Robots

Not really recommended. This CGI animated story about a small town robot that wants to go to the big city and be a famous inventor was a good little cartoon with some good morals. The moral themes were pretty obvious here from the mouths of the characters: “Follow your dream, and never give up,” “a dream that you don’t fight for can haunt you the rest of your life,” and “You can shine, no matter what you’re made of” (The old tagline for the company of inventions that the hero wants to be a part of). These are simple but good inspirational morals about the value of each and every person, even the oddballs, as represented in this story by oddball robots that are made of spare parts. But it also contains a theme of comparing the modern greedy corporate exploitation of the consumer with the old school understanding of “see a need, fill a need.” As one of the robots says, “It used to be about making life better. Now, it’s about money.” The new head of the biggest company decides to abolish making spare parts for robots to fix themselves and to advertise “Why just be yourself, when you can be NEW!” or something like that. In other words, they are going to only make upgrades, and robots who can’t afford it become outmoded and are sent to the chop shop, where the villain’s evil mother destroys and burns up all such old robot pieces. She is the Hilary Clinton of the corporation. Now, this obviously has a Marxist bent to it with it’s reduction of people to poor robots being economically exploited by the rich, but it’s not all bad or entirely false. What made it so unmoving to me personally was the inherent inhumanity in robots. Even though they were anthropomorphized and even though the themes were very human, at the end of the day, these are ultimately contraptions of mechanical soullessness. I could not ultimately care for them because they are not soulish animals. No matter how much you “humanize” them, they simply aren’t alive. It’s one thing to anthropomorphize animals like Finding Nemo and Ice Age. But these are animals that have souls, living organisms that have that link with humans in their “breath of life.” But I’m sorry, robots just don’t draw my affection. They may work as comic relief, as in Star Wars, but not as a materialistic world of machines. This is another argument against Darwinism and the claim that consciousness is merely a higher order of complexity or organization of matter without transcendence. But why did Toy Story work then? I think because even though they were toys, they were toys of people (Buzz and Woody) as well as animals (Godzilla, etc.) So the few purely mechanical toys that were not of living things were clearly overshadowed by the toys of “living things.” I am not against anthropomorphism, I’m just saying that anthropomorphizing robots is not satisfying to me because the gap between lifeless robots and humans is too great to draw human affection, whereas the gap between humans and animals is not.

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