-shaped
Martians, they constructed two good robots to defeat the evil ones.



Doppelgangers





Eve of Destruction (1991)

Eve
VIII

Scientist Dr. Eve Simmons (Dutch actress Renée
Soutendijk in her first US film) created a state-of-the-art, super-strong,
sexy android robot in her own image.

It was named Eve Vickers or
Eve VIII (also Soutendijk), designed originally as an anti-terrorist
and military surveillance mechanism by the government, and equipped
with an atomic bomb.

But the robot went on a killing rampage when damaged
during a failed bank robbery test. Eve VIII actually had a thermonuclear
warhead inside of her, and threatened to destroy many blocks in
the city of Manhattan within only twenty-four hours if not disarmed,
by a group led by Jim McQuade (Gregory Hines), and accompanied by
Dr. Eve Simmons.

With various neuroses derived from her creator, she
would often say: “I’m very sensitive” or become super-violent
when called a “bitch.”





Eve VIII


Guyver (1991) (aka Mutronics:
The Movie)

The
Guyver (Sean Baker)

The film’s story was derived from a Japanese manga series,
taking the tagline: “Part human. Part alien. Pure superpower.” The
film was followed by the sequel Guyver: Dark Hero (1994).

Its title referred to an alien artifact or device
called “The Unit” (a top-secret weapon from the evil Chronos Corporation)
that was absorbed into the skin of college student Sean Baker (Jack
Armstrong). This
occurred when he put the control medallion of the guyver on his head,
causing him to ‘grow’ a costume or suit of malleable, bio-mechanical
metal armor that had incredible strength. He also became equipped
with Mega Smasher cannons on his chest.

The transformation gave
him superhuman fighting skills as a super-soldier and made him invulnerable
to damage as a cyborg – he was known as a Guyver. When unactivated,
the metal retracted to a place behind the back of his neck. He also
discovered a secret plot by Chronos to genetically engineer terrifying
monsters, called Zoanoids.





The Guyver


Terminator
2: Judgment Day (1991)

Terminator
Model T-800
Terminator
Series T-1000

In this second film in the series set 11 years after
the first film, it opened with the 1997 nuclear holocaust event.
Then the time frame shifted to the year 2029, in Los Angeles, where
a silvery, skeletal, humanoid machine held a massive battle rifle
– it scanned the black horizon of the war-torn terrain, revealing
its red, glowing eyes. A battle was in progress between human guerrilla
troops fighting against the stalking robots (terminators), tanks,
flying HK’s and death-hungry machines.

When the film returned to the pre-holocaust year 1995,
two cyborg terminators were sent from future Earth back in time:

  • a T-800 Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger), now
    re-programmed as a protective, monotone-speaking, motor-cycle
    riding Cyberdyne Systems cyborg
  • a T-1000 android (Robert Patrick), a seemingly-indestructible,
    killing, shape-shifting Terminator composed of morphing liquid
    metal, with no emotional intelligence, usually exemplified as a
    policeman

The sleek, more modern android was composed of poly-mimetic
metal, meaning it could take on the shape, color, and texture of
anything it touched (such as a porcelain-tiled floor), and could
also mimic human behavior, such as imitating the voices of its victims.
It could transform its hands into jaw-like blades to impale victims,
and completely absorb shotgun blasts to its midsection or head –
thereby self-healing after being damaged.

It was sent back in time by Skynet (a 21st century
computer warring against the human race and causing a nuclear holocaust)
to destroy the young, 10 year-old future leader of the human resistance,
John Connor (Edward Furlong).

At the end of this film, both Terminators were destroyed
in a vat of molten steel, although the T-800’s demise was a self-sacrificial
death.



Year 2029:
Robotic skeletal machines



Terminator T-800



Alien
3 (1992)

Bishop,
and Bishop II

After his demise by being ripped in two by the Alien
Queen at the end of Aliens (1986),
an irretrievably-damaged synthetic humanoid Bishop 341-B (Lance Henriksen)
briefly appeared in this second sequel, after its E.E.V. escape pod
was ejected from the USS Sulaco and crash-landed on the
bleak and windy planet of Fiorina or “Fury” 161 (a Weyland-Yutani
outer-veil mineral ore refinery – and a maximum security correctional
facility).

Sole-surviving Lt. Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver)
confirmed from the reactivated droid, who accessed data on the flight
recorder, that a stowaway Alien had been with them on the Sulaco and
on the E.E.V. (“It was with us all the way”).

The humanoid
then requested that Ripley disconnect him, claiming:

“I could
be reworked, but I’ll never be top of the line again. I’d rather
be nothing…Do it for me, Ripley.”

