The fun folks over at The Onion’s A/V Club recently did a list of the 16+ most ridiculous killer robots of all-time. It was an admirable pursuit, but seemed a bit scattered and inconsistent. Here’s my top five list, with no specific programming criteria, such as murderous impulses.
1. Hedonism Bot, Futurama
The whole point of robotics is to make our lives easier, right? Well, once a robot becomes self-aware and develops its own intelligence, it seems logical that the end-point of their evolution would be the pursuit of their own pleasure. Right?
2. R2D2, Star Wars
Let’s face it: C3PO is a chump. He’s whiny, he talks too much, and would much rather hide from a dirty look than confront danger head-on. R2D2, on the other hand, beeps and boops in the face of danger. He breaks into prisons, hot-wires spacecraft, electrocutes enemies, and knows when to shut up and keep his head down while the things with thumbs shoot lasers at stuff. And all the while with this extremely developed sense of nuance and humor, made all the more impressive by his limited (human) vocabulary and nonexistent facial expressions.
3. Roberto, Futurama
The flip-side of Hedonism Bot, Roberto seems built for one purpose—stabbing things. Ostensibly he’s a criminal in other regards, like robbery and other forms of theft, but it all just seems like a pretense for him to put himself in a situation where he can thrust a blade into something or someone. Calling him “insane” always seems a tad redundant when it’s clear that he spends more of his days stabbing than doing anything else.
4. Awesome Andy, She-Hulk
A/V Club was absolutely right: the Mad Thinker’s Awesome Android was a complete dud until Dan Slott reinvented him as a legal temp in the early 2000s as a supporting character in the pages of She-Hulk. Like R2D2, Andy lacks verbal communication skills (making up for it by scribbling his thoughts on a chalkboard hanging around his neck), but makes up for it by being, in many ways, the most human character in the book. He gets frustrated with his coworkers’ hijinks from time to time, he pines after a female coworker who only thinks of him as a friend, has an annoying roommate, practices tai chi, and loves baseball (he’s a Mets fan.)
5. Optimus Prime, Transformers
Have you ever been in a movie theater full of 7-10 year olds and seen them all burst into tears when a robot dies? No? Then you must not have seen the original Transformers movie in a theater. That’s how big of a deal this stupid truck was to an entire generation of kids.
What do you think? Any notable omissions? Add them in the comments section below!