X-Message-Number: 13015
From: "john grigg" <>
Subject: I have finally seen Bicentennial Man...
Date: Tue, 28 Dec 1999 21:27:41 PST

Hello everyone,

I saw "Bicentennial Man" yesterday and did really enjoy it as a Robin 
William's vehicle to entertain and yet I found myself surprisingly bothered 
by the "deathist" themes in the film.  I thought somehow that list members 
were coming down too harshly on the movie but I can see now why they were so 

I could understand Andrew (the robot) wanting to resemble a human outwardly 
and even to have a body that was a fusion of human and machine which 
included the best of both.  I enjoyed it where he experienced life with a 
new central nervous system modelled after a human.

I loved the scene where we are shown a lab full of artificial organs 
designed by Andrew that mimic our own but were vastly superior and would 
greatly extend lifespan.  Dr. Frankenstein would have been very proud.

But this future society of the 22nd century considers aggressive 
life-extension and immortality repugnant and unnatural and even the human 
women Andrew comes to love and share his life with refuses to accept his 
treatments.  She tells him how it is the way of life for their to be birth 
and then death.

Actually I can understand this view which is shared by religious and also 
even scientific camps.  But Andrew, an immortal robot, gives that up so he 
can age and die in a desparate bid to be accepted legally by human 
leadership as a man so he can marry his beloved and fully fit into human 
society.  I felt Andrew was desperate for human approval but then the movie 
explained how he had been programmed to please humans in the first place.

If mortality were the way for a human it seemed to me that immortality was 
the way for the robot and it was tampering the natural ("unnatural") order 
to alter Andrew and make him organic and mortal.
Since the people in this future society had no wings I really think they 
should have given up their flying cars for horses and oxen.  But of course 
immortality would have huge ramifications that have been discussed here 

By the end of the film I felt very depressed along with the rest of the 
audience in the theater.  I made some remarks to my friend I had seen it 
with how I was displeased.  He said he would have the treatments (for 
humans) done quietly and just not tell anyone.
As a film meant to touch the heart and show off William's talent I have to 
admit I enjoyed it.  I would rather have seen him make her a young and 
vibrant immortal with the two of them going into the sunset with him saying 
they might not exist forever but they now had at least centuries ahead to 
look forward to together.

I remember reading how the first big director to have a shot at the film 
estimated it would run over 200 million to make.  They got Chris Colombus to 
do it "cheap."  I felt they skimped on scenes and sets to really try to show 
the passage of time and the development of civilization.  CGI flying cars 
are just not enough.  The hospital did not impress me either.

Perhaps "The First Immortal" will be made and we will all have something to 
be proud of.  I hope it leaves "development hell" soon.

John Grigg

P.S.  "GalaxyQuest" is great fun!  It lovingly spoofs Star Trek and its fan 
conventions with Tim Allen in top form.  Don't miss it. :)
Get Your Private, Free Email at http://www.hotmail.com

Rate This Message: http://www.cryonet.org/cgi-bin/rate.cgi?msg=13015