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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 5 February 2008
I loved this movie. It may be not as magnificent as other Spielberg and Kubrick works, but it is still a great moment of cinema. I watched it with a great emotion and I was afraid for the little hero (or rather two little heroes - let's not forget Teddy...) from the beginning to the end. It made me cry twice, no matter how much I tried not to. It really reached deep into my heart as no other movie managed to do in years... So, there is no other possibility - five stars.

I agree however that AI is clearly a patchwork of ideas rather than one project. It is because this story was worked in all successively by four very talented but very different men. It began as a short story ("Supertoys last all summer") by Brian Aldiss, a great name of British SF, known mostly for his magnificent "Hothouse" novel. As most of SF writers from 60s and 70s Aldiss was very pesimistic and his writings are usually rather sad and gloomy. His mark is clearly visible in the movie.

The short story was rewritten in a scenario by another great name of SF, Ian Watson, who of course left his own personal inprint. The person who had the idea of making a movie about a modern SF version of "Pinocchio" was the great Stanley Kubrick. He never realised it however and when he died, according to his last will, the project went to Steven Spielberg.

Spielberg inherited a very sad, depressing and dark tale of suffering and despair and he simply couldn't realise it like it was. He changed the story, mainly removing the "horrible bad ending" and replaced it with a kinder "not so happy end" which so many reviewers didn't like. Well, me for one I think he was right because ending AI differently would give a movie that only a really bad person (and by saying this I really mean "a sadistic sociopath") could like...

You probably already know what this story is about - a robot child, who was programmed to love his foster parents and who wants just to be their child, nothing else... but even that little will prove to be too much to ask... No other spoilers. Haley Joel Osment gives here a performance as brilliant as the one he gave in "Sixth sense". Jude Law and William Hurt are good in second roles. A great "star" of this movie is Teddy, a little teddy-bear robot, once a very expensive and cool toy, now obsolescent and falling in pieces... The scenes in which he is fixing himself with a needle and some yarn will probably touch the coldest hearts.

This is NOT a movie for children! I strongly warn you against watching it with them, unless they are at least 12. Some of the scenes are very disturbing (like the execution of "strays", robots which were abandoned or chased away by the owners) and even after the little Spielberg touch, this movie is still terribly sad.

