Home > Movie Review > Movie Review: A.I. Artifical Intelligence (2001)

Movie Review: A.I. Artifical Intelligence (2001)

AI movie poster displaying a futuristic skyline.Summary:
In the near future, robots, aka “mecha,” have become the norm.  They exist to serve humanity, have self-protecting pain aversion, but they do not have emotion.  One research team sets out to make a robot who can love.  A child robot designed to always love the parents.  Monica and Henry, whose son is in a coma, try out the first prototype named David.  He winds up being more than they bargained for though, and unwilling to return him to the company to be destroyed, they abandon him on the roadside.  He then begins a quest for the blue fairy to become a real boy.

This movie is long, nearly 2 1/2 hours, yet I was entranced with the story for every minute.  It truly addresses one of the most basic questions–what makes us human?  If it is intelligence, emotion, a sense of self, then David has all that.  Is he therefore worthy of love?  Worthy of being treated as more than a toaster?  The film leaves us with no easy answers, but it explores the question in such a creative, intriguing manner.

In addition to being wonderfully thought-provoking, the film is also well-done.  The special effects are stunning for the early 2000s.  Of particular note is David’s toy robot bear, who walks and talks as an individual.  The make-up is done subtly, providing just a few hints at who is mecha and who orga.  A slight plastic sheen to the hair, perhaps, or a lack of hair on the arms.

The film boasts an all-star cast, most notably Haley Joel Osment in the leading role and Jude Law as a sex working robot.  Osment brings a stunning combination of intense creepiness and vulnerability that gives the character of David exactly the right amount of relatability and disturbing moments.  Jude Law similarly displays mechanical movements while simultaneously expressing just the right amount of possible emotion passing across his face.

Given all that, I’m not sure why I didn’t love this movie in lieu of really liking it.  I suspect it has something to do with the ending, which rubbed me the wrong way a bit.  It just seemed….odd.  Particularly in comparison to the rest of the film.

However, don’t let that detract you from seeing this movie.  It is highly enjoyable and leaves you with philosophical thoughts and queries for days.  I highly recommend it to fans of scifi and philosophy alike.

4 out of 5 stars

Source: Netflix

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  1. August 16, 2010 at 9:01 am

    I remember going to see this film in theatres and have since watched it several times (I own a copy of it on DVD). I have to admit that I find it one of the most puzzling films I have ever watched and part of why I think I keep coming back to it is because of its perplexing nature. As a person who loves science fiction I found the general premise and plot enticing, and as a fan of Steven Spielberg and Stanley Kubrick (who, while dead, greatly influenced the movie) I find a lot in the filmography that is very well done. But as a whole the movie has always left me kind of wanting. I agree that the ending is a little off putting, but I think there is more to it than that. I think that as a whole the world was not as fully realized as it could have been, and that there were too many questions left unanswered in the end. I feel like they could have almost doubled the length of the film to further examine the complex society of this undisclosed future. Really it is a kind of enigma of a movie, that I think, on one hand,that it is captivating, while on the other hand being it is just some what unsatisfactory.

    • August 17, 2010 at 8:06 am

      That’s such an interesting point, and a rare circumstance in a movie. Clearly they created a very intriguing world if we’re left wanting more after 2 1/2 hours!

  2. August 25, 2010 at 5:24 am

    I saw this when it first came out and the special effects were pretty wow for the time and as you said have stood up well to the advance in technology since. The first thing I remember is always Teddy when I think of this film…I so wanted one…what am I saying I still want one! As for your feeling about the end I can’t really remember it that well may be thats says something in itself. For me the film is about the journey through place and thoughts/feelings. Overall I really enjoyed this film glad you did too.

    • August 25, 2010 at 7:45 am

      When I first saw Teddy I was all “omg, so creepy!” But as the film wore on, I grew to like him, and now I sorta want one too. 😉
      I totally agree that this is a movie that’s more about the journey than the ending. Well put!

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