5 Awesome Movie Robots with Inexcusable Design Flaws

#2. The Iron Giant Is Unstoppable (as Long as It Doesn't Bonk Its Head)

In The Iron Giant, a young boy playing in the woods comes across a colossal amnesiac space robot whose head was damaged during a meteoric skydive down to Earth like Tony Stark swooping in to sing the national anthem at a lingerie football game.

The two become friends until the dent in the robot's iron head eventually pops itself back out, causing it to immediately resume its mission (and entire purpose for being sent to our planet), which is to kill everything that has ever lived with approximately all of the guns in the universe.

"Oh, now I remember. Fuck you, kid."

Not only is it a terrifying harbinger of doom (because whoever sent it will probably be stopping by to check on its progress before too long), but it's pretty much indestructible. The army throws everything they have at this mechanical titan: tanks, battleships, the love of a small boy and a nuclear missile. None of it matters, because even if the robot is blown completely apart (which it totally is, by the nuke), its individual parts crawl back together and reassemble like the T-1000 (it really was the perfect robot, we can't stress that enough).

The best weaponry the 1950s has to offer can't even scratch the Iron Giant, which is baffling considering that we already know that all it would take to scramble its robo-brain is a bonk on the noggin (which you may notice could be accomplished by the best weaponry the Three Stooges have to offer).

"Bwoo bwoo bwoo bwoo bwoo!"

The Iron Giant's skull dome is a clear exploitable weak point -- it even tucks down beneath a protective shield when the giant goes into battle mode, which suggests that its alien creators were both aware of this shortcoming and designed it that way on purpose. Why, during the whole "construct a plexiglass bubble for Deathbot's cranium" phase, did no one clear their throat and ask why the hell they were even giving him a head in the first place?

Think about it. The robot is built exclusively for destruction, and when in destruction mode, its head retracts like a cold, frightened penis and must be protected at all costs. Wouldn't it be easier to just not have a head? Seriously, it's not like aliens sent a 20-story robot to Earth to blend in. For that matter, why is "destruction" even a separate setting if killing everything in space-laser range is the robot's sole reason for existing? It should just be a huge metal box with guns sticking out of it, all of the time. Put the important programming chips and memory banks in the center of its body encased on all sides by 100 feet of interstellar steel. What you should absolutely never do for any reason is put your murderbot's most delicate circuitry in an obvious extremity molded directly after the most sensitive anatomical area of the beings you are trying to destroy.

"We've placed all of his pain sensors in the crotch area. Hopefully nobody fires a missile into it."

It doesn't even get to that point, though -- the Iron Giant gives himself brain damage like a Chevy Chase routine and spends most of the movie behaving like Arnie from What's Eating Gilbert Grape? because apparently the aliens decided to include "Play hide-and-seek with a latchkey kid" in its default programming string.

#1. R2-D2 Can Literally Do Everything but Speak

In Star Wars, R2-D2 is an astromech droid, which on paper means that he was specifically built to work in and around spaceships but in reality means that he does whatever the screenwriters need him to do to advance the plot. This giant waddling suppository is a renaissance man -- he hacks computer systems, picks electronic locks, co-pilots spacecraft, welds things, fights robot crabs, flies and sets things on fire, and also records and replays crucially important messages that set the entire saga in motion.

"But only for Obi-Wan Kenobi. If your name isn't Obi-Wan Kenobi, go fuck yourself."

Except he can't speak. Not one word.

Sure, he can bleep and whistle, and if that mincing butler C-3PO is around he can translate it for you, but R2-D2 was designed to be around people 100 percent of the time. As an astromech droid, when he has to make navigational choices or roll out onto the hull mid-dogfight to make crucial repairs, the ability to speak directly to the pilot and/or the flight crew could mean the difference between life and death. Yet as we clearly see in The Empire Strikes Back, the only way this can be accomplished is if he farts his alarm clock noises into the ship's computer to be printed out as text on a screen in the cockpit. Luke is only able to patiently read R2's message because nobody is zooming around firing death lasers at him. If they were locked in a space battle, he would have no idea what R2 was trying to tell him, and it could be something along the lines of "There's a crack in your canopy and your body will be turned inside out by the callous vacuum of space unless you do exactly what I tell you, right now."


That's the other thing -- R2-D2 clearly understands English. He replays messages in English, he responds to commands given in English and he participates in intricate, Han Solo-rescuing plans that had to have been explained to him in English. So why in the name of Yoda's pruned-up Shrek taint can't he speak it? Why can't he speak any language, for that matter? The ability to verbally communicate with people is crucial to every aspect of his design, yet he absolutely cannot do it.

Remember the scene where Luke first hears Leia's message to Obi-Wan? R2-D2 plays the message in English, Luke asks about it in English and R2 totally understands the question, but then R2 responds in his bullshit language and C-3PO has to translate it back to Luke. That's like an Abbott and Costello routine. And R2-D2 was designed so that every single one of his interactions would take place in this manner. We wonder how many astromech test pilots were killed in crashes borne of sheer irritated frustration.

"I'll die happy knowing that your bleep-blorping ass is fused to the twisted metal corpse of this spaceship."

David can jump 10 feet into the air every single time. You can follow him on Twitter, admire his drunk-T-shirt-making skills or check out his work over at Film School Rejects, where he is a staff writer.

For more confusing sci-fi technologies, check out 6 Baffling Flaws in Famous Sci-Fi Technology and 5 Powerful Sci-Fi Technologies Wasted by Their Own Movies.

If you're pressed for time and just looking for a quick fix, then check out 3 Astounding Works of Art Made of Water

And stop by LinkSTORM to discover why R2-D2 is the real hero of Star Wars.

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