All in all, I believe you should watch this movie, at least once - you will not regret it. And you can also use "A.I." as a medical test - if the final scene doesn't have any effect on you, you should see a doctor...
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I understand that Steven Spielberg took over this project started by the late Stanley Kubrick, which would explain the uneasy edge to the usual Spielbergian treatment. The remnants of Kubrick's message, namely that humans are soon-to-be obsolete beasts, contend with the usual Spielberg formula of corn syrup, tears, and awe, so that the result is unsettling and more than a bit curiouser and curiouser.
First of all, be aware that, despite the fact that there is a full serving of the Spielberg recipe here (cute kids, dazzling special effects, a beautiful score by John Williams, social consciousness seen largely from a kid's POV, etc.), this is not a "feel good" movie that will appeal to the mass audience at which Spielberg usually aims. The heartland of America will find this film disturbing and will tell their neighbors to stay away. Sci fi afficionados of the hard science variety (like myself) will have mixed feelings since some of the science is, shall we say, unlikely. The fantasy/sorcery crowd will probably be disenchanted for other reasons, although there is a glorious ending that might mist up one's eyes (it did mine). Overall, however, this is an unsettling look at humanity and where we're headin' ("Is that Lincoln County Road or Armageddon?"), and the treatment is definitely NOT something for the kiddies. It's liable to give them nightmares.
The central hook of the film is that we are made to identify with the robotic mechas, especially Haley Joel Osment's David and Jack Angel's Teddy and Jude Law's Gigolo Joe, while being reminded that they are not human, or more properly, that they are more admirable than human. In a way the robots resemble the have-nots of the current society, the handicapped and the poor, while the humans in the persons of Monica Swinton (Frances O'Connor), her son Martin (Jake Thomas) and the Flesh Fair entrepreneur (Brendan Gleeson) represent respectively the privileged, the cruel, and the exploitive. Monica's compromised morality is made clear in the scene in the woods (which I won't describe for fear of giving away too much). One also gets the sense that she and her husband (who portray the usual kid-show parental mentality) are not actually bright enough to figure out what has happened when siblings and friends have conflicts. Monica simply sides with her biological child and throws David to the wolves, as it were.
On another level this is a movie about a child's undying love for his mother, a love that lasts for two thousand years and a day and is never compromised. It is about believing in fairy tales and the miraculous, a modern day Pinocchio in Wonderland as might be dreamed up by admirers of Blade Runner (1982). In the Spielberg canon, echoes from his cinematic predecessors mesh with echoes from his own movies in a sometimes all too obvious way. Note the return of the moon (in sinister splendor) from E.T. with Teddy (who could have been retrieved from the set of Blade Runner--as could Prof. Hobby, AKA Geppetto) trudging across the top of a rise in front of it.
The sets and the animations are sumptuous and beautiful. The robots and the aliens are ingeniously crafted. I very much liked the vision of a drowned Manhattan with the upper stories of the skyscrapers rising above the level of the sea (presumably from global warming), giving us a very quiet and almost contemplative Manhattan, and then the skyscrapers immersed in ice as the earth falls into a prolonged ice age. The sense of the rapid passage of awesome time reminded me a bit of Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), while Dr. Know (voice of Robin Williams) recalled The Wizard of Oz (1939), and the Blue Fairy (voice of Meryl Streep) something from Disney.
This is a substantially compromised masterpiece, as it certainly had to be coming from the ghost of Kubrick as fashioned by Hollywood's most powerful and most commercially successful director, but an engaging, ambitious spiral into the future, one well worth watching one, one that will linger in the mind awhile.
See this to encourage Spielberg to emphasize creativity over formula, to encourage him to make more movies that dare to offend the mass mind while intriguing the rest of us.
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on 27 July 2011
Okay, let's get this out of the way, this is a grainy film, one of the grainiest I have bought in fact. Now let's get something else out of the way, it's supposed to look like this. Spielberg shot an at times washed out, dreamy and soft looking film, and it is shown here, warts an' all. It is not a bad transfer as some may think, a bad print wasn't used, nor could any "remastering" have been done to improve it. Applying DNR to "smooth" out the level of grain here would have probably created one of the worst Bluray releases so far. It would have removed every detail and texture and left us with a very bland picture. As it is the grain does dampen things a little, such is the speckly nature of it, but there is still far more detail shown here than on any previous release.

However, intentional or not, it is very grainy, this is more noticable at the start of the movie where it's mostly daytime scenes. It can be a bit distracting, but it also adds to the feel of the film. When things go a bit darker, in tone as well as in lighting, things do improve. The Flesh fair looks very good, the special effects hold up well, and that continues for the rest of the feature as they venture into the city and beyond. By the halfway mark the grain for me wasn't a problem, my eyes had adjusted, the grain had settled due to the darker scenes and more often than not, it looks very good. If I was to compare it to another bluray release, it would be Minority Report. If you were happy with the look of that film on Bluray then you should be fine here, if you thought it was too much then maybe pass on A.I.

We have a nice supply of extras on the disc. They cover many aspects of the movie from AI's creation, design, lighting, special effects, the robots, the actors, the soundtrack etc. Plenty to get your teeth into really.