However, a second Bishop, named Bishop II (also Henriksen)
appeared in the film’s final scene, looking exactly like the earlier
android Bishop. He claimed to be human and the android’s designer
from the Weyland-Yutani Company: “I’m not the Bishop android.
I designed it. I’m very human.”

Bishop II attempted to coax Ripley to allow the extraction
of the queen embryo egg-layer gestating inside of her by having her
undergo surgery to extract it and then destroy it – but she didn’t
believe him. He confirmed her suspicions about the company’s intentions
when he then said: “We can learn from it. It’s the chance of
a lifetime. You must let me have it. It’s a magnificent specimen.” Bishop
II’s status as a human or as an android robot remained unclear in
the film’s theatrical release.



Bishop 341-B

Bishop II


Toys (1992)

Alsatia
Zevo

Director Barry Levinson’s ambitious, off-beat adult
fairy tale (and box-office flop) had its setting in a toy factory.
It starred comic Robin Williams as whimsical, fun-loving, and inventive
son Leslie Zevo (Robin Williams) of the ailing toy factory’s eccentric
founder Kenneth Zevo (Donald O’Connor), pitted against his fanatical
career soldier uncle General Leland Zevo (Michael Gambon) who only
wanted to produce war toys and military games.

By the film’s end when a large-scale toy battle was
conducted between the original wind-up tin toys and Leland’s militaristic
weapons, it was revealed that Alsatia Zevo (Joan Cusack), Leslie’s
kooky ‘toy’ sister, was a robot constructed by Kenneth to provide
Leslie with a sister after the death of his mother.



Alsatia Zevo


Universal Soldier (1992)

UniSols
(Universal Soldiers): Deveraux as GR44, and Scott as GR13

The two muscle-bound stars of this early Roland Emmerich
action/sci-fi film were featured as semi-android “universal
soldiers” (UniSols) or elite bionic anti-terrorists:

  • Dolph Lundgren (as Sgt. Andrew Scott) – GR13
  • Jean-Claude Van Damme (as Pvt. Luc Deveraux) – GR44

Both were re-animated by the military (in a top-secret
project) 25 years after killing each other during combat in Vietnam,
to serve in a high-tech SWAT army of previously-dead soldiers.

Their memories of the combat robots were supposedly
wiped clean, but they suffered flashbacks. They were also mostly
pain-free, emotionless, and extraordinarily strong.

The film was followed by TV sequels and the theatrical
sequel Universal Soldier: The Return (1999).



UniSols

Cyborg Cop (1993)

Cyborg
Assassin, also Quincy

This cyborg-film was part RoboCop (1987-1993),
part Terminator (1984),
and part Demolition Man (1993).

Kickboxing cop and DEA agent Phillip Ryan (Todd
Jensen), while on the remote Caribbean island of St. Keith, was taken
captive during a failed drug raid against international drug cartel
and drug lord Dr. Joachim Kessel (John Rhys-Davies), who was manufacturing
killer cyborgs (an invincible army of robots) and selling them on
the black market. One prototype cyborg already
created was named Quincy (Rufus Swart).

Left for dead, Ryan was turned (through a surgical
operation) into an invincible, emotionless cyborg warrior/assassin
and killing machine (“half-man,
half-machine”). He was outfitted
with a mechanical steel arm that had sharp knife-fingers. He was
mind-controlled by the mad drug lord, Dr. Kessel.

Renegade agent Jack Ryan (David Bradley), his brother,
was the only one able to save him.

There were two sequels: Cyborg Cop II (1994),
and Cyborg Cop III (1995).








RoboCop 3 (1993)

Otomo,
Ninja assassin-androids

This PG-rated cyberpunk action-crime drama/thriller
from director Fred Dekker (and scripter Frank Miller, a comic-book
author) was the second sequel of the franchise series, following the
more violent RoboCop
(1987)
and RoboCop
2 (1990)
, and was followed by an even less successful TV series in
1994, and a complete remake in 2014. It was set in the near future in a
dystopian metropolitan Detroit, Michigan.

In the futuristic story, The OCP (Omni Consumer Products)
Corporation had redevelopment plans to construct a new Delta City,
to replace the old, low-income Cadillac Heights ghetto area. They secretly
created a team of armed mercenaries, known as the Urban Rehabilitation
Officers (the “Rehabs”),
under the command of Commander Paul McDaggett (John Castle), to clear
out, evict and relocate the current poor residents. OCP’s excuse was
that they were helping to decrease crime in the area, and assisting
the Detroit Police Department.

The Rehabs began to take over the city and its police
force, with strong financial backing from its CEO, Kanemitsu (Mako),
of the Japanese Kanemitsu Corporation. A ninja humanoid-android (known
as “Otomo”)
(Bruce Locke) was constructed, an assassin with a steel-cutting sword
(katana), to reinforce the efforts of McDaggett and OCP’s new president
(Rip Torn) to overcome armed, revolutionary (underground) resistance
from anti-OCP militia forces. McDaggett kept
two more Otomo droids in his OCP Tower just in case.

