- David Richards
- Central Oregonian - Features
way through A.I. Artificial Intelligence, I heard one person behind me whisper to another, "This is one messed up movie."
Those aren't the exact words the moviegoer used, but the meaning is the same, and I mention it only to illustrate that Steven Spielberg's A.I. isn't for everyone. Its surface and the previews are a lot different than what we find once we take a look inside.
The film begins in the future. Global Warming has taken its toll and the world has turned into an Alien Nation, except with robots (or "mechas") instead of aliens, manufactured by a company presided over by someone named Professor Hobby (William Hurt).
Haley Joel Osment, who continues to be one of today's best young actors (Forrest Gump, The Sixth Sense), gets the lead role in this film about a boy robot named David, who believes he has the ability to love. It's also about his parents (Frances O' Connor and Sam Robards) who take him in after their own son is disease stricken, and then drop him off in the forest after their "real" son has gotten well.
It gets even more weird.
After David is left in the forest, he goes off on a adventure with another mecha, named Gigolo Joe (Jude Law), to find the Blue Fairy from Pinocchio. David believes the winged creature will be able to turn him into a real boy so that his new parents will love him, the way they love their real son.
It wasn't long before I was raising serious questions about this film.
For instance, why, why, was I watching an adventure of a robot trying to find a Blue Fairy so that he can return to a household that didn't want him in the first place and who left him in the forest? One would think David would use a Blue Fairy wish on a better idea. If I were David, I probably would have asked for a spaceship so that I could fly as far away from that couple as possible.
A.I. is also a little too violent and frightening, I would suspect, for smaller children wanting to see the next Spielberg film. The scenes of the "Flesh Fair," where mechas are shot through a cannon while audience members are cheering, are especially disturbing.
With all of its darkness and bizarre story ideas, A.I. manages to succeed in the end on two levels. The special effects are incredible, maybe some of the best ever, and all of the performances I found to be effective. Osment and Law are especially good, as both looked like toy dolls to me, not like human beings.
For some moviegoers, A.I may come off as nearly two hours of eye-popping special effects and dazzling acting. To others, it may in fact, be "one messed up movie".
*** AI is rated PG-13 for some sexual content and violent images