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Steven Spielberg's A.I. Artificial Intelligence features cute-kid Haley Joel Osment as an 11-year-old boy living in a future world devastated by natural disasters.
   In this dreary world, global warming has gone unchecked and consequently all of the polar ice caps have melted, submerging land masses and displacing people.
   In order to have enough resources to feed and care for the remaining people a moratorium is put into place making it nearly impossible for couples to have children. To fill the needs of would-be parents robotic boys are being produced as a way to conserve resources and keep couples happy.
   This much-anticipated movie is full of visually satisfying material that has a haunting effect which continues to resurface well after you leave the theater. That doesn't mean it's a fun movie to watch by any means, it just has that Spielberg trademark of telling a profound story with a few well thought out tricks of the camera.
   A.I. is one of those films you can see once and file under `never see again'.
   I waited for this movie, like everyone else, anticipating a really good flick with enough heart warming moments and cool special effects to carry me through to the next Spielberg film. And what I got was a confusing mash of dysfunctional humanity, strange ideas of what kids are supposed to be... and of course, aliens.
   Here we have a story of a family who has lost their only child to some mysterious disease (they have him cryogenically preserved waiting for a cure). The mother is stuck in the emotions of grief and despair, so naturally her husband brings home a roboboy.
   The robotic child is programmed to bond with his new parents only after a series of words are read to him _ at which point his eyes get wide and he goes into cuddle mode saying `I love you mommy'.
   Apparently the robot's program is set on hold until the moment when he can get his parents to say they love him in return (I figured this out after hours of contemplation after seeing the movie).
   Following this theory, when the robot kid gets the boot and is left in the forest to fend for himself _ the only thing he `lives' for is the fulfillment of his program - or to get his `mother' to say she loves him.
   Cutting to the chase, it takes this kid 2000 years to fulfill his goal whereupon he falls into a fast deathlike slumber, lying next to this long dead `mother'.
   There wasn't a dry eye in the theater - and I'm sure the Kleenex company will make a fortune on this film.
   But it left me feeling rather disheartened if not appalled at Spielberg's version of the future human condition.
   ***AI is rated PG-13 for some sexual content and violent images