When a robot is like a toy and capable of simple human gestures, we find it endearing and cute. If it starts acting a little more human, we find it even more appealing. Slap a prosthetic hand or a rubber face on it though, and things start to get creepy. Ted Bundy creepy. Following on from the Rogue One and Westworld post, the STORGY team find themselves in a frenzied KILLER ROBOT mood. We’ve been debating who’s King of the Robots, the mightiest of the mighty, the toughest of the tough, the top of the scrapheap challenge…but in typical STORGY fashion we’ve reached a stalemate. So, as we approach Christmas, we thought we would list in no particular order (in TOP TRUMP fashion) attributes of some of movie-dom’s best-known robots. You can even cut out the pictures and use these as a distraction technique at Christmas when Aunt Ethel visits to kiss you awkwardly on the lips.
The rules are simple: No Androids, No Synths, No Replicants and No Cyborgs (Sorry, Robo Police Officer.) What we’re talking about here are machines, robots with hard wiring for brains and pneumatic pistons for innards. So below we’ve come up with 6 attributes (Strength, Intelligence, Size, Loyalty, Evil Factor and Weapons) with a small bio underneath. Think you know a robot we haven’t thought about? Comment on our Facebook page!
Evil Factor: 4
Number 5 was part of a U.S. military prototype robot programme (S.A.I.N.T = Strategic Artificially Intelligent Nuclear Transport) and was given a sense of free will after being struck by a lightning bolt. Kind of like how I feel after guzzling five red bulls in the morning. It can read through War and Peace in a matter of seconds, with an obsessive, almost disturbing requirement for ‘input,’ but the child-like personality and naïve character traits lowers its intelligence rating. The same size of a man and weighing in at 250 pounds, Johnny 5 is not a robot to be trifled with. Loyalty is questionable as external parties can easily manipulate it and evil factor is mid-point as it was initially designed as a weapon of war. Although low in points for other attributes, Johnny 5 has a shoulder mounted laser cannon, making him one of the few robots on this list that has a weapon integrated into his actual chassis and a badass. The S.A.I.N.T prototypes also come equipped with a parachute so that they could be dropped behind enemy lines and deliver a nuclear warhead to a specific site. So there’s that.
The Terminator – Series 800 Model 101
Evil Factor: 10
‘Come with me if you want to live,’ ‘I’ll be back,’ and ‘fuck you, asshole,’ are just some of the memorable quotes from Ahhhhhnuld in the original Terminator film. After decades of milking the teat of the Franchise Cash Cow with calloused hands, all that remains now on the proverbial media meadow is a bony husk, withered and motionless, begging for a swift and clean death. Parodying itself to the point of nihilism, we look back with fond memories at the original killer machine. The Terminator is an autonomous robot, originally conceived as a virtually indestructible soldier, infiltrator and assassin. Strength is a high factor, as the Terminator’s endoskeleton is actuated by a powerful network of electric servomechanisms, making them superhuman strong. Regarding Intelligence, the Terminator’s CPU is a superconducting artificial neural network with the ability to learn. They can mimic any human voice and can track their prey like the best bloodhound. They are slightly taller than a human and will relentlessly pursue their targets. Evil factor was a mixed bag in the STORGY office; in the first movie it’s the ultimate killing machine, in T2 it’s sent back to protect John Connor. We discounted the other films. In their classic chassis, The Terminator itself is a weapon; however it’s the futuristic weapons that it utilises in its quest for human domination:
Terminator: Phased Plasma rifle in 40-watt range.
Pawn Shop Clerk: [annoyed] Hey, just what you see, pal!
Evil Factor: 3
Ah, Peter Cullen. That deep, resonating and sexy voice – Cullen could be reading from a shopping list and his soothsaying and baritone tambour could make any person drop to their knees and start fellating an exhaust pipe on command, thinking it was Cullen’s metallic member. No-one can hear Optimus Prime and not be instantaneously zapped back to 1986 when Transformers: The Movie was released and the following maelstrom of air fisting rock music was poured into their eardrums like a torrent of unicorn dreams: Stan Bush wailing ‘Dare,’ the punk like ‘Dare to be Stupid,’ ‘Nothin’s gonna stand in our way,’ and of course rock ballad by Lion. Ahhhhh…memories. Optimus is a natural leader and a strategic General in the battlefield. He usually transforms into a redneck, baseball wearing juggernaut 18-wheeler truck, so size is adequately above the par. He’s loyal to the AutoBots and humanity, and would probably have a 10, however the latest trailer for Transformers: The Last Knight sees Optimus wrestling with BumbleBee before looking like he’s about to skewer him with a pointy blade, so it may be that Optimus has been converted to the Decepticons…
Evil Factor: 2
About as threatening as the local drunk arguing with a cashier about the price of a tin of baked beans, Wall-E doesn’t have many high attribute points to assert in the Top Trump list – forever burdened to crush humanity’s rubbish and waste, Wall-E dutifully performs his programmed task like a pre-pubescent, spotty intern on work experience until a big spaceship arrives and he’s thrust into an adventure in outer space. One could argue that his internal gut crusher could be deemed a salient weapon, but you would have to intentionally crawl inside his belly for any permanent damage to occur, and the likelihood of that is nominal.
Evil Factor: 4
Resembling something that looks like a cross between a dustbin and an IKEA flat packed coffee table, R2D2 combines many of the most desirable attributes of robotic servitude. Packed with all sorts of tools that make him a great star ship mechanic, it can also override computer interfaces and in a pickle can ensure that the walls of a trash compactor are expanded to alleviate death from crushing. Although R2D2 doesn’t speak human language, his chirps, bloops and beeps serve to endeavour his compatriots around him. In a sense, R2D2 is the Colombo of his counterparts – the secret of its charm resides in its lackadaisical manner, but residing within the stubby, cylindrical body is a loyal robot, who only wishes to serve.
I, Robot (Sonny)
Evil Factor: 7
In 2035, humanoid robots serve humanity, whilst the humans are protected by the Three Laws of Robotics. Forget about walking down the street in those stumpy, flailing, varicose veined legs – get your Robo slave to do it! Okay, we admit it – we’re not sure why the robot Sonny is in this list. I, Robot is a questionable film at best, and whilst Sonny is not an assembly-line NS-5 model, being created uniquely by scientist Alfred Lanning, you have to admit that the robot has some mad drawing skillz.
Evil Factor: 5
I AM GROOT. ‘Nuff said.
Yul Brynner – Westworld
Evil Factor: 9
Forget Ahhhhnuld, forget Ed-209 – forget all of them! Yul Brynner is the original killer robot in Michael Crichton’s original 1973 Westworld. In the film, Brennar’s gunslinger malfunctions and creates havoc and terror as it goes on a killing spree and generally doesn’t take shit from anyone. Director John Carpenter based his ‘indestructible’ nature of his serial Killer Michael Myers in Halloween (1978) on Yul Brynner’s character in this film. Similarly, Ahhhhhnuld Schwarzenegger used Brynner’s performance as the basis for his performance in ‘The Terminator.’ And also a shark. Trivia knowledge for ya, kids.
Robot and Frank (Robot)
Evil Factor: 6
Set in the near future, an ex-jewel thief (Frank Langella) receives a gift from his son: a robot butler programmed to look after him. After a bit of reprogramming, the two companions try their luck as a heist team. Loyalty and Evil Factor are pretty high for Robot, as he effectively remains loyal to Frank as they commit robbery. Like The Iron Giant, Robot and Frank is a drama with an ending that has a twist.
Article by Anthony Self
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