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Echoes of Spielberg's Empire of the Sun are evident as young David, shunned by his trial parents and tossed into an unfriendly world, is joined by fellow "mecha" Gigolo Joe (played with a dancer's agility by Jude Law) in his quest for a mother-and-child reunion. Parallels to Pinocchio intensify as David reaches "the end of the world" (a Manhattan flooded by melted polar ice caps), and a far-future epilogue propels A.I. into even deeper realms of wonder, just as it pulls Spielberg back to his comfort zone of sweetness and soothing sentiment. Some may lament the diffusion of Kubrick's original vision, but this is Spielberg's A.I., a film of astonishing technical wizardry that spans the spectrum of human emotions and offers just enough Kubrick to suggest that humanity's future is anything but guaranteed. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com
On the DVD: A perfect movie for the digital age, A.I. finds a natural home on DVD. The purity of the picture, its carefully composed colour schemes and the multifarious sound effects are accorded the pin-point sharpness they deserve with the anamorphic 1.85:1 picture and Dolby 5.1 sound, as is John Williams's thoughtful music score. On the first disc there's a short yet revealing documentary, "Creating A.I.", but the meat of the extras appears on disc two. Here there are good, well-made featurettes on acting, set design, costumes, lighting, sound design, music and various aspects of the special effects: Stan Winston's remarkable robots (including Teddy, of course) and ILM's flawless CGI work. In addition there are storyboards, photographs and trailers. Finally, Steven Spielberg provides some rather sententious closing remarks ("I think that we have to be very careful about how we as a species use our genius"), but no director's commentary. --Mark Walker