Finch Weinberg (Tom Hanks), is one of few humans who survived the superstorms that have decimated most life on Earth. High temperatures and UV radiation make it dangerous to go outside.
Finch is a robotics engineer and the type of person you would choose in such a scenario. Finch is currently working on custom tools to help his survival. Dewey, a silent four-wheeled robot, already provides him with assistance. (It would be nice if Dewey was named after one the robots in the film. Silent Running!
Finch’s other companion is Seamus, his dog Goodyear. Finch considers him a friend, a companion, and a soul mate. Finch realized that Goodyear might not live, so he built a robot (Caleb Landry Jones), to take care. Finch loads a lot of data into his program, and gives Goodyear four directives. The first directive is: “A robot cannot hurt a human or allow a human being to be injured.” The fourth directive states that robots must ensure the welfare of their dog in Finch’s absence. This directive is the final directive.
Finch decides that his family must travel West to escape the danger of another superstorm. After naming himself Jeff the robot learns how to drive an RV. They face peril after calamity, and Finch is able to use his strength and versatility. Finch is determined to make Jeff realize that Jeff’s primary purpose, the reason he is made, is to protect Goodyear. “I know that you were born yesterday, but it is time for you to mature.”
So begins a series (see Teaching Scene), of life lessons — the kind that many parents want to pass on their children. It’s a delight to watch Jeff, an orange-headed droid, make progress as Finch tells his stories about living in this moment, teamwork, trusting your closest friends, and living with hope. FinchThis is a family-centered movie about vulnerability, survival and most importantly, love.
Going Deeper: Some of Our Favorite Robot Films
A.I. Artificial Intelligence: A visionary, complex, elusive, spellbinding and visionary film that teaches us the spiritual practice of ensouling all things in the name and through the faculties of our imagination.
A.X.L.A.X.L. A sci-fi thriller with intrigue that explores the possibilities of robots becoming smarter than human beings.
Bicentennial Man: This touching story is about a shining household robot who is an example of the spiritual practice and kindness.
Big Hero 6: A animated animated film that is lively and creative about a robot with empathy, compassion, gentleness, and heart.
The Iron Giant Anti-guns parable about the giant robot and the boy who saves him.
Short Circuit: This sci-fi drama is very entertaining and tells the story of an escapee robot who is on the loose.
Silent Running This science fiction drama is morally challenging and features a protagonist who, with the help of three small robots, is an ecological hero.
WALL.E This touching story tells the story of a lonely robot who falls in love with a woman and becomes a spiritual teacher for all who meet him.