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I, Robot – You, Chicago

By chicago_chris in Arts & Entertainment on Jul 16, 2004 7:13PM

2004_07_movies_robot.bmp As you surely already know, the city is unveiling the massive Millennium Park today, four years late and millions of dollars over budget. It's a big and beautiful monstrosity, truly a vision for this city's future. But what Chicagoist really wants to know: what will Chicago look like in 2035? I, Robot – apparently this is a movie by the Apple Corporation – seeks to answer those pressing questions. The Reader calls Patrick Tatopoulos’s design work "futuristic yet Victorian around the edges." And a British report about the production notes,

There are two design "flavors" in the movie's Chicago. The downtown area is filled with beautiful metropolitan landscapes. The plazas are large, white and pristine. Shiny glass buildings house the city's wealthy citizens. In surprising contrast, the suburbs have a grungy feel; they are the older, poorer parts of the city.

One of the signature elements of [director Alex] Proyas' visual style is the absence of greenery. Achieving the "no trees" look while shooting on location in lush Vancouver was challenging. The production even hired a greens staff to keep bushes and trees out of the frame.

The filmmakers chose Chicago for the story's setting because its skyline resembles Proyas' original concept of mixing classic and modern looks - where, for example, tall brand new buildings are situated next to the projects that are half a century old.

Large, white, and pristine? Shiny glass buildings? No trees? Are we sure Daley didn't do the design work? And the suburbs as the grungy, poor parts of the city? Chicagoist could only wish. Someone should go and report back what our city can expect to look like in 30 years, because, as much as we like director Alex Proyas's Dark City, Chicagoist really has no desire in seeing this weird vision for our city. Instead, we'll be seeing the real thing downtown.