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First of all, once again I think the critics have got it wrong. Like Blade
Runner and 2001, this is a film that will be properly judged in 10/20
or maybe more. Its way ahead of its time, the combination of Kubrick and
Spielberg is unique, its unlikely we will ever see anything like this
Did I like it? The answer would have to be yes, the mix of styles will put many people off, but I found it to be unlike anything I have ever seen, and all the better for it. The story is by no means original but everything else about the film is so different that this can be forgiven. To get one thing straight, Kubrick decided Spielberg would be the better man for directing it, and I think this was a very wise decision, many of the ideas are pure Kubrick, but Spielberg has the neccassary attributes to direct such a film, and great credit has to go to Kubrick for handing it to him.
Haley Joel Osment is amazing, the robot/human emotion must be amazingly difficult to pull off effectively, but Osment does it with such relative ease to the point where you do believe he is a robot, not that he is just acting as a robot. Jude Law is excellent, and so to is Frances O'Conner.
As for the ending, as brave as an idea it may of been to end on a downbeat note at "the first ending" I think the slightly upbeat ending is much more appropriate.
All in all I would say A.I is a wonderfully unique film that should be judged for what it is, a film. Forget everything about the Spielberg/Kubrick "issue" and just sit back and take in a truely amazing film. You may hate it, you may love it, but no matter what, it will effect your emotions in some way and you will discuss the film afterwards.
This film will be truely judged in 20 years or so, when it can be assessed purely as a film, as with 'Blade Runner', '2001', and even 'The Thing', it will get better with age.
Steven Spielberg's latest movie A.I.: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE, which he took
up at the encouragement of the late, great Stanley Kubrick, has caused
widely divergent comments. And I can't help wondering if the most
scathingly negative reviews of this movie aren't just an open desire to see
Spielberg crash, as he had with "1941" and HOOK.
For my money, Spielberg has done it again with this futuristic science fiction drama, regardless of what the negative reviews say. Its story of a robot boy (Haley Joel Osment) who desires to be a real boy in a far future in which humans (Orgas) and machines (Mechas) exist side-by-side but not always in harmony is very much modeled on the Pinocchio story, though it is actually based on a 1969 short story by Brian Aldiss. It raises some interesting and sometimes unsettling moral dilemmas that few films of late have done. Can a parent love a child, even if that child is not real? What might happen if that child desired to be real? How will Man and Machine be able to co-exist?
Like all intelligent science fiction, such as Kubrick's own 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY and Spielberg's own CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, A.I. forces us to ponder where we've been and where we might be going. It's an incredible combination of Kubrick's icy intellectual and clinical mind and Spielberg's emotional heart; and I think it works exceedingly well. But it forces the viewer to not leave their heart and brains at the door, which I think is why it is being so negatively received in this season of mindless summer movie fare. It may be too intelligent for its own good, and many don't have the 145 minutes of patience needed for the movie. I did, however; and I would call this an absolute masterpiece. Out of ten stars, give this one a 10.
This movie has SO many angles, so much information... I was completely
away by it and will definitely go see it many more times in the cinema.
is one of the classic movies of all time and I was appalled by the complete
lack of understanding by many of the other user-comments.
If you like Tomb Raider or Disney Movies...just don't bother. This is so far removed from the Hollywood-style of scripting that many would just be bored to death by the surrealism and impressionism Kubrick uses in all of his films.
If you are looking for a Spielberg action-flick...also stay away. Don't bother. I can only guess Spielberg finished this 'Kubrick' with the proper respect for one of the greatest directors of all time.
This is not a movie, this is pretentious art. Pretentious, but actually making GOOD on its pretense. From my point of view, not in the negative sense of the word. Questions are asked and possible answers given, letting the viewer decide for themselves. Mindbogglingly, impressive camera-action. Brilliant soundtrack. Absolutely perfect acting by all players. Superb casting.
One of the greatest movies of all time. High in the list, together with "2001, A Space Oddyssee".
