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What seemingly begins as a benign panacea for parents unable to have their own children, becomes a nightmare in short order as the robotic circuitry becomes overwhelm with, um, extra-human emotional properties. Law and Osment are brilliant in this film. Recommended for sci-fi and fantasy fans.
Callie K. (ballofglitter) from GRAND ISLAND, NE Reviewed on 8/15/2014...
I love this movie!! I think the story was amazing, it's absolutely adorable but it's sad all in the same. It's a great movie for everyone to watch once. :)
Janet M. (jwin) from KERHONKSON, NY Reviewed on 6/19/2011...
An epic movie, as only Steven Spielberg can do them. One of my favorite Jude Law roles.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Unexpected and misunderstood - see it again!
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This may well be the last big-budget art film we ever see, folks. Word of mouth is killing it, but Hollywood has itself to blame -- and Spielberg can take some of the blame too. We all "want to be entertained", but there was a time when this didn't mean leaving your entire brain at home. A satisfying movie was one that engaged all, or most, of your faculties, albeit pleasurably. That's all different now. The industry has spent the years since Jaws, Star Wars and Rocky, and particularly the last decade, weaning American audiences off films that don't flatter them, don't satisfy their cravings for power and sex fantasies, don't reinforce their disgust toward people less clever or fashionable, don't leave their point of view unchallenged, and don't always leave them cheerful, triumphant, "uplifted", and feeling as hip as anybody else. I just read a letter-to-the-editor saying A.I. was the worst film the letter-writer had ever seen, because it left her feeling disturbed; it ripped her heart out and left it lying there. Well, how much of the world's cinema could this woman not enjoy? Chinatown, Citizen Kane, Midnight Cowboy, Blade Runner, La Dolce Vita, The Parallax View, Black Narcissus, Papillon, Raging Bull, in fact nearly anything by Stanley Kubrick, Nicolas Roeg, Ken Russell, Orson Welles, David Lynch, Franklin J. Schaffner, Sam Fuller, Ingmar Bergman, half of Shakespeare's output. A.I. is NOT McDonald's moviemaking!! It does not deliver on cliche' payoffs, it doesn't connect all the dots for you, it requires you to put two and two together occasionally. It doesn't traffic in cheap irony, phony uplift, contrived suspense, or sugarcoated homilies delivered as profound truths. It is for those with the palate for a richer diet of subtler flavors. It is fresh. For those who feel it doesn't develop any of its ideas but always takes the wrong course, realize that this is a picaresque, an innocent's (or semi-innocent's) journey through a world of rogues and vagabonds -- a genre older than Voltaire's Candide, and as recent as the re-release of Apocalypse Now. For those who think it's aliens at the end, note the astonishment of those strange beings that David has been in contact with LIVING things -- meaning they themselves aren't living, so must be robots. Our creations will inherit the earth. This conclusion was as Kubrick intended, even to the final virtual recreation of Monica, although Kubrick intended to show her fading out of existence before David's eyes. Spielberg elects to spare us this, though we know it will happen. For those who feel it makes no point, but add that it manipulates your emotions with the torments of a little boy, let me say that IS the point: for he is NOT a boy, but a machine; if you feel any emotion for this machine because it RESEMBLES or ACTS LIKE a boy, that IS the entire point: what is it you are actually responding to? To the reality, or to certain surface characteristics? Doesn't it strike you that this is the foundation of ALL manipulation and deception? Note that this is raised during the flesh fair by the robot-hunter, who tells the audience they are being manipulated by a robot designed to appeal to their emotions. He is quite correct; but his response is to destroy it for its very deceitfulness. The crowd takes the appearance for the reality and attacks the robot-hunter for (apparently) endangering a real boy. But this robot is designed to manipulate its owners not for any sinister purpose, but solely so that they may love one another. THIS IS WHAT HUMANS ARE ALSO BUILT TO DO! It's been said that if babies and toddlers weren't so cute, they would have been destroyed by their parents millennia ago and the race would be extinct. But