[Note: Otomo referred
to a series of androids manufactured by the Kanemitsu Corporation.
They were the Japanese version of The Terminator. They had super-strength,
speed and reflexes, and could do flips and triple somersaults. They
were designed with a safety feature, which if they were defeated, would
detonate a miniature nuclear device.]

The rebel forces were led by Japanese-American
computer whiz Nikko Halloran (Remy Ryan) and other residents of Cadillac
Heights. In the middle of the conflict,
mechanical humanoid RoboCop/Alex J. Murphy (Robert John Burke) attempted
to protect civilians in Cadillac Heights from being murdered by the
Rehabs, but was also taking orders from the OCP. When
RoboCop’s partner Anne Lewis (Nancy Allen) was mortally wounded by
McDaggett, he vowed to avenge her death by fighting against the Rehabs
and OCP (and its recruited Splatterpunks), and their Otomo
droid assassin-robots.

In his first confrontation with Otomo, a spectacular
ninja fight scene, RoboCop was punched and kicked. He warned Otomo:

RoboCop: “Detroit police. Identify yourself. You are
under arrest for assaulting an officer.” (RoboCop reached for
his arm-mounted Auto-9 machine gun, but Otomo knocked it away and
cut off RoboCop’s four fingers.) “And destruction of police property.”

After his left hand
was entirely severed to the elbow, RoboCop fired a missile from his arm-mounted
gun which decapitated Otomo in a fiery, sparking explosion.

After RoboCop was reprogrammed
and retrofitted by renegade scientist Dr. Marie Lazarus (Jill Hennessy),
and equipped with a jet-pack, he began to combat OCP and their Otomo
cyborg-ninjas. In the concluding conflict
in the OCP building, RoboCop fought against McDaggett and two more
Otomo robots. Nikko and Dr. Lazarus reprogrammed the two
androids, forcing them to destroy each other (and detonate their self-destruct
mechanisms). As a result, McDaggett perished in the
blast, while RoboCop, Dr. Lazarus, and Nikko escaped.








Destruction of Otomo (Bruce Locke) by RoboCop


Robot Wars (1993)

Mega-Robot
1 and 2 (Mega-1 and MRSA-2)

Set in the bleak post-apocalyptic year of 2041, a scorpion-like,
large-scale Mega-Robot 2 patrolled the nation’s borders against ill-defined
evil rivals called the Centros.

The giant robots were piloted, like in Robot Jox
(1990)
, by human jockies, and were capable of carrying tourists/passengers
around the perimeter.

In the climax of this tale, a renegade ‘Megarobot’
2 pilot named Drake (Don Michael Paul) defeated the giant MR2 robot
that was taken over by one of the leaders of the Eastern Alliance,
evil revolutionary Wa-Lee (Danny Kamekona). Drake used an earlier,
resurrected “good-guy” MR1 model to save the planet.







The Wrong
Trousers (1993, UK)

Techno-Trousers

British animator/director Nick Park’s stop-motion
clay animated short comedy starring Wallace & Gromit (the second
of four short films from 1990 to 2008) won the Oscar for Best
Animated Short Film. It was a Hitchcock-inspired mystery-thriller.

It featured eccentric and slightly daft Wallace’s
latest invention — a pair of ex-NASA automated, robotic or mechanical
trousers (“techno-trousers”) outfitted with suction feet.
They were given as a birthday gift to Gromit, Wallace’s silent
anthropomorphic dog. They would alleviate Wallace’s tiresome
duties of taking Gromit for a walk – as an automated dog-walker
(“fantastic
for walkies”).
The trousers were mechanical legs that could be programmed to walk
a dog on an attached leash (“Have a nice walk, Gromit!”).
On his first walk, Gromit cleverly attached his leash to a stuffed
dog on a rolling cart.

Wallace rented a bedroom out to an evil silent
penguin named Feathers McGraw, who modified the trousers with a
detached remote control mechanism. They were now designed to be
used or controlled by Feathers, a notorious criminal wanted for
theft, in a City Museum robbery of a large blue diamond, while
Wallace was unwittingly wearing them.

Wallace exclaimed when first forced into wearing
the trousers: “It’s the wrong trousers.” The remote
control buttons had been moved from the front of the trousers
to a device in the hands of Feathers.




Techno-Trousers

Feathers Modifying the Trousers


“It’s the wrong trousers”


APEX (1994)

A.P.E.X.
(“Advanced Prototype EXploration Units”), and APEX Sterilization
Units

Writer/director Phillip Roth’s action sci-fi film was
a post-apocalyptic time travel film (with a time paradox storyline)
– another clone of the Terminator films.

