A.I. is a Steaming Dungpile!

I love Steven Spielberg movies. I loved Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan and Amistad. I loved ET and Close Encounters and Jaws. I LOVED Jurassic Park. I loved the Indiana Jones films. I even sort of liked Goonies and Jurassic Park II.

But, folks, A.I. is one absolutely horrifyingly awful crapfest of a movie. What a complete peice of shit. I want my money back.

The first part, which I suspect was Stanley Kubrick’s original idea, was pretty good. Not great, but good. Amazing effects. Haley Joel Osment is phenomenal (A second Oscar nomination for the kid? Sign me up.) Jude Law was terrific, too.

But the last thirty minutes - oh, My God. “Bad” does not even begin to describe it. I wanted to cut off my own head, it was so bad.

Don’t pay your money to see it. Don’t see it if you get in free. Don’t go if someone PAYS you to. When it comes out on video, don’t rent it. AI sucks donkey cocks and swallows mulespooge.

In summary:

AI - Sucks Donkey Cocks
Haley Joel Osment - Terrific
Jude Law - Pretty Good
Stanley Kubrick - Dead
Spielberg - Owes me $12
"Mulespooge" - Funny

I kept waiting for the credits after he found the Blue Fairy. They didn’t come and I kept thinking “this is so unnecessary”. The movie was otherwise good though and I wouldn’t tell sci-fi fans to avoid it.

It was certainly better than Kubrik’s final crap-fest, “Eyes Wide Shut” in which Kubrik evidentally had Ears Wide Shut and couldn’t hear that insipid piano.



Actually, RickJay, the whole outline was Kubrick’s idea. In fact, his was even darker – Monica Swinton was an alcoholic, and David tried to gain her love by making perfect Bloody Marys (rather than coffee, as in the completed film).

And, FWIW, I liked the movie.

WARNING - Pretensious Comments Ahead!

I liked most of AI, but I think it had two serious flaws.

(1) It was waaaay too big. RickJay, while I agree that “mulespooge” is a funny word, I disagree that the last act of AI was as bad as you make out. I just think that, in terms of scope, Spielberg (and Kubrick) went too far too fast. The first two acts of the movie asked you to swallow a “Science-Fiction-What-If”: What if they built a robot boy that could love? The next two hours or so explored that theme nicely, moving in some really interesting directions.

But, the last act requires you to swallow another enormous “What If” (no, I’m not going to spoil it) and it does so with no warning. The transition from Act II to III is abrubt and uses third-person narration, a technique that the audience hasn’t seen since the first 3 minutes of Act I. And, most of the audience has forgotten about that narration anyway! I’ll bet most audience members don’t realize that the Act III narrator, the being David encounters, has been narrating the movie since the beginning! That changes the movie’s scope tremendously and, I think that significant shift is too much for the audience to take.

(2) AI is too good for its own good (boy does that sound pretensious!). There are scenes in this movie - a lot of them - that make your jaw drop. Speilberg’s camera work and shot selection are so beautiful that you simply can’t believe what you’re seeing:
[li]The robot-head that opens and closes during the openeing scene.[/li][li]Jude Law. All of him. Everything he does.[/li][li]The NYC Skyline[/li][li]All of the things Spielberg does with glass and reflections in Act I (There’s a scene in that first act where the simple shot of David pretending to drink from a glass is so beautifully reflected and rendered that it belongs in a frame on my wall, not in a movie).[/li][/ul]

The problem with a movie that looks this good is that you’re distracted by the beauty of the shot and forget about what really matters: the story.

I’ll stop there; I didn’t mean to get up and make a speech - sorry - but those are the flaws I found in what is, unquestionably, one of the most interesting movies of the last 10 years.

Come on people! The unknown actress, Ashley Scott, who appeared for less than 5 seconds and had 1 line, made the movie worthwile.

Example: http://killermovies.com/images/ai/robobabe.jpg
Totally renewing my interest in robotic love slaves…

sdimbert, I think your critique is right on the money. There were surely many flaws - the film seemed to end about six times and dragged on far too long - but the emotional journey of David, the conflict of the mother (loyalty to a machine or to her own flesh and blood son) and the innocence of Gigolo Joe made the movie for me. The scenes of drowned New York made my jaw drop.

