Three words: Save Your Money! I was so disappointed after viewing this horrid film that I promptly went to the customer service and demanded my money back (which I received). I haven't felt this emotionally raped by a film since "The Phantom Menace". I knew that there was something wrong with this film when I heard that Stanley Kubrick was involved, but I figured I'd give it a chance when seeing Speilberg's name next to his. Boy was I wrong. This movie is supposed to be a futuristic fairy tale; the retelling of Pinocchio from the respective of a robot child who longs to be human and earn the respect of his adoptive mother. WARNING: This is not E.T.
The story, which is narrated in parts by Sir Ben Kingsley, begins in the late 21st century, where the oft foretold global warming has melted the ice caps and submerged all major coastal cities. This has led to the displacement of millions people and resources. To mitigate these problems strict limits on population have been imposed. People must wait a long time to receive permits to have children--(hey, not a bad idea now). However, there is still a need for mundane tasks to be done but since population is tightly controlled, most of it is done by robots, who are called "mecha", short for mechanical. They serve as nannies, gardeners,domestic workers, and coital companions. The CEO of a robot manufacturing company decides to fill the need and the market for "orga"; short for organic (humans) who aren't permitted to have children by devising a child android that is capable of feeling love.
The prototype of this machine is David, who is given to an employee of the company whose own child is in cryogenic storage because of some mystery illness that is beyond the current science. Henry Swinton (Sam Robards) brings home David (Haley Joel Osment) to his wife Monica (Frances O'Connor) who reluctantly agrees to the trial period and is cautioned against "imprinting" David unless and until she is sure that she wants to keep him. After becoming attached to the charming little mechabot, Monica imprints on David and they become a happy little virtual family. Then the couple receives a phone call.
This is where in my opinion the fairy tale ends, and the nightmare begins with A.I.. The Swintons learn that their biological child, Martin, has awaken from his coma, is now in remission, and is able to come home. Sibling rivalry and jealousy between the two begins immediately. Actually, it is Martin who is the source of animosity, and in my opinion should have stayed frozen as he proceeds to torment and get David into trouble. Poor David, whose only purpose is to earn Monica's love unwittingly falls victim to his resentment, as David is the perfect child, and Martin is somewhat of a burden to his parents. After a series of events orchestrated by Martin, the couple decides to return David to the manufacturer (some hell of a warranty). Knowing that he will be destroyed, Monica leaves David and his mecha supertoy, Teddy in the woods to escape destruction. As they wander in the woods the little bots run across other disenfranchised mecha who are trying to evade capture and eventual destruction by the humans who have come to hate mecha and have shocking demolition derbies to destroy them. After capture, David meets Gigolo Joe, a literal sex machine, played by Jude Law. After narrowly escaping destruction, the two become inseparable and begin on a journey to find the Blue Fairy of Pinocchio lore in the hopes that David will become a real boy, earn his mother's love, and return home to the Swintons.
This part of the film goes on way too long. They spend a good 1/3 of the movie searching for the Blue Fairy and go to the most absurd measures to find her. This is where the Speilberg ends and the Kubrick begins. Unfortunately, the whole concept get way out of hand and the final part of the film is set 2,500 years later where a new generation of alien-like mecha find David whose journey has taken him to the depths of the ocean (that isn't the only thing about the film that gets deep). This is the part where I began to writhe in pain, as the film attempts to end several times but alas is as resilient as the Energizer Bunny. Finally, and thankfully, the movie ends. kinda.
The problem I have with it is that he movie truly lacked a human touch. Like The Phantom Menace, the special effects and computer graphics were stunning but overshadowed the human element. All of the human characters were flat and one-dimensional. I presumed A.I. would stun or stir you with the combination of Pinocchio and Frankenstein storylines. But all it does is make you nauseous.
However, in speaking with several other movie goers/reviewers, who just happen to be parents themselves, I have gotten a rather different message about A.I. It seems that those who have children view this movie from a different perspective. Since I don't have any of those little parasitic beasts, I guess that I just don't or even can't understand. Regardless my opinion of Artificial Intelligence is that the film is too much artificial, and has far too little intelligence.
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