Watching this was like being mugged
J. Marsano | Urban Gristle Mill | 02/02/2008
(1 out of 5 stars)
"In documentary filmmaking, there's choosing a subject and telling the story of that subject, and then there's choosing a subject and telling the story you wish the subject had been telling. It's a common mistake for a politician to answer the question that she wished she'd been asked; in a filmmaker, it's just not forgivable.
Negroponte hijacks an otherwise charming premise (who doesn't like the idea of a little robots inch-worming the conduits of our city, cleaning, spraying, and welding?) and turns it into a soapbox for philosophical claptrap disguised as technological and social commentary.
This really quite terrible documentary digs itself a deep hole from the get go. Visually overproduced with jump cuts and low-fi black and white, it also brims with bizarre and unnecessary sound and voice effects. Worse yet, Negroponte plays a pretentious note by deciding to project his own fantastical dreams of semi-autonomous and "intelligent agent" robots by speaking in the voice of the technology itself! Throughout the film WISOR "comes to life" through an entirely fictive voice over that sounds like a vo-coder trapped in a rattling dustbin.
What's most embarrassing about this film is to see that Negroponte clearly never got out of his sophomore year in university. Watch this film and you'll see how far a little talent can take you."