A.I.

(Artificial Intelligence)

In this futuristic fairy tale, “David”, a highly-advanced robotic boy, hopes to become a real boy so that he can win back the affection of the human mother who abandoned him. Like Pinocchio, he goes on a long journey hoping to find his “Blue Fairy,” who can make his dreams come true. – From IMDB.com


Jonny Sez…

A.I. is a good movie, but it is not great. In fact, it is frustrating, because you know that it could have been great. It is a cool idea, but a little too watered down to make you think, and a little too moody to sell a bunch of toys. Writer and Director Steven Spielberg tried to be all things to all people and unsurprisingly he fucked up. It also stars a little kid, which means that unless the film is French, it is going to be overly sappy. How did this happen? Why wasn’t this a fairy tale for grownups, like Kubrick probably intended? Let me first give you a little background.

Before he died, Stanley Kubrick was working on a new movie called Artificial Intelligence, an extremely philosophical film idea where man is compared to God, the very notion of Love is brought into question, etc. Kubrick got in touch with Steven Spielberg because of the heavy usage of special effects that would be required. Spielberg claims that they were friends, though no evidence to support his claim is ever shown. Then Kubrick died and Spielberg took it upon himself to complete the project. Which would be like Dante dying and having Judy Blume complete The Divine Comedy. One of the major criticisms I heard about A.I. before watching it was that it was too dark. Too sad. I disagree. It wasn’t dark enough. If you’re going to make a movie about existential terror, you better frighten the shit out of me. Scare me to death and then some. That’s what Kubrick would have done. He wouldn’t have let the effects become the focus of the movie. Narrative is the key. In Eyes Wide Shut, Kubrick had more nude women walking around than a Hugh Hefner diaper changing, yet never for a second did you lose track of the story. Spielberg put a talking teddy bear in each scene. This is why Dr. Strangelove is the most frightening movie of all time, and why Jurassic Park isn’t. Here then is my list of where Spielberg fucked it up and what I believe Kubirck would have done differently.

The opening scene -Tits Please; William Hurt is strutting around explaining that even though the robots seem pretty real, they are still just robots. To demonstrate this, he tells a very pretty robot to take her clothes off. Spielberg stops the girl when she is unbuttoning her shirt. I point to the aforementioned flesh-fest Eyes Wide Shut as my proof cause old Stanley, who is rumored to have amassed one of the world’s largest porno collections at the time of his death, would have gotten her naked. Would this have made it a better movie? Yeah, and not just because I’m a pervert. Give me five minutes and you’ll see.

Here’s another scene – More Cock; Gigolo Joe, played by a synthetic faced Jude Law (Though, the DVD Extras reveal that it is his real hair!) is about to bone a human chick. She is seated on the bed, eye to eye with his crotch. The woman is carrying on about how she has never seen a “Mecha” naked. Meaning, she is scared about what robot cock looks like. Hell, we all are. But do we see it? No. And wouldn’t she have been naked? And wouldn’t Joe have been in his boxers or something? Sex for kids

Another scene – How about some Fratricide! David, played well by Haley Joel Osment although I really was expecting him to moan, “I see dead people!” at any moment, gets freaked out and drags his fucked up near-death-yet-recovered-somehow brother into the pool where the Robot almost kills the cripple. He should have killed him! The brother character, Martin, sucked. He was just an annoying brat who should have stayed dead or been killed. Monica, David’s mother, obviously loved David. So why would she abandon him in the forest for ALMOST killing Martin, on accident? It doesn’t sit right. I feel Kubrick would have drowned the the little shit. I know I would have. But of course, Spielberg lets the kid live. Even though by the end of the movie the human race has died out. But see, if you don’t show death, then little Timmy and Tammy won’t get upset. Everyone’s a winner!

Yet another; Kid Rock. Why the fuck would you portray Kid Rock as the music of the future? Like when George Bush Senior was surprised to discover UPC scanners at supermarkets, this shows just how actually out of touch with everything a billionaire wank-job like Spielberg is. Hire a fucking consultant. Everyone knows that Swedish Doom-Metal is the rock of the future. Not lame, has been, rock and roll caricatures who date blow up dolls. Kubirck would have invented the fucking music himself. Also, there would have been no cameos by Robin Williams, Meryl Streep or Chris Rock. Shame on Spielberg for having Hollywood and the Hollywood mentality crammed so far up his ass. If it is a good movie, you don’t need comic relief. Just like all of Kubrick’s movies

Still Another; Rouge City; Shock me. Show me the future. If you are going to make me as a viewer go to a place that exists only for hookers and pimps and flashers, and this mythical city is in the future, fucking give me a hard on!! When A Clockwork Orange came out in 1971 it got banned! That’s how shocking it was. That is how the future should be portrayed. Here, we have a red light district that is child friendly. Please. Was Giuliani consulted? I think Spielberg shot himself in the foot when he decided that this was to be a PG-13 movie. I say if you are going to be dealing with a really adult topic, treat your viewers as adults. Kubrick would have. He would have called it Fuck City and we would have seen little David’s robo-cock

And one more – The fucking motorcycle wolf things; Lame, lame, lame, lame, lame. Kubrick would not have had the original cast of Tron riding around on motorized wolves. Lame, lame, lame, lame, lame. Even my roommate, who is seriously upset that N’Sync’s part got cut from the new Star Wars movie, thought that the Wolf-cycles were lame. LAME!!!!

