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A.I.: Artificial Intelligence

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4

*Also starring: William Hurt, Frances O'Connor, Sam Robards

Review by Susan Granger
4 stars out of 4

Steven Spielberg is a cinematic genius. So was Stanley Kubrick. But this unconventional, collaborative effort may mystify movie-goers. Some will be beguiled, as I was. Others may be frustrated and/or disappointed. Told as a sci-fi fairy tale for adults, the story revolves around a perfect robotic child named David (Haley Joel Osment), adopted by a Cybertronics employee (Sam Robards) and his wife (Frances O'Connor) whose own seriously ill child (Jake Thomas) has been cryogenically frozen. David is programmed to love, but those around him aren't - because he's 'mecha' (mechanical), not 'orga' (organic) - and, therein, lies his dilemma. Like Pinocchio, he yearns to be a real boy. But how? When he's abandoned with only his supertoy Teddy bear as a companion, he's sets off in search of a dream. Steeped in romanticism, the plot is divided into three segments: the domestic drama, the quest or odyssey, and then the futuristic underwater/ice sequences, a consequence of global warming. This fragmentation breeds problems. In the darkly disturbing road trip, for example, David meets up with Gigolo Joe (Jude Law), a 'love mecha,' who takes him to the Flesh Fair, a nightmarish carnival, filled with robot torture devices. Then the eerie, sentimental third segment evokes "E.T." and "Close Encounters of a Third Kind," moving grandly, yet tediously. There's a lack of cohesion, a feeling of schizophrenia. Hayley Joel Osment is truly amazing and Jude Law is charismatic. The rich visuals - sets, costumes and creature/make-up effects - are stunning. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "A.I.: Artificial Intelligence" is an unpredictable, intriguing 10. Love it or hate it, it's a triumph of innovative film-making, a blend of science and humanity, and a brilliant collaboration of two acknowledged masters.

Copyright 2001 Susan Granger

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