AI - ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE / (2001) ***1/2 (out of four)
By Blake French:
"AI - Artificial Intelligence" is the hardest kind of movie to review-but it's also the most enjoyable kind of movie to watch. It's been over three weeks since my screening of Steven Spielberg's emotionally harrowing epic about a robot boy. Before writing my review, I wanted to let its themes, content, and characters sink into my head and make a solid impact. The film was based on an idea by Stanley Kubrick, but when he died in 1999, Speilberg took charge of the project. I could spend pages discussing the techniques of Kubrick's intentions and Spielberg's decisions, but I will not. Stanley Kubrick and Steven Spielberg are two of the greatest directors American cinema has to offer; it's pure pleasure watching their ideas clash and flow. I am not going to examine each individual theme here, either. That would ruin the movie for you.
"AI - Artificial Intelligence" presents many themes on screen, but it's important to take what you get out of it. Whenever I read a review of Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange" or "2001: A Space Odyssey" I feel influenced by the reviewer's interpretation of the movie's themes. Every time I watch either of those movies I get something new out of it. I hate it when other critics state the movie's themes on paper as if it's a fact. There is far too much room for interpretation to reveal this movie's message, or the message of any Kubrick film for that matter. Ask 100 people, and you might get 100 different answers. "AI - Artificial Intelligence" is that kind of movie-one of the year's best.
Critics and audiences alike have torn apart this movie's ending-a clear miscalculation by Spielberg. If Kubrick were in charge, the movie would have called it quits about twenty minutes earlier in an unsettling sequence that takes place in the ocean. But Speilberg, who always seems entranced by science fiction, injects an additional segment into the mix that does not work quite as well, but isn't so completely awful that it deserves such harsh criticism. It still leaves us with an open, startled emotional disorientation. I left the theater with tears in my eyes. The movie before the conclusion is so complex, moving, and involving in so many different ways the last twenty minutes didn't even come close to spoiling the movie for me.
"AI" transpires sometime in the near future after the polar ice caps have melted and flooded coastal cities and reduced natural resources. Mechanical androids have become popular since they require no commodities. Reproduction has also become highly illegal. Machines provide sexual services and if anyone wants a child, they will purchase a robot. However, the difference between a robot child and a living child is that robots cannot love. That's the task professor Hobby (William Hurt) of Cybertronics Manufacturing has solved. He has made a robot child that can love.
We can separate "AI" into two separate segments. I do not want to reveal too much about each plot because the pleasure of watching this movie evolves from the revealing of the connecting plots. I will, however, briefly say the first details a robot child's interaction within a family, and the second deals with the robot's estrangement from its family and the quest to regain the mother's love.
I can imagine the material in Kubrick's hands. The movie's opening scene has a female robot begin to undress in a public office. Speilberg cuts the action before she reveals any explicit nudity. Kubrick would have had various shots of full frontal nudity. Spielberg, never comfortable with sexual material, leaves out much of the motivation behind Kubrick's ideas. One of the biggest problems in "AI" is the lack of edge with the sexual content. Jude Law plays a robot gigolo who lives in a sex fantasy called Rouge City where people from everywhere come to seek sexual satisfaction. The central character, a robot boy played by Haley Joel Osment, motivates every action in the story except for the scenes in Rouge City. Why contain such a perverse character and setting when his entire existence simply displays a mood that has already been well established. Obvious, the filmmakers toned the aspects of "AI" down to warrant a gutless PG-13 rating-but why? The movie isn't appropriate for children anyway, and it's far too complex. Undoubtedly if Kubrick were in charge "AI" would have to be re-cut to avoid an NC-17 rating. Spielberg should have either taken advantage of the perverse material or completely eliminated it.
Here I am, doing exactly what I said that I wouldn't do, and at nearly 900 words, I still have not clearly expressed my own opinions on the film. I have many notes in front of my that display my reaction as I watched the film, but I am not going to use them-they reveal too much about the movie. "AI" is a very personal film, a deeply moving, scientific, careful, and harrowing motion picture that displays startling talent on screen and behind the scenes. The special effects are extraordinary. The performances are alarming-the immensely talented Haley Joel Osment may once again be up for an Academy Award nomination. Go see the movie, then talk about it with others. It's the kind of film that you can spend hours thinking about, then go see it again.
