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Bicentennial Man
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Product Description

Williams stars in this futuristic sci-fi drama about a robotic servant who dreams of becoming human. Studio: Buena Vista Home Video Release Date: 05/06/2003 Starring: Robin Williams Sam Neill Run time: 131 minutes Rating: Pg

Bicentennial Man was stung at the 1999 box office, due no doubt in part to poor timing during a backlash against Robin Williams and his treacly performances in two other, then-recent releases, Jakob the Liar and Patch Adams. But this near-approximation of a science fiction epic, based on works by Isaac Asimov and directed, with uncharacteristic seriousness of purpose, by Chris Columbus (Mrs. Doubtfire), is much better than one would have known from the knee-jerk negativity and box-office indifference.

Williams plays Andrew, a robot programmed for domestic chores and sold to an upper-middle-class family, the Martins, in the year 2005. The family patriarch (Sam Neill) recognizes and encourages Andrew's uncommon characteristics, particularly his artistic streak, sensitivity to beauty, humor, and independence of spirit. In so doing, he sets Williams's tin man on a two-century journey to become more human than most human beings.

As adapted by screenwriter Nicholas Kazan, the movie's scale is novelistic, though Columbus isn't the man to embrace with Spielbergian confidence its sweeping possibilities. Instead, the Home Alone director shakes off his familiar tendencies to pander and matures, finally, as a captivating storyteller. But what really makes this film matter is its undercurrent of deep yearning, the passion of Andrew as a convert to the human race and his willingness to sacrifice all to give and take love. Williams rises to an atypical challenge here as a futuristic Everyman, relying, perhaps for the first time, on his considerable iconic value to make the point that becoming human means becoming more like Robin Williams. Nothing wrong with that. --Tom Keogh

Customer Reviews:

  • Robin Williams' Acting Is Wooden? Hello, He Is A Robot!
    Personally, I thought this film was brill!
    When I first saw it a few years back I admit that I didn't like it much, it seemed rather stupid to think that a robot could 'become' human, but on viewing it again years later, I can safely say that I missed the whole point of this film.

    Andrew is a robot to begin with, but one with feelings and the ability to learn. He wants to learn, wants to talk, wants to create, and through some mistake when he was being created he can. His unique ability, mixed with his owners kindness and help allow him to grow up like a real human, by learning, having memories, caring about his family etc.

    This film shows Andrew's aim to become human, and follows his life from when he first became the 'machine' of the Martin family, to when he finally fell in love with their youngest daughters grand child, and becomes human to die beside her on tehir death beds.

    It is a sad movie, with a few tear jerking parts (especailly at the end) and it asks alot of questions which we don't often think about, like can robots have feelings, can they love, and can they become human? In the end, what does defy whether you are a human or not, is it being born with the right, or can you earn the title.

    This is a definate 5 for me. true, it is a very long film and the start can drag on a bit, but it is a beautiful tale that I beleive everyone should watch atleast once.
    ...more info
  • Bicentennial Man
    Great movie, Robin Williams at his best. Great price on the DVD and fast delivery.....more info
  • I Was Incredibly Surprised by How Good This Movie Was!!!
    I began watching this movie out of desperation. I was bored and had already seen most of the other movies on the new release wall at the video store so I decided to go ahead and give it a try. I expected it to be a silly and basically lame kids type of movie, but boy was I shocked! Although it is a fun movie that kids will enjoy (at least for the first 1/2 hour) it quickly advances to the next level and explores the complexities of human nature, emotions, and immortality. I even found myself crying at the end at one of the most touching movies I've seen in a very long time. I highly, highly recommend this terrific movie although I would be cautious with younger viewers as there is a lot of sexual innuendo that Williams is well known for....more info
  • I laughed, I cried, but did it make an android out of me?
    a beautiful story, beautifully told.
    not for "young" viewers though (as readily evinced by the many other reviews here) owing to the film's mature and thoughtfully treated themes of slavery, prejudice, love, death, and the very nature of what it means to be human.
    'well worth your time if you enjoy something more than a "mrs. doubtfire"-esque level of entertainment....more info
  • A deeply emotional family movie, situated in a futuristic scenery
    Synopsis: Generations of people are born and die. One robot is the unchangable, immortal witness of their lives. Then he also decides to become mortal and die along with them. You get to see how the hospital of the future will look (it's quite beautiful). And there is some nice jazz muzic in the middle of the movie. The song is originally performed by Nat King Cole, and has memorable, romantic lyrics:

    "The very thought of you,
    and I forget to do,
    the little ordinary things
    that everyone ought do..."

