Robots in Cinema - Disney's Star Wars Park

Robots in Cinema & Their Influence on Technological Advances

I recently went to Disney World with my family and we were able to check out the new Star Wars Galaxy Edge exhibit. While I’m not a huge Star Wars fan, I can understand why fans are so anxious to see it. From creating your own Droids and Lightsabers to rides, shops and the actual set, it is impressive. They even had a robot repair station (pictured.)

Star Wars: Star Wars was one of the first films to depict robots in a way never seen before: humanlike, talking (or beeping), walking creatures. It helped launch the popularity of sci-fi. Since then there have been hundreds of films that have driven this sector to what it has become today. Here are some of the fun films starring robots, for good, or evil, that ultimately gets you thinking about what is possible.

Wall-E: Short for Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-class, is the last robot left on Earth. He spends his days tidying up the planet, one piece of garbage at a time. But during 700 years, WALL-E has developed a personality, and he’s more than a little lonely. Then he spots EVE (Elissa Knight), a sleek and shapely probe sent back to Earth on a scanning mission. Smitten WALL-E embarks on his greatest adventure yet when he follows EVE across the galaxy.

AI – Artificial Intelligence: A robotic boy, the first programmed to love, David (Haley Joel Osment) is adopted as a test case by a Cybertronics employee (Sam Robards) and his wife (Frances O’Connor). Though he gradually becomes their child, a series of unexpected circumstances make this life impossible for David. Without final acceptance by humans or machines, David embarks on a journey to discover where he truly belongs, uncovering a world in which the line between robot and machine is both vast and profoundly thin.

Short Circuit: When one of an experimental range of military robots is hit by lightning (Johnny 5), it is given consciousness. It escapes from the military and befriends a young woman, Stephanie Speck. Its creator, Newton Crosby, is desperate to find it, or his entire project may be scrapped.

SpaceCamp: An astronaut eagerly awaiting her first trip to space, runs a summer camp for teenagers with her NASA-employed husband, Zach (Tom Skerritt). One night during an engine test, Andie and four teenage campers are accidentally shot into space by a robot named Jinx. Together, the group — which includes Kathryn (Lea Thompson), a pilot-in-training, and Tish (Kelly Preston) – must work together to operate the spacecraft and return home.

Aliens: After floating in space for 57 years, Lt. Ripley’s (Sigourney Weaver) shuttle is found by a deep space salvage team. Upon arriving at LV-426, the marines find only one survivor, a nine year old girl named Newt (Carrie Henn). But even these battle-hardened marines with all the latest weaponry are no match for the hundreds of aliens that have invaded the colony. Bishop (played by Lance Henriksen), the android executive officer assigned to the spaceship, is primarily responsible for planetary maneuvering.

The Stepford Wives: After enduring setbacks in her television career, executive Joanna Eberhart (Nicole Kidman) relocates with her family from NYC to the Connecticut suburb of Stepford. While Joanna’s husband quickly warms up to their new town, she has a hard time adjusting to Stepford’s manicured environs and the overly accommodating attitude of the area women. Soon Joanna begins to suspect that something is not right, and she tries to uncover Stepford’s secret.

I-Robot: In 2035, highly intelligent robots fill public service positions throughout the world, operating under three rules to keep humans safe. Despite his dark history with robotics, Detective Del Spooner (Will Smith) investigates the alleged suicide of U.S. Robotics founder Alfred Lanning (James Cromwell) and believes that a human-like robot (Alan Tudyk) murdered him. With the help of a robot expert (Bridget Moynahan), Spooner discovers a conspiracy that may enslave the human race.

Bicentennial Man: Bicentennial Man follows the life and times of Andrew, a robot purchased as a household appliance programmed to perform menial tasks. As Andrew begins to experience emotions and creative thought, the Martin family soon discovers they don’t have an ordinary robot.

Terminator: Disguised as a human, a cyborg assassin known as a Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) travels from 2029 to 1984 to kill Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton). Sent to protect Sarah is Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn), who divulges the coming of Skynet, an artificial intelligence system that will spark a nuclear holocaust. Sarah is targeted because Skynet knows that her unborn son will lead the fight against them. With the virtually unstoppable Terminator in hot pursuit, she and Kyle attempt to escape.

Some other films to add to your list are the animated Robots movie, Transformers, Prometheus, Ex-Machina, Big Hero 6, Ghost in the Shell, The Matrix, and for you old schoolers like me, there is The Last Starfighter, Robocop, Forbidden Planet, D.A.R.Y.L., Tron, Weird Science, SpaceCamp, and Flight of the Navigator.

And we cannot talk about robots without mentioning the always feisty Rosie, from The Jetsons and the eerily human creations of Westworld.

*movie synopses & descriptions found from, Wikipedia