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Review: A.I.

michael posted more than 13 years ago | from the come-away-human-child dept.

Movies 390

As you might have expected, several of the slashdot folks went to see A.I. this weekend. Jon Katz and I were brave enough to write about it. In case you've been dead for the past six months, there's a huge game being run to promote the movie (though the plot of the game apparently has little to do with the plot of the movie). Read on for a thorough dissection of this much-hyped tale of the robot boy who can (sniff, sniff) love. (Usual warnings about spoilers apply.)

michael: Looks like I get to go first. Let's get some basics out of the way. Some reviews by others: Slate, Salon, Wired. You may want to read the short story that started it all. But if you see the movie, you'll find that the short story has less influence on the movie than a famous and beautiful poem by W. B. Yeats, The Stolen Child. Since it's out of copyright, and since it happens to be one of my favorite poems, and since you uncouth heathens could use some exposure to beauty, I'm going to reproduce it here.

The Stolen Child

Where dips the rocky highland
Of Sleuth Wood in the Lake,
There lies a leafy island
Where flapping herons wake
The drowsy water-rats
There we've hid our faery vats,
Full of berries
And of reddest stolen cherries.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand

Where the wave of moonlight glosses
The dim grey sands with light
Far off by furthest rosses
We foot it all the night,
Weaving olden dances,
Mingling hands and mingling glances
Till the moon has taken flight,
To and fro we leap
And chase the frothy bubbles,
While the world is full of troubles
And is anxious in its sleep
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand

Where the wandering water gushes
From the hills above Glen-Car,
In pools among the rushes
That scarce could bathe a star,
We seek for slumbering trout
And whispering in their ears
Give them unquiet dreams,
Leaning softly out
From ferns that drop their tears
Over the young streams
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand

Away with us he's going,
The solemn-eyed
He'll hear no more the lowing
Of the calves on the warm hillside
Or the kettle on the hob
Sing peace into his breast
Or see the brown mice bob
Round and round the oatmeal chest
For he comes, the human child
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
From a world more full of weeping then he can understand

--W.B. Yeats, 1889

The poem itself in is in the movie in two places, and crops up in several other places as well - "Till the moon has taken flight" takes on literal meaning, for example. Faeries, yep, we got faeries. And there's no one more solemn-eyed than a kid who sees dead people.

I'm sure one of the other slashdot authors will go into the whole Kubrick/Spielberg deal so I'll skip it. The movie is slow, light on dialogue, heavy on music and long meaningful camera shots. (It reminded me of The Thin Red Line several times.) The audience didn't particularly appreciate the slower scenes (one anonymous coward in the back row shouted out "Boring!" at one point), which makes me think this isn't going to be a box-office smash. The acting is superior - a great deal of effort has been expended in having the mechanicals show a consistent face to the world - they don't break character in the slightest, not even an extraneous eye-twitch. Special effects are also superior - rarely in your face, but always there, and entirely realistic. (I'm going to ignore the aliens.)

One area I kept looking for was hard-coded limits on robotic behavior. These robots have neither the First, nor the Second, nor the Third Laws of Robotics, which seems like a foolish design oversight. Several major plot points would been eliminated if the robots were obedient ... but why would humans make disobedient robots? At the very least, it seems like emotion would come well before disobedience on the robot evolutionary scale.

Anyway, A.I. is well worth seeing, at least once. I don't know if time will call this a masterwork or not. It's certainly a fine piece, worthy of respect, and it will certainly be referenced in the many future movies about artificial intelligence (just wait and see), but it seemed to fall a bit short of master-level.



Jon Katz: In A.I., Steven Spielberg (and the ghostly spirit of Stanley Kubrick) has made one of the most astonishing and original scientific fairy tales of all time. The movie is unlike anything you've ever seen, visually or conceptually. Like so many Hollywood movies of the past decade or two, it doesn't quite know how to end, but that's a minor squawk against the backdrop of a masterpiece of story-telling genius and moral power. Through the life of a lost boy -- an artificially engineered one -- Spielberg has brought a fresh, contemporary eye to enduring questions of moral responsibility and technology, and their impact on human life. Be prepared: this is a very disturbing movie. In cinematic terms, Spielberg has chillingly evoked Mary Shelley. He combines his dramatic flair and his acute sensibilities about childhood with fantabulistic animation and design. Spoilage warning: Plot is discussed, no endings.

This is the story of David (played wonderfully by Haley Joel Osment), a robotic boy sent out into a world ravaged by ecological catastrophe (global warming has submerged the great coastal cities of the earth). Although the future is filled with mechanical beings, David is the first child programmable to feel and need love, and to dream his own dreams. His desire to love a mother deeply, once activatd by a spoken imprint sequence, is irreversible. If the relationship doesn't work, David must be destroyed.

Osment's tormented robot-kid is disturbingly convincing, especially his transformation from a machine trying to learn about emotions into a sentient being overwhelmed and consumed by them. Alternately predictable and inappropriate, endearing and creepy, he struggles to fit into a conventional family. Henry and Monica, the parents who take him in (Frances O'Connor and Sam Robards) have accepted that their biological son, who is in a coma, will never awaken.

Already, the moral lines are drawn powerfully around this family, a stand-in for our morally obtuse society. Henry agrees to bring a robot child into his home as a surrogate kid without even telling his wife, to help assuage her grief. Monica, mourning her stricken offspring, is a sucker for a loving kid, even a programmed one. David is used in the most profoundly unthinking way. At first, Monica is unnerved by this alien creature, then succumbs to his unequivocal affection.

But their son Martin does recover, and comes home angry and jealous. Here, the movie moves directly into Frankenstein territory. In one powerful scene David is so anxious to be like Martin, whom his new mother loves so deeply, that he starts wolfing down food, which nearly destroys his delicate circuitry. Goaded by their manipulative and somewhat unpleasant natural son, Henry and Monica come to believe they have a monster in their home rather than a loving child, and are overwhelmed by what they've done. Just like Victor Frankenstein, they take no responsibility whatsoever for this creature, sending him away into the dark woods.

David's "mother," to whom he is now forever devoted, takes him out for a drive and abandons him -- an echo of countless fairy tales -- rather than return him to the cybernetic firm that will destroy him. The film's lively middle section depicts a world in which thugs roam the countryside looking to torture and hunt down "mechas," capturing them for a "Flesh Fair," a carnival billed as a celebration of life devoted to "demolishing artificiality" and securing a truly human future.

David's creator Professor Hobby (William Hurt), also stands back as this tragedy unfolds, more curious about his experiment and its commercial possibilities than he is concerned for its consequences. It's a scathing rendition of America's ostrich-like attitudes about technology, as it unleashes AI, fertility, genetic and other technologies on an unprepared world, all in the name of progress, health, or convenience.

In fact, as in The Matrix and almost every other movie which deals with AI, the film delineates a world already sliding into civil war: humans ("orgas," for organic) caught between technological and environmental issues, feel increasingly endangered by the intelligent machines that are more adaptable than they are. It's interesting that almost no artist or futurist looks at AI and the future and sees much good.

As a renegade sex robot called Gigolo Joe (the phenomenal Jude Law) explains to David, whom he's befriended, humanity has belatedly come to regret devloping AI machines unthinkingly. "They made us too smart, too fast, too many," Joe says, perhaps presciently.

Dark and ominous from the beginning, the movie now turns wrenching. Wickedly, Martin has urged his mother to read aloud the story of Pinocchio, with which David becomes obsessed. He sees the parallels between his own story and the wooden puppet's, and he sets out at all costs to find the Blue Fairy who will transform him into a real boy so that his missing "mother" will love him as much as she loves her biological son. But by now, David is no witless, gullible Pinocchio. He is obsessed and resourceful, and has evolved in decidedly non-Disney ways.

The shadow of Stanley Kubrick, who conceived the movie based on a short story by Brian Aldriss, falls darkly across this ground-breakingly inventive tale. There are embedded visual and thematic references to A Clockwork Orange, and 2001: A Space Odyssey, along with Star Wars and E.T. There's even a sly homage to Pinocchio's "Pleasure Island." And the story draws heavily from the fairy tale genre, especially all those Grimm's fables about kids being abandoned in dark and menacing woods. Kubrick apparently spent many hours talking with Spielberg about the movie, but died before he could tackle it.

