Ai The Movie

You either love this movie or you hate it. This page is divided on the matter -- first the haters, then the lovers.

Directed by StevenSpielberg
The Haters:

Wow, how bad was that? [How about a vote box, heh?]

I mean, okay, the Kubrickian first-half was a little good. But the dialog! And the direction! And the acting! With the truly notable exception Haley Joel-Osment - the acting! Pee-Eww!

Every time you thought they were about to pull something worthwhile out of this horrendous half-bake of hackneyed humanism and cutesy materialism, they let you down. TransHumanism is too challenging for a Spielberg audience, so strangle it quick while all eyes are on Teddy.

William Hurt delivers his lines with Prozac-dull excruciation. Frances O'Connor still thinks she's doing Star Trek. And Robin Williams soap-gargling narration only makes a stupid premise stupider. The plot is sci-fi cliche piled on cliche.

The worst bit (warning, spoiler):

Pinocchio: Okay, so you made me into a real boy, and you can bring back people from my memories, so please give me my Mommy.

Trans-humans: Um, yeah, we can, but we gotta have DNA before we can bring someone back. No good reason why, we just do.

Pinocchio: Okay, it just so happens I have some stashed in this bear here.

Trans-humans: Whoops! Oh, um, well, we can only bring 'em back for a day, see. 'Cause otherwise the mumbo-jumbo kicks in and that's that. And we certainly couldn't just recreate her again the next day, or reimprint you on someone else, or construct a reasonable robot facsimile for a few years, or one of a thousand other fixes trivial to our advanced technology because ... well, um, because ... hey, Mr Spielberg, could you explain this bit to me again? I lost my motivation ...

Hand it to Shpielboig to produce a movie based on the term "ArtificialIntelligence" at the exact time when this term in the real programming industry has reached its lowest possible value.

Why hasn't anybody mentioned the fact that this aborted attempt at "art" was so filled with technical errors that it was barely tolerable to sit through? I loved the way the entire world was covered in an ocean and that ocean froze all the way down to the bottom in a mere 2000 years. And Teddy and David's power supplies were okay through all that -- they worked just fine after they were thawed out. Eesh.

Or how about all those dangerous robots running around with no Asimovian Three Laws to govern them? Oy!?! Who builds a robot and then lets it go wandering around the Red Light district "servicing" humans without collecting enough money to make its manufacturer some cash? And who lets funky old robots hang around a dump waiting for other funky old robots to be dumped there for spare parts?

By the way - not just David and Teddy, but where did all these robots get their power? Who paid for their power supplies in the first place?

David ate some spinach and got all funky because the gunk was inside his circuitry. But then he jumped in the ocean and was okay? Uh, what?

And on and on it goes. Oy,

See TheWorstEnding, MoviesThatCouldHaveBeenSoMuchBetter
The Lovers:

Unlike the original anonymous posters, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. A major part of the enjoyment of movies for me is discovering the surprise of the story unfolding, so I'll try not to spoil too much of it in case others also like this about seeing movies.

I like the slow, measured ("stately", one might say) pacing of Kubrick's cinematography and editing style. Spielberg did an outstanding job of creating a movie that, in my opinion, looks a lot like it would have looked had Kubrick been able to complete it. (In contrast, I had to leave "MoulinRouge?" early because the MTV/Advertising influenced nonstop jump-cuts and camera-moving tricks made me feel dizzy and queasy.)

I think that was the point in MoulinRouge? -- JeanPhilippeBelanger

Thank you for mentioning the pacing. One of the things I most enjoyed about the movie is that it wasn't in a hurry. I luxuriated in the deliberateness with which it proceeded. Most pop entertainment is just too frenetic for my tastes. I am the only person I know who thinks AiTheMovie was actually too short... after the careful pacing of what came before, the last 15 minutes seem rushed. On the other hand, perhaps it was best, once the end was in sight, to simply GetItOverWith?. -- CameronSmith

I go out to the cinema to see movies with grand, sweeping portrayals of epic vast situations that just wouldn't look big enough on a home-sized screen. This movie certainly delivered, from the introductory waves and board meeting, to the home in the woods, on through the shanty town, stadium, Rouge City, Dr. Know, Manhattan and underwater; all were impressively enveloping settings that simply looked great on the big screen. The special effects were also uniformly outstanding, whether depicting robotics, cryogenics, future transportation, interactive holography, or other items (I won't spoil the ending here).