we are programmed as thoroughly and deeply as David the robot: note what we respond to. Roger Ebert, on the other hand, has programmed himself to make other distinctions, and feels nothing for David BECAUSE he's a machine. Roger was not manipulated, and this says something about him. The point of the film is NOT what robots may be able to do, but the limitations of human beings. We are constantly reminded of human programming. We watch a female robot put on her makeup in the beginning, then we see Monica -- putting on her makeup. She grieves for her son, but we first see him as unconscious as a doll in cryogenic suspension; then we see him brought home, mother all joyful -- still inert, with tubes sticking out of him. Later, he informs David that "I'm real" -- and rises to walk on electronic leg braces, like a bionic cyborg. In the flesh fair, people respond to the apparent humanity of robots with hatred, to the apparent humanity of a boy-robot with sympathy. No surprise; we adore cute children but regard adult strangers with suspicion,and perhaps hostility. Evolutionary programming? If you think our capacity to learn and alter our "programming" distinguishes us, be reminded that artificial intelligence systems are designed to do just that. Finally, if David's quest is too monotonously one-dimensional, I ask, have you never met an obsessive? This film is not being given a fair shake by many critics, and even by many of its supporters. There is more here than meets the eye, but many of us have allowed Hollywood to program us to respond positively only to movies with certain characteristics. If you think it's long and slow, could you sit through 2001: A Space Odyssey or Barry Lyndon or Lawrence of Arabia? If you think it's disturbing, didn't you feel that way watching Blade Runner (which also failed on its initial release)? This film will be revisited someday, and you can help. Give it another look. My wife and I are going to see it for a fourth time tonight. We're not fanatics, and the film is not perfect; but it is layered and subtle (unusual for Spielberg), and grows on you."
Barbara Jean VanDenburgh | 12/14/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First and foremost, don't listen to any critic's opinion, or the opinion of any disgruntled friend that might have stumbled upon the film. This is a "love it or hate it" film, with little room for middleground, and you will not know where you stand until you see it for yourself. Do not judge it without viewing it.That said, A.I. is a visually spectacular, emotionally moving, and mentally arousing tale about the quest of a little, unloved robot boy programmed to love the programmer. When David is shunned by the world he was born into, he embarks in a journey of great physical, emotional, and temporal expanse to find the only thing he was ever programmed to want. While the story itself is entirley original, in essence it is a futuristic portrayal of the fairy tale Pinocchio, complete with the mysterious blue fairy. Plot aside, the movie is expertly crafted in the hands of Spielberg and his actors. Spielberg seamlessly meshes futuristic sci-fi style with fairy tale sentimentality to create a visually rich and captivating future that deserves nothing but the most earnest praise. The actors bring this world to life brilliantly, most especially Haley Joel Osment in the role of David. The weight that this role carries is astounding, something I wouldn't entrust to some of the most skilled adult actors. Yet Haley is without a doubt one of the most talented actors to grace the scene, age be damned, and he gives the role the infinite, nearly impossible justice it deserves. Rock on Hailey, rock on.Like many viewers, I watched the last half hour through a filter of tears despite my noble efforts to restrain an emotional outburst. The last 30 minutse are so angering, heartbreaking, and beautiful, and the characters so real, that it's difficult not to feel for them. The entire movie is one emotional rollercoaster, at times terrifying, beautiful, humorous, and haunting. Certain scenes will stick with you for life.Never before has a movie inspired so many questions about the nature of humanity, love, and reality in my mind - it had me pondering for weeks. What responsibility DO we hold to the things we create? This question, while intriguing, also serves as a subtle warning. A.I. is so epic in scope, so deep with meaning, and so rich in talent that it merits saying that anyone who dislikes this movie has failed, truly, to understand it."
It's OK to dislike a good movie...