But Spielberg really honors him here. This movie is as disquieting as it is eerie, gorgeous and thoughtful; it dares to take on the serious issue of humanity's pell-mell rush to fiddle with human life -- from AI to robotics to genomics -- without realistically or carefully considering the consequences. You can almost hear the technologists of the future explaining why they couldn't possibly have foreseen the impact of the forces their predecessors unleashed.

When Mary Shelley sounded this warning in Frankenstein, technology was primitive and noninvasive, still a somewhat abstract fear. The world in whic David "lives" is not only imaginable but, by many accounts, is almost upon us, at least in terms of the possibilities of AI and the rapid evolution of computer systems into a sort of species.

Speielberg reminds us that we aren't ready. Not only may many humans get hurt, but so may the new machines, along with nature itself. It's a provocative twist on a big and powerful premise. What are we? What are we going to be?

There's a Freudian twist or two as well. What David yearns for is what the shrinks tell us we all want at some point -- pure, undiluted love from and time with Mom. David's fight for that is heroic, down to a shocking and unexpected series of endings, certain to be controversial and upsetting to many. (Parents who bring little kids to what they think is just another Spielberg yarn will be in for an unpleasant surprise). David develops some less attractive human qualities as well. Spielberg seems to be suggesting that it's all too easy to ultimately create machines that behave like humans, but we might not like the results.

This ability, he seems to warn, distracts us, lets us off the hook, prevents us from asking the most signficant question: What does it mean to be human, and what kind of humans do we want to be? That question doesn't often come up when it comes to technology, where the question is more apt to be: how can we create more cool stuff?

A.I. is shocking and haunting, beautiful and unique. For all his sometimes icky Boomer sentimentality, Spielberg's ability to grow artistically, to make deeper, richer, more inventive movies, qualifies in my book as an epic acheivement. When it comes to science, this movie begins where 2001 leaves off, and then goes a galaxy or two farther.

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Dear God!!! You LIKED it??!! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#116311)

"A.I. is shocking and haunting, beautiful and unique. For all his sometimes icky Boomer sentimentality, Spielberg's ability to grow artistically, to make deeper, richer, more inventive movies, qualifies in my book as an epic acheivement. When it comes to science, this movie begins where 2001 leaves off, and then goes a galaxy or two farther. " If this film represents artistic growth something needs to be done. The movie contained enough plot for approx. 15 minutes of lame TV crap. I feel as though 2.5 hours of my precious youth have been taken away forever!! I would have walked out 15 mintues into the film except for the fact I couldn't believe that someone could make an entire film that sucked so bad. GAWWD! For the crime of making and releasing a film this bad, Spielbergs lands and cattle should be confiscated and he should be forced to wander the world cold and alone. Or to quote the Simpson's, "Worst movie, ever!" I can't believe you liked it.

When will AI be able to remove trolls from /. ? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#116312)

Its about time slashcode got some AI to remove all the trolls that make it suck so bad.

D.A.R.Y.L. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#116313)

Wasn't this concept already covered in a movie from the 80s?

A.I. Ticket Stub = -5 years in Purgatory! (3)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#116316)

This movie will make you laugh and cry, provided you have nitrous oxide, severe allergies, or a deep regard for sentimental middle brow rubbish. I stayed to the end by an act of great will, irrationally expecting to find something that would justify the rest of the time I had spent on watching this testament to the director's wish to be a real, live artist.

First of all, pacing. There isn't any. The movie drags on, and on, and just when you thought it was done, it drags on some more. I would have been been fidgeting if I'd been an immortal robot programmed to simulate engagement with crap movies.

The soundtrack is obtrusive. Its forever telling you exactly how you should be feeling. (David's in trouble! Sad! The yokels at the demolition derby are throwing rotten fruit at a bad guy! Happy!)

The children are one dimensionally malevolent. Its a common-place that children are monsters, but they're complex monsters. These kids were apparently from the Cybertronics "Damian - finally, a child you feel good about starving and beating!" product line.

There isn't really a clear rendering of how David's mind works. He's emotionally needy, and well-behaved, and, um, hmmn. The movie's vague with regard to where he resembles humans and where he is other.

Cybertronics sensibly keeps its main R&D office in a half-submerged skyscraper in a drowned city. No doubt this makes it easier to attract and retain employees of a certain cast of mind (ie, romantics and those on the run from the law) but I wonder if its really logistically practical.

Spoiler warning:

I had high hopes for the aliens. I thought it would be a good ending if they set David up with a simulacrum of his mother with whom he could spend the rest of eternity, oblivious to the strangeness of his situation. I thought it would be good if the aliens remained remote, curious archaeologists. But no... they turn out to have soft english voices chock full of cloying world-sadness. They're just awfully impressed with humanity and wish they could be like us. Using their essentially unlimited technology they can resurrect the dead but, um, they time-expire faster than a big mac.

In short, as far a golem stories go, rank this not with Frankenstein, Pinochio, or Golem XIV (great novella by Stanislaw Lem), but with "Hawkman versus the Death Droids!!" or the manual for your autonomous robotic lawnmower.

-Zachary Mason

Asimov Robots vs. Real Robots (4)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#116317)

I always wonder why people bring up Asimov's three laws of robotics as though they had anything to do with reality. I mean, when you really study robots, you find that robots programmed with safeguards will malfunction and cause horrible, painful death. A good example was a robot made for hospitals to deliver radiation treatments to people. Unfortunately, I can't remember the name of the robot, but what I do remember is that the original model robot had mechanical safeguards that would shut off the machine if the radiation levels got to be dangerously high. Unfortunately, these mechanical safeguards were considered too expensive and it was decided in later models to use only software based safeguards. Well, the software based safeguards, of course, failed miserably. The software was incredibly buggy, and the robot ended up horrible burning or radiation poisoning many of the people who came in for treatment. It was a big scandal.

Now, this was a _really_ simple robot, designed to deliver a few different kind of radiation pulses as cancer treatments. How are we going to be able to program safeguards into super advanced robots with emotions and human level intelligence?

Isaac Asimov wrote a lot of entertaining stories about intelligent robots that had to obey people, couldn't kill, and the like. These were fun stories, and I recommend I, Robot to anyone who wants some light reading (though Foundation is better.). Just don't treat it as gospel truth, and remember, other writers have had completely different views of Artificial Intelligence. (My favorite is, Fondly Farenheit by Alfred Bester.)

Re:My take... (1)

alexandre (53) | more than 13 years ago | (#116318)

Uhm, you're right, they are evolved robots shaped like humans (go figure why they did that, i would have prefered if they chose flying sphere or something ;-)

---

Re:But you PROMISED me... (2)

Zigurd (3528) | more than 13 years ago | (#116326)

AGHHHHHHHHH!

I checked the f--king box and that means no Jon Katz! Ever! Not even when that commie pinhead michael sneaks in on weekends! Got it?

No pinko whining about technology.

No global warming sky is falling rubbish.

No false maudlin techno worry-warting that implies that if we don't have pseuds like Katz fretting about it it will soon destroy the ecology, all public schools, Salon (whoops)... and we'll all be eating red meat and GM fries served by a single large MicroMcDonaldsLockheedSoft conglomerate run by Newt Gingrich.

But you PROMISED me... (5)

warmcat (3545) | more than 13 years ago | (#116327)

...if I ticked the box I would NEVER see anything by Jon Katz again!!!!

Re:Trust Me (2)

Jonathan (5011) | more than 13 years ago | (#116332)

Well, the future civilization is neat, and not entirely happy, if you think about whose civilization it is. I agree that there was no point to giving David what he wants. In fact, realizing that you can't always have what you want would have been a good moral to illustrate.

Re:My take... (2)

Jonathan (5011) | more than 13 years ago | (#116333)


Before reading the comments here, I never thought the thought. They just scream 'greys' in form. But I agree that the ending makes more sense when you think of them as future robots. So if that was the intent, then it was just a horrible mistake in visuals. I mean Really Really Horrible.


