A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001) (PG-13)

All the truly great science fiction movies have special effects that still are powerful today. Whether it's "2001: A Space Odyssey" or "Jurassic Park", they are built on what they can achieve in the special effect department. Who wants to see normal things in the future or a parallel universe? "A.I. Artificial Intelligence" is no stranger to great effect—but it's script seems a little weird.
This film was a project of Kurbrick's before he died, which comes as no surprise when the story is finished you can see how the odd director would have done it. But it was Spielberg who ended up directing "A.I." and I think that he is the better choice between the two for this movie. Kubrick, whether you like him or not, has a tendency to drone on and Spielberg, while perhaps not perfect, does liven the screen up a lot more than his colleague.
A company has decided to make a machine that can feel and reciprocate love. Not physical love of the flesh but maternal love as that of a child to his mother.
There is a family whose son is dying on an incurable disease so they take part in a test with Cybertronics, a company that builds mechas (robots). The real son is frozen in cryogenics and a robot child named David is brought home with the Martin family. The mom is skeptical of the robot and objects to him being in their house. But he grows on her and she activates a program that will start the attachment process. He grows to love his 'mother' but something happens that throws the story off-track. The son (who had an incurable disease) apparently didn't have that much of an incurable disease because a treatment is made for him and he recovers and returns home. Then he sees endless delight in tormenting David and daring him to do things to prove his humanity. Eventually, the Martin family start to see David as a threat to them even though he's as innocent as you could imagine.
Meanwhile the saga of humans tormenting the robots continue as a robot prostitute, Gigolo Joe (Jude Law) is framed for murder and goes on the run.
It's interesting how many movie that involve artificial intelligence have humans being the bad guys, and this is no exception. Robots are rounded up and destroyed in grotesque ways for entertainment and little thought is given to what they "feel"...after all they can't feel anything can they?
Haley Joel Osment plays David and it's basically his movie. He is the movie. There's no other characters that carry a movie the way that he does in this one besides perhaps Adrien Brody in "The Pianist".
But the real star of the movie is split into two parts and one of them isn't even human. A robotic teddy bear, Teddy, voiced to perfection by Jack Angel. The bear is one of the special effects that will never age. I have no idea how they made that freakin' thing work but it does and incredibly well I might add. The other character that steals the show is Gigolo Joe. Jude Law does a stunning job as the robot and I'm not sure how he never got nominated for this role. It's very reminiscent to the recent job by Michael Fassbender as David in "Prometheus". Except Fassbender was religiously tight in his interpretation and Jude Law is flamboyant and eccentric while still convincing you that he really doesn't feel anything.
The ending....yes, the ending, I must speak of this. The ending is really weird, it's not "2001" weird but it's close. You can sort of feel the Kubrick coming out of the story with the ending and paired with Spielberg's need for sentimentality...it collapses.
If you could possibly watch this movie without the last thirty minutes it would be fantastic. The journey/searching-for-a-meaning aspect has been done thousands of times but it's very attractive in "A.I.".
The special effects are what make this movie—that and John Williams's score. It's not a movie that you can watch over and over but I do think that it's worth at least seeing it once.

Score: 3 out of 4 stars

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