Monday, 31 January 2011

001 - A. I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)

Having watched the first film two days ago now, and having started watching the second, I thought I'd better get round to posting a review of it online.

A. I. Artificial Intelligence, directed by Stephen Spielberg, is a powerful, emotionally-engaging study of the concept of the love a child holds for its parents, and the lengths they'd be willing to go for it.

The story centers around David (Haley Joel Osment), the first robot to have the capacity to feel emotions. In particular, David could feel love. Once formed, the bond David would have to his parent(s) (in this instance, David only bonded with his mother) cannot be broken, and he must be destroyed if they were to decide they no longer wanted him.

As the first robot of this kind, he is sold to a couple whose "real" child is cryogenically frozen, awaiting a cure to a terminal illness. Upon the return of his brother, David unwittingly causes chaos around the home under instruction from his brother and his adoptive parents decide they cannot cope. However, rather than taking David back to have him destroyed, his mother takes him to the woods and leaves him to fend for himself with his faithful aide, a robotic teddy named Teddy.

Initialy, I found Teddy was slightly creepy, but as the story moves on the audience is made aware of his good intentions. He's by far my favourite character mainly because he's such an unlikely aide to David on his journey.

From reading Pinocchio, David believes the only way he will be allowed to return is if he becomes a real boy, and sets about finding the Blue Fairy to make his dreams come true and to make his mother love him.

This story clearly can be linked to other storylines such as Edward Scissorhands, Bicentennial Man, I, Robot and of course, Mary Shelly's Frankinstein. In each of these stories, an artifically-created being simply craves acceptance of the wider society, but is rejected on the grounds that they are different. What makes A. I. Artificial Intelligence stand apart from the rest of this subgenre is the cruelty in the way David's mother cast him aside and the perfection in the performance of Haley Joel Osment, who truly brings the character - and an otherwise dull storyline - to life.

I found the film engaging throughout, but felt it tried too hard to transform itself to an action/adventure film halfway through. The introduction of Jude Law's entertaining robotic gigolo (Gigolo Joe) saw a lapse in the continuity of the storyline and roughly half an hour of your life is wasted watching irrelevant material. Without this section of film, the film would have been slow-paced throughout, lacking in the necessary entertainment of this section, but I felt it detracted too far from the main storyline.

I would class this film as one of the greatest emotional studies of all time in cinema. The relatable complications and prevalent themes throughout mean I would strongly recommend everyone watches this film... once.

A. I. Artificial Intelligence on IMDB

My rating:

Next up:
The Accidental Tourist

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