Haley Joel Osment, Jude Law, John Hurt
| Directed By :
A.I. started as a project the late Stanley Kubrick was kicking
around but never seemed to get to. At the time he first got
his hands on it, Kubrick believed that special effects technology
was not good enough to handle the vision he had. After Kubrick's
death, Steven Spielberg took command of this intellectual
futuristic drama and realized the late director's vision.
A.I. is the story of David (Osment), the first artificial
boy, created with the intention of developing the ability
to love and dream. David is placed with a young couple whose
own son is cryogenically frozen until a cure can be found
for his disease. The mother, Monica, at first, finds it hard
to accept the stiff and unfamiliar mechanical child. After
she finally accepts the boy, events change such that she must
give him up. David is left wandering, trying to find a way
to become a real boy so that his "mother" will love
him like her own son.
Osment is excellent as the mechanical boy who defies logic
by developing dreams and hopes. Along with him is Jude Law,
who plays Gigolo Joe, a love toy framed for murder that must
run for his life. Law is charming and carries himself well
with programmed charisma. Teddy, the Teddy Ruxpin-ish talking
bear, also tags along, acting as David's aid.
In all, the movie starts slowly, building layer upon layer
of character until David is forced out, and into the world
which either wants to destroy him or use him. The "mecha"
are portrayed as innocent, well-intentioned creatures who
fall pray to the whims of their masters, humanity. Humanity,
though, is portrayed as users and defilers. Thankfully, though,
this portrayal is not heavy-handed.
Even though this is directed by Spielberg, A.I. is very much
a Kubrick film. The story moves at a slow, intelligent pace
that develops over time. Kubrick was partially right - special
effects could have done this film five or ten years ago, but
just not as good as it was done here. A.I. is sharp and presents
a wonderful, reserved view of how the future can be. Like
2001, A.I.'s ending is far beyond the concept of what any
viewer will go in expecting.
Simply put, A.I. is a smart, slowly-paced film that any intelligent
viewer will want to see. On a personal note, though, A.I.
is such a movie that most viewers will see it once and that
will be more than enough. It is such a strong experience that
it may be too strong to be casually viewed.