While this film was based on the Brian Aldiss short story "Supertoys Last All Summer Long," that short story has less influence on the movie than the famous poem by William Butler Yeats, "The Stolen Child." The text of the poem appears in the movie in two places, and certain stanzas take on literal meaning as well (e.g. "Till the moon has taken flight"). There are also many surprising similarities to the Philip K. Dick short story "Second Variety".
For the last seven minutes of A.I. the composer John Williams wrote a piano concerto, and it went over the length of the film. Steven Spielberg stopped the projector and told Williams to just let the music continue. Spielberg along with his editor Michael Kahn then re-edited the last seven minutes of movie into Williams' piano concerto. Spielberg did a similar thing years before E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), where he and Carol Littleton edited the last 15 minutes into Williams' music.
Haley Joel Osment suggested to Steven Spielberg that his character (David) should not blink. Spielberg agreed and went further to suggest that none of the androids should blink. In fact, several of them do (see goofs).
The World Trade Center is seen in the New York scenes of the film, set many years into the future after 2001. Less than three months after the film's release, they were destroyed in the September 11 terrorist attacks. Though risking controversy and criticism, Steven Spielberg left the twin towers in the DVD release.
The film also pioneered the virtual studio, a technique which allowed Steven Spielberg to walk through a virtual version of Rouge City with his camera and select shots. This technique was later used on "The Lord of the Rings" films.
The movie was originally to be titled A.I., but after a survey it was revealed that too many people thought it was A1. The title was changed to A.I. Artificial Intelligence to prevent people from thinking it was about steak sauce.
Includes many of the trademarks of Stanley Kubrick. Among these are the narration at the beginning; portrayal of dehumanization and the dark side of human nature; the shots down the length of tall, parallel walls, and "The Glare", with David's head tilted and eyes looking upwards; the scene in the bathroom; the three-way conflict between David, Monica and Martin; an obsessed hero; imaginary worlds; a journey towards freedom/knowledge; the use of classical music in Richard Strauss' "Der Rosenkavalier".
The band playing at the flesh fair, Ministry, was chosen by Stanley Kubrick himself, after overhearing a crew member playing a Ministry album one day on the set of Eyes Wide Shut (1999). Kubrick was also said to have liked the band because they used audio samples from his film Full Metal Jacket (1987) in their 1989 song "Thieves".
When David and Gigolo Joe first arrive at Rouge City, and they drive through an arch shaped like a giant mouth, the film uses a piece of music preselected by Stanley Kubrick when he was still considering directing the film. John Williams thought the music fit perfectly with the way the scene was shot by Steven Spielberg.
It was Stanley Kubrick's idea to include industrial metal band "Ministry" to the movie. He was a big fan of them, and called lead singer Al Jourgensen asking him if he would like to be in the movie, Al, assuming it was just a prank, hung up on him.
As a promotional tool, the creators developed an elaborate internet game of discovery and problem solving, through hidden messages and puzzles in internet sites, telephone answering messages, e-mail accounts and clues in the film's trailers. The game, set in the world of A.I. involved websites registered in several countries around the world as well as telephone numbers from across the US, and a group of followers called "The Cloudmakers" followed the puzzle, sharing information.
The character name "Professor Hobby" is an obscure reference to Stanley Kubrick, who produced his films in the United Kingdom under the name "Hobby Films," which never appeared on screen in any of his films.
John Williams quotes Richard Strauss' "Der Rosenkavalier" waltz in the underscore during the approach Rouge City. This was a done to honor Stanley Kubrick, who left few notes regarding the music except to tell Steven Spielberg that this Strauss waltz should appear in the film. Williams refers to his score, which contains a number of musical allusions to Kubrick's films in addition to the waltz, as his 'homage a Kubrick'.
After seeing Chris Cunningham's work on Judge Dredd (1995), Stanley Kubrick head-hunted Chris Cunningham to design and supervise animatronic tests of the central robot child character in his version of the film A.I. Cunningham worked for over a year on the film A.I., before leaving to pursue a career as a director.
At the preview showings of the movie, special posters were placed in the theaters with a list of credits for the "Puppetmasters": Jordan Weisman, Elan Lee, Scot Bayless, Sean Stewart, Dan Carver, Pete Fenlon, Todd Lubsen, Paolo Malabuyo, Mark Selander, Mike Pondsmith, Lynn Knight, David Wells, Shawn Ferminger and Christine Hill. No regular movie posters were displayed that night. The "Puppetmasters" were a team from Microsoft, with Steven Spielberg's blessing, and quite outside the studio's wishes, that ran the Internet game. No movie credits were listed. Many of the players' on-line game names were in vertical lists in an outline of the regular A.I. "Initials" movie poster.
When Gigolo Joe and David fly through the flooded ruins of New York City in the Amphiblicopter, the Statue of Liberty can be briefly seen submerged in the ocean up to the bottom of her torch. In Russell Ash's 1996 book "Incredible Comparisons", it is described that if all the world's ice melted, this is exactly what would happen to the statue.
The screenplay "borrows" liberally from Osamu Tezuka's 1952 manga Tetsuwan Atomu (known as Astro Boy in the English speaking world), in which a scientist creates an emotion-capable boy robot to replace his dead son, but becomes frustrated when he realizes the robot will never grow up or become human. He sells Astro Boy to the Robot Circus, where he's forced to do battle with other robots in gladiator-style combat.
For all his creativity, Kubrick was more interested in the 'appearance' of the future than what the future would actually be like. In '2001, a Space Odyssey,' the only women are servers and secretaries. In 'AI,' he imagines three wheeled pod cars (still driven by humans, which probably won't be the case in the future shown in the film), but people in this future are still using land line phones.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
Stanley Kubrick worked on the project for 12 years before his death, but along the way decided to let Steven Spielberg direct, saying it was "closer to his sensibilities". The two collaborated for years, resulting in Kubrick giving Spielberg a complete treatment and lots of conceptual art for the film prior to his death. Even the much-criticized ending, that many viewers assumed was an addition that Spielberg had insisted on, was a part of Kubrick's original treatment.
The elaborate series of promotional websites included information about the characters' lives after their last appearances in the film. For instance, one website revealed that Martin Swinton grew up to be an architect who, after being traumatized by David's disappearance, spent his career building sentient A.I. houses.
Steven Spielberg: [father] David and Henry are somewhat distant from each other and, while Monica performs the imprinting sequence with David, Henry never does. Professor Hobby made David in the image of his own dead son. He tells David he's as real a boy as he's ever made; in a way, he has to lose his son again.
Around 10 minutes into the film when first introduced to David, before David is actually seen in the bright lights, his image is that undoubtedly similar to that of the bodies of the evolved A.I. Robots at the end of the film.