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His Love is Real.  But He is Not.A.I. (PG-13)

Starring: Haley Joel Osment, Jude Law

Contents: minor sexual innuendo, violence

Rating: 7 (out of 10)

Quick Summary: In the future, the polar ice caps have melted, flooding major cities and causing millions to starve.  One of the new tools mankind has to help deal with these problems is Artificial Intelligence: robotic beings who think and are self-aware.  One scientist wants to give robots the ability to love, and creates a robotic child named David.  When David is abandoned by his adoptive family, he begins a quest to return home to his mother.  But there are many obstacles in his way...

I enjoyed this movie a lot more than many critics, although it still has its flaws.   Overall it is a very sad movie, though: if you are prone to get emotional at films be sure to bring a box or two of kleenex: some of the things that happen to little David are NOT fun, and would traumatize a normal human child terribly.

Jude Law steals the show with his portrayal of Gigolo Joe in the movie's second act: he's a dancing, smooth talking ladies man with a built-in stereo system.  David's supertoy Teddy has several good moments of (minor comic relief).

Haley Joel Osment, once again proves himself to be a superior actor: you could believe that he was a prototype robot child.  He plays his character as just a little off what a "normal" child would be like.  If he doesn't decide to do other things when he grows up, young Mr. Osment will become one of acting's greats (that is, if movie acting has a future...)

Philosophically, The movie brings up many questions about the nature of sentience: if a robot can love, what responsibility do we hold to see that it can love in return?   What is intelligence?  Can robots really "feel" or is it just a clever programming construct (in many reviews I've read critics immediately dismiss that question as "no", which misses the point of the film, I think).  It also touches on the future of humanity: what will be left of our works in the future if we are gone?

Not to say the film doesn't have its flaws.  There's a bit at the end where super-A.I.s revive David after a 2000-year sleep and get into some techno-babble worthy of "Star Trek" (unlike many others, however, I think the end of the film is fine the way it is).  The exposition towards the end of the film could have been shortened and/or simplified.  There's some stuff in the film that I don't think can be explained easily if you haven't been following the web-based A.I. game that has been flying around on the web for the last few months (visit www.cloudmakers.org for details on the game and the A.I. world). Specifically, the whole scene at the Flesh Fair seems to be out of place unless you know about the Anti-Robot sentiment that is present in the A.I. world.

Go see!

Things to Notice:

bulletDavid never blinks once throughout the film.
bulletHe only cries once, too.
bulletApparently, there's a shop called "Strangelove's" (from Kubrick's "Dr. Strangelove") and a milk bar (from Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange"), although I didn't see them.
bulletThe narration at the beginning and the end and the heavy parallels to Pinocchio make this a fairy tale, but a fairy tale told by robots, not humans.
bulletThe shape of the super-A.I.s at the end of the movie is very similar to the shape we see when David is first introduced
bulletTeddy can repair himself by sewing up rips and tears!
bulletCameo Voices: Chris Rock, Robin Williams, Meryl Streep.
bulletThe Blue Fairy doesn't move her lips when she talks.
bulletThe declarations of love that Monica (David's "mother") reads are direct from the original short story on which A.I. is based: "Supertoys Last All Day Long" by Brian Aldiss.

Nitpicks:

bulletI'd think that David's Amphibicopter would have been crushed under all that ice.
bulletApparently Coney Island isn't where it's shown to be in this film.

Further Info (IMDB)

 

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1995-2002 William Geoffrey Shotts. Last update: Tuesday, March 09, 2004