Bright Summer Film: Artificial Intelligence
Spielberg’s AI—Artificial Intelligence, a fascinating but
flawed movie, is a masterpiece compared to some of the mindless
summer flicks at the multiplexes. It has provoked widely divergent
reviews and can provide hours of stimulating conversation at home
and in the classroom about the nature of love and the future of
Turning a 1964 sci-fi story by Brian Aldiss into a movie started
brewing in the late Stanley Kubrick’s brain 25 years ago. The
director, who died in 1999, involved Spielberg in his project
in the 1980s. The result is an attempt to blend Kubrick’s cold,
pessimistic world with Spielberg’s warm, fuzzy universe. They
don’t mix well, but the movie is nonetheless intriguing.
In a nutshell: The story is about an adorable robot that yearns
like Pinocchio to be a real boy and his adventures along the way
to achieving this goal.
In the mid-21st century, the Swinton family takes delivery
of the charming David (The Sixth Sense’s Haley Joel Osment),
a robot who has been designed to respond intelligently and sensitively
and reciprocate their love. Initially, the mother, Monica (Mansfield
Park’s Frances O’Connor), resists the creature. But then,
cracking the owner’s manual, she makes him part of the family—an
irreversible process, she’s been warned. When their real son Martin
comes home, David must hit the road. There he goes on the lam
with a robot named Gigolo Joe (The Talented Mr. Ripley’s
Jude Law). Their travels take them 2,000 years into the future
before the movie’s eerie conclusion.
Even if the concept doesn’t always work, there are marvelous things
to appreciate: All the performances are good, but terrific are
Osment’s and Law’s; the cinematography by Janusz Kaminski, special
effects by Stan Winston Studio, and production design by Rick
Carter. The real genius is Spielberg zealously paying homage to
Kubrick, but, who, like David, as he tries to be human, gets it
almost, but not quite right.
minutes; released by Warner Brothers, PG-13; for venues, call
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