Retro Review: A.I.: Artificial Intelligence

Two great Hollywood minds merge into one man he is only known as “Stevely Spielbrick.” Or that’s what it looks like.

That was the best way to describe AI because its not a Spielberg film or a Kubrick film. What it is at its core is a piece of man’s quest to uncover life’s secrets.

Each of the filmmakers involved placed a bit of their own souls into the creation of a boy-robot’s journey to discover what is love and how can he make the one he loves love him.

Haley Joel Osment stars as David, a prototype robot designed to bring love to ailing parents who have lost their child.

David takes sometime to adapt to his adoptive parents. But when his parents’ son is awoken from a cryogenic sleep David seems to become more of a burden than a member of the family.

One night David overhears his mother reading the story of Pinocchio to their real son. When David is eventually abandoned by his discouraged parents, David reflects back to the story.

David decides if he can find the “Blue Fairy” who changed Pinocchio into a real boy maybe she can do the same for him and his mother will then love him.

Accompanying David through a real dark, disturbing and heart-breaking world is a male sex-robot named Joe (Jude Law) and his animatronic talking teddy bear, Teddy. Does the Blue Fairy exist or what will come of David’s actual quest?

From the opening sequences of AI you know that this film was definitely a part of Kubrick. The lightning, textures and fractured emotions of Kubrick masterpieces line the corridors of AI. Kubrick films always asked deep and intelligent questions and that foundation is here as well. Spielberg is a great chameleon in how he hides behind a Kubrick motif in the style and planning of the film. There are a few scenes and emotions that are very Spielberg but I found the film to be more Spielberg reinventing himself as his decesased friend Kubrick.

It was very hard for me to actually watch how petty and cruel human beings are. I think these lost souls had to create artificial love because they had lost the actual feelings of love themselves. The events involving David are too overwhelming and traumatic that you don’t understand why David would even want these people to love him. At least in the Pinocchio story, Geppetto was shown as a kind hearted man who was capable of love. In that story, Pinocchio wasn’t abandoned by Geppetto but instead fell in with the wrong crowd and Geppetto had to save him. If this did occur here we may have understood David’s journey better.

I also really loved the performances of Osment and Law these actors are quickly becoming something special. A plot element that bugged me was the film’s inconclusive ending to Joe.

The film never gives him an ending that’s appropriate to his struggle. I really like Joe and the way he was kind of like a perversely twisted cross between the “Tin Woodsman” and the “Scarecrow” from “Wizard of OZ”. He was an awesome character.

I loved the trio’s journey to “Dr. Know”, the scope of Rouge City and the adorable Teddy (where can I get one!!) but many parts of the rest of the journey more haunted me than excited or enchanted me.

I am sure the film’s ending will be moaned and groaned about as there could have been 2 places to stop before arriving at the eventual ending. Remember the overly annoying multiple endings to last winter’s “Castaway”.

Well the length problem and the ending problems with that film are highly evident also in AI. What is it with Hollywood making movies that seem to shave years off our lifetimes while we sit in multiplexes? This is one of at least ten films this year that really needed an editorial shaving.

I did feel that the spirit of Kubrick was in the house when the film finished because immediately everyone burst into conversation about the ethics in AI. For me personally, I believe it is utterly insane to create a child who is caught in a child-like state for infinity. Children want to evolve into adults and adults want to be children again.

It’s the adult insanity that created David and what he is. This insanity was also explored in “Interview with the Vampire” when a very young Kirsten Dunst has to address she will be an 8 year old vampire for all eternity. This is very sad and a cryptic way of thinking. Freezing youth forever is utter nonsense. I am always reminded of a saying, “with great power comes great responsibility”.

The majority of mankind doesn’t deserve to wield this kind of power. Because of these ethics, it was hard for me to really enjoy AI but I guess Kubrick would be smiling because at least now we are talking about it.

(3 out of 5)

So Says the Soothsayer.

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