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A.I. Artificial Intelligence

Title: A.I. Artificial Intelligence

Director: Steven Spielberg

Stars: Haley Joel Osment, Jude Law, et al.

Reviewer: Matt Eccles

Rating (out of 10): 8


The prospect of a joint sci-fi project between such luminaries as Speilberg and Kubrick had many foaming at the mouth in anticipation of the marriage of the former's prodigious directing and storytelling skills and the latter's astute, cerebral realisation of human endeavour.

So it comes as a mild disappointment that A.I., based on the story by Brian Aldiss, is an interesting but flawed affair. The first act - where David, a child robot or "Mecha", wins over the affections of his "mother" only for her natural son to be revived from a coma, prompting a strange but fascinating sibling rivalry - is the most intriguing part of A.I. But misunderstandings of David's behaviour result in his abandonment, so he sets out to find the apocryphal Blue Fairy, who he believes will turn him into a real boy and therefore win back the love of his mother. Unfortunately, the story's coherence weakens in proportion to the lengthy running time from then on.

There are some striking visuals that stick in the mind: a "Flesh Fair", where humans destroy abandoned robots for sport, Jude Law's plastic sheen as the "Sex Mecha" who assists David on his quest, some breathtaking effects that complement rather than smother the proceedings, and, by a morbid coincidence, a flooded, post-apocalyptic Manhattan, akin to a watery Hell's version of Oz.

Hayley Joel Osment, appearing in virtually every scene, gives a quite astonishing performance that I fear will not gain him as many plaudits as he deserves. As the story loses direction, particularly in the patience-stretching final 20 minutes, you are left wondering if his mantelpiece will be big enough for the truckloads of awards he will surely be collecting in the future.

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