I loved this film. It isn't one of the greatest films ever made, but it's a
personal favorite of mine. I cried at the two sad points, I laughed at the
mannerisms of Gigalo Joe and Teddy, the super-toy, my heart pumped faster at
the action, suspense, and horror, but overall, I really enjoyed the film on
a whole. I didn't find an ounce of it boring at all. It's practically the
same as observing an extraordinary life and extraordinary tale of a boy who
just wants his mommy. But the boy is not a boy, and rather a robot. But the
way he acts can pass for a human any day.
The look of the film was dazzling and amazing. From the facilities in the underwater Manhatten, to the curvy, sensual architecture of Rouge City. I really felt as if I were really going along for a great ride and once I stepped out of the theater, I wanted more.
The film is from Steven Spielberg based on Brian Aldiss' short story, "Super-toys Last All Summer Long" which was doctored up by Stanley Kubrick. The film is a tribute to the legendary filmaker, but it is not his film, but rather Spielberg's. Sure it sometimes tries to mimic his styles, but that's practically the same as a filmmaker paying homage to a great. It's more or less the same as somebody making his adaptation of a novel or maybe graphic novel, since Kubrick supplied some of his artwork through designs. The story is Kubrick's, but the film is Spielberg's.
Although it may seem ridiculous to some at some points, it's a future, not THE future, but a rendition of it and somethings may happen in THIS future that may seem unrealistic. The film has a great score, but it just doesn't stand out like some of John Williams's other scores. The end could be considered a homage to Spielberg's "Close Encounters Of the Third Kind" or it could be something different, something more along the lines of the film's title, Artificial Intelligence, but only a far more advanced form of it.
The acting in this film is great along with the emotions, visions, humor, and fright. I found this film to be extraordinarily superb, but whether you think it's as good, is up to you.
It is fitting that A.I., Steven Spielberg's monument on film to Stanley
Kubrick, is a shoe-in for Best Picture in 2001. A.I. is cinematically
beautiful, and tells a wrenching emotional story of a child's quest for
In A.I., Spielberg masterfully adopts Kubrick's hard, bare-essentials style of direction, letting the photography tell the story, rather than the dialogue. This style allowed Kubrick to develop an enormous scope of ideas, stories and emotions in his movies. But it often left casual movie goers behind. He had difficulty finding the right treatment for A.I. so he handed the project to Spielberg before Kubrick's death last year.
Spielberg textures A.I. with obvious dollops of his own soft-as-whipped-cream touch. It is Spielberg's great skill that blends the two styles together with mesmerizing results. This blend allows the emotional story of a young robotic boy to come to life, and Kubrick fans will be able to enjoy one last film made by the master -- with the respectful help of another great artist.
The Kubrickian style demands the very best from actors, who must appear unapologetically real, and must, in long sequences with no dialogue, convey strong feelings and emotions. The A.I cast, especially lead actor Haley Joel Osment, meet every measure of the demands. Despite his youth, Osment will surely receive a nomination for Best Actor.
A.I. will rank high among the best movies ever made, but viewers should come prepared for an intense emotional and intellectual work-out. If you want to take in a quick flick to escape life for a couple of hours, this is not your movie. If you want to explore the cinematic depth of a master artist like Spielberg, A.I. will take you places you've never been before.
Wow! That was all I could say when I walked out of the theatre after my
first helping of A.I. I wasn't sure whether I loved the movie or was
disappointed by it, I just knew it had had a huge effect on me. Having seen
it a further three times at the cinema, I still find fault with it, but I
keep returning to it, thinking about it, discussing it, and it has left me
with a feeling that, five months later, I've still not shaked. In many
regards, this movie reminds me of Fight Club, not in terms of theme or
emotional content, but due to it's level of craft, the daring nature of it's
execution and the fact that I keep re-evaluating it. All the things that
are possible to comment objectively on (if anything ever is) are handled
expertly. The performances are top-notch, especially Haley Joel Osment as
David, the little robot child that longs to be human. The effects are not
only very impressive, but are integrated into the story rather than calling
attention to themselves. Januz Kaminski's photography is, as one has come
to expect, impressive, and the movie is unusually unpredictable for such a
In my opinion, John Williams' score is among his most impressive. I listened to it on CD for three weeks before seeing the movie, and thought it was fantastic, but once the movie started rolling I completely forgot about the music. That says a lot about both the score and the film itself. I also liked the three-act structure, in which the tone and feel of the movie changes drastically as the story progresses. Part one, as one reviewer noted, feels like a cross between E.T. and The Shining, an odd, but very effective combination. The second part of the movie is awash with Spielbergian imagery, but with the darkness and coldness of a Kubrick movie. And the last part is a head-scratcher that has the intellectual resonance of most Kubrick-films, and the emotional tone of something like Cinema Paradiso. I purposely refrain from saying that it is as emotional as Spielberg-films, because I think the director's complexities, the dark aspects of his style, and the occasional subtleties of his work are often overlooked by critics.