I guess there's no point in not talking directly -- anyone reading the thread has seen the movie or doesn't care about spoilers.

Why do the robots look like stereotypical aliens? For the same reason why aliens are depicted that way -- the slender body and big head are signs of beings that are specialized for thinking rather than physical activity. With their antigravity tech or whatever it is, there is no need for them to do physical work.

What aliens? (3)

nedron (5294) | more than 13 years ago | (#116334)

Spoiler.... Michael apparently didn't pay a whole lot of attention to the movie. The "aliens" he mentions were actually robots! I'm not sure how he missed it, but they even refer to themselves as such in the movie.

As an append, the movie should be watched as a >robot's< fairy tale. It makes much more sense and is thoroughly enjoyable in that context.

Re:45 minutes too long (2)

unitron (5733) | more than 13 years ago | (#116336)

There's another sci-fi story out there somewhere, not necessarily by Aldiss, but possibly, it's been a long time since I read it, featuring a boy (a real one) and his robot teddy bear, but its plot goes in an entirely different direction.

Re:What aliens? (2)

unitron (5733) | more than 13 years ago | (#116337)

So if aliens make robots, they aren't robots? Then what are they?

If they'd stayed true to the original story... (2)

unitron (5733) | more than 13 years ago | (#116338)

If they'd stayed true to the original story there wouldn't have been a character for Jude Law to play, or at least not that character.

It was ok, but not all that. (5)

HEbGb (6544) | more than 13 years ago | (#116340)

I found the movie enjoyable, but not nearly as thought provoking or as well executed as it could have been.

Despite the strong presence of Kubrick's influence (the movie would have been horrible otherwise), there were countless episodes of Spielberg-isms akin to those things that made me dislike Jurassic Park so much. Gratuitious tear-jerkers, cutsey-laughs, and all of the other crap that's thrown in to make the movie more marketable to the typical McDonald's customer and general-purpose merchandisers.

I was also disappointed with the trivialization of Kubrick's role in forming this - it's quite clear from the movie that his role was much more than "talking [about it] with Spielberg".

And I totally disagree with michael and JK's conclusion at the end that this is any indication of "Spielberg's ability to grow artistically .." and I am horrified that they think "this movie begins where 2001 left off, and then goes a galaxy or two farther."

No way. The movie was decent, and I'm glad I saw it, but to even compare this to achievements like 2001, or even Speilberg's real achievements like Jaws, Close Encounters or E.T. is nonsense.

It's a good flick, but it's no epic. Get over it, boys.

Re:Trust Me (3)

Hiawatha (13285) | more than 13 years ago | (#116349)

Are you kidding? The ending, though a bit too long, is way cool, and absolutely heartbreaking. Besides, if they leave at that point, they'll miss the stunning Coney Island sequence, as impressive a bit of filmmaking as Spielberg's ever done.

Re:Trust Me (1)

Anm (18575) | more than 13 years ago | (#116362)

No, I would suggest leave it when David later returns to the sea floor. When the camera pulls back and the narrator kicks in again. That's when you should leave. The rest is a ridiuculous attempt at a happy ending with no regard for the theme of the rest of the movie.

Sorry, Spielberg, but not everything ends happily.

Anm

Re:My take... (1)

Anm (18575) | more than 13 years ago | (#116363)

This is absurd -- not being able to reboot his software, or at least reinstall it, is really contrived.


Just because the mother couldn't doesn't mean it wasn't possible. I'm sure Cybertronics would have had piles of tests a tweeks ready and waiting for David, had he ever showed up.

Despite what critics and IMDB commenters say, I'm absolutely against the notion that the beings at the end are aliens. They may be shaped like the "Close Encounters" creatures, but please! "Artificial Intelligence" is the name of the friggin' movie.


Before reading the comments here, I never thought the thought. They just scream 'greys' in form. But I agree that the ending makes more sense when you think of them as future robots. So if that was the intent, then it was just a horrible mistake in visuals. I mean Really Really Horrible.

Anm

Re:Trust Me (1)

Anm (18575) | more than 13 years ago | (#116364)

SPOILAGE

Not only would you have the aspect of "can't always have what you want", but you'd leave room for etenral hope. The boy is praying forever. How beautiful, yet sad, is that?

Anyway, after reading some comments here, I'm now thinking of the future beings as future robots (2000 years hense), and I am much a bit happier with the ending. I hope the producers meant it that way, and just made Horrible choice in visuals. It would make sense, in being foreshadowed by Joe. But it still doesn't add to the basic theme.

Anm

Aliens? (1)

Smokin Goat McGruff (19225) | more than 13 years ago | (#116366)

(I'm going to ignore the aliens.)

Those weren't aliens. They were mechas. It turns out they do outlive the human race.

Beautiful Film... (1)

berniecase (20853) | more than 13 years ago | (#116368)

Personally, I thought it was a beautiful film, well shot, well directed, and well acted. Haley Joel Osmont will have a good future for himself, if he doesn't end up getting tossed aside when he's no longer cute (MacCauley Culkin, anyone?).

I found that much of the film would alienate an audience, with the somewhat eery ways David learned to integrate himself into the family. Watching him constantly strive for affection and love was exhausting. The ending, while not exciting, was the most emotional part of the movie.

Normal American audiences like it when the story is told to them, and this movie, unfortunately, did that with narration. Like I've heard from others, Kubrick probably wouldn't have wanted that, but considering the number of children that were in the theater when I saw the movie, perhaps it's a good thing it was there. Besides, I doubt most of those kids will understand what much of the movie was about.

There were a lot of similarities to other Kubrick films -- musical score reminiscent of 2001, awkward silences reminiscent of 2001 and Eyes Wide Shut. Spielberg has said in the past that he really likes doing movies like this, but has to do the Jurassic Parks to pay the bills.

Here's hoping we can get more interesting cinema like this from Spielberg.

Re:Trust Me (3)

Marooned (21804) | more than 13 years ago | (#116372)

I would pick when the narrator comes again, and you zoom out/in on the ice. Man, the first thought that crossed my mind when the next scene began was "Oh jesus what the f*ck is this, the borg?!"
first words out of my friend's mouth: "Oh great.. f*cking aliens"
Commentary heard from the people in front of me (a bunch of 10 year ol' boys): "finally something cool happens!"

honestly, I've never had such a good movie ruined completely by its ending.. I mean, there's been some terrible endings in a lot of movies, but nothing where the ending just destroyed the whole movie, even the good parts, because it makes you focus on itself so much.

- Marooned

Always with Kubrick, it hits you later... (2)

dmorin (25609) | more than 13 years ago | (#116377)

I think I had the same reaction to A.I. that I had with Eyes Wide Shut in the theatre. I had high hopes. I watched carefully for messages and symbolism. And the longer it went, the more I started thinking "My god, when does it end?" And when it finally did, I walked out thinking "Ug, that sucked."

But then I go home thinking. And continue thinking all through the next day. And at least at one point I think about going to see it again. Because I realize that taken as a whole (and not as beginning/middle/end), it is a complete picture, and it is very good.

The best part of the movie is the supertoy. I think every geek will want one.

Re:Trust Me (1)

daytrip (25725) | more than 13 years ago | (#116378)

The reason the ending - which I agree gets drawn out too long - is there is because the story seems to forget all about morality about 3/4 or the way through, and becomes interested only in bringing some sort of conclusion to David's life.

The story neatly lets all of humanity off the hook by fast forwarding through all the real moral issues involved. We would have had a MUCH stronger story here if the emphasis at the end was on what it means for science to get so ahead of itself. Where's the public outcry against the mass-manufacturing of loving mecha's? Where's the debate on if it it ok to have even one loving mecha?

Instead we're focused on a boy stick in a while true do loop. If only the last 1/3 was as focused on morality as the first 1/3, then we'd have a true masterpiece on our hands.

Re:What aliens? (1)

jellicle (29746) | more than 13 years ago | (#116380)

I think "robot" carries with it the connotation that not only is the thing mechanical, it was also made by humans. If the... aliens... were mechanical (I don't recall them describing themselves at all), then at least they weren't created by humans, so I wouldn't call them robots.