Chris Peters | Austin, Texas | 03/19/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Let's just say that AI is not the type of film that will entertain you. Provoke you, yes. Get you to think, absolutely. But not entertain. This isn't good old American escapism, it explores our human emotions deep down to its core. At the same time, it is a beautiful movie, with striking images and an amazing vision of the future, with a tight script and outstanding acting (why nobody from this film got an Oscar nom, I don't understand). It combines Kubrick's love of the bizarre with old-school Spielberg sappiness, and somehow manages to pull it all off.The story follows the life of a robot child named David, the first robot made to love. The First Act of the film shows David introduced to his human family, and all the strange conflicts of love, jealiousy, and even repulsion that occur. These scenes are utterly chilling and creepy while being strangely sweet, and they play on our emotions just as easily as David's programmed whispers of "I love you, mommy" confuse the emotionally precarious mother. In a scene that belongs in film history, the mother finally abandons David in the woods, and he clings to the car screaming as she drives away. In the Second Act, David joins with Gigilo Joe, and a robotic teddy bear to embark an quest, sort of like a twisted sci-fi vision of the Wizard of Oz. The Third Act catapults us 2000 years into the future, when super-robots discover David in a block of ice. While this future is beautiful and fun to explore, these story sequences aren't nearly as interesting as the first third of the film, and yet there are many many interesting throw-away shots and min-stories which can hold your attention. Spielberg consistantly blurs the difference between humans and robots, and when new characters are introduced the audience is left wondering "is its real?" for more than a few seconds. The acting performances are consistantly brilliant. Not a single bad actor in the film, to be truthful. Jude Law is unfortgetable, and Haley Osment is so good he puts adult actors to shame. Many have said this movie is both brillant and flawed, and I can agree. There is simply too much to digest the first time you see it. Also, the pacing of the movie is all wrong, and some of the greatest climaxes come early in the film. All this makes for an excellent DVD, though! Now you can simply watch the moments that you feel like, and not sit through the entire saga. THE DVD - is okay, but not great. Spielberg does not give audio commentaries for his movies, which is a tremendous crime for filmmakers now and in the future. The "making of" documentaries are numerous and detailed, but with a film this complex, I discovered that they simply do not tell us enough. The audio and visual quality of the DVD is excellent."
A Wonderful Film!
Mr G Bowden | London United Kingdom | 12/02/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
""A.I. Artificial Intelligence" has caused a lot strenuous frissions from Stanley Kubrick and Steven Spielberg aficionados, most of them wanting to wash the film off of their idols' filmographies. The truth is, both filmmakers are guilty of the charms/trials (whatever you prefer) that "A.I." serves its audience. Kubrick's influence is evident in the dark sexual undertones of the story's settings and locations as well as the head-scratchingness of the film's ending. Spielberg, meanwhile, meshes his artistic and commercial qualities, and bears most resemblence to "Empire Of The Sun" than any of his other films.The film's screenwriting and directing credits rightfully belong to Spielberg though, as in spite of Kubrick's name on the credits, "A.I." is like many of Spielberg's blockbusters in its unashamed sentimentality. Not since "An American Tail", possibly the evillest animated motion picture ever (and it was made by Spielberg!), has a diminutive child been placed in so much hazard and peril as Haley Joel Osment's David. However, Spielberg intelligently comments on the human condition with David's character in how humans treat and percieve him; is it right to treat a luxury item as bad as David's 'brother' does or should we even care about David's situation? Spielberg shows us what it is to love and also what makes us 'human', and whether emotions count us as being human or simply being. These questions, which many critics dismissed as pointless, are at the crux of the film, but it works best as a fairytale, which is certainly where it ends.Acting wise, if the role of David was given to an actor of questionable capability the whole project would fall flat on its face. Thankfully, Osment is every inch the pro and carries a two-and-a-half hour film incredibly well, and an Oscar nomination isn't unforseeable in my mind. The rest of the cast serve their roles well, particularly Jude Law as Gigolo Joe, who exudes cocky exhuberance and attractiveness even whilst looking like a like-size 1950s sci-fi action figure. And, yes, the teddy bear steals every scene the adorable little mite's in.Spielberg doesn't forget that he's making this film with Kubrick's fans in mind as well as his own, and imbues the film with many stylistic riffs from Kubrick films, including long, sustained steadicam shots and some sophisticated camera movements. I'd just like to finish with reference to where the film ends; I cried all of the way through the 'ending' and thought it was beautifully executed. True it's long and it's also true that Spielberg relies too much on voiceover to explain the story (though obviously not enough if critics misconstrued the ending as having 'aliens' in it!), but what remains is a stunningly told film. And it blows away every other film that was released this summer!"
An Absolute Masterpiece!
Weather & Noise | Iowa, United States | 02/12/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I cannot agree with those who say this movie was terrible - I found it was an absolute delight, and I felt it melded Kubrick & Spielberg beautifully! Such a dark film, but at times it showed humanity as we cannot imagine it being, through the eyes of someone who desperately just wants to be loved - that is all. The acting was superb. Obviously thought, this film is not for everyone - it's a mental journey. It's not Clockwork, and it's not Close Encounters. It is of its own, and a beautiful vision Kubrick would have been proud of."