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Artificial Intelligence (2001)



There really isn’t much to say about this one: it was awful. For a collaboration between Stanley Kubrick and Steven Spielberg, I expected much more out of it.


The movie is thematically similar to Bicentennial Man (reviewed here) in that it explores how humans might treat sentient robots. The protagonist here is David (Hayley Joel Osment), a robot designed to have the appearance and mannerisms of a child, including the ability to love his parents. However, the show is stolen by the always-fantastic Jude Law portraying Joe, a male prostitute robot who becomes a sort of guide for David.


Anyway, David is the first robot ever to have the ability to love. He permanently and irreversibly imprints on his mother (Frances O’Connor), who later decides she can’t love him back. She abandons him in the woods, where he begins an inexplicable journey to chase down a fairy tale character that he believes can make him human. Through a complicated and nonsensical series of plot twists, he wakes up two thousand years in the future when humanity is extinct. The robots running the world then manage to bring back his mother for just one day, and she tells David that she loves him and everything is alright.


At no point is there a coherent plot or theme. The dialogue was bland, and there was no sense of purpose or direction. The kid was on a journey that audiences immediately know has an impossible destination; the film makes no attempt to assure viewers that there is even a small possibility of achieving his goal. From that point on, nothing the movie tries to do has any meaning whatsoever.


The last half hour or so is a complete disconnect from the rest of the film. With two of the world’s best writers working on it, I would think they could come up with something better than a total deus ex machina to resolve David’s inner conflict. For example, his mother realizing she made a terrible mistake and finding him. That would have been far simpler and more realistic than the ending that they gave. It probably would have left the audience more satisfied while tying up loose ends, too.


Anyway, this one left a bitter taste in my mouth. One star, and it’s lucky it gets even that. Did you think something different about it? Let me know.


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Filed under Drama, Reviews, Science Fiction