This review is almost entirely a spoiler. If you don’t want to read the spoilers only read the parts between the lines. There I just gave my impressions. Regardless, if you haven’t seen the film then this little write up will waste less of your time and you don’t have to pay for it.


I had the pleasure of going to see A.I. on Friday afternoon with Zot-Fot-Piq.

For starters, I expected this movie to be bad- hell, I’d laughed at the trailer- but I went into it with a “what the hell” attitude. Who knew, I might like it.

When the movie was over he turned to me and said he was very impressed that I managed to keep my sarcastic mouth shut. I told him that he owed me big time for making me watch that … “movie”. I hated this movie.

Later, my best analogy was:

Someone had left a computer on for a log time, no one could understand what it said or meant, and they rushed around, trying to understand how to make it happy. After much study and expense, many, many years of research and pain, frustration and tears they finally deciphered the message - “please insert disk into drive a:

That was what AI meant to me - go ahead, read the spoilers, this movie is just terrible.


The move is set-up in three acts and each transition is so drastic that you’re left with the following questions:

  1. Are you watching the same movie?
  2. Did they hire different writers for each act?

  3. c) Are the reels being played in the wrong order?

The opening of the film describes a depressingly preachy tale of global warming and starvation. I got past the preaching and decided to start out being rather interested in Act 1. It seemed to move well, brought up some great, interesting questions, and almost seemed like one of the old robot stories by Asimov- after reading the inspiration for it I could see why I got that initial impression.

It followed the main character, David, a robot created in order for families to have more than one child, as the current limit on children was one per family.

David was a special kind of robot. He could feel love and had the desire to be loved - apparently his primary motivation - this desire to be loved became the impetus for the rest of the film.

A test family takes him in on a trial basis - but the mother, currently grieving over a child in cryogenic freeze due to a fatal virus infection, makes the test permanent by activating an irrevocable imprint procedure. After the procedure it is impossible to reprogram him. If the family decided it didn’t want him anymore he would have to be destroyed - apparently they had forgotten how to recycle. Oddly enough the creators of this film have never heard of fdisk. Worse, they had forgotten a scene from the beginning of the movie where they removed a robot’s brain- in a procedure taking less than thirty seconds - could they not just replace the brain and recycle the 3x3x3 cube - or just hit the delete key?

Predictably a ‘cure’ is discovered and the frozen kid comes home causing all sorts of chaos and bitterness. The awakened son sets up Act 2 by having the mother read the story of Pinocchio.

After a series of errors and tricks the decision is made to remove David from the house. The mother, horribly distraught by the thought of destroying David, does the most humane thing she can imagine - leaves him to fend for himself in the middle of the woods with only a few bucks and his walking, talking teddy bear. This was actually one of the more emotional scenes of the film and shows that Haley Joel Osment can actually play a crying child. I almost liked him and the movie at that point. Don’t get me wrong, the kid can act - I just find him incredibly irritating, especially when he whispers.

I quickly dismissed my rise in mood as the movie “progressed” into act 2. The beginning of which was the first real indication that Spielberg had no fucking clue about what kind of movie he wanted to make. It shifted from sentimental to horrific to Disney to just plain stupid.

The introduction of Jude Law’s superfluous character at the beginning of the act was so abrupt and stylistically different that I thought some asshole had spliced in lost footage from “Blade Runner”. Jude law is a fine actor and, granted, he did very well for what he could of that character, but his character was out of place in this movie. It served only as a catalyst to propel David from place to place in the simplest terms possible. They relied on him as some kind of “Scarecrow” guide ala Wizard of Oz rather than write a believable storyline that would draw the main character along or give Law’s character any more than a brief varnish of plot. The interaction between Jude Law’s robotic gigolo character and David was contrived and convenient. He stumbled aimlessly through - just as Spielberg stumbled through scene after scene of the film.

What shot my sense of disbelief in the head was a motorcycle scene that was reminiscent of Joel Schumacher’s “Batman & Robin”. Any time a director puts fake, backlit animal heads on the front of motorcycles they should just be shot. No questions, no trial, no appeals. Bang - goodbye Spielberg. For you future directors out there - don’t EVER DO THIS! I’m personally writing congress to enact this law.

