A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001) Poster

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Future classic...?
secombe8226 September 2001
Warning: Spoilers
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 years 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 again.

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.
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If you don't like this movie, here's a suggestion...
tightspotkilo15 August 2009
Warning: 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 initial viewing.

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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A.I.--A Film With Heart And Brains
virek2136 July 2001
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.
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A great movie trying to get out
epsilon324 March 2002
A.I. is a difficult film. Some of it is brilliant, while some is dire.

The acting - Haley Joel Osment as David the mecha (robot) boy is superb. He plays the role with such intelligence and maturity - it's a real achievement and bodes well for his future (if he can avoid hitting the self destruct button like so many other child stars.) Jude Law puts in another solid performance as 'Gigolo Joe' the mecha prostitute. In a similar vein to his previous roles in Gattaca and eXistenZ, he's quirky and somehow detached from reality - it works brilliantly. He's rapidly turning into one of my favourite actors. "Hey Joe - Waddya know?"

The rest of the cast is very good but doesn't shine, perhaps because their characters were treated lightly and not fully explored. Overall though - good performances by all.

The sets , costumes and special effects are of a very high standard. Until the last 30 minutes or so, the use of computer graphics is tastefully done and never feel like an excuse to wow the audience with some clever CGI. The scenes at the Flesh Fair (a kind of rock concert where mecha are destroyed for the entertainment of spectators) are powerful, visceral and in your face. The flying and underwater scenes were also very well handled, although not mind blowing.

Now the downside, and it's a big downside.

The plot is incredibly disjointed. I didn't expect it to be so obvious that this movie had been directed by two different people and thought Spielberg to be more subtle. There was apparently little attempt by Spielberg to blend his parts of the movie with Kubrick's to create a coherent whole. Instead what we get is a wonderfully dark first 60-90 minutes and then something reminiscent of 'Close Encounters of the E.T. kind' tacked on to make us feel good. As a result, the feel of the film quickly evaporated into a mush. There were a couple of chances to end the movie earlier (notably at the end of the underwater section) and it was a mistake to take the movie beyond these points. The poignancy is lost with repeated attempts to extend and explain the story in unnecessary ways, the scene with David's mother towards the end being especially contrived and saccharin.

The sum up, this felt like two movies in one - an intelligent, dark and fascinating film mixed one that's formulaic, sentimental and cheesy. Because of this it fails to reach the promised heights and at times feels messy. It's ultimately unsatisfying and left me very disappointed, but not because it's bad, but rather because I expected so much more. As many others have said, I can't help wondering what heights it would have reached if Kubrick hadn't passed away.

An interesting film, but rent it first as it's not for everyone.
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One of the year's best films -- thought-provoking and deeply moving. ***1/2 (out of four)
Movie-122 August 2001
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.
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Classic Stanley Kubrick !!
Exploited19 July 2001
This movie has SO many angles, so much information... I was completely blown away by it and will definitely go see it many more times in the cinema. This 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".
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RHa4093 July 2001
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.
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I liked it
smitheeallen8 December 2001
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.
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Spielberg's cinematic tribute to Kubrick
bourke-23 July 2001
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 maternal love.

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.
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mjl196618 September 2002
Being a fan of both Kubrick and Spielburg, this movie was a surprising miss. It tries real hard, but gets confused and lost.

I've read that Kubrick originally worked on this project before Spielburg picked it up. I don't know to what extent each actually worked on filming, but it sure does feel like two different directors worked on this movie - which is problem # 1.

Both have a unique style that do not mix well. Kubrick is a master at disciplined contemplation of a moral issue while Spielburg is a master at spinning a wonderfully entertaining yarn. This film tries to do both and it just doesn't work.

