- Local time
- Yesterday 3:43 PM
- Dec 12, 2009
It's interesting that robots which are depicted to be outwardly human but fundamentally inhuman, like Data from Star Trek or the replicants of Blade Runner are seldom treated as mere things and when they are it's usually part of some narrative about prejudice and tolerance and whatnot. But robots which are outwardly inhuman but fundamentally real people in every sense that matters are treated as mere things, just objects to be used and disposed of and this abuse of their humanity is if anything a source of comedy.
Now why does this matter, it's just escapism right? Robots are just a convenient way to have the excitement of violence without having actual violence, if Astro was forced to fight human slaves this would have been a scene with a very different tone. But the thing is if these robots are just robots then why show the scene with the boxing robot getting psyched up by its trainer? If Astro is so powerful why isn't he merely (literally) disarming his opponents instead of clearly killing them?
Why does the boxing robot have a distinctly African American voice?
This is why it's so disturbing, they're robots so even though they think and feel like us they're fundamentally not like us and therefore it's okay to treat them differently because they are different to us, which has been the justification for every act of prejudice throughout history. Slave owners wouldn't have been horrified to learn that their slaves were also people with their own human thoughts and feelings, they knew this perfectly well, the fact was self evident, instead they simply made a distinction between their thoughts/feeling and their slaves thoughts/feelings.
They're different therefore what's acceptable for them is different.
They're not people like us they're savages, they're not people like us they're Jews, they're not people like us they're <whatever>.
This movie isn't horrifying, it's meant to be lighthearted and funny, it's a movie for children.
That we make movies like this for children, that's horrifying, as callous as this ringmaster is he's nothing compared to the reality in which nonhuman sapience is worth so little that we're expected to cheer when Astro slaughters all the other robots, we're supposed to find it funny that the boxer bot is essentially on death row.
But Astro isn't like the other robots, he's different, he's special, he's superficially human.