In this dark, contemplative tale from Steven Spielberg, an advanced prototype robot child named David is programmed to show unconditional love.
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A delightful and beautifully realised modern fairytale.
As it approaches its twentieth anniversary you may be forgiven for thinking that a movie so reliant on special effects may not have aged too well. However, thankfully Spielberg‘s wonder still looks just as incredible today as the day it was released. That being said “A.I. Artificial Intelligence” isn’t just a one trick pony dazzling to look at with no real substance; in fact the opposite is true. Its complex story of humanity and what that entails is still as relevant today as ever.
The story follows a ‘first of his kind’ child robot known as David (played amazing by Haley Joel Osment) who is given to the parents of an ill child – their real child is in suspended animation while a cure for the disease he is suffering with is found. David’s adoptive mother ‘imprints’ on him activating an eternal ‘love’ for his mother meaning if she ever wanted to get rid of him he must be destroyed as he can’t be ‘imprinted’ on more than once.
After David’s adoptive parents’ son wakes up and comes home he takes advantage of David’s naive personality causing David to act in ways the family are uncomfortable with. Not wanting David to be destroyed his ‘mother’ abandons him allowing him to find his own path. After recalling the story of Pinocchio and how the blue fairy made him a real boy, David sets out in hopes that the same can happen for him.
This film is very difficult to summarise. It’s far more complex than the outline may suggest and dips its toes into some very deep questions about humanity. Even with its very generous run time it can be difficult to absorb everything on its first viewing.
While the movie is inspired by the short story “Super Toys Last All Summer Long” I will refrain from drawing on any comparisons as it is far removed from the source material in so many aspects that it’s an entity of its own. The film is anchored very well by what may be Haley Joel Osment’s best performance of his career and is supported by the likes of Jude Law and Robin Williams.
It’s pacing is punchy while allowing breaths in between and is a spectacle to watch with CG that could stand just fine today. While I recall some people taking issue with its conclusion upon release I liked how it ends (no spoilers here) but I can imagine even now some may be left feeling a little dissatisfied even if I’m not one of them.
A blend of Sci-fi mixed with heart and emotion sprinkled with a fairytale-esque backdrop. Watch it and then watch it again!
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