In 1839, the revolt of Mende captives aboard a Spanish owned ship causes a major controversy in the United States when the ship is captured off the coast of Long Island. The courts must decide whether the Mende are slaves or legally free.
In the not-so-far future the polar ice caps have melted and the resulting rise of the ocean waters has drowned all the coastal cities of the world. Withdrawn to the interior of the continents, the human race keeps advancing, reaching the point of creating realistic robots (called mechas) to serve them. One of the mecha-producing companies builds David, an artificial kid which is the first to have real feelings, especially a never-ending love for his "mother", Monica. Monica is the woman who adopted him as a substitute for her real son, who remains in cryo-stasis, stricken by an incurable disease. David is living happily with Monica and her husband, but when their real son returns home after a cure is discovered, his life changes dramatically.Written by
Chris Makrozahopoulos <email@example.com>
Much of the film's early action takes place in Haddonfield, New Jersey. New York City is subsequently shown to be under water. Haddonfield's elevation (81 feet) is lower than that of New York City (87 feet), and it is near both the Atlantic coast and a river leading to the ocean, so Haddonfield should be under water too. See more »
[narrating, with ocean waves crashing together]
Those were the years after the ice caps had melted... because of the greenhouse gases, and the oceans had risen drown so many cities... along all the shorelines of the world. Amsterdam, Venice, New York - Forever lost. Millions of people were displaced. Climates became chaotic. Hundreds of millions of people starved in poorer countries. Elsewhere a high degree of prosperity survived... when most governments in the developed world... ...
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The opening logos/credits feature the sound of the ocean in the background, which leads into the opening shot of the film which shows ocean waves, with opening narration explaining about sea level rise because of global warming. See more »
For the U.S. theatrical release, the Warner Bros. logo appeared before the Dreamworks logo at the beginning of the film, and the poster credits said, "Warner Bros. and Dreamworks Pictures present." Since the U.S. version's home video/DVD rights are owned by Dreamworks, the Dreamworks logo at the beginning of the movie appears before the Warner Bros. logo, and the back of the box's cover art says, "Dreamworks Pictures and Warner Bros. present." See more »
A.I. is a difficult film. Some of it is brilliant, while some is dire.
The acting - Haley Joel Osment as David the mecha (robot) boy is superb. He plays the role with such intelligence and maturity - it's a real achievement and bodes well for his future (if he can avoid hitting the self destruct button like so many other child stars.) Jude Law puts in another solid performance as 'Gigolo Joe' the mecha prostitute. In a similar vein to his previous roles in Gattaca and eXistenZ, he's quirky and somehow detached from reality - it works brilliantly. He's rapidly turning into one of my favourite actors. "Hey Joe - Waddya know?"
The rest of the cast is very good but doesn't shine, perhaps because their characters were treated lightly and not fully explored. Overall though - good performances by all.
The sets , costumes and special effects are of a very high standard. Until the last 30 minutes or so, the use of computer graphics is tastefully done and never feel like an excuse to wow the audience with some clever CGI. The scenes at the Flesh Fair (a kind of rock concert where mecha are destroyed for the entertainment of spectators) are powerful, visceral and in your face. The flying and underwater scenes were also very well handled, although not mind blowing.
Now the downside, and it's a big downside.
The plot is incredibly disjointed. I didn't expect it to be so obvious that this movie had been directed by two different people and thought Spielberg to be more subtle. There was apparently little attempt by Spielberg to blend his parts of the movie with Kubrick's to create a coherent whole. Instead what we get is a wonderfully dark first 60-90 minutes and then something reminiscent of 'Close Encounters of the E.T. kind' tacked on to make us feel good. As a result, the feel of the film quickly evaporated into a mush. There were a couple of chances to end the movie earlier (notably at the end of the underwater section) and it was a mistake to take the movie beyond these points. The poignancy is lost with repeated attempts to extend and explain the story in unnecessary ways, the scene with David's mother towards the end being especially contrived and saccharin.
The sum up, this felt like two movies in one - an intelligent, dark and fascinating film mixed one that's formulaic, sentimental and cheesy. Because of this it fails to reach the promised heights and at times feels messy. It's ultimately unsatisfying and left me very disappointed, but not because it's bad, but rather because I expected so much more. As many others have said, I can't help wondering what heights it would have reached if Kubrick hadn't passed away.
An interesting film, but rent it first as it's not for everyone.
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