Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Top 10 Most Memorable Robots (In My Opinion)

I, like many other nerds in the world, have always dreamed of having a robot for a friend (and sometimes a lover, however this isn't going to the THAT kind of list!). It's a dream that robotics experts have been trying to realize ever since the original Star Wars came out. However, the closest thing to a robot buddy people can get these days is a roomba and they suck (literally and figuratively) at social interaction. However, in the world of fiction, there are countless robots that have become iconic for their general lovable personalities. Today, I feel like sharing the list of robots I find the most memorable. It's all mostly my opinion and I'm sure that everyone has their own most favorite robot, this is merely my perspective. If you feel so inclined, go ahead and share with us your own favorite robot.
Now for the list:

Honorable Mention: Stargate Universe's Kino

Technically SGU's Kino isn't a robot and more like a remote controlled camera drone. However, I couldn't help but point out that there seems to be a rogue Kino floating about on the Destiny that likes to spy on unsuspecting crew members. Such as in the select few Kino Episodes online where they don't realize it's watching them. The most notable being when Lt. James finds it watching her undressing. Why I mention it is because I feel no one is actually piloting it (I'd hate to think Eli is really that creepy) and that it's just a bit of a voyeuristic little eyebot. I think it's lovable regardless of its rather creepy habit because hey, it's a floating camera that makes a cute little chittering noise when it flies around that likes spying on people.

No. 10: Number "Johnny" Five From Short Circuit

The film may have been a bit of a turd (the sequel no doubt was) and a blatant cash in on the success of ET however, in retrospect, who didn't find the lost robot No. 5 slightly endearing when he wasn't screaming about being disassembled. His is a tale like that of Marry Shelly's Frankenstein: in that a creation of man is given life through the power of lightning (though in most cases lightning tends to do the exact opposite of that in every other situation). Bestowed with a new found self-awareness and a hunger for understanding the strange new world around him, No. 5 ends up befriending animal lover Stephanie while evading stereotypical bad military guy. I like him mostly for the fond nostalgia he brings me, though I always liked how he reprogrammed those other three robots to act like the three stooges.

No. 9: That Robot Arm Thing From Iron Man

Before inheriting his father's business empire, Tony Stark was already showing everyone how impossibly smart he was when he built a robot arm with an artificial intelligence. In the film we see he won an award for creating it, and it is his first choice for an assistant until he realizes what a bumbling buffoon it really is. This robot arm seems to fail at the very tasks robot arms were developed for in the first place: it struggles to help Tony with major surgery (causing Tony to call Pepper down to help him instead), it douses him with a fire extinguisher when there's no fire, and actually gets in the way of helping Tony build the Iron Man suit. So basically it's a billion dollar paperweight. However, regardless of how utterly useless it seems to be, it ends up saving Tony Stark in the end of the first film. And who doesn't love a little character arc like that?

No. 8: Marvin from The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy

As a fan of both Douglas Adam's books and the most recent film adaptation starring Iron Man 2's (heh what a coincidence!) Sam Rockwell as Zaphod Beeblebrox I couldn't have a list of memorable robots without mentioning Marvin the depressed robot. Voiced in the movie by the one guy I always thought fit the role perfectly (Alan Rickman). Marvin is probably one of the most memorable characters in the Hitchhikers books. His overall pessimistic outlook on everything from how big his head is to his belief that the ship's computer hates him is enough to make anyone feel sorry for the guy-bot. Of course, robots with odd personality quirks have always tended to stick in people's memories better than their well-adjusted counterparts which brings us to...

No. 7: HK-47 from Bioware's Star Wars: Knights of The Old Republic

The original Star Wars KOTOR game is probably one of the best games I ever played (a list for another time I suppose) and it also happens to have one of the most maladjusted robots to ever come into creation. HK-47 is an assassin bot with a pre-programmed loathing of every form of organic life, "meatbags" as he humorously calls them, and a propensity to "accidentally" get his owners killed. Through a series of rather unfortunate events, HK-47 is handed to a number of unscrupulous characters who end up getting killed for some unfortunate reason or another until he is unwittingly reunited with his original master and creator Darth Revan (the player character). His opinions on love "is making a shot to the knees of a target a hundred and twenty kilometers away..." and his inability to understand how organic meatbags keep sane with "all the constant sloshing" of their meaty organs is lovably evil and sadistic. He has been such a lovably devious character it's hard not to draw comparisons between him and another robot on our list. (See the No. 2 Spot).

