out of 4
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A.I.: Artificial Intelligence
Review by Susan Granger
4 stars out of 4
Steven Spielberg is a cinematic genius. So was Stanley Kubrick. But
this unconventional, collaborative effort may mystify movie-goers.
Some will be beguiled, as I was. Others may be frustrated and/or
disappointed. Told as a sci-fi fairy tale for adults, the story revolves
around a perfect robotic child named David (Haley Joel Osment),
adopted by a Cybertronics employee (Sam Robards) and his wife
(Frances O'Connor) whose own seriously ill child (Jake Thomas) has
been cryogenically frozen. David is programmed to love, but those
around him aren't - because he's 'mecha' (mechanical), not 'orga'
(organic) - and, therein, lies his dilemma. Like Pinocchio, he yearns to
be a real boy. But how? When he's abandoned with only his supertoy
Teddy bear as a companion, he's sets off in search of a dream. Steeped
in romanticism, the plot is divided into three segments: the domestic
drama, the quest or odyssey, and then the futuristic underwater/ice
sequences, a consequence of global warming. This fragmentation
breeds problems. In the darkly disturbing road trip, for example, David
meets up with Gigolo Joe (Jude Law), a 'love mecha,' who takes him to
the Flesh Fair, a nightmarish carnival, filled with robot torture devices.
Then the eerie, sentimental third segment evokes "E.T." and "Close
Encounters of a Third Kind," moving grandly, yet tediously. There's a
lack of cohesion, a feeling of schizophrenia. Hayley Joel Osment is
truly amazing and Jude Law is charismatic. The rich visuals - sets,
costumes and creature/make-up effects - are stunning. On the Granger
Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "A.I.: Artificial Intelligence" is an
unpredictable, intriguing 10. Love it or hate it, it's a triumph of
innovative film-making, a blend of science and humanity, and a
brilliant collaboration of two acknowledged masters.
Copyright © 2001 Susan Granger
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