Saturday, October 8, 2016

A.I. Artificial Intelligence

Movie Name: A.I. Artificial Intelligence
Year of Release: 2001
Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Haley Joel Osment, Jude Law, Frances O'Connor, Brendan Gleeson, Sam Robards, William Hurt, Brent Sexton, Justina Machado, Matt Winston, Jake Thomas, Ken Leung, Clark Gregg, Kevin Sussman, Tom Gallop, Eugene Osment, Ashley Scott, John Prosky, Robin Williams, Meryl Streep, Ben Kingsley, Chris Rock
Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi, Adventure
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 8
Watch it on Amazon

After the hugely successful and influential "Saving Private Ryan", director Steven Spielberg decided to tackle a different challenge: bring to life a story cherished by Stanley Kubrick, who had always wanted to make the film and who passed away before being able to do so. The film is an adaptation of the short story by Brian Aldiss, and it takes place in the future, when the face of the planet has changed due to the melting of the ice caps. In this new world, Artificial Intelligence is a reality, and a particular company has devised a plan to launch into market androids who have feelings and can be taught to love back. These androids sold under the moniker of David (the male model) are revolutionizing the concept of A.I. because they emulate human behavior so strongly. A family going through a dramatic event in their lives, has the opportunity to get one of the first models. The mother initially resistant, learns to embrace the android as a son, and loves him as her own. However once her biological son miraculously comes back to life, she finds out their relationship isn't so easy. This forces her to abandon David, who has to fend for himself, and go on a quest to gain humanity and the love of her mother.
"A.I" is a film filled with so much wonder and detail, that to this day stands as an example of what a true visionary Steven Spielberg is (when truly inspired). The film manages to retain the core elements of his work, namely a central character who is thriving for something that is at times unreachable, but nonetheless worth risking everything for. The film also has the concept of a somewhat dysfunctional family unit, under multiple guises, as is one of his trademarks. Where "A.I" is a departure is the deeper sadness behind the story of young David, who is very much like a puppet wanting to become real, only to find out that magic does not exist, and that his Geppetto can't make him into a real boy (the film has a great tie with Carlo Collodi's book, "Pinocchio"). It's a narrative filled with surprise, heart and intelligence, much like his best films, featuring a stunning look, score, cinematography and fantastic performances from Haley Joel Osment and Jude Law. A great film always worth revisiting.