I was pleasantly surprised that, unlike many films, the entire production had the sound mixed at a comfortable and appropriate volume - unlike the opening ads and trailers which all seemed to want to make the point, "we've got subwoofers and we'll use them until you surrender!" I'm also a sucker for the orchestral scores of John Williams. And the narrator's voice was soothing.

I've read that Spielberg used a team of futurists to come up with a believably realistic approach to the near future, considering aspects such as cars, clothes, the structure of work, climate changes and the like. I found the vision of the near future completely believable and I believe that it won't seem dated in short order - as compared, say, to the vision of the future in the 80's version of "Buck Roger" - comfy as it would be, I'm skeptical that everyone will wear sweats all the time in the future; or more seriously, to the future of "Silent Running" which looks very dated to me in a way that "2001" doesn't. I'm especially keen on the idea that human nature won't change much regardless of the changes in technology.

The actors were superb. Ordinary sounding phrases such as "of course I'm not sure" and "hey Joe, whad'ya know?" were convincing turns of the plot.

For the eye and ear candy alone, this movie would have been worth the price of admission for me even if there was no attempt to tell a story.

Gush. I felt the same way about Spielberg's "Minority Report," although it was (for some reason I don't understand) much too blue (as if filmed through a colored filter). Otherwise, the same subtle texturing and good attention to detail. By the way, the design of the cars in "Minority Report" reminded me strongly of those in AI. -- CameronSmith

And I liked the story too. I'll introduce some spoilers now.

The idea of climate change effects seemed a believable opening situation. I liked the way it was briefly explained and then taken as a given, rather than depicted as in "Escape from LA" (whose opening earthquake scene is the most worthwhile minutes of the whole film - not much point in staying around after that). I liked the work situation being ambiguous, perhaps a board meeting or perhaps a short XP style team meeting. Maybe the people present at the meeting were the whole company? The company's psychological profiling for test parents was believable, as was the parents' reaction. David's troubles fitting in and the mother's response seemed believable.

I was a bit dismayed by the change in town for the red light district, shanty town hunt and fair section of the film. However, it does make sense that artificial intelligence might provoke that kind of hostility in some of the population, and that David's artificial emotion would be responded to more humanely. Although deliberately over-the-top, Joe's style of womanizing did seem like what a shrinking and scared population might want in an escape, and the frame-up threw an acceptable noir twist into the film. The moon balloon seemed straight out of Jules Verne.

I wasn't as impressed with the Rouge City section but it did seem consistent with the future being portrayed, the seamy underside propping up the glittering facade of how the elite live and work. Got a chuckle out of the Dr. Know scene.

The flying scenes to Manhattan were breathtaking, David's discovery of his true role and attempt to live out the Pinocchio story were heartbreaking. The encroaching ice age ending humanity took me completely by surprise and seemed amazingly bleak for a Spielberg film. I really thought the film would end at that point.

The future archeologists may have supposed to have been more advanced AI's, they could as well have been aliens; I think the movie was correct to simply present them as a mystery. Gotta admit that their arrival sequence was some cool effects work. As for the hair, c'mon, it's a movie tradition that what the hero requires at the end will have been introduced earlier but without any fanfare about its future use. I think they call it Chekhov's Gun, after Anton Chekhov's advice that "One must not put a loaded rifle on the stage if no one is thinking of firing it." (The point that seemed questionable to me was David and Teddy getting their joints working again after the deep freeze. As for power, assume solar recharging skin and it makes sense.)

The ending was, in a way, both more tragic and yet satisfying closure.