Re:Trust Me (3)

jmauro (32523) | more than 13 years ago | (#116388)

If it ended before the second half of the end it would of been cool. There is just something about a movie that goes on a little too long for it's own good. This is one of them. It would of been more "Kubrick" if it ended before the second half. But the second half was cool in and of its self, but it just really didn't add anything to the movie I though.

Re:But you PROMISED me... (2)

gnfnrf (39155) | more than 13 years ago | (#116392)

Demand your money back. Clearly you have been defrauded.

Seriously, it's not that hard to just not read Katz if you don't want to.

--
gnfnrf

AI was totally disappointing (1)

Snoobs (43421) | more than 13 years ago | (#116396)

I thought that AI was disapointing. When I watch a Kubrick movie (which this would have been if he hadn't of died) it makes me think of interesting things about life. This movie on the other hand was totally manipulated into Hollywood crap by Spieldberg. It was based on trying to make you cry and feel sorry for the robot. Sorry. Didn't work.

Basically, this story was a remake of Pinochio. " I want to be a real boy!" Blah, Blah, Blah. If I hear Haley Joel Osment whine like that anymore I will not see his movies until he is past adolescense. In some scenes he was creepy which made up for some of his bad acting (he's a child actor, I know, but I can still be a critic).

The movie was far to mystical and there was not enough scientifical fact to back up what it is to be a robot. The robot is suddenly in his new home. Things are awkward. This scene lasts for about 30-45 minutes. Total overkill. I guess I wish there was more to the film. The scenes were all cheesy.

Overall, a descent waste of two and a half hours. You have to see it if you liked any of Kubricks movies but the movie is sappy and will leave you empty and unfulfilled when you leave the theatre.

Peace

Re:Trust Me (1)

colmore (56499) | more than 13 years ago | (#116402)

I agree, I think the movie diverged from standard 3-act stucture, and as allways, that's not the best of ideas.

better ending: as soon as the voice starts talking about ice and a fairy, leave. I'm pretty sure that's where Kubrick would have ended the movie.

Re:Trust Me (1)

colmore (56499) | more than 13 years ago | (#116403)

Yeah, i think they were future robots, but man they sure looked like that dumb thing from Mission to Mars.

P.S. I love how the Slashdot Anti-Troll technology punishes you for reading and typing quickly.

Re:Bladerunner anyone? (1)

colmore (56499) | more than 13 years ago | (#116404)

no.... it deals with similar themes and exists within the same realm of sci-fi convention, but its hardly a ripoff. The movie certainly owes a lot to Blade Runner, but if you watch it there's some subtle tributes to blade runner. (as well as 2001, a Clockwork Orange, Dr. Strangelove, Thunderdome, Planet of the Apes, Star Wars, Close Incounters, and probably others)

Really, catching clever references are half the fun in the movie.

Re:!!!SPOILER - Re:Trust Me (2)

colmore (56499) | more than 13 years ago | (#116405)

The ending reminded me of a (sniff sniffle, nostalgia...) SimEarth game I played once, where after I had a civilization evolve to the point of Nanotech and mass exodus of the Earth, a population of ROBOTS overtook the entire world, driving everything else to extinction.

It only happened once.

Re:My take... (spoilage) (1)

MJN222 (66958) | more than 13 years ago | (#116411)

I agree with you about the beings at the end of the film. To me it was clear that they were not aliens, especially when one of them made a comment along the lines of "He's unique. He has actually seen a real human." That line combined with the title of film and what appeared to be the circuitry inside of the beings led me to conclude that they were in fact robotic and not aliens. However, most of the people that I overheard coming out of the theater seemed to think they were aliens who had come and taken over the planet.

Re:Trust Me (2)

levendis (67993) | more than 13 years ago | (#116412)

I agree... at least, I feel that where Kubrick would have ended it. The lasst 10 minutes were neat from a sci-fi and special effects point of view, but just seemed way to cheesy in the context of the rest of the movie.

----

They're NOT Aliens (1)

blazerw11 (68928) | more than 13 years ago | (#116418)

Dudes,
The funky alien-like creatures at the end are not aliens. They are the "evolved" mechas. Sure, this is really open to interpretation, but just because they look like the "classic" aliens we've seen in recent movies (including Spielberg's own Close Encounters of the Third Kind) does not mean that they are aliens. Watch it again for the first time.

Dumbed Down (1)

blazerw11 (68928) | more than 13 years ago | (#116419)

I enjoyed the movie a great deal, but I could have done without the constant narrations explaining detail that we could have figured out on our own. I'm sure some dumbass movie executive forced these changes late in the movie's production. How would 2001 have been if the monolith could speak and it explained blow by blow that movie classic's ending?

First impressions of A.I. (5)

gorsh (75930) | more than 13 years ago | (#116424)

I got to see A.I. Thursday night at a preview screening here in Chicago. As someone who's been following the project since Kubrick was going to do it, I've posted some of my initial impressions below, with no spoilers:

I think A.I. would have been a brilliant film had Kubrick been able to produce it, but in Spielberg's hands the results are mixed. You get
the feeling that Spielberg understood about 90% of the story, but there's still another 10% there that he didn't know what to do with, particularly in the film's third act.

Several film critics have talked about Kubrick's use of "non-submersible" units - constructing a movie out of five or six sequences that support the argument of the film and tying them together with narrative links. In most of Kubrick's films, he ties together these units with such skill that a casual viewer doesn't notice that they're there. In A.I., which follows this (for lack of a better world) "Kubrickean" narrative structure the bits are all there, but they feel disjointed and clumsily put together. The transition to the third act in particular, is particularly clumsy, and it becomes clear that Spielberg doesn't completely understand all the
ramifications of the final scenes, because they aren't thematically consistent with the rest of the film.

I think one of the problems is that Spielberg is not an experienced screenwriter, and has trouble with some of the finer points of narrative storytelling. Additionally, his films tend to fall more into the traditional Hollywood narrative structure, so making something outside of that is a challenge for him, especially when
working a much faster schedule than Kubrick would have.

The other thing I missed was the acute sense of irony that fills Kubrick's films. The story of A.I. is really one of a huge cosmic joke, and I didn't get the feeling that Spielberg got it. There is certainly humor in the story (a welcome diversion from some of the film's emotional intensity), but it's "cute" humor, rather than
satire.

Spielberg does get credit for capturing the look that Kubrick probably intended for the film - no doubt the numerous storyboards provided by the Kubrick Estate helped. Also, the performances by all of the lead actors are fantastic, particularly Haley Joel Osment.

The John Williams score is very overbearing in parts - one of the great things about Kubrick's films was the economy with which he used music - here it's a constant presence, and when Spielberg is trying to make a point, he just cranks up the volume.

Despite it's flaws, I think it's a movie worth watching, however, if only for the little nuggets that shine through. It's one of Spielberg's most ambitious films, and I think he did very well with it in parts.

Interestingly, I actually think Kubrick may have been on to something by proposing that Spielberg direct and he produce. It's well known that Spielberg has no patience for post-production, and leaves most of those duties to his long-time editor, Michael Kahn. Had Kubrick been in charge of post-production on this film, and taken the time to get it absolutely right, I think it could have been a masterpiece, even with Spielberg directing.

Anyway, those are just my initial impressions - I will probably see it again, although I don't plan on paying more than matinee prices....

Bah (1)

diablovision (83618) | more than 13 years ago | (#116434)

This movie lacked genius and direction. It shyed away from posing the questions that Katz seems to think it does and hides them under an extraneous forty minutes of wandering. When movie critics are surprised by a plot twist and a movie doesn't go where they expect, they herald this as some mark of genius. This was just a wandering, poorly thought out, anti-climatic, weak movie.

If you were expecting this movie to be epic, or to ask the really tough questions about what it is to be human and machine, then you won't find that. If you expect this to parallel Frankenstein, you'd be better off reading Frankenstein. The classics did it far far better than AI could ever hope to hold a candle to.

Re:Three Laws (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 13 years ago | (#116444)

in any film? what about terminator?