    The movie starts in an innocently playful way, with some family buying a robot, and the kids treating it like a broken toy, in a rude and unfriendly manner. Then gradually, the robot becomes more intelligent, capable of emotions and making money with his skills. Then he gets the desire to become human. Centuries pass by, and he is not granted acknoledgement, that he is human, because of his robotic brain. It kind of reminds me of an immigrant who wants to become an american, but can't fully complete the transformation, because he was born elsewhere.
    Finally, the robot becomes mortal and dies, just a moment before he is granted the acknowledgement that he is human.

    Because the story happens in the future, it's hard to imagine something that has lasted 200 years. I was thinking that the US Dollar has existed for about 200 years, so you could say that George Washington, the dead president on the dollar bill, is a bicentennial man. And I'm sure that after about 180 years, they will talk about the immortal, bicentennial Personal Computer (PC).

    I remove one star from the rating, because the ending is sad, the hero dies. The movie's producers could have allowed the robot to live eternally, as I am sure this will happen with real robots. Their bodies will wear out, but their souls will be immortal... like records on a DVD.
    For any viewer concerned about aging and death, this movie may be thought-provoking....more info
  • Great Movie!!
    Even though this is an older, lesser known movie, it is wonderfully done. Robin Williams does a excellent job with this role. This subject has been visited by a couple of different venues (Star Trek TNG: Commander Data) but I think this movie portrays the robot/android's point of view very well. It also has some great comedic moments. A very good movie!!...more info
  • Bicentennial Man
    This movie is fantastic and under rated.
    You have to be pretty open minded about this movie as it discusses everything from existentialism to the definition of being human.
    Definitely one of my favorites. ...more info
  • Flashy but hollow
    Bicentennial Man, the latest vehicle for Robin Williams, follows the 200-year odyssey of android Andrew Martin, as he struggles to become human and seek acceptance as one.

    Not unlike the emotional struggle faced by Star Trek: The Next Generation's Mr. Data, Andrew is faced with fearful humans who refuse to see his impassioned side, and delight in labelling him as a subordinate "it". Thus, the film briefly touches on the theme of racial intolerance, and the age-old question of what makes a man a man. Andrew is also faced with learning about loss, as the characters he serves all grow old and eventually die.

    Taking place as it does over two centuries, the story tries hard to match the sweeping grandeur of such films as Forrest Gump and Gone with the Wind, but advances at such sudden intervals that the narrative becomes choppy. This will undoubtedly cause many children to become confused, with the characters pictured at so many progressive periods in their lives.

    But a children's picture this is not. In fact, Bicentennial Man is too heavy-handed for children, with not too subtle discussions of sperm function and sexual intercourse. Some viewers may also be upset with its pro-euthanasia stance. Further, there are not one, but four death-bed scenes, guaranteed to tug at one's heartstrings. Terms of Endearment from a robot's point of view?

    The score by James Horner, which at times is reminiscent of his Oscar-winning Titanic theme, swells at all the moments of poignancy, but one can only take so many ups and downs in two hours.

    Perhaps to lessen the film's fantasy concept and offer viewers something to relate to, a few generational conflicts are thrown in, but these seem misplaced surrounded by so much wonder. Certainly, the film presents a very Utopian vision of the future, and is visually quite attractive. From sumptuous sets to imposing matte paintings of cityscapes and futuristic (but not over-done) clothing, there is surprisingly minimal gadgetry.

    But why is that Hollywood make-up artists still have such a long way to go in creating convincing old-age effects?

    Those expecting Robin Williams' usual buffoonery and in-your-face wisecracks will be disappointed, as he instead offers a gentle and understated portrayal of a misfit trying to belong. Bicentennial Man also features Sam Neill, in his usual unobtrusive role, Pepsi-kid Halle Eisenberg as "Little Miss", and a sparkling performance by Ambeth Davidtz as both the grown-up Little Miss and her own granddaughter.