The first act of the film, which to me feels entirely Kubrickian, is great. We are immediately immersed in a moral conundrum. The pit is deep, dark, poignantly adorned with characters against a somber stage that compels us to engage the material. It also is very much in the style of Kubrick: sets, lots of master shots, slow moving and ponderous "photography in motion." The ambience is there to serve the story in every detail. If this was Spielburg's homage to Kubrick, well done. If this was Kubrick's work, wel l, it was right on target. (I really miss his work.)

The characters are drawn clearly if not archetypically and draw us unabashedly into the ring of moral discourse which we achingly yet eagerly embrace.

Then, the story that is being constructed is completely abandoned in the second act as the main character (boy robot) is taken completely out of the setting that's been developed to this point and we embark on an odyssey of sorts. I spent most of the second act wondering what was going to happen in the plot that was being developed in the first act. We never find out.

From this point on, the movie is all Spielburg. Fanciful staging, lots of effects, the obligatory allusion to the holocaust and gut-wrenching turmoil for our little hero and his friend. This is a huge contrast to the beginning of the story and is so different that it really feels like a whole different movie. Following the sublime Chardonnay of Kubrick with the super-charged Frappucino of Spielburg is unsettling and frustrating. For example, the staging in the first act is dominated by polished wood floors, furniture that is both kitsch and futuristic and smoky corporate offices. The second act is pretty much Back to the Future meets Thunderdome. The two have their place - but not in the same movie!

Where the first act compels us to consider the matter, the second act throws us against the wall, puts a gun to our head and screams, "listen to me!"

By the third act, I had really lost interest. I never quite got over the abandonment of the original story and didn't really feel like getting involved in the second one - both because it wasn't as interesting and because I didn't want to be cheated twice in two hours.

The end of the third act is really where the movie should have stopped. It was sad, pitiful and left us with the core moral issue of how we tend to implement an idea without thinking of the consequences.

But, no, here comes the fourth act - and the other major problem with this movie. Epilog, coda, call it what you want, the ending was tacked on and was just horrible. More face time for the FX folks and some really trite, contrived and irrelevant dialog from robots about the space-time continuum. Really, who cares? It's just an awkward plot device and you roll your eyes and ask "Wha--?" all at the same time. The second ending, as I like to call it, attempts to fulfill the demand for emotional conclusion that the odyssey portion of the film has built up yet fails to do so. "Whatever" comes to mind. I bet this was done in response to test screening.

Still, I'm glad I saw this movie. It has some great moments, compelling subject matter and Osment puts in a truly great performance. Just don't look for coherent plot and a sensible story line.
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A mind-blowing movie that will grow in stature
velkjent6 March 2002
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 big-budget experience.

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.
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Artificial, but not Intelligent
csm2317 April 2002
Steven Spielberg's AI fails to live up to its billing, which really bothers me, because artificial intelligence is such a rich and variegated subject, traversing the fields of biophysics, psychology, philosophy, and even religion, that the payoffs for careful consideration of this subject are potentially great, perhaps even inspiring. Spielberg, it seems, didn't even bother to make a trip to the library, preferring instead to invest awkward and incomprehensible phrases like `human beings are the key to the meaning of existence' with eschatological gravitas.

Throughout this film, Spielberg drives home one theme over and over and over: humans are more programmatic, both in their thinking, and their behavior, than `mechas.' We watch David's parents first adopt and then abandon the robot boy because of their prejudice about what is `real' and what is not, a deliberate irony seeing as how David is in many ways more human than their biological son. We see a perfectly ridiculous `Flesh Fair' thrown into the movie to embellish this point: the `artificiality' these humans seek to destroy might just as well be their own.

At worst, the movie has a psychotic message. At the heart of the film, Professor Hobby, who designed David, delivers an impassioned speech, telling him that his singular quest to become a `real' boy at the magical hand of the Blue Fairy is a human flaw which is also humanity's `greatest single' gift: The ability to `chase down dreams. ` Problem is, if a human dreamed of becoming a non-organic being, and could not find surcease from his labors to do so, he would become, if not already, psychotic. Why Mr. `Hobby' couldn't have made the boy to accept himself as he is, which is the essence of human spirituality, seems never to have occurred to him. And so one leaves the movie with a sick feeling in the pit of one's stomach, due largely to the fact that this psychotic idea is presented as an axiom, with religious fervor.

