From the mysterious alien, Gort, in The Day the Earth Stood Still to the time-traveling killer in The Terminator, movies have given us a wide variety of fictional robots. Unfortunately, like any general type of character that is portrayed on screen, there are bound to be some duds in the group. While many of Hollywood’s robot creations have amazed, thrilled, or terrified us, some have just gotten on our nerves. Here are five incredibly annoying robots that have been portrayed in various movies over the years.
5. Box in Logan’s Run (1976)
Logan’s Run is a sci-fi film about a dystopian future society that lives underground. Although the members of the society live a hedonistic lifestyle, the trade-off is a mandatory death sentence at the age of thirty. “Logan 5,” played by Michael York, and “Jessica 6,” played by Jenny Agutter, eventually decide to flee the society and make their way to the surface. On their way out of the underground city, the runners encounter one of the most annoying and poorly-conceived movie robots ever portrayed on film.
The appropriately named “Box” is a rectangular mishmash of mirrors and silver ducting that apparently wants to freeze any humans that try to escape. However, before it attempts to freeze the protagonists, Box launches into a long and annoying speech about how impressive it is.
4. C-3PO in Star Wars (1977)
It’s hard to find many faults with George Lucas’s original blockbuster sci-fi film that kicked off his highly-successful Star Wars franchise. In the years following its release, the film’s groundbreaking special effects and costumes became the gold standard by which other sci-fi films were judged.
Unfortunately, the gold-plated C-3PO proved that even a well-made robot can still be annoying. Although the perpetually-talking robot played by Anthony Daniels may have been a necessary foil to the beeping and whistling R2-D2, it doesn’t make his character any less annoying. On the other hand, unlike many other annoying robots portrayed in movies, C-3PO appears to have been deliberately intended as an irritating sidekick to the more level-headed R2-D2. After all, even other characters in the movie find C-3PO’s constant worrying and chattering tiresome.
3. Bubo in Clash of the Titans (1981)
Clash of the Titans is a fantasy adventure film that features characters from Greek mythology. The film also features an incongruous owl robot named “Bubo” that was brought to life by the legendary stop-motion animator Ray Harryhausen.
Although robot purists may argue whether or not the presumably magic-powered Bubo truly qualifies as a robot, there is no dispute about how annoying it is. The inexplicable robot owl communicates with a grating language of clicks and “cuckoo” sounds. Bubo is a somewhat famously irritating movie character and has been spoofed in various other movies and TV shows. The 2011 comedy film Your Highness featured a mechanical bird creature named Simon that greatly annoys one of the main characters.
2. Johnny Five in Short Circuit (1986)
While many of the annoying robots found in movies tend to be secondary characters, the robot portrayed in Short Circuit is the star of the movie. “Number 5,” or “Johnny Five,” is a military robot prototype that becomes sentient after being struck by lightning.
After escaping from the military laboratory, Johnny Five embarks on a quest for self-knowledge with the help of a friendly civilian played by Ally Sheedy. Although Short Circuit was a successful movie that eventually spawned a sequel, Johnny Five’s tiresome slapstick antics and cartoonish voice qualify it as one of the most annoying robots ever portrayed on screen.
1. Mudflap and Skids in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)
Although Michael Bay’s follow-up to the first Transformers movie was a box office success, the film was widely panned by the critics for its general lack of a plot and its over-reliance on special effects. Critics’ general dislike of the film was not alleviated by the introduction of two new robot characters: Mudflap and Skids.
Besides offending moviegoers by toying with racial stereotypes, the constantly bickering robots were also unforgettably annoying. “The characters have been given conspicuously cartoonish, so-called black voices that indicate that minstrelsy remains as much in fashion in Hollywood as when, well, Jar Jar Binks was set loose by George Lucas,” wrote New York Times film critic Manohla Dargis.
All movie cast, crew, and awards information courtesy of IMDb.
Follow Nathanael on Twitter @ArnoldEtan_WSCS
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