Finally, if you can overlook/don't mind the level of grain here, then this is a good release and definitely a step up from the DVD. I saw A.I at the cinema and remember it well, it was never going to look silky smooth, and what we have here is a faithful representation of the Directors vision. It won't be for everyone but hopefully this review helps a few people in their decision.
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A Futuristic Tale ??
The Ice-Caps have melted many major cities have disappeared below the advancing Seas, those who have survived
have moved to the interiors of their continent, resources are limited
It is the age of Robots, what if they could be created to love, and assigned to family's as an addition instead of having
more children to stretch to stretch the already limited supply of food the great floods had caused.
'Henry' (Sam Robards) and wife 'Monica' (Frances O'Connor) have a child who is in a coma and unlikely to recover, they
are chosen to have a real-looking and loving Robot-Boy 'David' (Haley Joel Osment) who will love without question.
'Monica' struggles to accept young 'David' but will try, however things are about to change when real-son 'Martin' unexpectedly
shows signs of recover when a cure for his condition is foundand is allowed home.
'Martin' is encouraged to interact with 'David' but his human-instincts reject a meaningful relationship with his Robot bother.
When 'Martin' with friends taunt 'David' things go very wrong so much so 'Monica' decides to take little 'David' to the forest
and abandon him despite his pleas not to be left alone with just 'Teddy' for company......all 'David' ever wanted from his adopted
parents was the love he'd been programmed to give them.
'David' finds himself in a World in which 'Robots' are used as fairground fodder to be publicly destroyed it is under those circumstances he meets and teams up with 'Gigolo Joe' (Jude Law) who he escapes with whom he begins an adventure.
Whatever is yet to come for 'David' one constant will remain with him forever - his love for his human mother 'Monica'
...all he'll ever want is for her to love him back.
A charming and delightful if perhaps a little sad tale from 'Steven Speilberg' .
Young 'Haley Joel Osment' magnificent in the role of the Artificial Intelligence who only ever wanted to be loved
Worthy of a first viewing or indeed a re-visit.
Features -
Documentary on ringing A.I to the screen
Interviews with Steven Speilberg, Haley Joel Osment and Jude Law
Behind-the-scenes featurette on the making of A.I
Interview with Sound Designer Gary Rydstrom at Skywalker Ranch
Visit to Stan Winston Studios with early ''Teddy' footage
Interview with Lucasfilm's ILM special effects group
Trailers, Storyboards, drawings and hundreds of photo's
And much, much more.
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What could have been an excellent film about the interaction between sophisticated robots and humans turned out to be nothing better than a Mad Max type of movie through most of the film , as soon as Jude Law appeared in the film as a disgruntled love robot the film sank to the depths only returning to form towards the end when the point of the film came back to what is was meant to be. In short it was a film with a good beginning and end sandwiched with dross - a great pity because the intended message was good.
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on 8 March 2005
This has to be a contender for one of the most disturbing films of all time. This is because it addresses a central question of existence - what is love? Can it be created? Does it have to be earned? Is it it always unquestioning? The answers it comes up with are painful and incredibly sad. Ironically, I don't believe this film is about 'what happens if we make machines too human?' just as pinnochio wasn't about how we would feel if wood could talk. The main subject was that of belonging and identity. How far would one go to be approved of? Would you change yourself completely to be loved? (in the case of David from a robot to a boy - and it wasn't his fault he was a robot). What if the changes and sacrifices you made were not enough? Some have said that the ending to this film was too fairy tale like. I disagree; it also was profoundly sad. It highlighted that despite the lengths to which we might go for love/approval, it is all still impermenant. Tragedy in the extreme, but thought provoking and moving.
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on 10 October 2007
Stanley Kubrick was right to identify his long-gestating A.I. project as being more aligned to Steven Spielberg's sensibilities. But it's a double-edged sword: the result is a muddled concoction of the latter director's tautest emotional drama, his most sumptuous visual excesses, and his most turgid sentimental stargazing. In that order.

The film is inspired by the short story Super-Toys Last All Summer Long by Brian Aldiss. The first reel of the film - an eerie family drama with an undercurrent of creeping techno-horror - bears most resemblance to the original text. In spite of key questions going unanswered - literally, what will a robot child become? - it's also the most successful section of the film, with effective performances from Frances O'Connor (as Monica Swinton) and Sam Robards (as Henry Swinton) and a chilling one from Haley Joel Osment as their adopted robot son, David. When Monica and Henry's real son wakes from his coma, Monica cannot face the idea of David being destroyed, and so she dumps him in the woods with his companion Teddy (probably the cutest CG creation ever).

And so A.I. broadens its horizons and loses its focus. David and Teddy find themselves at a 'Flesh Fair', where human hicks go to trash their robot counterparts. Here they meet love machine Gigolo Joe (Jude Law) - he's fun, although it's somewhat tan of Spielberg to present him so sexlessly. The fair itself is the one of those slightly cringeworthy depictions of futuristic hedonism where people listen to obnoxious electroclash music and dress in luminous armour. The ensuing adventure takes the robo trio to the sumptuous Rouge City and beyond, to the soggy New York City of the future.

