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40 of 46 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sad and deeply disturbing
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...
Published on 8 Mar 2005 by ajac2

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars A modern take on Pinochio
A bit of everything type of movie , Basically a couple lose their child and the husband buys a custom made robot replica , it keeps you captivated till the end ,but not my type of film really (it's a bit of a weepy soppy affair)
Published 6 months ago by Russ Nutter


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40 of 46 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sad and deeply disturbing, 8 Mar 2005
This review is from: A.I. Artificial Intelligence [2001] - 2 disc set [DVD] (DVD)
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Near faultless, 20 Jan 2008
By 
Irikefe Okonedo (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A.I. Artificial Intelligence [2001] - 2 disc set [DVD] (DVD)
Thoughtful sci-fi story about a robot boy (played by Haley Joel Osment) who wants to become a real boy like in the story Pinocchio so that the woman who purchased him (whom he considers his mother) will love him like she loves her real son. An intelligent sci-fi tear jerker from Steven Spielberg who as usual knows exactly what he is doing. A near faultless movie - ruined only by subplots involving Jude Law that don't go anywhere and a final scene that I felt could have been a bit better - that is emotionally satisfying and far superior to I, Robot (a film with a similar theme of whether robots should be treated like human beings). Spielberg went on to make the also excellent Minority Report the following year, so he was clearly on a roll. Very nearly 5 stars out of 5.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It makes me feel like a kid again..., 10 Jun 2007
By 
Mark R. Bannister (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A.I. Artificial Intelligence [2001] - 2 disc set [DVD] (DVD)
A.I. is a futuristic fairy-tale, an enchanting story of a boy mechanoid ("mecha") called David who embarks on a journey because he wants to be loved by the woman he calls his mother. With parallels to the story of Pinocchio, Spielberg takes us on a spellbinding exploration of love, hate, friendship, prejudice and ultimately what it is to be human, and what it is to be without humanity.

Told in three vastly different acts, the story takes us from somewhat familiar home settings, through the grittiness of the Flesh Fair; the glamour, glitz and sleaze of Rouge City; to a final half hour in the most imaginative and dreamlike vision of the distant future.

This film communicates on many levels, and is held together by a gloriously unique concept, a cast of interesting and well-portrayed characters (including excellent cameos by Robin Williams, Ben Kingsley and Meryl Streep), a simple and beautiful musical score by John Williams that - for a change, had me guessing for a while and didn't sound like Williams at all - and excellent visual direction by Spielberg.

While it must be said that I found the first 50 minutes unnecessarily slow-paced, and not entirely successful in conveying the emotions and motives of David's parents, the last two acts more than make up for this imbalance. The character of Teddy, a semi-intelligent robotic soft toy who is essentially playing the part of David's conscience, also has a vital role of stitching together the broken scenes, smoothing out the storyline, and adding moments of much needed comedy.

Every time I watch A.I., I come away with a new message, another meaning in the story I hadn't spotted before, and it never fails to fill my eyes with tears at the end. The finale is pure magic, and can only be appreciated in context with the first two acts.

