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Movie Review: A.I. Artificial Intelligence

Story: To make a long story short... I was disappointed. (Oh yeah, I will be getting mail on this one too.) For those of you that don't know this movies' background (have you been in a cave)? Stanley Kubrick (Clockwork Orange, Dr. Strangelove) had bought the rights to Brian Adliss' 1969 short story, 'Super Toys Last All Summer Long.' For 20 years, in-between his other film projects, he developed the story. Somewhere along the way, he conferred with Steven Spielberg and this bipolar picture was born. After Kubrick died in 1999, Spielberg took up the task (even writing his first screenplay since E.T.) of bringing Kubrick's vision to the screen. So what do you get when you cross the dark, hellish world of Kubrick with the heavenly, feel good world of Spielbergtopia? Well, you get some astonishing images mixed in with a general sapfest. In essence - somewhat a muddle of highs and lows.

The story takes place somewhere in the future where global warming indeed came to pass (are you listening W)? And all of the coastal areas have disappeared with the rising tides. The film takes place in New Jersey, which is now the 'east' coast (this New York audience got several good laughs out of this -- sorry to my NJ readers). Food is rationed, life has changed and the Government has restricted births. Hence the Mechas (robots) have been designed to fulfill every basic need from sex to gardening. Along comes David (what a biblical name), the first young Mecha programmed to love. I am not going to tell you anymore about the story but because of the stark contrast between Kubrick and Spielberg we have two separate films. Each signature is loud and clear - I prefer the darker, Kubrick vision. I encourage you to see this film because Spielberg is an artist and the visuals are wonderful. And no one works with children like Spielberg. You will be reminded of many other films such as, E.T., Close Encounters, Clockwork Orange, The Wizard of Oz and Pinocchio to name a few. These recalls did not really bother me. It is entertaining and definitely worth your time and money in conversation value alone. Oh, and did I mention there was also a narrator?

Acting: Haley Joel Osment is just terrific. No one gets a child actor to do great stuff like Spielberg. Osment IS Spielberg's (and others) inner child. Jude Law is riveting and magical. When he is on the screen the movie was a 10.

Critters: A stuffed toy bear named Teddy who was more charismatic and loving than any humanoid. Unfortunately he reminded me of the Downy fabric softener doll. He also had a voice that reminded me of the computer Hal from 2001.

Food: Some coffee, spinach (big role) and angel hair pasta.

Visual Art: Children's art and story book wall art.

Blatant Product Placement: None.

Soundtrack: Considering it was a John Williams score it was not overpowering with violins.

Opening Titles: None - or I have already forgotten them.

Theater Audience: It was very early on a Sunday morning but there were more people than I expected. Two people started to leave when they thought it was over, but like most of us, were surprised to find there were 20 more minutes, and sat down way up in front.

Sappy Factor: 9

Quirky Meter: 2

Squirm Scale: 0 (I am sure some people will squirm, but I did not...remember, I like Kubrick more than Spielberg).

Predictability Level: I had a few surprises but really found myself numb (and eyerolling) by the whole sequence of events.

Tissue Usage: 1 (it is Spielberg).

Oscar Worthy: No

Nit Picking: It was way, way, way too long. Bring in the editors.

Big Screen or Rental: Big screen. You might want to have a bipolar weekend and watch alternate Kubrick and Spielberg films.

Length: 15 minutes over the 2 hour Lobo rule.