I think one of the things that is so hard for audiences to swallow is that if you root for David (given the ending) you are rooting against “us.” Also people have a hard time with a “child” who expresses some pretty savage emotions - I would not advise anyone to take their kids to see this.

I thought it was visually stunning, well-acted, and despite its flaws the most interesting film I’d seen in a long time. An interesting way to spend an afternoon, and an interesting film to discuss. What more do you want?

If you go in expecting to see a light-hearted summer blockbuster (ie: Lara Croft: Boob Raider) you’ll be disappointed. If you go in expecting to see Goonies, Indiana Jones, or any of the other films that RickJay mentions, you’ll be disappointed.

magdalene said:

Hear, hear!

It’s easy to dismiss a movie that does not entirely satisfy or does not provide any easy answers, but that’s a pretty selfish way to think about a movie. Movies like AI ask quite a bit from the audience.

If I may, I will quote from the review of AI at MovieGeek the excellent Movie Site created by our own Cervaise:


In my conversations with people about A.I. I have found that perhaps 80% thought the creatures at the end were aliens and didn’t realize that they were mechas that had advanced since the freeze.

My opinion of the movie has slowly gone down since I saw it but the mecha understanding makes the ending much better than if you think they are aliens.
My two big nitpick beefs:

What does it say about parents that David was only imprint to one parent (it wasn’t made clear whether it was even possible to imprint David on two parents).

The second was frozen New York. How did this freeze happen? It must have been damn sudden. If it had been a new, extremely severe ice age, then the ice caps would have reformed first, lowering the sea level and exposing David again. If there was ice in Manhattan it would have been in the form of glaciers.
I will, however, take a dozen thoughtful movies that don’t quite work for me (recently, A.I. and Sexy Beast would fall into that category than one crapfest like The Fast and the Furious (seeing that at a drive-in was the only redeeming feature).


As the guy who originally said the movie sucked, I have to admit that none of your stated reasons seem to apply.

I, and everyone else who has ever watched the movie, was rooting for David against “us.” (Where the heck did you get that idea?) Nor did his expressing savage emotions bother me. The character of David was very well done, and brilliantly acted.

(As an aside about Haley Joel Osment, if you want to know just how frigging great an actor he is, watch the scenes with him acting with Jake Thomas, who played Martin. Thomas is a good actor but next to Haley Joel Osment, it’s like watching John Goodman play tennis with Pete Sampras. You’re watching a master at work and nobody else compares.)

The movie was fine for 90, maybe 100 minutes. In fact, it was pretty good, if a bit disjointed and uneven. It was thought-provoking, creepy, technically brilliant and visually staggering, and the acting was outstanding, at least among the major characters.

And then it ended. And then we got thirty minutes of some of the worst cinema ever committed to screen - an irrelevant, cloying, ultra-cornball ending that had nothing to do with the rest of the movie and that was completely devoid of logic.

Had the movie ended with David praying to the Blue Fairy, it would have rated an 8 out of 10. The ending, however, was just awful, beyond any sort of reasonable defense. The scene with David and the alien thing sitting on a bad having a heart-to-heart was just ludicrous; if anyone but Spielberg and Kubrick had had their names attached to such a laughably dumb scene, they’d be run out of Hollywood on a rail. The entire ending sequence is about as logical and intelligent as a Pauly Shore film.

So no, sdimbert, I don’t believe AI asked much from the audience. As a matter of fact, I felt it asked very little; you’re just trotting out the classic “Someone who doesn’t like it just didn’t understand it” argument, which is usually bullshit and in this case is definitely bullshit. In fact, I would say that AI FAILED to ask enough of the audience - aside from money, I’m not sure it asked much at all. The horrible ending means that the audience needn’t go away worried that David was unhappy or failed in his quest. The movie’s harshness and grim atmosphere were significantly toned down. The movie’s narration was spoon-fed and unneccesarily detailed, with more storyline cliches than any intelligent film could ever need. The entire Pinocchio aspect of the story was practically torn off the screen, liquefied, and fed intraveneously to the audience.