*scnr*

but anyway. that thing strikes me most... that the rules can be circumvented by a sheer stupidity of the ais in i robot. the robots are described as much more intelligent than humans BUT they are kind of stupid.

Too much Spielberg (2)

ToasterTester (95180) | more than 13 years ago | (#116451)

To understand the movie just imagine asking William Gibson to rewrite Pinocchio. The movie started very Spielberg, started to get interesting, the went Spielberg to the end. To sappy, too much of the kid doing his patented look from Sixth Sense. Like E.T. you have the kid and sidekick robot teddy bear. The beginning of the movie was to short choppy with the parents loving the kid the suddenly turning on him, especially the father. The movie might of been better it it was about thiry minutes shorter. the movie was like this review, disjointed and no flow.

enjoy

Another review (2)

fiziko (97143) | more than 13 years ago | (#116454)

For those of you who didn't turn on the Sci-Fi news slashbox, here's a link [bureau42.com] to another review.

Lots of stupid references in A.I (1)

andrez (99527) | more than 13 years ago | (#116460)

I saw the movie yesterday. Christ was I pissed at the end.
It started all well. It was creepy. Haley Joel Osment was excellent. William Hurt was good. Photography, soundtrack, everything was right and fit, except for the stupid teddy bear, a shameless reference to "Ewoks".
Then the second third of the movie came. It was "E.T", "Schindler's List", "Mad Max 3: Beyond the Thunder Dome", "Wizard of Oz", "Waterworld", "Blade Runner", all mixed together. But it was still tolerable. The movie could have ended right there, with the boy locked forever in the bottom of the sea. It would have been a sad, bittersweet ending, like the endings in Kubrick films.
Then the final third. God was that awful! The aliens with heads looking like Philco Predictas! The hair and DNA thing, argh! I felt like I was watching "Glen or Glenda": now it ends! No, it doesn't! Now it will end! No, it still doesn't end! My God, can't Hollywood stand a sad ending???

Trust Me (3)

pjdoland (99640) | more than 13 years ago | (#116461)

If and when you decide to see this movie, walk out of the theater at the precise moment when David (Haley Joel Osment) jumps off the building into the ocean. Trust me on this. I won't spoil the ending because I've forced myself to repress it.

I'm really hoping someone pulls a "Phantom Edit" with this film..

Re:Good movie- Bad ending(SPOILER)... (1)

naoursla (99850) | more than 13 years ago | (#116462)

They weren't aliens. They were the highly advanced AI's that were left after everybody else had gone. They were searching to understand their creator -- much like we often do.

a.i. represents human experience (spoilers) (2)

Kris Magnusson (115926) | more than 13 years ago | (#116473)

delete "mecha" from the following and i'm describing human experience. that kubrick definitely has a way of expressing complex, subtle inner emotions.
  1. mecha boy's parents are neurotic messes who create mecha child for their own benefit, not that of the mecha boy
  2. mother inevitably creates unhealthy, unbreakable bond between her and mecha boy
  3. father and brother obstruct mecha boy's relationship with mother, causing mecha boy's suffering to increase
  4. mecha boy's desire for greater closeness as well as fear of being hurt leads him to inadvertently cause harm to others
  5. mother inevitably abandons mecha boy for selfish reasons, but leaves him a chance for survival and thus a faint but real chance to find happiness
  6. mecha boy immediately finds his own kind: other damaged mecha people fumbling around for their missing pieces in the dark, neurotically stuck in their own self-limiting programming/conditioning
  7. mecha boy finds the strength to continue by blindly holding onto his idealized notion of mother, as well as his own childlike perceptions of his uniqueness and special qualities
  8. unable to get what he needs in the real world, mecha boy develops magical thinking, believing a fictitious supernatural force will help him meet his needs
  9. mecha boy ultimately finds that he is neither special nor unique and will never get the love he needs from his mother--then he tries to kill himself
i left out "mecha boy gets therapy and feels better" because that doesn't always happen, but i thought it could have worked.

Despite all the reviews one thing remains. (2)

bingeldac (116158) | more than 13 years ago | (#116474)

I personally believe people went into this movie with a lot of expectations which were not met. Did Spielberg try to become Kubrick to pay homage to his close friend? I think the answer would be a resounding yes, but people need to look past that and many other "plot" points and look at a few of the ideas which have never been wrestled with very well in the past. Such as when a robot becomes sentient (define it as you must) what are societies moral obligations to it. Perhaps David surpased what a robot truly is and in some way had a "soul." Also I thought the robots (loose definition) of 2000 years in the future revering humans as gods was quite interesting. Perhaps this is similar to how man views god. Despite everyone saying they did not like this plot line or that scene we must look at the movie as a whole. To look at Clock Work Orange or 2001 and not consider the ethical questions tackled is quite a shame. See past the idea that "Spielberg is not Kubrick and he was horrid in his attempt." The movie is much more then what is on the screen. Kubrick has always asked us to think outside the film, and if we do not do that with AI we are just dismissing what Kubrick's true legacy has been.

Bingeldac denies any responsibility for the
spelling and/or grammatical errors above.

Yup this sure is slashdot. (1)

NullStream (121401) | more than 13 years ago | (#116479)

Well since people that like to post on /. just prefer to slag everything I'm going to post something different.

I really liked this movie even with this shoddy ending. Like every other movie if you go in expecting nothing and looking for nothing you will be entertained. I know for sure I was. This is one movie where I'm not jilted at the absurd ticket price.

I especially enjoyed the "I'm afraid it will hurt" scene. The "client" was all to human for once and Gigalo Joe was well, plastic. A very convincing scene that is one of those "disturbing" elements other are talking about.

Although the ending wasn't that great and was more about showing off what can be done in modern renderers, it had a point (if not well stated). If we are remembered by what we leave behind who or what will think of us when we've left this place a rotting ball of dirt where there obviously at one time was beauty.

Blah. For anyone needing to waste a few hours or are just board then go see this movie. It should tide you over until Final Fantasy is released on the 11th.

!!!SPOILER - Re:Trust Me (2)

kjoyce (123612) | more than 13 years ago | (#116481)

Just checking - we all do realize those were robots at the end and not aliens. The concept of our own creations outliving us seems pretty cool to me. When the Earth gets back to a good climate for humans it seems they would be able to clone us and humanity can survive its own extinction. While the ending was drawn out the ideas are worth it.

Re:Good movie- Bad ending(SPOILER)... (1)

neoptik (130091) | more than 13 years ago | (#116492)

they aren't aliens at the end; they are super-futuristic androids. Or, at least that is what I drew from the movie. BTW, I thought the movie was incredible. I absolutely loved how bizarre it was.

I kind of like the end (1)

ArchieBunker (132337) | more than 13 years ago | (#116493)

It was strange and quite interesting to see new york city under a frozen ocean, although the aliens or super robots or whatever could have been better done. They reminded me of the ones in close encounters.

Disobedience (5)

istartedi (132515) | more than 13 years ago | (#116494)

but why would humans make disobedient robots?

D$%* it! Why won't this print???

You people are tough! (1)

emars (142040) | more than 13 years ago | (#116497)

I think the movie was great. It was trying to do a lot, and although it was a bit long in the tooth, I think it did it! But I did laugh at the first sign of the maple syrup aliens/robots/whatever.

Not aliens...perhaps... (1)

Army No Va (143018) | more than 13 years ago | (#116499)

"Special effects are also superior - rarely in your face, but always there, and entirely realistic. (I'm going to ignore the aliens.)"

Those were not aliens. I don't think anyway. They were the descendants of the robots.

It goes downhill (1)

MikeApp (151816) | more than 13 years ago | (#116506)

This would have been better (and darker) as a Kubrick-only production, and we would have been spared the (useless) final forty minutes of the movie.

A much more insightful review can be found at the New Yorker [newyorker.com] web site.

Mike

[SPOILER] Re:My take... (1)

_xeno_ (155264) | more than 13 years ago | (#116508)

A final
spoiler note: Despite what critics and IMDB commenters say, I'm absolutely against the notion that the beings at the end are aliens. They may be shaped like the "Close Encounters" creatures, but please! "Artificial Intelligence" is the name of the friggin' movie.