It's difficult to discuss the themes of the movie without spoiling it, but while many people criticised the movie from having several false endings, I felt that each continuation added layers of though and complexities that the movie would have lacked had it ended sooner. I have come to the conclusion, over the past months, that I do love the movie and that it is my favourite film of 2001, even ahead of The Fellowship of The Ring and Amelie. In other words, buy it on DVD, it's more than worth it.
The "literalists" are clearly not happy with A.I. So now is a good time to recall that "2001: A Space Odyssey" was greeted upon release with derision, confusion, dismissive reviews, public consternation, and, oh yeah, some thought it was an absolute masterpiece. Beyond the monolithic influence of that film (think of Han Solo's jump to lightspeed, etc.), the symbols of "2001" -- TO THIS VERY DAY -- cannot be decoded using anything but the most personal, interpretive language. The obelisks, the message of the obelisks, the Star Child, Cosmonaut Dave's "room", HAL-9000's true motivation all these things remain in our collective subconscious as indelible images that refuse to be concretely defined between or among viewers. WHAT CAUSES THIS CONFLICT OF PERCEPTION? IS IT INTENTIONAL? Again and again, Kubrick's films take us to a No-Man's Land of narrative and moral ambiguity, stranding us, forcing us to make decisions, demanding interpretation (or we can judge the surface, walk away, hate the film). To my perception, Kubrick is the only, true "Brechtian" film director. The device Brecht proposed is "Alienation Effect", or put simply, Leading the audience down two, divergent paths at once. My favorite example is "Barry Lyndon". Being the adventures of a young man, handsome, virtuous, well-meaning, ambitious, full of promise. Yet in every scene, the camera "pulls-back" revealing Barry (but never to himself) to be womanizing, self-absorbed, criminally inclined, socially inept, not very bright, morally bankrupt, and at last, a broken shell of a man. Or let's consider "Strangelove": Did Kubrick really create a headbanger, slapstick comedy about nuclear proliferation, mass destruction, and military/political incompetence? The real question is "Who else could have?" Well, that's my take on Kubrick's artistic sensibility, and, without daring to presume Spielberg's motivation, it's what drew them both to "A.I." Pinocchio, the Blue Fairy, cuddly Teddy Bears on one hand, but on the other hand social institutions are faltering forever -- parenthood, childhood, science, industry, sexuality -- all distorted beyond repair. And Humans, the ultimate A.I. protagonist, seem blissed-out, in denial, more interested in creating "Davids", "Darlenes" and "Gigolo Joes" than in rising water levels and the imminent threat of extinction. Therefore, I believe A.I. is getting precisely the response all Kubrick films "INITIALLY" get. Spielberg's reputation and career can withstand anything that public perception might bring to his films, but I keep thinking that A.I. is the riskiest moment of his artistic life.
I thought A.I. was a very good film. I'm sure it is somewhat different from what Kubrick had thought but he and Spielberg had worked on it for a long time. I liked the questions that it posed about such as what does it mean to be a being? Does the boy robot have genuine feelings or are they programmed? But we as people do we have genuine feelings or are they "programmed" in our genetic code, by society, and by other factors? Intriguing questions from an intriguing film. Definitely a thinking persons movie. The acting by Haley Joel Osmet was outstanding and the supporting cast was equally good, too. The portrayal of the future was somewhat frightening but also extremely fascinating. Especially the ending of the film. I saw this film with my brother who's first word when the film ended was "Wow!" He only expresses that for films he really likes. Those who like science fiction and those who like films that make them think definitely see this film. Even if you are not as impressed as I am you will find parts of the film fascinating.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I won't say people will either love this movie or they will hate it.
