Written and Directed by Steven Spielberg

Running Time: 2:25

Rated PG-13
for some sexual content and violent images.

Haley Joel Osment
as David Swinton

Frances O'Connor
as Monica Swinton

Jude Law
as Gigolo Joe

Sam Robards
as Henry Swinton

Jake Thomas
as Martin Swinton

Brendan Gleeson
as Lord Johnson-Johnson

William Hurt
as Professor Hobby

Jack Angel
as Teddy

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Original Movie Poster

A.I. - Artificial Intelligence is one of the most amazing pieces of filmmaking I have ever seen. From stunning visuals, to an incredible acting performance from Haley Joel Osment, A.I. is a dark, mysterious and moving picture that blew me away.

Haley Joel Osment plays David, a 'mecha' (short for mechanical) boy, the first of his kind. In the not-so-distant future, the Earth's polar caps have melted, leaving much of the present day coastlines underwater. The world has gotten to the point where families need to get permission to have children, so that there won't be overcrowding on the land that is left. Therefore robots play an important role in society. But David is the first child robot ever created, and his primary purpose is to love. He is created for all the parents that can not have children of their own, but want someone to love, and someone that will love them back. Monica and Henry Swinton (Frances O'Connor and Sam Robards) have a real son named Martin (Jake Thomas). Martin has an illness that can not be cured, and he is currently in a cryogenic chamber, frozen until science can figure out how to cure him. Professor Hobby (William Hurt) creates David and allows him to live with Monica and Henry. Monica is wary at first, but slowly grows to love David, and David certainly loves Monica. But when Martin comes home, and finds competition for his parents affection, he leads David into some circumstances that forces Monica to send David out into the world, all alone (save for his supertoy Teddy). What follows is an incredibly heartwarming and heartbreaking journey, as David sets out to find a fairy tale blue lady, so that he can become a real boy, and one day go back to Monica, so she can love him like a real son.

Visually, A.I. is a spectacular film. The scenes set in the town of Rouge are a feast for the eyes. Full of futuristic gritty realness and holograms that come to life before your very eyes. And then there are the small single shots that Spielberg has created that sets him apart from every director on the planet. The image of David watching Monica make coffee where you just see his eyes and nose above the table, with the reflection of the same. The shot of David lying underwater, forgotten by everyone while they tend to the real son. Later in the movie where David walks up from behind an image of himself, his eyes lighting the face of another body. Spielberg has an incredible eye for visuals that most people can only dream about creating. The initial shot of Manhattan as it lays underwater was breathtaking. The scenes at the Flesh Fair with all the different types of discarded robots was heart breaking in its horror, yet a visual delight. Without any other qualities, A.I. would be worth seeing, just for the look of the movie.

The heart and soul of the movie however, belongs squarely in the small body of Haley Joel Osment. His performance rivals those of actors 3 or 4 times his age and experience. Already being talked about as a front runner in next years Oscar race, Osment gives a moving performance as the young mecha who wants to be a real boy. At such a young age, Osment has the ability to make you feel his happiness and his sorrow with the simple look in his eyes. His never ending quest for the love of his mother leads him into places most people could never imagine, yet his goal is always on his mind. To find the blue lady and become a boy, so he can return home and become a real son. Whether he is with his family, learning about becoming a real boy, or in his travels with Gigolo Joe (Jude Law) in Rouge City, the audience feels what David feels, and wants what David wants. Osment's performance does what every great performance is supposed to do; make you part of the movie.

A.I. is the first movie Spielberg has gotten screen credit for as a writer since Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The movie is based on the short story Supertoys Last All Summer Long by Brian W. Aldiss, and the work of the late director Stanley Kubrick. The movie moves along at a very slow and deliberate pace. This is not a sci-fi action adventure flick by any means. It has some moments of excitement and humor (mainly from watching the animatronic wonder Teddy), but for the most part it is a dark and moody dramatic film that tugs at the heart. The only problem I had with the film at all was some of the dialogue was hokey and over the top. But with amazing performances not only from Osment, but from Jude Law and especially Francis O'Connor, the actors managed to stay above the lesser dialogue and still make the scenes work.

The musical score by the great John Williams was hauntingly beautiful. There would be long passages in the film where there was no dialogue, only music narrarating the action on the screen. And that's exactly what the music did, it helped tell the story of what was happening in the movie. So much so you barely even noticed that no one was saying anything.

Overall I found A.I. - Artificial Intelligence to be an incredible movie. It was not exactly what I expected as far as the story, but what I got was a piece of filmmaking that was simply amazing. The visual style of the movie is far and away the most beautiful thing I have ever seen on film. The performance of Haley Joel Osment is the kind of performance most actors dream of having once in their lives, and at only 13, Osment still has a lifetime in front of him. The music was haunting and moving, and right in line with the rest of the movie. While A.I. might not be for everyone, for me it's easily the best movie of the year.

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$19.99 VHS

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2001 - A Space Odyssey
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$46.99 DVD

reviewed 06/29/01

© 2001 Wolfpack Productions

Wolfpack Productions