Written by / 5/04/2014 / No comments / , , ,

SPIELBERG DESIGNS A.I. FOR KUBRICK

year: 2001 rating: **1/2
The most intriguing aspect of A.I ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE is discovering where Stanley Kubrick ends and Steven Spielberg begins: A project that Kubrick was preparing since the early eighties, and then realized could be technologically realized after seeing his friend Steven's JURASSIC PARK, and so, with a completed script and storyboards, Spielberg took over when the legendary director died after completing his maligned opus, EYES WIDE SHUT…

As is common, ARTIFICIAL consists of three acts, only these seem like separate movies altogether: Opening with William Hurt’s Professor Hobby lecturing a group of technical designers on a new form of Artificial life: a child that will look, breath and feel very human. The character, immersed in exposition, is both speaking to them and us... After which we cut to a high class couple whose son (an only child) is in a coma and probably won’t recover: Enter SIX SENSE phenom Haley Joel Osment as David, literally created to love his new family, especially Monica (Francis O’Conner). Here’s where the movie, with futuristic settings and ominously slow paced dialogue, feels as much like a Kubrick film as possible i.e. Spielberg paying homage to his mentor: from the white pod-like vehicles to the slow-paced yet intriguing conversations... The only difference is the John William’s soundtrack pulling heartstrings as David's finally loved by his reluctant new mom. But after her human son recovers from the coma, David becomes a mere plaything, and not entirely wanted. Thus the second act becomes more of signature Spielberg film as our young hero, after accidentally endangering his sibling, is set free to live on his own with a talking Teddy Bear "super toy."

Boy and his bear
The action flows with Spielberg’s signature gliding cameras and bombastic soundtrack, but the character of David, joined by a male prostitute robot Gigolo Joe – played by Jude Law, attempting the kind of roguish energy of a young Kubrick-directed Malcolm McDowell combined with a devilish dash of David Niven – becomes second string to a robot destruction circus/derby, resembling a white trash Monster Truck show set in a MAD MAX: BEYOND THUNDERDOME style future.

A.I. attempts returning to the Kubrick roots after David finds his origin in Manhattan, where ice caps had melted the city into a watery ruin. Reminiscent of Keir Dullea’s arrival in the “Jupiter condo” in 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, the third act has David seeking a “blue fairy” since he was raised on, and mirrors the story of, Pinocchio – and eventually, thanks to those long armed, giraffe-necked aliens that Spielberg turned into cinematic messiahs since the 1970's, David gets a last wish, one the audience has to suffer a prolonged half-hour to finally reach.

While there are intriguing aspects of A.I, it’s much too convoluted with pathos and melodrama to be a truly involving adventure and at the same time, the action-packed mid-section disrupts the character development from the Kubrickian setup, which is the most thought-provoking and entertaining. But let’s give credit to perhaps the best character on board: the robotic, talking Teddy Bear, who seems more alive than mechanical, providing Jiminy Cricket logic and stealing the show.
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