A.I. Artificial Intelligence

Bomb Rating: 
Having Steven Spielberg take over a Stanley Kubrick film is sort of like letting Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, raise the Wicked Witch of the West's kids.
AI Artificial Intelligence

Having Steven Spielberg take over a Stanley Kubrick film is sort of like letting Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, raise the Wicked Witch of the West's kids. Glinda is constantly dressing up those bratty little bastards to look nice and teaching them how to act nice, but at their core, they're just nasty.

In the case of this film, Kubrick undoubtedly wanted to make something that showed human beings at their most conflicted and technologically unsound. However, he hit a few roadblocks. For starters, he couldn't figure out how to make a robot boy. Then, to make matters worse, he died. The project was handed over to Spielberg, who hired cute lil' Haley Joel Osment to play the lead role of David and make everyone feel really bad for the poor robot kid when mommy Monica (Frances O'Connor) abandons him in the woods because he's such a huge pain in the ass.

Because Kubrick's only reviews these days are being written by worms ("the corpse was robust, but inspired"), one can only speculate as to what he might have done differently with "A.I." However, it's a pretty safe assumption that he would have left out all the boring crap about Pinocchio. Why? Because Kubrick would have understood that the smart people in the audience would automatically make that connection while the stupid people would flounder in their intellectual morass wondering whether the little robot boy could fart or not, despite Kubrick's best attempts to lead them to the central theme.

After David wanders around in the woods with his trusted talking teddy bear, he runs into Gigolo Joe (Jude Law) and discovers the horrible underbelly of robot existence. Again, because this is a Spielberg film, this is all toned down and one would assume Kubrick would have reveled in showing some good old fashioned robot bump-and-grind. While being chased by the likes of Lord Johnson-Johnson (Brendan Fraser), David drones on and on about the Blue Fairy from "Pinocchio" who's going to turn him into a real boy. Eventually, he gets the idea to travel to Manhattan.

The last twenty minutes of this film is a disgusting, sappy, Spielbergian fiasco. (SPOILER ALERT) One could safely assume that Kubrick would have ended the film in one of two places -- with David killing himself, or with David at the bottom of the ocean praying to the statue of the Blue Fairy. Because Spielberg is Hollywood's pimp, he tacked on twenty extra minutes to manufacture a happy ending, with David getting to spend that final elusive day with a mommy who loves him. Those final minutes feel like the director's cut of "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" as Spielberg finally gets to go back and do those aliens right. It is truly a disconnected mess.

Ultimately, this entire story hinges precariously on the fact that once this new robot is imprinted on a person, his love cannot be reversed. If the robot is rejected, he must be destroyed. Hey, guess what, everyone? This is a machine. Just pull out that part that loves and replace it. This, my friends, is a product begging for a recall.

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