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

August 16, 2010 4 comments

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.

Review:
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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