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Bicentennial Man, or Andrew--NDR114 in Japan, is a 1999 film starring Robin Williams based on the well-known novella of the same name by Isaac Asimov (previously expanded into the full-length novel The Positronic Man by Robert Silverberg).
The film follows the evolution of the NDR series robot Andrew Martin (Robin Williams) from his introduction into the Martin family and interaction with them through three generations: discovery of his emotional and creative abilities, development into an artist and inventor, evolution into an android, his fight to win legal recognition for his humanity, and ultimate destiny.
- Adaptation Distillation: The movie is far more sentimental than either Asimov's story or Silverberg's expansion. (But then, "sentimental" is not exactly something anyone would ever accuse Asimov of being.)
- Adaptation Expansion: From a 200-year search for the meaning of what it is to be human to a multigenerational love story.
- Arc Words: "This will not do." With those three words, first spoken when Little Miss passes away, Andrew memorizes every medical textbook available in the world and makes artificial organs and DNA elixirs that take a profound leap from the technological to the biological (and allow humans to essentially live forever). When he says those words again after Portia tells him they'd never be accepted, he goes on a campaign to earn full rights as a human being.
- Artificial Human: Andrew starts out as a robot, but modifies himself with biological parts to this, as does Galatea.
- Award Bait Song: Then You Look At Me, by Celine Dion of course.
- Become a Real Boy: Unlike most examples of this, Andrew's process of humanization takes decades.
- The Comically Serious: Andrew is like this for most of the film.
- Dramatic Shattering: Andrew's accidental breaking of young Little Miss' favorite glass horse figurine leads to his first demonstration of creativity, as he carves her a new one out of wood.
- Face Death with Dignity: A Trope Codifier.
Andrew: I've always tried to make sense of things. There must be some reason I am as I am. As you can see, Madame Chairman, I am no longer immortal.
- Generational Saga
- Grow Old with Me: Though he doesn't physically age, Andrew does this with Portia. Eventually he even forces himself to grow old in appearance and become mortal so that he can die of old age along side her.
- Girly Girl: Galatea's personality chip.
- Hyper Awareness: Andrew reads Portia's heart rate, body heat, and pheromones to detect that she is attracted to him, which she says is completely unfair of him to scan her like that.
- Identical Granddaughter: The adult Amanda Martin (Little Miss) and her granddaughter, Portia Charney were both played by Embeth Davitz.
- I Have This Friend: How Amanda tries asking Andrew about her feelings about him. It gets them nowhere because she's disguised the question too well and he can't tell she's talking about him.
- Immortality Immorality: As Andrew first petitions the World Congress to recognize him as a human, the President of the Congress cites this as the reason why it will not validate Andrew's request; since he still possesses an artificial brain despite having become a cyborg, he is effectively immortal. The President states that society can accept an immortal machine, but that it can never accept an immortal human, which would arouse too much jealousy and anger.
- Interspecies Romance: Andrew and Portia.
- Just a Machine: What many claim Andrew is. When arguing about Galatea, Rupert slips out that she's just a machine, much to Andrew's offense.
- A Man Is Not a Virgin: Rupert, with shades of Hollywood Nerd.
Andrew: You can go to heaven and come back alive. You can go back anytime you want with the one you love.
- Though that line could also mean that he hasn't experienced anything to that level of passion. Not every fling is a mind-blowing one, after all.
- Mayfly-December Romance: One of the major plot points on Andrew's journey to humanity.
- Mechanical Evolution: The process by which Andrew becomes more human.
- Never Trust a Trailer: This is not a goofy comedy about a family and their robot. The ads for the movie when it came out only showed clips of the first twenty minutes, along with the wacky dance sequence of Galatea when we first see her, trying to make us believe the movie just a wacky situational comedy about a family with a pet robot. Even now the movie is often put in the childrens, family, and comedy sections, despite its profanity, sex, and being a romantic drama questioning the definitions of humanity.
- No New Fashions in the Future: Averted. Fashion does noticably change over 200 years, though jeans, tuxedos and suits remain remarkably unaffected.
- Older Than They Look: Andrew, duh.
- Old Retainer: Andrew.
- Personality Chip: Subverted here, for while Galatea had a simulated personality, it was only by virtue of a set of added mannerisms. Robots in this universe develop true personalities the old-fashioned way, by experience and interaction. In the end it's revealed that Galatea does eventually develop a personality of her own.
- Pick Your Human Half
- Pinocchio Syndrome: Andrew's quest to be recognized as human, even going so far as to replace his entire body with his self-invented artificial organs and become mortal.
- Positive Discrimination: The leader of the World Court that not only denies Andrew his humanity but rubs salt in the wound by saying he is "a machine, and nothing more" is a white man. His far more reasonable and kind replacement is a black woman.
- Pygmalion Plot: The female bot is named Galatea.
- Rapid-Fire Comedy: The movie isn't one these, but it contains an in-film example. Andrew attempts Rapid-Fire Comedy to show that he has studied the concept of humor, but he doesn't understand anything about the importance of delivery and so he simply recites a bunch of jokes in sequence while speaking too fast to comprehend.
- Robosexual: Portia falls in love with Andrew and part of the reason he wants to be aknowledged as human was so he can have his marriage to her validated. It's also heavily implied that her grandmother, "Little Miss" had feelings for Andrew, but at the time couldn't even dare to think about such a thing.
- Robo Speak: Andrew suffers from this in the beginning, but as he becomes more human, his speech becomes more natural.
- Robot Girl: Galatea.
- Robotic Assembly Lines: The opening credits.
- Sense Freak: Andrew, once he has a central nervous system put in.
- That's an Order
- The Talk: Andrew is given one by his master, and expresses sorrow over the millions of deaths of unfertilized sperm.
- Third Person Person: At the beginning of the movie Andrew, like all robots, refers to himself as "this one". It is a sign of his self-awareness when he first refers to himself as "I".
- "Three Laws"-Compliant: Even through his entire 200-year journey to humanity, Andrew staying within the boundaries of Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics, until he makes the decision to become mortal and die (technically breaking the Third Law).
- The novel/short story has a short, simple and very sad speech on Andrew's part on whether he has broken the Third Law.
"No. I have chosen between the death of my body and the death of my aspirations and desires. To have let my body live at the cost of the greater death is what would have violated the Third Law."
- Together in Death: "See you soon..."
- Token Minority Couple: Subverted. When Andrew first sees Galatea it appears as though he has found the fembot of his dreams, only for him to quickly realize she is just a shallow personality program on a normal robot.
- Unable to Cry: "It's not fair that you can cry but I can not. I have so many feelings that I am incapable of expressing."
- Uncanny Valley: Deconstructed in the film.
- We Want Our Jerk Back: Inverted. After Andrew reprograms Galatea to stand up for herself and stop simply being a perky servant, Rupert demands that he fix her because she is not getting any work done. Andrew relents.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: Not Portia, and soon after, neither does Andrew.
- Zeerust: Largely avoided, but "credit discs"?
- Although the iPad like devices seen being used, the concept is modern but the design of them are pretty bulky and 90's looking