A.I.
Starring:
Haley Joel Osment, Jude Law, John Hurt
Directed By :
Steven Spielberg
Grade
B+

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.

- - Kinderfeld

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