AI succeeds in being artificial, but not in showing intelligence.
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Ten minutes from greatness
haz225 April 2006
This movie is about ten minutes too long and it truly should have finished with David at the bottom of the ocean. It has a tragic beauty up to that point, poignant like some of the sad fairy tales that made you cry as a child, and heart-wrenching with its portrayal of betrayed innocence and sad lingering fierce love of a child viewing as an adult.

The happy ending really ruined this, and turned it into something that landed just slightly on the side of the ridiculous. Perhaps Spielberg just couldn't resist adding something cheering but it simply doesn't work well in this film. I hope he will in time learn that sad ending, while no doubt depressing to some, can also evoke strong emotional response that is thought-provoking, also ultimately up-lifting and cathartic to the viewers.
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Steve's game
fabiogaucho24 October 2004
Artificial intelligence can be clearly divided in tow parts, quite different in mood and theme. The first hour imitates Staley Kubrick, who had worked on the project before his death. It is as if Spielberg is playing with Kubrick's fans: he films that part of the film exactly like the dead master would do it, reproducing very well that very disturbing mood from "full metal Jacket"'s first half, "A Clockwork Orange" and "Paths of Glory".

It feels like a game. Spielberg knows that people could not this film and not ask: "I wonder how would Kubrick have done it", or start comparing the two to Spielberg's disadvantage. So he answers the question showing which film Kubrick would do in the 1st hour (the exact moment when the mom leaves the boy-robot), which proves his control over the medium (something no one ever questioned) and then moving on to HIS film, with the human content and theme he thinks he can provide (something you can easily question his ability).

Now he has to prove he can do a better job. So he extends and overfilms to the point of exhaustion his "vision", putting as much visual and emotion you could expect. Overall, it felt kind of boring and empty.

So it's like "I gave you Kubrick and more! By the way, wasn't my vision more interesting?". No, it wasn't, Steve. You proved you are a talented director enough to bring to life a dead cinema master in a way we can almost believe he directed from the dead. But you proved, once more, that as an artist you can only be obvious and dull.
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The Kubrick Dialectic, the Spielberg Inheritance, the AI Challenge
votarus49 July 2001
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.
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Good Idea, Poor Execution
Matador077 May 2003
I would say that I was disappointed by this movie, except that I admittedly went in with relatively low expectations (based on reviews) and it wasn't THAT bad. But the movie WAS a mess. There is a great idea buried in here somewhere, and its an interesting topic with great dramatic potential. But the movie only achieves emotional fusion in fits and starts, and it just sort of wanders on along rather than moving with force and purpose. The ending, in particular, should have been much, much better, and felt tacked on, perhaps in service of the fairy tale narration. In the end, this one felt like it needed two or three more passes beneath an editor's red pen to tighten it up, focus the plot, highlight the theme, etc. I was very ready for it to be over, long before the final credits rolled.