From the above it may sound like I loathe the film, but that's not the case. It's themes are expansive and are presented via a fiercely intelligent script. Spielberg not only nails concepts arguably too large to be nailed down - love, loneliness, and mortality - but he also wraps them up in a satisfying five-part narrative structure. The fifth part is as bold as can be - Kubrick would have approved of the 2,000 year leap into the next age, just as he would have appreciated Ben Kingsley's determinably old fashioned opening and closing narration. (There are further cameos from Robin Williams, Meryl Streep, and Chris Rock - keep an ear out.)

Like Professor Hobby's (William Hurt) lifelong ambition to manufacture a child capable of love, perhaps the film's ambitions are out of its reach. It will always be the runt in Spielbergs litter. For while films such as War of the Worlds and Hook were of depressingly low quality, both achieved a level of global popularity on which Spielberg has always thrived but which would apply to A.I. How could it? It's too baffling, beautiful, and ambiguous. It's art.
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on 29 November 2014
The "12" viewing certificate does not mean that there is material not suitable for younger audience, but clearly has to do with the more adult-oriented overall theme of the film, and their understanding / appreciation of it. The story of a young boy-robot programmed with emotion, as naive and simple as it may seem, proves a most complex and demanding affair. Yet, it makes for a riveting tale of how the feeling of love is overpowering his robotic programming. Not coincidentally, just like Antoine de Saint-Exupery's "The little prince", "A.I." is also a universal piece of art, with the youngest, yet, most wise protagonist. "The little prince" taught us that the essential things in life are seen not with the eyes, but with the heart. "A.I.", respectively, tells us that children give us the truthful wisdom we seek. This impressive bluray presentation is most satisfying with the often massive audio and visual improvements (the much talked-about grain issue is finally put to rest), contributing to the movie's conceptual and executional excellence. Only let-down is the absence of any new extras, as those featured on here are the exact DVD bonus material with nothing new added. Still, a must-have item. Incredibly inspired, immaculately executed, spectacularly entertaining, utterly sublime, "A.I." is Steven Spielberg's (and Stanley Kubrick's) hidden masterpiece, a breathtaking contemporary fairytale.
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on 14 December 2013
As Kubrick bought the rights to A.I. based on Brian Aldiss's short story "Super-Toys Last All Summer Long" it became a problem for him as he realised that with all the complexities of the story and his vision of putting it on screen the SPFX of his day could not do it justice especially in creating the main human-like android of the original story, and so he sat on it.

When he met Steven Spielberg and saw Jurassic Park he realised that the industry SPFX were right to achieve his goal he handed the reigns of production in 1995 to the young filmmaker. Ironically it was in 2001 that Speilburg made the film and I'm certain that Kubick would have approved.
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on 1 April 2012
What a great movie. Teaming with special effects and a fantastic cast. It follows the tale of a `mecca' child created to replace lost children either through illness or death. Hayley Joel Osman is believable in the role of `David' the mecca child created to out do all other mecca creations. He has intuitive functions and is built to `love'. When his family's own child comes back home he is plagued by this child and his friends, it becomes obvious he can't stay there as it isn't safe for him or the family. Rather than return him for destruction as is the rule for mecca children because they are `imprinted' to only love one family, his `mother' sets him free in the woods and tells him to run. He meets a lover mecca, Jude Law, who also ends up on the wrong side of the law after being framed for the death of a woman he was supposed to meet. They travel to find `the blue fairy' who in the story of Pinocchio made him a real boy. David is convinced that his mother would love him and have him again if he was real. He does not know that his whole development is being closely monitored by the company that created him. The heartache and pain they gave him force him to develop and seek out help. He finds his way back to them but rather than being faced with the reality of being a robot he goes to the depths of the ocean where there is a submerged fairground, there is a beautiful statue there of a fairy with blue gown and furled wings. The ending is a bit of a let down. He sits under the ocean for millennia begging the blue fairy to make him real and gets discovered by aliens who are visiting what is then a planet covered with ice and no trace of humanity left. He becomes the last survivor of our race.

Very long film but worth watching.
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