Once upon a time there was a man named Stanley Kubrick. This man had a
to make a movie based on a short story named Super-Toys Last All Summer
In a sad twist of fate, he passed away before beginning work on this
Legend has it that he had a wonderful friend named Steven, who would
this idea to life. Unfortunately, this is where the vision gets a
From the trailer, the actual plot of A.I. is a little hard to discern.
clear it had something to do with Steven Spielberg (1st instant appeal
factor). It had something to do with a Pinocchio-esque robot boy who
be real (2nd instant appeal factor) and Spielberg was merely seeing
the vision of Stanley Kubrick, one of the most intriguing filmmakers of
last 30 years (3rd instant appeal factor). What wonders would a
between such masters of film present to the audience?
The truth is A.I. is a stark contrast from the trailer's assertions.
It is a
dark, at times downright creepy movie. If you are expecting a
ET-esque romp, this is not the film for you. A.I. follows the struggle
David; a robot programmed to love his mother Monica (O'Connor). Luck
on David's side when Monica's son Martin wakes up from his coma and
home, leaving no room in the house for the little robot-boy. For the
remainder of the movie, David treks around attempting to become a real
his mother will love him again.
A.I. is visually awe-inspiring. It thrusts the audience into a variety
almost virtual-reality-like futuristic worlds, full of color and
atmospheres, a testament to Spielberg's imagination. As David enters
City, it feels like one is witnessing the unfolding of a movie that
become embedded in cinematic history. For all its innovation, it is
lack of substance which makes it place on future AFI lists highly
One cannot deny that A.I. is helped by the wealth of acting talent it
displays. Osment is wonderful as the bewildered David and equally
performances are given by Jude Law as the charismatic Gigolo Joe and
Hurt as robot creator Dr. Hobby. It is Frances O'Connor who provides
greatest disappointment and creates a serious doubt as to the
of the story's main conflict. O'Connor plays David's mother who,
accounts, is not particularly thrilled about having a new addition to
family and when faced with the choice, it seems she has few qualms
throwing David out. So why would David spend the rest of the movie
prove his love for a woman who obviously cares so little for him? Is it
because he is programmed to do so? Hard-wiring hardly seems like
motivation and this is where the emotional appeal of A.I. falls flat.
Another of A.I. biggest flaws is the lack of focus on its themes. There
issues of love, in particular how David's unquestioning love is
his human family, but Spielberg also introduces a conflict between the
[robots] and humans. It then becomes an issue of outsiders versus
but this is hardly explored during the film. There is also a strange
involving Gigolo Joe and a dead woman which is never explained.
There is no doubt that A.I. gives glimpses of pure genius, especially
eerie nature of Davids personal conflict and the visual journey his
spiraling alienation takes. There are also times when the movie
comedic treasures, especially in the form of the absurd Snuggle-Bear,
a soft-toy manifestation of David's conscience. Even with little
Jude Law is brilliant as the quirky robot-prostitute. His portrayal is
perfect, even down to the minutest mechanical mannerisms.
It is hard to give A.I. a fair assessment as it is the kind of movie
begs at least a second viewing, if not third or seventh to truly do
to its complexity. It seems more like a work in progress than a final
and maybe 10 years from now, when the special edition DVD comes out,
feeling of completion it lacks will be resolved. Until then, A.I. feels
a movie which was directed for the first two hours by Stanley Kubrick,
handed off to Spielberg who made a touchy-feely last half an hour with
regard for the tone his friend tried to create.
When it comes to collaborations with the deceased, Spielberg should
taken note of Nat "King" and Natalie Cole's success and made sure he
tune with Kubrick's aspirations. Maybe then A.I. would have truly