How can people possibly mistake those things for aliens? I'm pretty sure that at one point they even say they are decended from the mecha of David's time. Now while when they're introduced they look similar to ET-ish aliens, when they restart David and Teddy and then download his memories, it should be obvious that they are robots, or else they should require more time to know what to do...

Robots that look like walking ice sculptures, but robots none the less...

--

[SPOILER] Re:What aliens? (1)

_xeno_ (155264) | more than 13 years ago | (#116509)

I seem to recall the ice-sculpture-thingy referring to itself as being decended from David's kind during the "let's revive a human to make him happy" scene.

You should also remember that the "aliens" were able to download David's memories (and then download them from each other) as well as restart the frozen robots (remember when the "alien" reaches its hand over David and David jumps to life (and then breaks the Blue Fairy), and again to resurrect Teddy)?

Not only that, but these "aliens" where excavating Earth to discover their origin and learn about their creators, if I recall some of the "alien's" dialog correctly.

Personally, I thought it was fairly clear after they rebuilt David's home that they were decended from the mecha of David's time.

--

Re:Trust Me (4)

_xeno_ (155264) | more than 13 years ago | (#116510)

I have to post a "me too" to this, but really - the movie past that point is just... too weird.

I think that Spielberg wanted to take some of the edge off the movie, and so he tacked on a poorly written ending that tries to solve David's desires as listed in the review above.

It doesn't work though!

Although I would recommend sitting through the entire movie anyway just to look at the cool visuals after his plunge into the ocean, ignore everything thereafter and just be amazed by the pretty visual effects.

(Mini-spoiler below, it shouldn't really effect anything, but be warned...)

It really does come off as a masterpiece until the narrator mentioned in the parent moves the story an additional 2000 years into the future. At that point any vision about the movie is lost and it just stops making sense. Although it eventually brings everything into a almost-ok wrapped up ending, without anything really being satisfied.

The movie could have ended when David jumps into the ocean - or it could have ended again when the narrator pipes up again after his plunge. But it doesn't, and it loses its vision and direction.

--

45 minutes too long (4)

tapin (157076) | more than 13 years ago | (#116511)

The movie was excellent; there were a few absolutely top-notch scenes, from both acting and sfx standpoints. However, if you haven't gone and seen it yet, leave when the narrator kicks in.

It's about forty-five minutes too long; I'm convinced Spielberg simply wanted to emulate Kubrick as much as possible, and therefore threw a nearly nonsensical completely gratuitous and most especially pointless ending on the movie -- nevermind that it takes up nearly a third of the running time. I would've considered it a masterpiece if they would've just rolled credits after Joe hit the "submerge" button.

Does anyone know much about the "Supertoys" short story? I figure I'll go snooping with Google in a bit; but the short story that Wired reprinted at the link in this article doesn't seem complete. A recent issue of Playboy had two short stories by Brian Aldiss that had "Supertoys" names -- did he just write a whole bunch of short stories about David-the-neurotic-robot, or are all of these excerpts from a novel?

how much shock is there? (1)

evanfarrar (161855) | more than 13 years ago | (#116515)

how much kubrick like horror did spielberg allow himself in this movie?

Re:AI? (1)

evanfarrar (161855) | more than 13 years ago | (#116516)

we need to make a perl script that compares the average high school graduates reading speed against the lentgth of the article/time that the user took to press reply. crack addicts beware

Kubrick films not meant to be entertainment (3)

Ars-Fartsica (166957) | more than 13 years ago | (#116522)

After seeing AI I can say I was very intetested in the film and the plot although I wouldn't recommend it as entertainment per se.

Like Clockwork Orange and 2001, this film is more about exploration than entertainment.

And yes, I realize Spielberg directed it, but it is Kubrick's vision.

Spoiler Alert!! About the ending and a thought (1)

TraceProgram (171114) | more than 13 years ago | (#116528)

My friends and I saw AI this past friday and we all walked out with mixed feelings particularly about the ending. The alien-like creatures seemed more of a plot device than anything else. But then someone made a suggestion that maybe they weren't aliens but super advanced AI mechas. Mechas that had evolved (if you can call it evolution) beyond humanity and survived. It would explain a great deal if you take it from that perspective. Their curiousity becomes more genuine. The way they act and look, which is remarkably human-like, makes more sense (Ok so almost every alien created is human like, but that's just because we humans are so full of ourselves). They even sort of look like advanced mechas with what appear to be circuitry in their bodies, plus there ability to access David's memory and even power him back up would be much more easily acceptable if they were indeed advanced mecha. Just my $.02

Re:Spoiler Alert!! About the ending and a thought (1)

TraceProgram (171114) | more than 13 years ago | (#116529)

D'oh! Looks like I posted a little late about the idea. Glad to see others were coming to the same conclusion about the ending.

What Makes Sammy Run? (2)

The Gline (173269) | more than 13 years ago | (#116530)

Not spinach, evidently. Say what you like about dodges like "fairy tale" or "symbolic," but the idea that a robot boy could neither eat spinach nor get wet without having some kind of short-circuit is simply stupid.

I've seen a lot of this lately. Filmmakers and artists have this tendency to overrate the big picture and forget that the details are also part of the big picture. When I talk about the can't-eat-spinach scene and otherwise intelligent people snarl, "Don't get so hung up on the details!" I feel like I'm the one talking to robots.

Sure the details matter. The details make a lot of difference, even in a story that's supposed to be a fable. Calling your story a fable does not mean you have the license to cavalierly ignore things when they don't suit you. If you want to make your characters fly and dodge bullets, then you come up with a story that supports those things.

"The Matrix" built nicely up to its allegorial rebirth ending (trying not to give any spoilers here). "A.I." just has senseless stuff like the above dropped in all along the way with no real explanation. The "fairy tale" credentials seemed largely due to it simply quoting "Pinnochio" directly (the "Blue Fairy") -- and for that matter, not quoting it with a great deal of insight or intelligence.

Try this experiment. If the names "Steven Spielberg" or "Stanley Kubrick" didn't appear anywhere in this movie, would it have been anywhere nearly as interesting? I asked friends of mine to try the same experiment with "Episode 1" and they responded by merely getting angry. Most of the reason for the interest in the film is because it consists of a story that was never completeted by one very famous director and has since been completed by another. For that matter, "After the Rain" was pretty mediocre, too.

At best, the movie is a failed experiment. At worst, it lapses into the kind of precious, pretentious sentimentalism that passes for emotions these days.

The best part I liked of AI was... (1)

cOdEgUru (181536) | more than 13 years ago | (#116539)

Teddy himself. They didnt make him to life like, just like a toy.. He was the best thing I liked about the movie.

I thought the end was a bit overdone. But Kubrick and Spielberg tried to capture the essence of the whole story, the journey of a robotic child to become human. Was kind of ironic since all we could see now, are people who tend to be like machines, being more and more infatuated and dependent on technology.

I thought it was a bit too dragging, but I am willing to forgive them on that. There were a couple of moments, when I even had a lump on my throat. But Spielberg wanted to make this movie infinitely sad, coz we do have the knowledge, that no matter how much "David" try, he could never be a human. Its that infinite sadness that he never come to terms with. And I found that truly sad.

It was a good movie. It had a couple of Kubrick moments (when he is put back in to his old house), and a couple of Spielberg ones. All in all, something I would recommend, but not necessarily keep in line with "2001 : A space odyssey".

horrible film (1)

hex1848 (182881) | more than 13 years ago | (#116540)

For somereason when i read the title AI i thought computers, guns, take over the world. Instead kept thinking "I see dead people" through out the whole movie.. horrible flick. dont waist your time. *mental note to self* - read the reviews before watching anymore movies.

Re:Kubrick films not meant to be entertainment (2)

SubtleNuance (184325) | more than 13 years ago | (#116544)

Like Clockwork Orange and 2001, this film is more about exploration than entertainment

Agreed. But Im glad for it, We really need more opportunity to think, lest we entertain ourselves to death.