So then, what is good about the movie? A lot is good. It does look great. It is pretty dark. Mostly, though, it is thought provoking. It reminded me of the Terminator, although not because Stan Winston did the makeup for both films. In the Terminator, you have a robot who can’t die with one goal. Just like in A.I. No matter what, David wants to find the blue fairy to become a real boy so his Mommy will love him. (I’m not sure if Kubrick would have had a character called Blue Fairy, either) He literally goes to the ends of the earth and through time (In a sense) to accomplish this. Maybe that’s what makes us human. Our ability to quit, to give up. I shouldn’t even begin to philosophize here. Either way, the movie is worth two and a half hours of your time. Or maybe only two

Most people think that the movie had several false endings. I tend to agree. The whole going 2000 years into the future and the super smart robots and hanging out with his mother again I don’t know. It really felt tacked on. What should have happened is that when the underwater Ferris wheel collapsed on the “Amphibicopter” (Worst name ever!) it should have killed David and Teddy. Especially Teddy. Instead, David lives for another 2000 years and much credit goes to Spielberg for making twenty minutes feel like 2000 years. I think it happened like this.

Production Assistant: Steven, good news. We came in $20,000,000 under budget and the studio says you can just keep it.

Steven Spielberg: Hmm. I already built my wife a five-story horse stable in the middle of Brentwood. What am I going to do with an additional $20,000,000?

PA: We were thinking you could maybe split it up among the crew, you know. On account of us doing such a good job with the special effects and everything.

SS: No, I’d rather not. I’ll tell you what, why don’t we make David live until Robots inhabit the world and then they will see him as an Adam figure, the first really evolved Robot and he can even get to see his Mommy again. That way little kids won’t feel bad about wanting the impossible and not getting it. Plus, it’s a happy ending. I like happy endings.

PA: Why would you even worry about having a happy ending if you are telling people that humanity is going to be wiped out in 2000 years? Also, if the Ferris wheel falls on top of the gay ass helicopter thing and we have already shown the audience that not only do the doors open from the sides, but that David can swim, why would they believe that he’ll sit still for 2000 years just looking at a fucking statue?

SS: Shut up. Where’s my macro-biotic latte?


DVD Extras

There is a whole fucking extra disk which might have been interesting, but it just turns into typical Hollywood director/Spielberg worship. Even poor little Haley Osmet gets involved with the sickening, “Working with Steven is terrific. Every morning after he levitates for an hour, he takes a walk on the water. He let me taste his urine and it tasted like champagne” So, if you can sit through that kind of stuff you might learn something. I can’t, so I didn’t. There was one bit where the great Spielberg himself started preaching and moralizing about our responsibility when it comes to developing artificial intelligence. I started thinking about Jaws. That was a good movie.


Main Ratings

Film, Overall – 7
DVD Extras – 5
Story – 5, but if the ending is lopped off then a 7
Acting – 8
Direction – 6

Special Ratings

  • Number of cigarettes smoked – If applicable – 0 Very sick with flu while I watched this
  • Number of beers drank – 0 But my roommate drank three or four Doc Otis Hard Lemonade’s
  • Number of times movie was paused to do somethings else – 1 When the pizza showed up
  • Number of times you wished you were watching a Carrot Top movie – 2 The way in which the dark side of human nature was portrayed felt like a morality play put on by a church. “The bad people do bad things.” I just don’t like flat characters. Also, somebody would have thrown a beanbag thing at Law and Osmet when they were chained up below the hot oil. Somebody That whole flesh-fair part was pretty cheesy.
  • Number of times you wished you were watching China Town – 1 The special effects overpowered that actors abilities. Early on there are scenes with no special effects, and that Osmet kid is pretty good.
  • Number of times you thought you were watching a Tarantino Picture – 2, during that those stupid Chris Rock and Robin Williams Cameos Pop culture is stoopid!
  • Number of times you found yourself enjoying the movie – Often, however the last twenty minutes felt like watching the directors cut of The Abyss for three weeks straight.
  • Number of times you wished you had taken that screenwriting class – 10 But the motorwolf scene and the ending were particularly offensive.
  • Number of times the oppressive soundtrack made you reach for your knife – Pretty often, but I was sick
  • Number of times you imagined the director snickering to himself – Spielberg doesn’t snicker. Everything he does is really serious. He directed Schindler’s List. He is beyond snickering.
  • Number of times you wished Kubrick would have lived to direct this movie – Don’t get me started
About Jonny Lieberman

Jonny was the site’s co-founder and helped carry the place in the early years. There was a falling out with Erich and he left the site for good, but a lot of his reviews live on. He has moved on to a successful career writing about cars. Look him up.