There is a great movie about this topic out there waiting to be made, its just disappointing when arguably the greatest living director failed to deliver. Maybe a 5/10.
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Artificial indeed
filmquestint15 January 2005
Strange, "ET" made me weep so did "Close Encounters" but I didn't weep in "Schindler's List", where the horrors depicted are devastating and the pain, unbearable. How can I explain that? It's not just me, discussing the subject with friends we were all in agreement, a situation more unique than rare, the only in disagreement was a friend from Aberdeen, she cried in "Schindler's List" from beginning to end, but she doesn't count, she also cried in "Zoolander". So the mystery persists. Steven Spielberg, the most commercially successful movie director of the last 30 years, has touched and ventured into different genres with the uttermost confidence. His most artistically, emotionally and financially successful movies are the ones that appeal to a child's imagination. The child in all of us. So, why is it that "Artificial Intelligence", with a child, and what a child, at the centre of the story, is so cold, so confused, so unsuccessful. I think, I suspect, I imagine that it has to do with intellect. Spielberg is an anti intellectual. When he feels we feel when he thinks we don't feel anything. The boy's need for his mother's love could have been the definitive Spielberg movie. Instead, is as if he was telling us the story against his will. The scene in which the mother has to abandon his robot son, could have been unforgettable, instead, a lot of acting in a Disney like little forest. That's also the end of the movie. It is followed by a second feature that should be called "Mad Max meets Dr.Who" with a splendid Jude Law. I went to see the film at the first matinée on its opening day. I left the theatre kind of depressed, not sad, depressed. I was reminded of it today because my friend from Aberdeen had rented the DVD, she was watching it and of course, she was crying.
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I can't believe people liked it
skinnyboy5 September 2001
Warning: Spoilers
If you haven't seen this movie, be grateful. *spoilers ahead*

First, the good parts. In the first half of the film, Osment plays the role of robot incredibly well. Ok. That's it.

Overall, the first half of the film is bad. The second half, however, is completely unbearable. There were two or three places where the film could have ended and made as much sense as it did ultimately, but instead it dragged on for ages. Other reviews mention A.I. as being a great work by Kubrick or Spielberg. I wonder, if their names had not been associated with this movie, would people claim to like it just as much? Having to listen to a 13-year old squeal "Mommy" over and over just doesn't appeal to me.

A.I. had so many flaws that I can barely think of a place to begin. Somehow, water does absolutely no damage to the robot, but spinach does? Cold temperatures affect it as well? The other physical problems were insane: The helicopter can submerge to those depths? The ferris wheel falling on it doesn't crush it? Statues and their painted surfaces remain perfectly intact after being submerged and encased in ice for thousands of years? The buildings in Manhattan (and don't even get me started on the explanation of the city's name) are still standing after all that time? My personal favorite is the school of fish being able to swim the submerged robot back to the surface.

The flaws in reasoning are just as bad. Monica can't bring herself to have David dismantled (since we apparently cannot simply turn him off or erase any stored data), so instead she dumps him in the middle of the woods in a state of complete despair? Yeah, that'll be better for him! Technology has advanced to the point where robots can be made to perfectly resemble humans, think, and even love, but they have no common sense. Hmm... not everything you read is real? Isn't that a lesson that every 13-year old (even if he does only have 7 candles on a birthday cake) would know? So once the short ice age comes and goes, we need to create Monica once again. Since she'll be dead in a day, because... well... she just will, why bother with a DNA sample? I'm sure a realistic version of her could have been created. Squeals of "Mommy" could have been heard for years to come. And why does she never once question the sudden disappearance of her son and husband? Finally, the whole "Teddy-saves-the-hair" bit went beyond the realm of possibility for everyone.

I know, I know. I missed it. I didn't understand it. It was too deep for my mind. Disneyesque voice-overs automatically make a movie deep, I know. As far as I'm concerned, the only thing deep about A.I. was the non-stop crap on the screen.
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Spielberg is good. The film is not.
tblewis12 March 2002
Warning: Spoilers
(++++Spoilers) Can anybody answer these 4 questions about A.I. for me:

