Have the robots of I, Robot violated the little-known fourth law of robotics: A robot shall not look like Björk--unless it's in a music video?
Yes, say, some movie buffs/Icelandic pop aficionados who find the humanoids from the new Will Smith action flick a tad similar to the humanoids from a 1998 Björk video, "All Is Full of Love."
Did we say a tad similar?
"I was just flabbergasted at what a blatant rip-off it was," Drew Feinberg, of the screenplay site Drew's Script-O-Rama (www.script-o-rama.com), said in an email interview.
I, Robot, the Smith-i-fied version of sci-fi author Isaac Asimov's robot-law-laying-down classic short story collection, opens Friday--a $105 million man-versus-machine extravaganza.
Feinberg noted the "Björkbot" connection on his blog back in March after seeing the trailer for the Smith movie. Last month, the site low culture (www.lowculture.com) furthered the story by posting side-by-side photo comparisons of the two robot designs (http://www.lowculture.com/archives/002088.html).
"Criticizing Hollywood for going the copycat route is about as original a concept as questioning whether Lindsay Lohan's breasts are the real deal," Feinberg conceded.
"Not that I don't do both on a daily basis, of course."
The robots in the Björk video were designed by Chris Cunningham, the British-born music video director.
Cunningham, who did not return calls for comment, modeled the robot's "face" after the offbeat pop singer herself.
The result was a sleek, delicate, eyebrow-free robot with bare, mechanical joints that, for the enjoyment of the video viewer, gets it on with another model.
The robots from the Alex Proyas-directed I, Robot pass for sleek and delicate, and, like all proper mechanical things, come up short in the eyebrow department. They also go with the exposed-wire look for the shoulders.
Cunningham, who, per IMDb.com, worked on the special effects of another robot movie, A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, did not work on I, Robot--at least according to the credits available for that film. Neither apparently did Paul Catling, who built the Björk robots from Cunningham's design.
Fox, the studio behind I, Robot, did not return calls for comment.
Roger Gilbertson, for one, doesn't see a nefarious Hollywood plot at hand to usurp Björk's likeness.
Gilberston is cofounder and president of Mondo-tronics, a California-based company which runs RobotStore.com, serving the assorted assembly needs of robot-building enthusiasts.
Movie robots, Gilbertson said, have always mirrored the times in which they were built, and reflected what moviemakers figured audiences wanted to see.
In other eras--say, before Pilates became big--movie robots were bulky and boxy. Think Robby the Robot from Forbidden Planet, released in the big-shouldered 1950s.
"With both the Björk and the I, Robot robots, this is what robots are supposed to look like [now]," Gilbertson said. "They're very buff. They're athletic. Their muscles are showing."
Feinberg still isn't sold.
"Why not come up with a super-cool new design instead of a Chris Cunningham retread?" Feinberg asked. "Is Björk now becoming the Eve of robotkind?"