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Retro Film Review: A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)
A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001). Directed by Steven Spielberg, and based on the short story by Brian Aldiss. Set in the 22nd century, after global warming has taken full effect, the polar ice caps have melted, and coastlines have been swamped. To survive, humanity have been forced to significantly reduce their number, and in turn have become reliant on robots and specifically androids, which have become commonplace. A designer at Cybertronics, a company that creates robots, wants to make something different: a robot capable of emotion, and specifically love. After 20 months of research and design a prototype is created in the form of a child, which is given to an employee of the company. This employee and his wife have a son kept in cryogenic suspension that has a terminal illness, so it is believed they will be the ideal test adoptive parents for David (Haley Joel Osment), the prototype child android. A.I. Artificial Intelligence is very much a film of three acts. The first follows David and the difficulties for both him and his adopted parents, which ultimately end in him being abandoned. Then in the second act David tries to escape the darker side of humanity, while he tries to find a way to become human. The third and shortest act is then set in the 24th century after humanity seem to have been destroyed, although we don't know how. It's at each of these changes in pace that AI confuses and/or annoys viewers. The second act for me was the weakest part in the film, but still good. The third act is very whimsical and emotional, and tempered by some rather far out made up science. It's also a strange bitter-sweet ending, that is unusual in Hollywood, and will no doubt leave a lot of viewers with mixed feelings. Despite this there's an intelligent story at the core of AI, covering that fascinating staple of science fiction: what makes us human, or something other than us human? I don't remember when I first saw AI, but it would have been at the cinema or soon after. Despite the odd pacing and the three sometimes odd but distinct acts I still loved the film, and continue to love it to this day. Haley Joel Osment gives an incredible tear-jerking performance and pretty much overshadows everyone else, although reasonable performances are given by all involved, including Jude Law who plays an android gigolo. Other notable performances are William Hurt as David's designer, and Frances O'Connor as David's sometimes irritating adopted mother. The special effects are good, but well placed and don't tend to overshadow the core story. The cinematography is great, with many beautifully shot scenes. John Williams provides a fantastic score, that is one of his best in my opinion. Those who can cope with a peculiarly whimsical science fiction film, that steers away from the logical at the end, should get a kick out of AI. 5/5 (Excellent)

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5/5, really??

Had the film stopped at the point when David was staring at the angel it would have been great, but I believe Spielberg took over from Kubrik at that point and it all went to shit. I have an abiding memory of being on a train across Bolivia in a carriage full of backpackers when they were playing this film and everyone was roaring by the end it was so ridiculous.

Really. People get different things from it, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Not sure I'd go on the views of a mass backpacker audience ;-)

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