No. 6: Kryten from Red Dwarf

Whenever a Red Dwarf fan talks about Kryten, it's most likely the Robert Llewellyn incarnation of the character (not to say David Ross' Kryten is bad). On the cult sci-fi sit-com, Kryten becomes a regular character during season three and quickly became a welcome addition to the cast. A neurotic mechanoid built with a love for household chores from cleaning to laundry, Kryten also served as the crew's resident science officer. He continued to grow as a character thanks to David Lister's attempts to "break his programming" to make him more independent and did manage to find a semblance of freedom from it, though he still liked to conduct his usual duties after all of this. It's safe to say that if you're going to be trapped 3 million years into deep space, you couldn't have a better robot friend than Kryten to keep you company (even after you've become nothing but a skeleton in clothes and wigs).

No 5: Wall-E from Pixar's Wall-E

The titular character of this touching tale about love, space, and going green. Wall-E is probably one of the most lovable robots on this list. A small garbage compactor on wheels with a personality that developed over 700 years of isolation with no one but a cockroach for company. Wall-E discovers love when a new robot, Eve, literally falls out of the sky. He is driven to win her over throughout the rest of the film, crossing the entire universe and saving mankind in the process (talk about a high maintenance girl!). His bumbling personality and passion for old musicals make him an endearing character that has become one of the most iconic robotic figures in recent history.

No. 4: EVE from Wall-E

Speaking of Wall-E we can't forget the other memorable robot protagonist from the film: EVE. EVE has all the hallmarks of a kickass heroine such as a strong determination to do her job, a giant plasma cannon, and a weakness for vibrant plants and dancing. EVE can very well be placed on a list for most badass heroines among the likes of Sarah Connor and Ellen Ripley. Throughout the film she is constantly brushing away Wall-E's advances on her in a number of ways, including shooting him with her big ass plasma cannon that I mentioned before. To put it simply: EVE is a fucking badass. The fact that she ended up falling for the equivalent of a charming garbage man is both vexing and endearing at the same time.

No. 3: R2-D2 from Star Wars

What list of memorable robots would be complete without R2-D2? When not trying to ignore C-3P0's whining R2 is off being MacGuyver on rollerskates. He can hack doors, fix spaceship hyperdrives, and can make one hell of a Tatooine Martini. An unsung hero of the Star Wars universe, R2 is always pulling the actual "heroes" out of danger, and does it while putting his own shiny metal ass on the line.

No. 2: Bender from Futurama

Remember that robot I mentioned when taking about HK-47? This is the one I was talking about. Bender is a cantankerous bucket of bolts who has also been known to call humans "meatbags." While he always dreams of killing all humans (like most other robots in this show it seems) he has a soft spot for the ones he calls his friends, usually putting himself at odds with his robot counterparts as a result. This alcohol powered bending unit makes it to number two because of his propensity for pickpocketing and partying while telling everyone to "Bite my shiny metal ass!"

No. 1: Gir from Invader Zim

The number one spot goes to my favorite robot, the insane robot Gir from Invader Zim. Given to the Irken invader Zim in the first episode as his robot slave, Gir quickly wormed into the hearts of many for his simple minded personality, love of food (especially tacos), and his hilarious antics on the show. From willingly jumping into a kidnapper's burlap sack when ordered to attack, to emptying out his rocket fuel to make room for tuna, Gir is always up to something that results in causing trouble for Zim. He has become such a popular robot that, even though the show's been cancelled for many years, there are still tons of merchandise with his tin can face on it. If that's not memorable, I don't know what is.

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