ROBOTS - 5 Movies That Changed My Life

Film Poster for the film Robots

Before you ask: yes, Robots is a childrens film - but for me it has such a depth of meaning.

It is a film set in a world composed entirely of robots. As a robot ages they have two choices to stay alive. Either they buy spare parts to repair the parts that break, or they buy upgrades to improve themselves. 

The poor robots do the former, while the rich robots do the latter. If a robot cannot get spare parts or upgrade they are essentially killed (melted down and turned into something else).

The backdrop of the story is comprised of the major corporation (Bigweld Industries) ceasing to sell spare parts, hoping to completely destroy the lower class, seen as a blight on the beautiful shininess of society.

This film has several important ramifications for us that I would like to explore

A blight on society
From Americas anti-homeless policies to measures closer to home, the poorer in society have often been viewed with contempt, or put up with as a necessary evil (as demonstrated in the film 'Gangs Of New York'). 

By following the poorer in society in this film I believe that it helps to see the underlying narratives, to give meaning and purpose and to see the story that each person has. 

In a culture that is bent on painting poorer people as 'benefit frauds scrounging off society' this is a much needed remedy.

Why be you, when you can be new
This is the new tagline for the major corporation in the film. It is changed from "you can shine no matter what you're made of" when the new CEO takes over.

For me this speaks so much of modern marketing. I often find it difficult to see the line between companies listening to customers about their needs, and then seeking to fulfill them, or companies dictating the needs to the consumer.

This idea of manufactured demand has been around for a while and is seen in both planned and perceived obsolescence. At it's worst it essentially makes people feel bad about themselves unless they buy the new product. This can be seen in social ostracisation and aesthetic manipulation. In fact the CEO in the film even says "if were telling people that they can shine no matter what they're made of, how will they feel crummy enough about themselves to buy our new upgrades".

The answer that the film seeks to move us towards is grassroots movements of people who refuse to buy into these strategies and change the social atmosphere.

See a need, fill a need
This forms the positive polemic to the evils in the film. It starts with the main protagonist starting to fix the robots that don't have spare parts, who is then targeted for assassination by the major corporation (if you're thinking this is rather intense for a childrens film - you are right).

I find it difficult to watch the scene where the people come to him without seeing in my head the scenes in the Gospels of people bringing their sick to Jesus.

The people rally round Rodney and a movement is born.

Robots is a film about many current issues facing society and the answer they provide is, I believe, an extremely important one - grassroots movements on the social level that undermine the power structures.

As we move more into the network era and social collaboration and connectivity continue to increase, grassroots movements will become more and more accessible and larger, as societies will be able to collaborate on a global scale, in the same way that international corporations also do.

For me this is a film of great depth and great hope at what we can achieve.

May we be awakened to the harmful aspects of the fabric of our reality that lurk beneath the surface, may we be those that learn to be comfortable in our own skin, and may we be those that when we see a need, fill a need.

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