I love robots. My kid loves robots. Who doesn’t love freakin’ robots?
The best kind are those tin toy robots, with their little painted bodies and cranks on their backs. The sound they make when they walk, their sometimes glowing eyes. The way they look lined up on the shelf, waiting to take over the world.
But really, any robot is awesome. Here are my five favorites.
1. B9 (Robbie) from Lost in Space
What would my life be without the line “Danger, Will Robinson, Danger”? Probably exacly the same. But I wouldn’t have been so entertained as a child. While my other, less intelligent friends were watching Star Trek (OK, I watched it, too), I was really into Lost in Space. I loved the cheesy madcap adventures, but what I really loved, and what Star Trek lacked, was the robot. It was the first of the kickass robots I got into, and my kid is well aware of the line “Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!” As it should be.
2. Maximilian from The Black Hole
Odd that a Disney film would produce one of my favorite robots. Maximilian, all red and evil looking, was scary as hell to me when I was 12 years old. I haven’t hipped my kid to this film, but will soon. She’s seen scarier (like the Dementors in Harry Potter), but something about Max, with his whirring blades and blasting lasers, coupled with the prospect of plunging headlong into oblivion, makes him extra awesome.
3. R2D2 from, um … yeah … Star Wars
Maybe it’s cliché, but a serious robot list would be remiss without R2. Independent, versatile and equipped with the coolest sound effects ever, R2 made me want to be a robot. As a ‘tween, I’d draw him – I think he’s a him – in great detail on my folders and use him in various art projects. And I always wondered what R2 would do if he weren’t saddled with that whiney hunk of know-it-all C3PO. Probably would have had a franchise all his own.
4. Bender from Futurama
So Bender, most of the time, is inappropriate for youngsters, but adventurous parents may allow their mature teens some time with the boozing ‘bot. He’s quick with one liners, he’s from Mexico, he’s always in trouble … and he bends stuff. And he’s rude. And he has violent tendencies. And he smokes. A robot that smokes. Must I go on?
5. Wall-E from Wall-E
Probably the most emotionally stirring robot in history, the superbly crafted Wall-E captured our imaginations, and had children and parents considering their place in the universe. And really, that’s what the best robots push us to do. When our own creations become more human than we are, we are forced to think about what we have become, to reflect on our own propensity for violence and indifference. And to reestablish our connection to our natural world.