Time exploration was being conducted by robotic Advanced
Prototype EXploration (A.P.E.X.) units, sent from a research
facility, the Datatron Research Center in Los Angeles, to the past. To
eliminate the possibility of creating a time paradox,
only machines were allowed to time-travel. One of the problems with
exploring time was that a time-traveling unit could become infected
with a virus, if it came into contact with humans.

Scientist Dr. Nicholas Sinclair (Richard
Keats), in the year 2073, was supervising a routine mission
to the eastern part of the Mohave Desert, 100 years in the past,
by an APEX unit that was programmed to enter the time portal. Sinclair
narrated: “April 3rd, 2073. We were about to launch a probe one hundred
years into the past. Whatever happened that day, nothing in my life
would ever be the same.”

A civilian
family (Robert Tossberg and Kathy Lambert) on vacation (towing a trailer-camper),
and their son Joey (Kareem H. Captan) in particular, came into contact
with the APEX unit, thereby breaching the time line. Automatic
self-destruct counter-measures were activated by Sinclair’s lab, to
eliminate the APEX unit, but they failed. A second line of defense
was the deployment or triggering of an APEX sterilization unit. It
was a hunter/killer
robot (with optical sensors) armed with shoulder-mounted mini-rocket
launchers and hand-mounted pulse cannons to prevent virus infection,
sent from Sinclair’s laboratory to eliminate the human threat.

Dr. Sinclair disobeyed strict protocol to save the
family from the threatening APEX sterilization unit, by entering
the portal himself and traveling back to 1973. He found that the
APEX unit had successfully self-destructed, but injured the boy in
close proximity. It was feared that the newly-sent APEX sterilization
unit would eliminate both the family – and Dr. Sinclair. The lab
was sealed and powered down, and Dr. Sinclair’s status was declared
as “unknown.”
Back in 1973, Sinclair and the family were targeted by the relentless
APEX sterilization unit, but Sinclair helped them to escape, although
their trailer was blown up.

Sinclair entered back through the time portal to
his present year of 2073, in an alternate timeline. As
a result of the time paradox, he found a post-apocalyptic Earth of
2073 ravaged by decades of genocidal war, a killer virus, and attacks
by the relentless killer robots (sterilization units) over 100 years.
The resulting time paradox had created an endless loop where sterilization
units were continuously sent into the past one after the other. Remnants
of humans included scattered Marines and various scavengers, all threatened
by the randomly-appearing APEX machines. Sinclair was recognized as
one of the soldiers.

In order to resolve the issue, Sinclair had to find
his derelict research lab in order to unravel what happened one hundred
years in the past, to unlock the paradox he created, and prevent
the original probe (that caused the problem) from being sent.






APEX Probe


A.P.E.X. Sterilization Units


Blankman (1994)

J-5

Damon Wayans starred in director Mike Binder’s superhero
comedy Blankman (1994), (a parody of Batman) with its title
character boasting in the tagline: “Coming to Save Your Butt!”

Nerdy appliance repair-man Darryl Walker (Wayans) created
a new persona with weapons and gadgets, calling himself Blankman
(his original idea was Brotherman). He also constructed a robotic
assistant named J-5, with a short life span when its bomb disposal
mode was activated and it was blown up.

J-5 was made out of an antique Westinghouse washing
machine (with roller) on two wheels, decked out with a cap, and lights
for its eyes and blue hair.



Blankman

J-5

Star Trek (The Next Generation
or TNG) films (1994-2002):

The films in the second Star Trek series were:

Star
Trek: Generations (1994)

Star
Trek: First Contact (1996)

Star
Trek: Insurrection (1998)

Star
Trek: Nemesis (2002)

Data

Lt. Commander Data (Brent Spiner) was one of a number
of androids (the others were Lore – Data’s younger brother, and Data’s
childlike older brother B-4) created by human cyberneticist Dr. Noonien
Soong (also Spiner).

The sentient artificial life-form was a heroic character
in all four of the Star Trek TNG films from 1994 to 2002.

Data was a science officer created in the year 2335
who served onboard the starships USS
Enterprise-NCC-1701-D and E
.
He was a yellow-eyed, golden (or albino) skin-toned, hyper-intelligent,
super-strong android with a “positronic” brain, a prodigious
memory and super-human vision, who wished to emulate and experience
human emotions (eventually fulfilled with an ’emotion chip’ that
was implanted into him in Star Trek: Generations (1994)).

In the fourth Star Trek film in which he appeared,
he died in the year 2379, sacrificing his own life for the 800 crew
members onboard the starship USS Enterprise.




Lt. Commander Data

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