I'm sure it breaks down that way to some extent, and the range of
opinions expressed about the movie support that notion, but I'm
nevertheless also sure there are those out there who are ambivalent or
indifferent about it, neither loving or hating it. That's because I'm
one who was ambivalent about it after I first saw it in 2001. There was
much to like about the movie. Film makers par excellence, Stanley
Kubrick and Steven Spielberg. Does it get any better than that? The
cast was good too, all of it. Especially Haley Joel Osment. Production
values galore. The film is beautifully rendered. But even with all that
there was something about it that bothered me, even annoyed me, and
whatever it was it got in the way of my enjoyment of it. So I dismissed
this movie and didn't even think about again it for years. Recently it
popped up on HBO. I took the opportunity to watch it again. I found
myself not being as bothered by the movie as I was before. HBO being
HBO, I watched it again. And then again. Now there is nothing about the
movie I dislike or that bothers me. I now like this movie without
reservation. I also figured out why I reacted the way I did in the
My suggestion to those who don't like the movie is watch it again, and give it your thorough attention. Your opinion may change. For a couple of reasons.
First, this is a very complex movie. There's a lot to take in, visually, cognitively, philosophically. I've now seen it four times and I don't believe I've yet absorbed all there is. We're talking Kubrick AND Spielberg here. That alone tells you this movie contains much to behold. I'm not of the school who believes that Spielberg mucked this up after Kubrick died. Yes, Kubrick nursed this project along for over 20 years, from initial writing and treatment through rewrite after rewrite. But it was Kubrick who hand-picked Spielberg to direct it, years before it finally was made, Kubrick leaving his indelible imprimatur, but Spielberg likewise leaving his too was always anticipated, including by Kubrick. Kubrick wanted Spielberg's touch on this movie. Nor do I believe the movie is "20 minutes too long". Those last 20 minutes are not just Spielberg schmaltz, they are important to the resolution of the story. Throughout the first 126 minutes of the movie we are asked in myriad ways to care about David. The last 20 minutes gives meaning to that caring. Without that conclusion there is no meaning, just a cold void.
Which leads directly to the second reason why I recommend repeated viewings, and the explanation for my initial reaction. The story is about a robot designed and programmed to be just like a little boy, who wants to be a real little boy, and who literally spends thousands of years seeking the return of love from his human "mother" who he was programmed to bond with and love. That's the basis from which all manner of questions are asked and explored, about the meaning of love, humanity, and of existence itself. I submit that this storyline told that way --about a child-- ultimately overwhelms the emotional senses. It more than tugs at the heartstrings. It yanks at them. While we might care about the android Data on Star Trek, or about the robot Robin Williams plays in Bicentennial Man, both of which also want to be human, our caring for those "adult" robots is nothing compared to the caring we feel for the child David here. With an innocent child seeking his mother's love it all goes way over the top. Add to the mix that Haley Joel Osment played the role masterfully. With this recipe the movie bluntly manipulates our emotions, something it does too well. It becomes distracting and difficult to watch, let alone to process analytically. Think Bambi, but on steroids. Many of us just shut it down, saying to ourselves, "I don't need this maudlin stuff in my life." Thus affected, the viewer never appreciates the movie's rich themes because the shutdown blocks all that. What I found, however, is that subsequent viewings lessens the distracting effect, and the movie becomes much easier to watch and fully appreciate. Oddly, it appears that Kubrick and Spielberg knew exactly what they were toying with in this respect, and they did it intentionally. It is embedded in the story itself. The flesh fair's barker, as he was getting ready to destroy David, has to keep reminding the audience that David is only a machine, not a real boy, and he implores the audience to not allow their emotions to be manipulated by the machine's child-like appearance. As David tearfully pleads for his life the audience is swayed, giving David an opening to escape. The inner audience, the audience within the story, is is being manipulated the same way we in the outer audience, were being manipulated. This must be a conceit by intent and design.
As a child actor Haley Joel Osment was nonpareil. The Sixth Sense told us that. This was his last role as a child, and after this he became a different actor (see e.g., Secondhand Lions). Puberty did that. His career as an adult actor is just now beginning, and what that holds in store remains to be seen. But as a child he was very very good. Maybe the best ever. And this is him at his best
If you haven't seen it, be prepared to see it more than once. If you have seen it, see it again. This is a movie that gets better each time you see it.
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