It is a tragedy that Kubrick, the great film visionary revered by Spielberg and who had wanted to make this movie for over 10 years, died before it could be made - although Spielberg incorporated many of his concepts and worked closely with his production company. For once, Spielberg avoided being over-sentimental, having struck a fine balance between emotion and reason, and I think has succeeded in bringing to life a story that is as accessible and relevant for adults as it is for children. I believe he would have made Kubrick proud, and it is a fitting dedication to his memory.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best Sci Fi since Blade Runner?, 5 Dec 2003
By 
Dennis Littrell (SoCal/NorCal/Maui) - See all my reviews
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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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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Over a hundred reviews says it all..., 10 Oct 2007
This review is from: A.I. Artificial Intelligence [2001] - 2 disc set [DVD] (DVD)
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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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars TEDDY WANTED, 8 Sep 2002
By 
Mr. N. Carnegie (Kirkcaldy, Scotland, UK.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A.I. Artificial Intelligence [2001] - 2 disc set [DVD] (DVD)
This collaboration between Stephen Spielberg and the late Stanley Kubrick must be one of the more eagerly anticipated movies of recent years. It brings together the vision of two cinematic geniuses; Kubrick, a Director intent on examining the human psyche and Speilberg, a master of modern American cinema, who instinctively seems to know what his audience wants. Apparently good friends until Kubrick's death a couple of years back, this was a project they had been discussing filming for the previous ten years but is it any good? And has Spielberg succeeded in blending the seemingly poles apart vision of Kubrick with his own cinematic style? The answer is mostly yes and partly no.
AI is a sentimental romantic sci-fi odyssey and it's also one of the saddest films in years. In an overpopulated world where the polar ice caps have melted, births are rationed to one per couple. When parents Monica and Henry Swinton's (Frances O'Connor & Sam Robards) son is apparently lost in an endless coma they are selected for the 'adoption' of David (Hayley Joel Osment) an experimental 'mecha' (robot) child. Initially David's prospective mother is freaked out by the idea but whilst still grieving for her apparently lost son, she soon becomes attached to David and takes the option of permanently encoding his circuits so that he will forever be tied to his mother. Everything seems to be going swimmingly only for the son Martin (Jake Thomas) to unexpectedly awake from his coma, which leads to David becoming a victim of his new brother's cruelty, his parents fears and now surplus to their requirements. Dumped into the wilderness with his super-toy Teddy, he goes on the run with Gigolo Joe (Jude Law) a robo-rent-boy also on the lam after being framed for the hotel-room murder of one of his clients. David begins a Pinocchio type voyage of discovery in the hope of becoming a real boy and being reunited with his mother.
Personally, I thought this was an excellent film and I have been quite shocked and surprised at some of the very harshly critical reviews I've read in the UK's broadsheet newspapers. A.I. may not perfect by any means but I found it to be an extremely thought provoking, moving and in turns incredibly beautiful and incredibly sad film. Whilst visually very much a Spielberg movie both visually (comparisons can be drawn in style to both Close Encounters and ET) and narratively (he unusually takes a screenplay credit), the Kubrick influences are clearly in evidence in the somewhat cold and sterile beginning and the intellectualised Pinocchio themed (what is the essence of humanity) backdrop of the movie. It's a movie about love that is at times in a very Kubrickian manner, cold to the touch.
The CGI in this movie is nothing short of excellent and must have had ILM working overtime. Among the robots or 'mechas' on show here are men and women with seamless half faces, eyeless sockets and heads that split open to show the androids inner workings. Also one of the most exciting and best things about the movie was Teddy, who was not just David's friend but also formed the true moral centre of the film. The effects were tremendous and if ever they can really invent such a toy, everybody will want one. Contrary to one review I read about the child acting being "some of the sickliest ever filmed" I think that Hayley Joel Osment (The Sixth Sense) was once again superb and I do not believe I have ever seen a more talented child actor. I'm also a big fan of Jude Law but one of my few criticisms of the film would have to be aimed at his character Gigolo Joe. Whilst I don't feel that there was anything wrong with Jude's acting, I did find Gigolo Joe at times irritating, such as when he tweaks his head to create his own supposedly romantic (but in actuality mood killing) music soundtrack. It could also be argued that much of Spielberg's vision of the future was contradictory and dated with three wheeled cars, overpopulated cities, a drowned New York but leafy countrysides but to be honest that is probably nit-picking.
It would also be fair to say that A.I. has an overlong ending, with a bit of a tagged on feel, which is a little too saccharine sweet (a Spielberg weakness). However, coming so soon after September 11th the final sequence set in a future New York city flooded by melted ice-caps, with the Manhattan skyline reduced to bungalows in the sea and the Statue of Liberty's hand poking up through the waves was incredibly pertinent, incredibly moving and incredibly surreal. It was almost as if Spielberg had somehow foreseen some incredible tragedy and this was his portrayal of Manhattan in a vale of tears.
Whilst not Spielberg's best work, it's certainly not that far off and maybe if Kubrick had been around to oversee production we would have had a masterpiece. Although, what Spielberg has given us is a movie which is disturbing, perplexing and incredibly sad. If you're not moved then you haven't got a heart.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Futuristic drama..., 1 Feb 2006
By 
Mr. J. WARE "wolvieware" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A.I. Artificial Intelligence [2001] - 2 disc set [DVD] (DVD)
AI is distinctively split into three acts. Act one is like a home drama, act two is a science fiction adventure, while act three is an arty look into the future.
The brainchild of Steven Spielberg and Stanley Kubrick, is wasn't going to be anything less than revolutionary, and it's unique look, special effects and storyline are almost timeless.
After their real son falls ill, a couple buy David, a robot boy who is the most lifelike creation yet. But after some dangerous incidents, the couple abandon Davi, and that's where his real story starts - to turn himself into a real boy so that his mother can love him.
The stark imagery of home life, the bright neon futuristic stly of Rouge City and the flesh fair and the bleached, pure version of the future all blend together in a most memorable way. This is one film truly hard to forget.
With a storyline that is more drama than sci-fi, there is real emotional connection to the character of David, played superbly by Haley Joel Osment, and his Pinnocchio style adventure to become real.
Tagging along for the ride is funny, energetic Gigolo Joe, Jude Law, who helps David in his quest. Teddy is also an amzing character, especially since he's not real. The walking, talking bear is made up of animatronic and CG mix, but is faultless, funny and charming.
Ultimately, the film is quite bleak, and Steven Spielberg does a good job of making the film "Kubrickian" in nature. A heart wrenching ending, makes the slightly too long running time worthwhile.
The DVD is packed with featurettes too, although none of them are usually longer than 10 minutes each. They cover everything from design, clothes, music, make up, special effects, and at points really do reveal some nice stories and facts about the film. Did you know that Haley Joel Osment never blinks once on screen? Amazing!
Coupled with the stunning film, the extras make this a truly essential DVD. There is no other film like this around - bold, brilliant, spell-binding, this film will stick around for a long time to come.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional thoughtful Sci-Fi, 9 May 2007
By 
T. R. Alexander (East Anglia, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A.I. Artificial Intelligence [2001] - 2 disc set [DVD] (DVD)
A.I. is a very thoughtful film that explores what it is that makes people human and where artificial intelligence fits into the equation. The film follows David a robot (Mecha) made in the image of a child and intended for couples that cannot have children of their own. When the family he is with abandon him David tries to find the Blue Fairy from the Pinocchio story so that she can make him into a real boy.