The point they miss, in my opinion, is that not only does the robot not fit in our world, but we don't fit in his. The ending breaks this. -- JeanPhilippeBelanger
I thought the ending was too mooshy.
Spoiler material ahead ... with respect to the ending, apparently those creatures at the end were not aliens, they were mechas. That makes the ending seem much less arbitrary.

Um, I didn't see them as mechs. I just thought they were really advanced researchers from afar.
When I first heard that "little boy which really is a robot trying to get along in a human world" is the main theme of this movie, I had to remember D.A.R.Y.L. from 1985. I haven't seen AiTheMovie, yet, but I expect StevenSpielberg to make something better than D.A.R.Y.L. though. Do the movies really have something more in common than the basic theme? -- MarkoSchulz

If you want to see a good movie about robots with the capacity to love, rent The Stepford Wives. -- SethGordon

See? You're doing it again. Confusing love with sex.
Sooo bad:
I haven't seen this, but all my friends assure me that the movie is excellent right up to the first ending, and then the next two endings are horrible. I was wondering if the lovers and haters above distinguished the two different parts, and if their love or hate was mitigated for either one.
Like most I suspect, I love the beginning, and hate the end. Dr Know is my line of demarcation. The beginning is engaging and entertaining (Jude Law is fantastic), but the end is desolate and repetitive. The ending smacks of Oedipian mother-lust, that gives me the creeps. I did however enjoy the novelty of the advanced beings at the close. -- JasonBurkert

"And who lets funky old robots hang around a dump waiting for other funky old robots to be dumped there for spare parts?"

Cf. the Jawas in "Star Wars", maybe? The idea being that mechas are so common that it's cheaper and easier to pile up the used ones than repair, salvage, or recycle them, so only the underclasses (the Jawas in SW, the mechas themselves in AI) bother. Just a guess. As for the idea of dumping what you don't intend to keep or reuse, isn't that what we do every day? Have you ever seen a landfill? The mecha dump is what a landfill of today would be like if old cars and washing machines could put themselves back together. -- CameronSmith

"By the way - not just David and Teddy, but where did all these robots get their power? Who paid for their power supplies in the first place?"

Any sf, fantasy, or other speculative fiction requires some suspension of disbelief about something. The idea of teeny-tiny sources of limitless free energy may be part of what's required here. So what? Like StarTrek, this movie is not about the feasibility of the engineering - that's just incidental. The sf elements just form the setting in which the story is told; they're not the reason for the story. It doesn't have to be feasible, or believable - it just has to not irritate you enough to distract you from what the story is really about. Apparently it failed for you in that regard - which I do not claim is your fault; it's the storyteller's job to appeal to his audience, not the audience's job to like it in the face of flaws. But you do have to be willing to cut the storyteller some slack on engineering details, or sf becomes impossible. -- CameronSmith

Yeeeah, sorry. I just can't suspend disbelief quite that far. There are limits to poetic license, you know, and Spielberg's license shoulda gotten suspended over this beater. Way too many stretches, way too little closure. Lots and lots of dumb.
Re: "but where did all these robots get their power?"

Maybe they got ColdFusion (the process, not the language) working in the future. It's sci-fi, so that's not so far fetched, not any more than faster-than-light travel. In fact, I'd say ColdFusion-like power is a more likely discovery/invention than faster-than-light travel, and we don't trash Trek for it. -t
Judged by entertainment value alone, it sucked. However, it's a movie that leaves a lasting impression, partly because it makes you think and partly because it's strangely disturbing and partly because it has so many WTF moments that generate heated discussions, not unlike Lisp. I unfortunately can't dismiss it as "bad". I remember when I was forced to watch holocaust footage in high-school. It was very disturbing (at that age) and I wanted to walk out, but it left a life-long impression that made one realize there are very twisted and dangerous people in the world and that humanity has a very dark side. It was ice-cold water that woke me from childhood innocence. AI showed that same thing from an android's perspective. Perhaps it dredged up those feelings from high-school. AI will probably become a cult classic: Zardoz meets 2001 meets Blade Runner meets the Holocaust. -t
See: RealityGame

CategoryMovie, CategoryScienceFiction (just barely)

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