    Bicentennial Man is certainly a pleasant diversion from an audience member's own personal struggle, but will fail to generate much moral discussion. Despite his mental and physical transformation from machine to pseudo-man, Andrew can never develop a soul. Consequently, neither can the film itself, which beats with a prosthetic heart. Rating: 6 out of 10....more info

  • Android Andrew
    There's a lot I like about "Bicentennial Man", like the computer animation of the futuristic cities and the change in Robin Williams' robot character. There's a bit that annoys me about it though, a couple of the concepts related to the ending and the ending itself. Bit frustrating, I thought....more info

  • Not a comedy. Not really a Family movie either.
    This movie will be in my "All-time" collection. Contrary to the writting on the back cover of the VHS/DVD this is not a comedy but rather a sentimental and touching drama with some comedy thrown in. This movie goes for the heart like E.T. and plays it like Jimi Hendrix played the guitar. The movie's central theme is one of humanity from and from one looking in from the outside and valuing what we take for granted.

    One thing that stood out was the "freedom" ideal as seen from Andrew's enlightened viewpoint. He wanted to be able to be able to serve out of free will. Thinking back on this, I believe that this - in a way - was a testament to Andrew's love for the family and wanting the Family's ultimate love/trust (If you love someone set them free....) Andrew demonstrated that even thought he was free he would exercise his freedom to continue serving and being apart of the family as he was already doing. In a world were freedom seems to mean that there is no "ball and chain" of obligations, Andrew wants to show the family whom he serves that he does so because he wants to, not merely because he was designed, built and programmed to.

    Another one of the many issues this film deals with is the one of mortality vs immortality. While he could live forever, see the many wonders that may come, become rich, and all the "goodies" that come with this "immortality" was it worth it especially when it comes to death of ones he had come to care for. As ones Andrew has come to care about begin to drop off his lament, "Will every human being I care about just leave?" sharply drives home a stinging realization that along with living forever one would also be tormented with watching loved ones leave over and over. Then there was Porsha's assertion that she did not want to live forever because she accepted that she was not meant to, this is so much against our "fountain of youth" desires. She did not want to live a lie by living forever courtesy of artificial organs, skin etc, it was not natural, it was not the "order".

    All in all this movie is as other reviewers say "thought-provoking". It is sentimental toward the human condition and state of being, warts and all.

    Renting this movie "won't do". I bought the DVD. I don't own many movies....more info
  • suprisingly good
    I bought the VHS just for something entertaining. Although marketed as a comedy it's much deeper. If you're expecting the usual Robin Williams slap stick humour don't watch this film.
    This is a more serious attempt at acting for Williams (like Good Will Hunting) and in general a perfectly believable performance.
    The acting and cinematography are especially good and I especially enjoyed the James Horner soundtrack. Based on Isaac Asimov's novel the Postronic Man it delves into issues such as artificial inteligence and the possibilities of robotic slavery, the meaning of the human experience, friendship, the possible consequence of man's technology, etc. Similar in general to the later movie A.I. which I personally liked better, both movies are entertaining in their own way and deal with the same ideas in different ways....more info
  • Awesome Movie
    This is one of my all time favorite movies. Robin Williams at his very best. His comedy is dead on and his dramatic acting only gets better and better. This move will make you think, laugh, and cry. Not just a "chick flick". This has something for everyone. ...more info
  • Pinocchio, you are a real boy!
    Pinocchio, you are a real boy!

    This film may well be Robin Williams' masterpiece.

    All your study of philosophy will pale by comparison to what Bicentennial Man can show you about the meaning of human relationships. Disregard the negative reviews and purchase this film for your collection. But you'd better buy the economy-sized box of tissues along with it.

