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A.I. Artificial Intelligence, Movie Review

James Kent

Piece of crap or brilliant concept piece? Most likely crap.

I was left puzzled and amazed at many things about this movie. I can't say it was 'bad' because there were actually moving and thought-provoking things that will stick with me like those strange dreams that suddenly get weird in a way-out-of-left-field way. My heart-strings were strung goddamn it (Spielberg is like the crack cocaine of schmaltz), and then it just got creepy and strange for no apparent reason other then it didn't have a solid third act, so where do you go but down for another ten or fifteen minutes until the audience is sighing at the audacity of it all.

It stumped me.

How A.I. got greenlighted, tested, and released with this script (supposedly taking years to finish) is beyond me, but the egos involved prevailed and got their way. The on-screen talent was decent, the special effects were stunning (though we're probably all jaded to multimillion dollar CGI by now...). The issues raised were complex enough to be provoking, yet they were overshadowed by ham-fisted sentimentality, story-book plot development, and one-dimensional caricature. The set design was great, especially in Rouge City (which reminded me of Burning Man meets Vegas) a poorly underused segment of the film.

There was a lot of weird shit going down for normal Hollywood standards, especially at the end. It definitely bends genres in a way that is almost sick and wrong. I left the theater with a crowd that couldn't quite grasp what they had seen, as if waking from a stupefied sleep to brush it off as an utter piece of shit and go get a beer. I am guessing the critics will tank on it, not knowing what to make of it, or be split at best. I will remember it oddly but fondly.

Haley Joel actually did as good a job as the script could allow. I believed his pain. I smell another Oscar nomination (will he win this time! I hope he doesn't cry again. So sad.). I can recommend it ONLY at matinee prices, or on video. Nowhere near as bad a 'Bicentennial Man' or any other robot movie I can think of ('Electric Dreams' still being my favorite AI movie, so now you know). Borrows heavily from D.A.R.Y.L. (1985 movie about runaway robot boy) with better effects, kooky Jude Law scenes, creepy overtones of pathological codependent programming, and a little thunderdome-style robot killing (to a Kid Rock soundtrack) thrown in just for fun. The Pinocchio mythos was way out of hand. They probably could have chopped fifteen minutes and no one would have noticed. The talking bear was great but an obvious marketing gimick played just for laughs. The ending may need another rewrite... Oops, too late. Another hundred million down the drain.

Tags : psychedelic
Rating : Teen - Drugs
Posted on: 2001-07-05 00:00:00