Let’s start with the one of the most controversial Sci-Fi films of recent memory; Interstellar.
Regardless of what you think of the film, TARS is absolutely fantastic. Stainless steel covers a block body, giving the robot a very clean and sterile look, somewhat similar to the direction and cinematography of the film.
You can see that TARS kinda’ resembles the human form: The shoulders moving in unison with the legs, the info screen appearing roughly where a head would be.
Here is TARS in its faster mode.
You can see the the shape of the robot is completely transformed. The robot now has no resemblance of the human form, I would like to think that this was fully intentional, as to represent how we as people change when difficulty strikes.(Yes, that was beyond pretentious, welcome to Gallant Connor.)
Now, lets talk about a robot from a film that was far less controversial, as it was universally panned.
A robot designed to protect and serve becomes altered to do the bidding of South African gangsters… Sure, why not?
Coloured in blue and yellow, but consumed by graffiti and gangster paraphernalia, this gives the Chappie a very contrasted look, making him stand out from every backdrop.
Chappie is clearly designed to appear like a child. Just look at those bunny ears, no one who wears bunny ears should be taken seriously.
Alright, some people who wear bunny ears should be taken seriously.
And people say that the Transformers look realistic…
Ava from Ex Machina is a robot with the sole intent of looking like a human. So if I were to say something like: “This robot resembles the human form.” I would be beating a dead horse so hard that I would be hearing the air ripping from each fevered swing.
Ava from Ex Machina is covered in a silver grid, somewhat similar to the scales of a snake. Whilst the insides of Ava are see though, somewhat similar to a see through fish.
It is clear that the design of Ava takes some reference to nature and evolution, lending itself to the idea of the future of humanity, a key theme in the film.
Ahh, back to the days of letterbox resolution and Lyle’s Golden Syrup.
These drones from Silent Running were clearly created in a different era to the robots I have previously mentioned. Big bulky blocks suspended up by big stomping feet.
You can tell that these robots were clearly created with good intentions, to serve as the something to defeat an antagonist as they are consumed with bright, vibrant colours.
Ooh, I just have to be so edgy, don’t I? I have to pick the most hipster cartoon I possibly can.
Anyway, The Iron Giant clearly goes with a 1950s Americana theme. The robot’s head clearly resembles a lead lined mask, one that would have been used during the Nuclear period. This robot design is one that does the opposite of TARS from Interstellar and Ava from Ex Machina. The Iron Giant tries to look mechanical, it tries to look like exactly what it is: A big, heaving, metal machine.
There are very few robots who can portray as much emotion as Wall-E can in one shot.
Humans have an entire body to portray emotion, Wall-E just has his eyes.The use of this makes the subtle movements of the eyes appear to have much more impact.
The design of this robot is actually fairly simplistic: A box with two triangles to the sides with eyes on the top. Simplicity has always been the key to tactility, so it was important to keep the design simplistic.
Speaking of simplicity: People with really bright lights beaming out of their eyes and mouths
As I have previously mentioned, robots can be created so that they replicate the human form. However, what if you do the exact opposite?
In The World’s End, the robots take over humans, so that the human form is altered to be more robotic.
Oh, don’t give me that whole spiel about: “Um actually, in the film they are not considered robots because bleh, be-bleh, be-bleh.”
Anyone remember this movie? …That’s a shame.
B.R.A.I.N. from the movie 9. This robot was created using stop-motion animation, with this comes a unique form of movement. B.R.A.I.N. moves shudderingly, wavering around with each step. This is key to B.R.A.I.N.’s visual style; intentionally shoddy. As this robot is constantly malfunctioning and constantly sparking, it seems natural that the robot moves in a suitable way.