One, is there a single scene in this movie that doesn't go on way too long? Two, is it true that a movie's in trouble when it suddenly sprouts an omniscient narrator in the last ten minutes, just to make sure it overstates whatever point the preceding 2 ½ hours failed to drive home? Three, how'd we go from global warming to Ice Age in just two thousand years? Four, I get it that the omnipotent liquid-metallic aliens could clone the weird android kid's mother from her hair -- despite the fact that it was cut hair, and you need the hair root to clone from, because it's the scalp cells that contain DNA, not the protein fibers of human hair. But the liquid mind-reading aliens aren't bothered by that technicality, and they clone her anyway. And somehow the aliens got all her memories back into her brain, including her recent memories of the freaky android kid, because the aliens evidently have discovered that human beings encode memories in their hair. (Is that just scalp hair, by the way, or is it body hair as well?) So the liquid omnipotent psychic benevolent post-Ice-Age anorexic aliens clone the android kid's mother from the cut hair fragments that Teddy had in his pocket for two thousand years, the hairs that somehow didn't rot, but then the loveable well-meaning aliens ran afoul of this metaphysical barrier dictating that cloned mothers can only last for a day, because the space-time currents have decreed that once a space-time pathway is used, it can never be used again -- or least it *can* be used, OK, but just for 24 hours – because metaphysical barriers are flexible that way, and it's more of a guideline, really, than a rule. Now this guideline, flexible as it is, really befuddles the elegant long-limbed super-badass-cloning alien guys, the ultra-smart and so-very-nice aliens who can clone the mom from acellular cut hair just as they could probably clone her from her exhaled breath – but this super-restrictive space-line continuum 24-hour-maternal-expiration-date problem they just can't get around. My question is this: wouldn't it just be better if Spielberg himself stuck his head in the frame of the movie at this point in the film and said, "Look -- OK -- I've got a point I want to make, and the plot I've got running here won't really accomodate my point. Could I just say it to you straight out, and then I could avoid all these corny plot contrivances? Would that be OK? Great. Here goes: Kids, once you leave home, your moms will never love you again, even if you run into these super-omnipotent cool biotech alien guys, OK? NEVER. Not even then. Thanks. You've been super. Let's roll the credits." Would that not in fact be a more enjoyable movie-going experience?
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A.I. Is a good union of two great film makers.
Jafredderf1 July 2001
I saw A.I. on the first night it ran here and I must say I was disappointed in the size of the audience. How strange to see so few people show up for a Spielberg film. This film did not enjoy the normal hype that most of Spielberg's films enjoy, I think I know why. Lack of product placement. They're may have been some somewhere but I didn't see them. A.I.'s story line and flawless visual effects reflect what I can only describe as the meeting of two great film makers. Kubrick (who started work on the project after he read the Aldiss book in '83),and Steven Spielberg who's long list of intelligent blockbusters made him the perfect person to bring this story to the screen. I could, I believe see the story boards and concepts Kubrick developed and I could also see the sensitivity that Spielberg added to scenes and characters. These two things are not entirely separate in good Science Fiction. All good science fiction has some human sensitivity in it otherwise it would just be a horror film. The script reflects some of the darkness and coldness that sometimes underlies each character human and machine, there is no fear of this in the story. This darkness draws us on in the story.

The visual effects are stunning and come darn close to genius. The story line takes us in and the visuals make it almost real.

I wish I had Mr. Mannings grip of syntax, but all in all at the end of the day it's good science fiction and a good story too. I beleve that Stanley Kubrick's choice of asking Steven Spielberg to make this film was the kind of genius that Kubrick showed in all his work. It is a tribute to both men that they saw a vision of something and worked toward it's creation. I think they came to a great place in film making.
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A Masterpiece
david-chapman4 October 2001
Oh wow! Never in my life have I seen a film quite like this one. It leaves you pondering such weighty issues as the nature of love, humanity, technology, existence. Before this puts you off I must add that it asks these questions without the pretensions of an art house movie. Rather, it is a film that does not demand too much of the viewer to enjoy on the surface, but reveals itself when one starts to look deeper, starts thinking about what one has just experienced.

The generally negative reception of this film from the public is probably due in part to a misleading publicity campaign - the trailer paints the film as a nightmarish 'dark-future' action film, somewhere in the realm of Blade Runner. What the audience was given was an emotionally driven piece of drama, and a phenomenal one at that.

