warning: there will be some spoiers so skip this one if you haven't seen it.
this movie suffers from an identity crisis. is it supposed to be a chilling reminder that machines can never fully replace humans? or does it say that when humanity is long gone, the most primitive element of love will last in its ultimate creations, thus making love = eternity? it's got a stone cold atmosphere at times, and it feels like a tender family movies at others. spielberg made a valiant effort at trying to be stanley kubrick for chunks of this movie, but his innate tendencies eventually shined through, adding the cheese factor.
this movie insults you as a viewer quite a few times. not with stupid things it starts off with the eventual banishment of david, where their real son acts as a catalyst for his departure. the parents don't bother to ask david why he did those weird things, and surely the mech doesn't seem capable of deceit or killing. you're going to tell me that he wouldn't tell the parents that the kid's friend stabbed his arm, or that his real brother told him to get a lock of his mommy's hair to make him love her? that's a big hole in my eyes. if she were an irrational alcoholic, then it makes sense that they need to be rid of this robot.
but spielberg makes family movies to an extent, although he really tried to do otherwise at times here.
instead it's a sad utopia failed type of thing, and the parents show a brash disregard for knowing the truth as they wholly accept their son, capable of deceit, as the innocent child out of the two, based on his humanity. so the mindgames of a gimpy 8 year old kid worked on his parents, woe is indeed me at this point.
the framing of the gigolo came out of nowhere and went nowhere. it seems to me that this was added in at some point to give the movie some much needed action scenes to flex their CG skills. who killed the woman? why blame a robot when you've already gotten away with it? who cares? let's face it, a few heart to heart conversations with a few robots and their teddybear isn't going to do much otehr than induce sleep for a couple hours, so there's this convenient twist that causes them to run of their lives for a good hour or so, changing the whole feel of the movie.
from there the movie is a split between a twisted future flick and a boy chasing his dreams flick. other characters flutter throughout pointlessly, most notably the professor hobby. let's see: he tells david how important he is and how he's the first success, so then you let the boy run off and dive into the water because he's so important? you got me there.
the epilogue ended the movie on a low note, and in my opinion, this is where kubrick could have made this movie classic. first off, one more hole: how can someone be revived from a strand of hair and only live for a day with no viable explanation as to why they die? that's completely irrational, and likely a quick fix to finish up the movie in 5 mintues flat. so anyways, there's an aura of kubrick ambiguity with the unknown silver creatures (i presume them to be the future manifestation of mecha technology rather than alien), but the movie takes a sharp turn in the spielberg direction with the sappy feelgood ending. oh one more giant insulting plot hole: WHY NOT TAKE MORE OF HER HAIR AND JUST MAKE HER AGAIN? are we really that stupid? they tried to make some spacetime continuum passageway explanation as to why they can live again for one day, but that doesnt hold up as to why they can't just make a new mommy every day. please, a little credit for us?
look at stanley kubrick's past with movies: he loves to leave you pondering a philosophical question at the end. did alex really get cured in a clockwork orange? is "curing" proper? what the heck happened t the end of 2001? should we trust machines with power over our lives? to me, this movie seemed to be building up to a big question at the end: what's beyond love? kubrick seemed to have a brilliant concept here. he detached the definitive human emotion from humans and put it in a heartless machine to analyze it from a different perspective. however, spielberg seemed to end the movie prematurely by showing david go to sleep aside his irrationaly dead mother figure, opting for a happy ending rather than a chilling one.
i'm led to believe that if kubrick were alive and doing this movie, david would have gotten up as his mommy deceased and looked outside at a barren world in which he had no place, his one day of love now forever gone.. and he would have had a nearly blank look on his eyes, maybe even a tear running down his cheek in the inevitable close up shot as he began to realize infinite letdown. i'm confident that stanley kubrick wouldn't have left you with a cozy feeling coming out of this movie, and thus is the curse of steven spielberg. i give him credit for trying, but his tendencies eventually shined through this picture, proving that nobody can replace stanley kubrick. rest in peace, dude.
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