Spielberg had no idea what to make of Kubrik’s film - it was sad, like watching him try to remake another “Hook” from the bloody ashes of “A Clockwork Orange”. During one scene, where an angry mob cheers a carnival where robots are dismembered and destroyed as spectacle (that should have been horrific), he decided it would be great to throw in the voice of Chris Rock as one of the ill-fated robots. This amazingly bad decision muddled the scene so badly that most of the people in the theater were too confused to react at all. I would compare it to taking the little girl in the red jacket from Schindler’s List and giving her the voice of Chris Rock. Maybe if they’d used Bullwinkle as the voiceover for Ben Kingsley: “Hey, Rocky, watch me pull a nazi out of my hat!

Eventually Jude Law, “David” and the robotic bear (“Teddy”) travel to “Rouge City” which is basically a mock-up of the animated set from “Cool World”. I half expected to hear the voice of Kim Basinger. Once again the movie doesn’t know what it wants to be - other than a skewed version of Pinocchio. It occasionally strays into the realm of a Disney family flick shortly before Jude Law projects a nude dancer on a guy’s crotch. Act 2 is so chock full of references to Pinocchio (even a fucking Jiminy Cricket character in the small robot Bear who becomes his conscience) that by the end of this movie I not only hate A.I. but I hate Pinocchio.

But face it, in this day and age, the robot/Pinocchio story has been done over and over again - wasn’t that the whole basis for the character of Data in Star Trek:TNG?

In “Rouge City” they seek the advice of Dr. Know, some kind of computerized coin-operated oracle voiced by Robin Williams. They are seeking the “Blue Fairy” from the story of Pinocchio. Once again the whole movie lurches uncomfortably into Disney territory and fails miserably. They are told to go to Manhattan, now submerged, where David can become a “real boy” to gain the love of his “mother”.

The entire Act was so bad that I didn’t even give him credit for some surprisingly interesting effects for some of the robotic characters and the sets - they were impressive. I’d think, hey, that looks pretty neat and then they’d start speaking and whole scene was blown and I was biting my tongue to stop myself from either laughing or making a comment. Act 2 was a long tedious road down to nothing. When I started rooting for them to dump acid on the kid - or hoping they would find his “off” switch - I realized I would hate this movie for a long, long time.

They arrive at the ocean flooded Manhattan only to find the preposterous Act3, David’s creator, and a ridiculous ending.

I’m going to rush through this part because it will sound like I’m making this up - but I’m not.

David finds lots of duplicates of him, gets upset and demolishes one. He gets depressed and jumps in the ocean where he’s caught up in a school of fish that take him to Coney Island where he sees a Pinocchio exhibit and the elusive “blue fairy” from the story. He’s rescued by Jude Law and taken to the surface. Once there, the police immediately capture Jude Law and David escapes in a submarine type transport (Kind of like being swallowed by a whale). He rides back to Coney Island at bottom of the sea and sits praying to a statue of the Blue fairy to somehow make him a “real boy”. Meanwhile, due to his reckless driving, the Ferris wheel (somehow still intact after being underwater so many years) falls on top of the submarine and David is trapped inside the sub… for 2000 years (going through another ice age). Super robots (the only remnants of human life on the planet - and resembling tall versions of the aliens in Close Encounters of the Third Kind) eventually dig him up out of the ice and reactivate him. They scan his memory and decide since he’s the last remaining bit of humanity left they want to make him happy and they clone the woman who imprinted him from some of her hair. However, she has a one day expiration date. She and David spend one perfect, happy day together. At the end of the day they hold hands and walk up the stairs towards the bedroom. The weird, Oedipal overtones just creeped me out and I almost laughed out loud. They both lie in bed. She dies and he’s shut off (finally happy).

Rimrod’s statement "What the hell is THIS?!" is so appropriate I had to repeat it in my w/u.

I’m just stunned that no other critic I’ve read has panned it, as it deserves to be panned. This movie is a laughing stock and should be treated as such. Watch it win an Oscar. If you go see it, go to ridicule it.