There is also a large contingent of people who deride the film as Spielbergian schmaltz. They accuse him of perverting the original intentions of Stanley Kubrick, and applying a sickly sweet veneer to what should have been a substantially darker, more disturbing piece. They seem to be unaware of the fact that Mr. Kubrick approached Mr. Spielberg to make the movie years ago, because he felt that his style of filmmaking would not suit this project, and that a more positive approach would be more appropriate.

Of course, most of these people will never accept that anything remotely connected to the mainstream could have any value...

What I am saying is that you should take a chance and go and see this movie. Maybe you will be left cold. Maybe you will be changed forever by a film the like of which has never been seen before. Just go into the cinema with an open mind and an open heart, and leave your cynicism at home.
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This movie is frustrating beyond it's sappy ending or overwhelming bad sense of forced sentimentality.
DJCYBORG8322 May 2007
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is frustrating for so many reasons.

Spielberg and Kubrick were purportedly good buddies, but that should not have been a reason for Spielberg to think he could work off of Kubrick's pre-production without butchering it.

I expected this movie to be so much more interesting and thought-provoking, and instead all I am left with is a ridiculous fairy-tale.

The first twenty minutes or so of this movie show great-potential. The idea of inviting something like David into your home is chilling, and the problems that his programming begins to cause are handled well. Suddenly and without warning he's running through the woods with a talking teddy bear being chased by guys in a hot-air balloon that looks like the moon. It feels like a really bad rehash of elements found in E.T.

The 'Flesh Fair' sequence is where things get really bad. Suddenly the cool futuristic design sense has been thrown out the window to make way for a 'spooky' carnival theme. It feels completely disjointed from the rest of the movie. I understand that it was intended to show human animosity and resentment towards the 'mecha'(what a stupid term to use), but there could have been so many better ways to do it instead of re-creating the droid torture scene from Return of the Jedi.

The idea of using robots for sex is a great moral dilemma and I'm sure was one of Kubrick's ideas for the film. Again this could have been handled so much more intelligently, yet we're left with Jude Law as a tap-dancing cartoon character.

At the end of the day, the biggest problem I have is that I couldn't care less about David or his convoluted Pinnochio-esquire quest. Sure it's really sad that he's so obsessed with Monica, but at the end of the day it's only his programming. I'm not sure why the movie kept trying to say that he actually 'loved' her, because from my point of view this simply wasn't so. He can reason to some extent, but his primary directive is not coming from any 'feeling' for her, simply a bonding that is hardwired in his system. To this extent, he may be one of the dumbest robots in movie history. The fact that he seems to be painfully unaware of his own existential dilemma, or simply won't acknowledge it, is perhaps the most annoying element of this film. The reason I feel that similar movies dealing with this topic such as Bladerunner and Ghost in the Shell are so successful is that the artificial protagonists are either painfully aware of their own existence or at least intelligently questioning it.

My final gripe comes from the ending of the movie. I think the idea of highly evolved robots sifting through the frozen remains of human civilization is great. Why on earth would they suddenly turn into benevolent faeries who are in the business of granting wishes? This was clearly Spielberg's final attempt to suck some tears out of the audience . The only reason I would have to cry at the end of this movie is the loss of Stanley Kubrick and the loss of such a potentially great movie.
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Why this movie is so perfect
miro_nabil-718-8703597 September 2019
Warning: Spoilers
I mean why?that movie can make me feel things I have never felt it before,the grief really strikes me deep down in my heart ...I watched this movie when I was 10 and cried a lot,back there I thought I am silly child but it didn't work out to be this way as I watched now(19) and cried hella a lot ...thank you Steven for this masterpiece.
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A "good" A.I. would be of infinitely less value than the A.I. that we have...a staggering creation.
punchxix5 April 2019
An unsettling sci-fi fairytale mélange of "Pinocchio" and "The Wizard of Oz" that's elegantly written, visually opulent and thematically challenging and discontented. One of Steven Spielberg's finest, and most fiercely misread, films.
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