See:

"Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business", by Neil Postman, Methuen, f.p.1985, new imprint 1998, 184pp., paper. http://chapters.indigo.ca/books/details/default.as p?ISBN=0140094385&mscssid=WM6H569WPWT99MM6MS06WHN2 55SADMJF&WSID=1307FEBA8D114200466C8A9EFCA0DB221A35 1201

Re:Good movie- Bad ending(SPOILER)... (1)

LMCBoy (185365) | more than 13 years ago | (#116545)

I too was put off at first when the "aliens" appeared. However, I soon realized that they probably weren't aliens; I'm pretty sure they are evolved mechas. This explains how they can control and interact with David. It also explains their keen interest in finding a "link with humanity" in David-- humans are their creators.

AI? (1)

keesh (202812) | more than 13 years ago | (#116558)

Artificial Insemination? Insert rant about "stuff that matters" here... What? Oh, "Artificial Intelligence"... Never mind :)
--

2,000 years enough? *whisper, whisper* (1)

Terpy_242 (209387) | more than 13 years ago | (#116570)

Does anyone else think that the 2,000 year time lapse between the ferris wheel crashing down and the later discovery of David was too short? Could an ice age come about so quickly? I imagine 2,000 years ago that Earth looked pretty much as it did now. Also, did enough time pass for the aliens/robots to do all that discovering, experimenting, and advancement? Oh, and yes... I do know it was FICTION. Of course, if you walk out of the theater when David jumps off the building, none of this really matters. One more thing. If this kid whispers his way through one more role, I think it will be the death of his career. No matter how much talent he has, I for one, am going to start getting really annoyed.

Pinocchio, Not Star Trek (2)

Webz (210489) | more than 13 years ago | (#116571)

I went into this movie expecting something more along the lines of hard science fiction, with robots, computer science jargon, and some kind of Frankenstein scenario. Sure, the movie does contain stuff like that, but not a lot. It really is more like a modern Pinocchio. Don't go into this movie expecting something very techno-ish like the Matrix. Some have told me how genius this film is and how profound Kubrick is, but this movie simply wasn't entertaining. I was upset that it explicitly drilled the Pinocchio theme into the minds of the viewers. The people at my showing were laughing because the movie was so corny, babyish in its desire to showcase a modern e-pinnochio, if you will. I guess I would say that everyone should see this movie at least once. Some think its a masterpiece, others simply think its garbage.

By the way, the thing that irked me most was its construction. (Spoiler?) ... It has three distinct parts to it. When the movie transitions from one part to another, it practically severs any relation between them other than the main character and his sidekick. It made the movie seem like three distinct stories sown together at their tangents. Maybe they could have served as three different storylines aching to be completed. One last thing... The third part.. The characters it involves is simply rediculous (back to that childish idea).

So, all in all... Maybe it is deep. Maybe I'm just not seeing it. But it wasn't entertaining. Haley Joel Osment was great, he's an excellent actor. But I don't feel this as a box office smash. Try Fast and Furious if you like an entertaining movie with import cars.

Another review (3)

closedpegasus (212610) | more than 13 years ago | (#116574)

There's another review here [kurzweilai.net] by Ray Kurzweil, a guy who has been around real-world AI for a while. Possibly a few plot-spoilers, but mostly about the feasability of stuff done in the movie.

Of course it's ultimately about us... (1)

snStarter (212765) | more than 13 years ago | (#116575)

Remember first that David was created to fulfill a need in a culture that had witnessed a billion deaths; a culture whose emotional disconnect makes sex with machines preferable to sex with humans.

So watch the film and ask yourself how we might be different from Dr. Hobby. Would we make the same fundamental mistake and see our creation only as lines of code and a research breakthrough?

David's journey is ultimately a human one - a machine seeking the humane.

This is brilliant film-making with a single instance of what Joe would deem magic, in a fairy tale for all of us who may be lost in our machines.

Offer your own self to the film and you will receive back in kind, many times over.

Blinking.... (2)

pjdepasq (214609) | more than 13 years ago | (#116577)

As Michael points out with his "eye twitch" comment, the robots don't blink. Haley Joel O. was on a talk show (can't recall which one) the other night and stated he doesn't blink during the whole movie. I'm reasonably certain none of the mechas do either. (Something interesting/stupid/odd/freaky/etc. to look for...)

Sequel to AI (2)

pjdepasq (214609) | more than 13 years ago | (#116578)

Coming Attractions has a page up regarding the possiblity of AI2. Apparently Speilburg has bought the rights for the sequel short story and wanted/wants the rights to a single sentence for the "third idea of the saga". Check it out...

Coming Attractions on AI2 [corona.bc.ca]

Azimov Had Nothing To Do With This Film (2)

Johnny Starrock (227040) | more than 13 years ago | (#116587)

"One area I kept looking for was hard-coded limits on robotic behavior. These robots have neither the First, nor the Second, nor the Third Laws of Robotics"

Wow, different authors had different ideas about fictional things. Is that allowed?

Re:Trust Me (1)

fiddlingNero (237558) | more than 13 years ago | (#116598)

Imagine that, a tech reporter falling prey to a troll.

Good movie- Bad ending(SPOILER)... (2)

oconnorcjo (242077) | more than 13 years ago | (#116602)

The ending was awfull for a movie that was going so good. The aliens bit was stupid. As a plot twist it just made no sense. I think the movie was MEANT to end when david was underwater and staring at the statue but my guess is that somebody in hollywood said "that is too sad" and so speilberge said "ok- we will tack on some aliens to lighten it up. At least I HOPE that is the justification for that ending and as another poster said "I hope they come out with a phantom edit".

Three Laws (1)

sielwolf (246764) | more than 13 years ago | (#116607)

Ok, why is it so important to have the Three Laws of Robotics in this movie (or any film dealing with AI)? Wasn't that the whole point of I, Robot? That even these supposedly air-tight rules could be circumvented?

Just putting them in there for no reason that to garner some 'cred smacks of egoism (and would have created some loopholes to boot).

Pops always said:
1. There is more than one way to skin a cat.
2. There is more than one way to build a cage.
3. There is more than one way to program an AI.

Re:What aliens? (1)

HiggsBoson (248010) | more than 13 years ago | (#116608)

Bio-mechanical more likely, but it seemed fairly obvious they were created by humans. Why else would they look to humanity for the reason driving their existence? Though you're likely right in that a human hand never touched one of them (until they started bringing us back to life anyway). More likely organic humans eventually were phased out and replaced by more advanced artificial ones, probably constructed with living parts rather than just 'a thousand miles of fiber,' and the 'aliens' are the end product of 2000 years of oragnic/mechanical human self-driven evolution.

Bladerunner anyone? (2)

Davace (250100) | more than 13 years ago | (#116610)

...in a time of human-like robots, there comes a long a new robot that is very human-like. The movie questions the qualifications we have for being human. I mean come on! Isn't this a total rip off of Bladerunner?

Re:But you PROMISED me... (1)

Tangfan (254054) | more than 13 years ago | (#116614)

I know, dammit! It was an effing trick, dude! They just wanted to know all the Katz-haters so they could exterminate us with the Black UN Choppers! I have my weaponry for when they come, I suggest you do the same, my brother! More seriously, though, what the hell do we have to do? I checked it too (three times), but NOOO here he is, still writing. Although, I've found a use for Katz. See, if he likes a movie, I hate it (every one so far), so I simply look for his reviews! That way, if he loves it, I never go see it, if he hates it, I run as fast as I can to the theater. It's a beautiful system, and has YET to fail ONCE. Try it, you'll see. I don't even read the reviews, just check to see if he liked it ;-D /Tangfan

Dubbya B on /. - take me now Lord. (3)

Demerara (256642) | more than 13 years ago | (#116618)

Wow. Dubbya B (as we Irish like to call W.B.Yeats) quoted - in full - on /.

I'm originally from Sligo, some 8km down the road from Glencar Lake (where Yeats is said to have written this poem).

