Sonny, I, Robot (2004)Isaac Asimov’s landmark collection of short stories introduced what can only be described as one of the most influential, basic set of rules in all of fiction. And man—that’s one sexy, all-powerful robotic probe … He’s a sweet, naive character who can’t feel genuine human emotions, but is extremely loyal in protecting those in his charge, such as Dorothy Gale, even though he’s prone to misadventure when his gears need to be regularly rewound. Police robots, Elysium (2013)If you’re frantically looking up and down this list wondering where the hell Chappie is, well, sorry, because Chappie kinda sucked. The titular Devil Girl, Commander Nyah, employs the twin tactics of ray gun and a robotic enforcer, Chani, in coercing the small Scottish village to bend to her will.
Out of everyone in the film, Worthington— surprisingly—demonstrates himself to be a capable actor in the midst of the endless gray rubble. In this case, it’s the unfathomably vast alien intelligence, V’Ger, and its robotic emissary to humanity (a double of new crewmember, Ilia), as they inadvertently threaten all life on Earth. Tenma’s dead son—rejected when Tenma realized he wouldn’t be the same. So if a trivia question ever begins with “This robot’s voice emanates from his mustache,” you’ll know there’s a solid chance they’re talking about Tik-Tok. Chani, Devil Girl from Mars (1954)From its dominatrix Devil Girl herself, to the hilariously broad acting and scripted histrionics, this “Mars Needs Men” British micro-budget production is a pretty good approximation of Hollywood B-movies of the time.
The “Blanks”, The World’s End (2013)The concluding chapter of Edgar Wright/Simon Pegg/Nick Frost’s Cornetto Trilogy may be its weakest overall entry, but that only means it’s better than 99% of all genre comedies out there. Johnny 5, Short Circuit (1986)Many will doubtlessly be aggrieved Johnny 5’s ranked this low on the list. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine, they were a perfect aesthetic fit for the groovy spirit of the film. Robot, Robot & Frank (2012)One part affable family comedy, one part musing drama on the fragile nature of memory, the titular robot (impeccably voiced by Peter Sarsgaard) of Robot & Frank is the perfect pal to Frank Weld’s (Frank Langella) former cat burglar, now suffering from the early stages of dementia. The Killbots, Chopping Mall (1986)Despite (but probably because of) being a Roger Corman cheapie, there’s an undeniably efficient slasher flick at its core. Fresh at the time, and rendered with the appropriate psychotic menace by Crowe, SID 6.7 manages to cut a memorable figure through an otherwise unremarkable techno-thriller.76. BB & Samantha, Deadly Friend (1986)It’s probably best remembered these days for its infamous basketball kill scene (this might be for the best), but Wes Craven’s robo-horror does have two fairly unforgettable ’bots: The adorable BB (well… It’s also a lot of fun, thanks largely to the genuine relationship between Joey Cramer’s David and his artificial-intelligence sidekick Reubens, who had pretty much every kid at the time hoping to be abducted by a UFO. Jinx, Space Camp (1986)The young adventurers at a NASA camp accidentally get launched into orbit for real. So, too, could they get launched because of Jinx, a robot reject who is befriended by 12-year-old camp attendee Max (Joaquin Phoenix, in his feature film debut) and, in its literal-minded programming, makes what it believes is Max’s sincere wish come true.
I., made manifest through the new (to Hollywood), magical concept of nanotech. And it just goes to show Marvel Studios that Bonebreaker can be done on the silver screen! Directed by Randal Kleiser (Grease, The Blue Lagoon) and featuring Howard Hesseman as a scientist and Sarah Jessica Parker as a purple-hair-sporting NASA intern, Flight of the Navigator is hella dated.
Bubo, Clash of the Titans (1981)Honestly, as is the case with many of the lower-rung denizens of this list, Bubo could almost be left off with no real harm done. And while the marvelous visual artistry of the original short remains intact, after being blown up from 11 to 80 minutes, the sinister B. Who needs a “personality” when you’ve got a sweet talking mustache? And while he can emit a death ray from that blinking lamp that’s presumably his head, he’s also damn slow—and possibly drunk, based on his wavering equilibrium.