Wednesday, June 04, 2003


A Video Review of "A.I. Artificial Intelligence"

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

I don’t know how it happened but it did. This is three completely different movies with a very tenuous thread of continuity.

A.I. was to be Stanley Kubrick’s next film but he sadly passed away before it went into production. Steven Spielberg stepped in to complete the project. It is the story of well, unfortunately, Pinocchio, to cut it to the bone. It could have been much more complicated and sophisticated than that but fate, in the person of Steven Spielberg, intervened.

Part one deals with a robot boy trying to fit in with his new family. It feels very Kubrick, almost as if Spielberg had storyboards and direction notes to work from. The deft hand that made The Shining, 2001 A Space Odyssey and Eyes Wide Shut so creepy and disturbing is apparent in abundance here. The emotional motivation of all the characters involved is superiorly portrayed.

Part two is a mistake. The robot boy, now on a mission to become a real boy (a concept shown to him by the book "Pinocchio") enters the not-so-pedestrian cyberpunk world that surrounds the domesticity of family life he knew previously. This harsh environment is awkward and unnatural in Spielberg’s hands. Perhaps he doesn’t have the proper evil streak to understand or portray this type of future evil. His work on Minority Report after this proves he has learned little since. Who knows what Kubrick may have had in mind for this sequence. The mind boggles.

Part three descends into a conclusion that makes one suspect perhaps Kubrick had no ending. Spielberg goes for the obvious, the Pinocchio connection, directly for the obvious. The boy looks for the Blue Fairy herself who changes Pinocchio into a real boy. The silliness of this conclusion enraged me no end. The flick begins as Kubrick genius falls into typical uninspired cyberpunk and then into lame fairy tale madness.

What can I really say about the cast? With exception everyone does an adequate job. When acting robotic one has to wonder if talent or un-talent is involved. Being robotic or ‘wooden’ is a bad thing when it comes to stage skill. Had I not seen Haley Joel Osment in other roles I would have to wonder he is so good here. Jude Law however is truly robotic to the point where it is not a good thing. He can do so much better.

The film is pretty and the special effects are amazing. It’s a good rent, especially if you have your finger on the fast forward button. Don’t expect a story or the usual genius one might get from Kubrick or Spielberg, a true disappointment from men of their caliber.

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