    Bicentennial Man is one of the most touching films I've ever seen....more info
  • Bicentennial Man
    I don't normally like science fiction but I liked this because it makes you think about what it is to be fully human and what a gift freedom is....more info
  • "Welcome to the Human Condition."
    The Good Things
    *Extras include a featurette and trailer.
    *A number of heart-warmingly funny parts (but nothing knee-slappingly hilarious).
    *A number of slick special effects.
    *Good production design.
    *Generally a good story. Even though it has no really strong conflict, it is epic, classy, and as sci-fi, brings up some interesting ideas about robotics.
    *Very strong themes concerning the nature of humanity.
    *Excellent characters, acting, and writing.
    *Good music.

    The Bad Things
    *The story is driven entirely by the main character's quest, and thus plays out more like a biography (kind of like "Forrest Gump" or something). It is a bit long, and without any major conflict to drive the story, it can be seen as tedious or dull.

    The Questionable Things
    *Video quality is generally not bad, but some parts have obvious amounts of film grain or particles.
    *Thematic elements may not be appropriate for children (rated PG).

    This is a cute sci-fi movie with occasional bits of touching comedy, romance, drama. Not only is it heart-warming and intriguing, but it also encapsulates a certain essence that makes it comparable to classic sci-fi (like the works of Isaac Asimov, whose works is a basis for this film). Some people may find this kind of thing boring. But for most serious sci-fi fans (and perhaps comedy fans), it is quite worthwhile....more info
  • SF, indeed film making doesn't get much better than this.
    This is not your typical SF film, ala "Star Wars". With "Bicentennial Man", Robin Williams has created a delightful and moving fable of the human condition. This is my favorite film of 1997, and possibly of many other years as well. Kudos to director Chris Columbus, and actors Sam Neil and Elizabeth Davidtz, as well. Splendid performances are turned in by the entire company. I love these folks for giving the world this sensitive and intelligent enactment.

    The film's special effects are very impressive. The DVD is stunning in 16:9 widescreen mode. The musical sound track augments the story perfectly, is well balanced with the dialog, and sounds luscious in surround mode. In short, this is a nearly perfect presentation of a marvelous movie. This one is not to be missed....more info

  • Glad to have it!
    Haven't had opportunity to actually view this DVD yet (still working on the others I bought at the same time!), but this one came still wrapped, and the disc was virgin-new when I opened the box. Was delivered quickly, and I am loking forward to enjoying this most excellent movie soon!...more info
  • An excellent Drama with spots of comedy
    This is a heart warming story about an android that wants to become a real man, so that he can be with the woman he loves, and fulfill his life's dream....more info
  • I Loved It!!!!!
    This is one of the greatest movies I have ever seen. It takes a special kind of person to enjoy a movie like this. It is definitely not for the ones who enjoy horror or action. It is for the kind-hearted gentle soul, who can be gently touched by all that human mature is. I loved it....more info
  • One of Robin Williams Best!
    When I first heard of this movie, I thought it just about a robot and his family, plain and simple. When first saw it on television I found it was much, much more!

    Robin Williams is superb in his betrayal about a robot who, by some miracle, becomes "aware" of life. We see his desire to learn more about life and become more human as time passes.

    Eventually, he even has the desire to grow old and yes pass on.

    Robin never overplays the role, he is perfect in showing how a "being" develops and learns about live until eventually it ends.

    The movie is touching, thought provoking, and funny at times.

    Such is life!...more info
  • Excellent
    Another excellent movie with Robin Williams about what it is to be human. This movie stretches your mind and makes you think about what it really means to be human. [...]...more info
  • "That won't do..."
    A common theme: to seek that which you are deprived.

    Williams plays Andrew, a robot with an anomaly who seeks recognition he is more. As the film progresses in a Forrest Gump meets A.I. fashion, Andrew meets his issues with a "That won't do..." attitude changing the world and people around him.

    To me, it addresses the issue of acceptance and recognition for being different more than the humanity issue. He portrays human characteristics like creativity, making mistakes and love, but his positronic immortality would create jealousy amongst the flesh. The decisions Andrew makes opens my eyes to what I take for granted, and how ridiculous humanity can be at times.

    Do I even want to be part of humanity? This movie makes me cry every time (a rarity).

    ...more info
  • Would'nt keep the attention span of 3-year-old!!!!
    Just one word describes this film: AWFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I expected a LOT more from Robin Williams! What complete idiot
    would think this is a comedy!??!

