Watched Jul 26, 2012
kiion Thomas Clarke’s review:
Spielberg has done things in the movie industry that have not only changed the way films are made but also broadened many peoples perspectives on what can be achieved in film. Sparking imagination in many different ways throughout the narratives that he produces, moreover, by developing different systems that can enhance the standard of special effects that can be incorporated into movies, he continuously advances the industry for the better. From ‘Jaws’ onwards, his take on effects have had direct influence on other films with some of his other productions, such as ‘Jurassic Park’, ‘E.T’ and ‘Close Encounters of the Third King’ blending CGI into the drama in such a way that it is achieved in an organic and believable manner. This is no different in his 20th production, with him as director. ‘A.I Artificial Intelligence’ is a movie that, during its release, had unprecedented special effects that had never been seen before. Mix this with the superb human storyline that drives the film, and it deserves the place as one of Spielberg’s greatest films ever. Sheer quality throughout, it will both captivate and amaze viewers, changing the industry in the process.
First thought of as a storyline fit for movie production, ‘A.I’ is based on the short story ‘Super-Toys last all Summer Long’ and was first brought forward as a filmic idea by Auteur Director Stanley Kubrick in the 1970s. Feeling that the effects that were readily available in that time were in no way strong enough for the vision the director had, the movie was pushed back until the time was ready for someone to step in and give it the justice it needed. Thirty years later, after the effects that were used in other movies, the movie was green-lit and Spielberg was given directional duties - Kubrick is still accounted as a producer in this film. It was through the death of Kubrick that the film was given proper momentum; Spielberg keeping to the work that the other director had started. What really feels long after this film has finished is that it is ahead of what we’re witnessing in the world now, let alone in the 70’s and as such, feels strangely from the future in what it features. In many years to come, the content of this film will begin to feel more relevant, much like Kubrick's film ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’.
Set in the middle of the twenty-second century, severe global warming has ravaged much of the coastline due to the melting of the polar ice caps and raise in sea levels, killing hundreds of thousands of people in the process and wrecking resources that sustain life. To counter this, an efficient race of Humanoid Robots - called Mecha- have been produced. These robots have the capabilities of human emotion and thoughts and are in place for all of human needs. A young prototype Mecha, named David, is created to emulate the life of a young child. Testing the robot on one of the industry workers family, whose son is in a suspended animation due to the rare illness that he has caught. At first David is a fitting replacement for the lost boy that they have suffered, but when a cure for the son is found issues arise between David and his family. When an accident occurs and David is deemed unsafe the family leave him on a trip out for a picnic in the woods. Left on his own, David seeks a way of getting back to his family. Travelling with his Robotic teddy bear he comes across numerous other Mecha’s on his search for the Blue Fairy, the person who he believes can turn him into a real boy. One such Mecha is Gigolo Joe, a robot who serves as a male prostitute, framed for a murder he did not complete. On their search David begins to understand his existence and the role he has in the world.
This films feels throughout very Spielberg. His usual troubled relationship between the father figure character and someone else is here, along with many other references to other films and different homages to other creatives works. With unbelievable special effects and a way that the Director is able to convey a human drama in a world of Robots is outstanding. His vision for the movie is absolutely stunning in many places. His version of a futuristic world always feels enhanced from the time we live now, but with subtleties that hone it back to us. This makes it feel strange but at the same time it feels similar, allowing a blend of feelings to found for the picture.
Haley Joel Osment is extremely strong in his performance of David, performing him so well that he never feels real. Not blinking in any of his scenes to make it feel more manufactured, his performance borders on being creepy. In the company of humans, the character of David is eery in the deliverance, however, when he is in scenes with other Mecha he begins to feel more human, a sufficient blend that never fully justifies where about he lies. This is down to the young actors role, carrying a Spielberg movie easily. Jude Law, as Gigolo Joe, serves as the films comic relieve. With a film that is very much a deep drama, his appearance and character lets off the tension that the film delivers so as never to make the film feel dull or weighed down. The actor fills the character appropriately and complements the narrative.
This film also has many cameo appearances from other Hollywood A-Listers such as; Meryl Streep, Robin Williams, Ben Kingsley and Brendan Gleeson. these appearances are cleverly included; adding to the magic of the film.
With a blend of many genres including Horror, Science Fiction and Drama, ‘A.I: Artificial Intelligence’ is a film that is unbelievable to watch. Beautifully produced and tailored to captivate audiences the film feels special throughout. With extremely strong performance from a young actor, the film is easily watchable. With a slight heavy plot it will not be to everyone's taste but those who enjoy both human dramas and science fiction movies could do a lot worse than give this film a shot. Another Spielberg classic.