In an 1888 letter to Katherine Tynan, Yeats said 'my poetry...is almost all a flight into fairy land, from the real world...The chorus to the "stollen child" sums it up - That it is not the poetry of insight and knowledge but of longing and complaint - the cry of the heart against necessity. I hope some day to alter that and write poetry of insight and knowledge'

This he did indeed go on and do. Here's a extract poem which, though I have not seen AI yet, may address the topical movie's theme:

He wishes for the Cloths of Heaven

Had I the heavens embroidered cloths
Enwrought with golden and silver light
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

You can see the waterfall in the hills above the lake here [merenda.com]

Not aliens, but robots (5)

Jormundgard (260749) | more than 13 years ago | (#116627)

I really loved the movie. I know that others will disagree and will nitpick at the flaws (which there were), but I think the great scenes made it worth it.

But the reason I posted - those weren't aliens at the end, they were robots! And the narrator was referring to his fasincation with his human creators. Didn't you guys love the symmetry of the robot's "human" desire to understand humanity? That he already had what he was looing for but didn't even know it? Well, it was probably just me :).

It sucked. (1)

glrotate (300695) | more than 13 years ago | (#116633)

Bladerunner / picnochio / frankenstein / Wizard of oz / 2001 Mshmash from hell.

I knew as soon as I saw William Hurt replaying Altered States it was gunna blow. I kept waiting for the monkey man to jump out. Was I the only one whao laughed out loud when the future machine race uncovered the monolith er blue fairy and gave us the "consciousness from the space/time continum fer 24hrs nonsense"? It took 200 million dollars for Spielberg to make us feel sorry for some kid without a mother? I think he's lost it.

Not interesting not Entertainment (2)

glrotate (300695) | more than 13 years ago | (#116634)

Boring. Nothing that wasn't covered by bladerunner.

And I also seriously question the notion that this is largely a product of Kubricks work.

Come on!!!! (1)

Mahonrimoriancumer (302464) | more than 13 years ago | (#116636)

There are other kinds of movies! Ok, as a science fiction movie it sucks. However, as a drama it is pretty good. I haven't seen another recent drama that was even close to the quality of this movie.

Good advice? (1)

Salieri (308060) | more than 13 years ago | (#116637)

However, if you haven't gone and seen it yet, leave when the narrator kicks in.

The narrator starts off the movie.

My take... (4)

Salieri (308060) | more than 13 years ago | (#116639)

How can I best summarize AI?

Part Close Encounters in the wonder of its visuals;
Part A Clockwork Orange (Kubrick) in its pessimism of human nature;
Part 2001 in its glacial pacing and technology plot;
Part Hook and E.T. in its gushy family sentimentalism with otherworlders.

Naturally, Kubrick and Spielberg don't mix well, so AI sort of splices these together end to end.

Did I enjoy it? Yes. Do I recommend it? Yes, if you like said movies. I really enjoyed Jude Law as a robotic gigolo.

The computer science part of me screamed the whole way though... basic CS punches huge plot holes. The biggest is this: the linchpin of the entire plot is that the robotic boy can never stop loving and longing for its "mother" owner, despite being destined to outlive her. This is absurd -- not being able to reboot his software, or at least reinstall it, is really contrived.

But the photography and special effects are amazing, especially in the hands of Spielberg's admirable ability to have the effects serve the plot and not the other way around.

And if you have any doubt in your mind that John Williams is the most versatile composer working today, this movie will put them to rest. Line up the soundtracks to "Star Wars," "Schindler's List," "Saving Private Ryan," "Seven Years in Tibet, and "AI" and you'll see what I mean.

A final spoiler note: Despite what critics and IMDB commenters say, I'm absolutely against the notion that the beings at the end are aliens. They may be shaped like the "Close Encounters" creatures, but please! "Artificial Intelligence" is the name of the friggin' movie.

Re:They're NOT Aliens (1)

capaman (320085) | more than 13 years ago | (#116645)

You are correct. If you look at them, you will notice that they are mechanical in nature and not Aliens. The biggest clue giving this away would be their jealousy toward the human race. A true Alien race would think themselfs superior.

there were no aliens in A.I. (1)

pangu (322010) | more than 13 years ago | (#116648)

Michael, those weren't aliens... though I would have been fine if the movie had ended when David found what he was looking for. That would have been much more disturbing to the audience where I saw the movie

Misleading marketing campaign (2)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 13 years ago | (#116650)

After being pummelled for the last couple of weeks by radio ads for this movie and seeing the trailer a couple of times, I thought that this was supposed to be a sappy, sentimental chick flick. Apparently, that's not the case. Maybe I'll go see it after all.

It looks like the studio spent enormous piles of cash trying to convince me not to see the movie, but they may have been foiled.

Gratuitous Simpsons Quote (GSQ) (2)

s20451 (410424) | more than 13 years ago | (#116654)

Artificial Insemination?

Homer:
[laughs] I don't know. You gotta be pretty lame to make it with a robot.
[Marge whispers in his ear] I knew that.

Half and Half (1)

bugpowdr (450860) | more than 13 years ago | (#116667)

Well the first half rocked. Creepy laughter, Ministry performing. Then the robots started with inconsistant emotional abilities.... And then 2000 years passed and the bioeletical robotic decendents with blinky wires explained how Mommy could be recreated for only one day due to the memory trace of all things in the fabric of the space-time continum... What a terrible Frankestien of fiendishly Kubrick moments in the first half, juxtaposed with utter schlock and sappy super-junk that lasts all movie long (well just the last 1.5 hours with the extra 25 minute BONUS ice-world of the future.)

aliens? i thought... (1)

condour75 (452029) | more than 13 years ago | (#116669)

SPOILER BELOW:

I didn't think the dudes at the end were supposed to be aliens, despite what several disgusted reviewers said. I thought they were supposed to be sort of nth generation post-humans, built by machines built by machines and so on. This explains their deep fascination with humans (which mirrors david's fascination with his mother)

I still thought the end was a bit treacley, with the "you only get one day" bizness. Anyway that's my two cents.

vote quimby.
AD: what's so unpleasant about being drunk?

Re:Dumbed Down (1)

futard (462571) | more than 13 years ago | (#116687)

dumbed down by executives? come now, this is a spielburg film, it doesn't require any outside help to dumb it down. i wish they had just taken kubrick's name off of this entirely.

Re:Always with Kubrick, it hits you later... (1)

futard (462571) | more than 13 years ago | (#116688)

god damn it. kubrick had nothing to do with this film at all. look at the fucking credits on imdb, he is credited with only "concept". he didn't write it, direct it, or anything. he died just after finishing EWS. this is NOT a kubrick film.

Re:a.i. represents human experience (spoilers) (1)

futard (462571) | more than 13 years ago | (#116689)

jesus christ people. you all do realize that kubrick died quite a while ago, yes? as in, before this movie began production, right?

The grey beings were of the Path (3)

geno523 (463998) | more than 13 years ago | (#116691)

I think it's safe to say that Kubrick's film ended with David praying to the Blue Fairy; Spielberg's begins with David's resurrection. If the film had ended with David's endless, unanswered prayers, I don't think that anyone would be able to deny that it was a serious, provocative film. Most commentators have taken the view that Spielberg's ending was a cheap attempt at tacking on a happy, emotionally satisfying ending that would make the film more of a crowd-pleaser. I question this view. The ending was far from happy. David is delivered into the hands of grey being whose interest in him is identical to the interest that Dr. Hobby's team had in him: How can he help us solve our problems? They offer to David the choice that Monica had. He is given the chance to satisfy his emotional need, at the expense of another. Just as Monica "activated" David, placing him in a world where he was meant to have neither autonomy nor freedom, David chooses to have Monica resurrected, so that she may die again, all for his selfish desire. For the Monica at the end is surely not the "real" Monica; she is the idealized Oedipal mother, just as David was the idealized, perfect son. Did Spielberg actually believe that the ending was a happy one? If so, he is a bigger fool than most take him to be.

I loved it - still bemused ... (1)

trampel (464001) | more than 13 years ago | (#116692)

I even think the ending was good (except for the look of the aliens) - I guess I want to see it another time to fully understand it, though, as I expects there are some hints up front that fit in with the later parts. Some parts reminded me of Sophie's World; also: if robots can dream, who says that the whole 2nd and 3rd part are not a dream?
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