    If you consider listening to those other buffoons who liked
    this film, DON'T! this is a dirty film!...more info
  • Thought provoking
    This is a thought provoking, albeit somewhat predictable presentation of our difficult questions on what constitutes a sentient being. The appropriately calm pace of action supports reflection on the topic while adding to the enjoyment of this finely made movie. Robin Williams performance is stellar! Sam Neill as his "owner" is sensitive. Highly recommend!...more info
  • Robin Williams is wonderful in this role.
    Robin Williams was absolutely wonderful in this role. He was both sensitive and charming as the robot Andrew. His portrayal makes you believe that if one truly wanted to become the best human that you can possibly be, then one should be able to accomplish this. This portrayal is one of Issac Asimov's best of the robot short stories. Highly recommended....more info
  • Robot To Human, cool
    This movie is really good. this movie is aboput a robot who wants to become human. thats pretty cool. it is also a heartwarming story. this movie show no matter if you are man or machine if you put your mind and heart into something you can achive it....more info
  • An Android's Search for the meaning of Life
    Williams plays Andrew, a household robot of the future, who, through a melted circuit, developes his own personality, and questions his reason for being. While the movie was touted as a comedy (there are very funny bits with Oliver Platt acting as his adopted mentor and `parts improver'), it is more poignant than this.

    This film is a very well done study in humanity. Using a supposed inhuman character as the lead character, we are slapped in the face with a reality that has becaome all too common place in our society - the living in fear with not only the unknown, but living in fear because our government tells us we must. In the future, discrimination between races and beliefs is replaced with humans using androids as their focus of hate and rascism.

    Andrew the Android (Williams), having become self-aware, learns to hide his uniqueness, in a simple attempt to survive destruction. Not only does he learn to mask his abilities to the public, he is forced to hide his developed emotions, provided through one of Platt's programs. While this makes for a great story, it is a comment on how humans interact in the real world.

    As he searches for legitamacy, he demands Platt replace his robotic parts with more humanistic features in a desire to be nothing more than to be accepted by humans.

    Centuries pass in this sad tale. Political stances in our so called modern mores are questioned. And in the end (GOD I HATE to give it away...) Andrew discovers love, how painful it can be, and learns that death is the ultimate definition of life.

    I recommend this film for those who can stand introspection. If you are looking for a comedy, stop halfway through. The second half will jerk your heart, and hopefully open your eyes to the search that we all live for...the search for what makes us human.

    I gave this 4 stars due to the trailers making this a comedy. I love Robim Williams in his serious roles. He has a gift of drawing us into the characters he plays. One of my favorites is `The Fisher King'.

    Rent the movie, and be prepared to come to grips with your own feelings about stereotypes....more info
  • Of course the book was better
    I've always liked Robin Williams, and I grew up reading Isaac Asimov. That's the problem. I'm sure that if you never read the novella, you really enjoy the movie. But like most people who read the story first, I can't get past the fact that the storyline was butchered for the sake of making the movie. Asimov rarely included romance in his writing, and what little he did wasn't included in Bicentennial Man. Maybe if they just called it something else, or said "loosely based on ideas and characters created by Isaac Asimov."

    For those of you who have never read Isaac Asimov's original, enjoy this movie. It has special effects and a storyline you don't already know, and one of Robin Williams's better performances. But if you've read the book, don't disappoint yourself....more info
  • great novie
    This was a movie I hadn't seen for a long time. I was realy excited to see it again. Excellent acting and story line....more info
  • Robin Williams at his best
    This movie displays Robin Williams'virtuosity as an actor. Probably the best movie he has made. Funny to sad. Get your hankies out at the end. Beautifully photographed; fine special effects; wonderful costuming; fine actors. ...more info
  • Wonderful Movie!
    It's hard to fathom why this movie did so poorly at the box office - it's one of my all-time favorite movies! Thought provoking, intelligent, funny, sweet, romantic, creative, engaging, sad - it has some of everything. One of the things I've always enjoyed about really good science fiction is the fact that it isn't bound by reality, yet feeds your imagination with real possibilities. This is really good science fiction!...more info