The whole human=robot storyline seems to have been done to death in Sci-Fi but this version of it is touching and involving. The visual graphics in the film are superb and the writing and direction is as competent as you would expect from a Spielberg film. Add to this some great performances by all those involved, especially Jude Law as the Mecha Gigolo Joe. The main problem with this film and the only thing that is stopping me from giving it five stars is the rather oddly chosen ending, the film would have probably have been better off finishing 30 minutes earlier and still have been just as good.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Misunderstood like so many others., 8 Oct 2003
This review is from: A.I. Artificial Intelligence [2001] - 2 disc set [DVD] (DVD)
I will start with the usual criticism problem, as most critics betray their own insecurities with the usual interrogative and criticizing writing style,which will keep potential lovers of a film away from good cinema. When one REVIEWS a film, you forget about yourself and your personal preferences and dislikes. One looks at the film in an objective and proffesional manner.
Now about A.I. A wonderful piece of cinema created by one of the masters of modern cinema. As film is a collaborative art form, I am delighted to see Spielberg and the late Kubrick's work combined in the film, as it is balanced between cynicism and optimism.
Film is about stories, and A.I. based on the classic tale of Pinocchio is a story that grips and pulls through to the end.
It also consists of thought provoking elements, which Isaac Asimov and Phillip Dick touched in their writing. Who are we as humans to say that we are the most important beings on the planet or Universe? Are we the only beings that feel love and experience emotional hardship?
Haley Joel Osmond (starring as David) is brilliant, portraying the protagonist role of the robot boy which feels real love. Osmond plays the part completely selfless and convincing.
Excellent cinematography (kaminski) and production design (carter), but falls correctly to the background as so many recent hollywood films have all TECH but very little story.
About the ending, of which so many 'critcs' have bad mouthed, it's all but a 'happy ending' in so many ways. Human's have seized to exist, and our creations (the super 'evolved' android beings) have taken over, being much better and kind hearted than we could ever be. Remember the words of Gigolo Joe "They fear us, because in the end all that will remain, is us".
Also, as humans we only have one chance to do the right thing. A single pathway.
To finish, my rating lacks one star because I found the pacing in the second act to be a bit slow. Otherwise I found it a very pleasing and satisfying film. Highly recomended.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Spielberg Realization of Kubrick's Vision, 18 Mar 2003
By 
Robert J. Schneider (Tacoma, WA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A.I. Artificial Intelligence [2001] - 2 disc set [DVD] (DVD)
A.I. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE would have probably been a great Kubrick film had the great Stanley Kubrick lived to direct it, but in the fanciful and no less masterful hands of the great Steven Spielberg, it comes alive in a way that no other director would have been able to accomplish so well. Spielberg took Kubrick's vision and ran with it; the result is a melding of directorial genius from both sides: the technical brilliance of Stanley Kubrick fused with the dramatic brilliance of Steven Spielberg.
Haley Joel Osment, perhaps the most gifted young actor working today, stars as David, the first "mecha" boy to be built, and put up for adoption, so to speak. He is the proud creation of Professor Allen Hobby (a majestic William Hurt, in a small but very good role for him), and soon enters the lives of young parents Henry and Monica Swinton (Sam Robards and Frances O'Connor), who are grieving over their seemingly terminally ill son, Martin (Jake Thomas). Although the introductory phase begins rather awkwardly for Monica, as she tries teach David what not to do (such as follow her around everywhere), things actually go well--that is, until the young (and apparently quite mischievous) Martin miraculously recovers, and comes back home to find this puzzling cyber-boy who wants only to be his friend. However, Martin has other things in mind, and upsetting the delicate balance of attention that exists in the home is one of them. Things progress from here, and the story takes off in unexpected new directions, involving a "Pleasure Mecha" named Gigolo Joe (quirkily played by an unusually effervescent Jude Law) who is inadvertently thrust into the responsibility of guiding David to the next step he must take in his journey.
I will not expound on this story any further; besides, this film is not simply about what happens. It's more about feeling and emotional balance, not an easy theme for a story dealing with a cyborg as the central character. It's also about the journey of life, and what it means for one whom, biologically speaking, has no life. In this way it differs from an earlier film about a robot boy, called D.A.R.Y.L. That film also told an interesting story; however, A.I. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (whose rather cumbersome title should have been left at AI, which was its original working title) does not unfold from a person's point of view.
Do not expect a lot of action when you see this film, as it explores various philosophical concepts that transcend what it actually shows on the screen. What you can expect is a film that is both futuristic and lyrical in nature, has a story to tell, and is completely enrapturing in its ability to blend it all into an original mix that dares to make you think and wonder. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
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