Look at it this way; if you ended the film at the bottom of the ocean, what would be lost, aside from clumsy alien scenes and the trusty sidekick becoming an unlikely hero? Nothing. In fact, you’d be left with far more to think about, because the questions would still be rolling around in your head.

The emperor is wearing no clothes; Spielberg blew it, big time, by not ending the movie when it was over. Which is a shame, because it might cost Osment his shot at the Oscar he was robbed of for “The Sixth Sense.”

RickJay, they weren’t aliens.

I agree the film was interesting but flawed. I don’t think that Kubrick and Spielberg make for an especially good combination. I liked the first 2/3 or so of the film.

*Originally posted by RickJay *

RJ, you’ve put me in a very uncomfortable place; If I do, in fact, think that you’ve misunderstood Act III of the film, you’ve already me up as insulting you. Trust me, I mean no insult: I don’t think I understand everything Speilberg wanted me to get out of the third Act, either. But I do maintain that there is something there to get.


I am going to pull more from Cervaise’s review since he did such a great job of clarifying these issues. Picking up in the middle, he says:

Now, just as I am not sure I understand everything Spielberg is doing, I am not sure I understand everything Cervaise is doing, either.

Think about this, which has occured to me during contemplation: The posters said, “His love is real, but he is not.” The words “his love” could mean two things, either “the love he feels,” or “that which he loves, the object of his love.”

If the second meaning is considered, then the sentence’s meaning changes. “His love (his mother) is real, but he (David) is not.” This is true for the first 2/3 of the movie. Then, abrubtly, it is not. In fact, during Act III, the climax of David’s quest, exactly the opposite is true: His love (his Mother) is not real, in fact, the only “real” thing on Earth is David!

Am I right? Did Spielberg mean this? Did Kubrick? Who the heck knows?

My point is only that any movie worthy of this much debate and consideration has succeeded, in my book.

At the end of the movie there are no humans, only robots. Robots have replaced “us.” Those aren’t aliens. I raised those two issues as reasons some people might be uncomfortable with the film, not as the reason you are uncomfortable with the film.

I wholeheartedly agree. It should have ended with him fixed on the Blue Fairy. His innocent belief has led him to her, and the movie could have ended showing that faith unfulfilled. And “Teddy” had a bit too much of the Ewok to him for my taste.

I agree that the movie should have ended sooner, but that fact alone doesn’t make it a complete suckfest.

Well, if there can be 500 threads on A.I., I guess it’s ok for me to post this twice.

This is my post from a thread in IMHO:

The movie wasn’t perfect. How did David steal a police heliocopter that should have had some sort of tracking system? How come David didn’t have a tracking system? How could the mother leave a multi-million dollar machine out in the forest? What company would let that happen? etc. etc. etc.

But the movie was great. It wasn’t about aliens attacking or laser guns and heroes saving the universe. It wasn’t about using blue screens or creating technology to fill a hole in a script. It was about creating a futuristic situation and working through moral and ethical dilemmas of that situation. That’s what science fiction is all about. The movie was excellent.

Even the merging of the two directors was good. It was a tad disjointed at parts, sure, but I think it blended well nevertheless (um…excluding David’s escape from the flesh fair…)

And then the ending came. I sat there with my mouth open, my jaw hanging down, and me shifting uncomfortably from side to side. I saw this movie go down in flames and I heard the groans and snickering from otherwise attentive moviegoers behind me. I felt embarrassed for the movie as if, somehow, it was my fault this was happening.

I wanted so much to like this movie. And had it ended where it should have, I would have. But I felt drained by the end, barely able to say “eh…it was ok.” because to say it was good means that I must take the ending into consideration.


I have talked with a few people about this, and I tend to agree with you. I would have left in the scenes of frozen Manhattan with David coming out of the copter to touch the fairy. I would have left out the scenes of David once he “returned” home.

I really liked the parallel of the two boys being frozen. I am still digesting what Kubrick/Spielberg may have been saying with it, but it seemed an obvious touch.

For me, the hardest moment of the movie was seeing David stumble up to the fairy, thinking he had finally achieved his dream, only to have her crumble away. Everything after that seemed like Spielberg trying to cheer everyone up.

All in all, I enjoyed the movie. But I had several problems with the way the plot moved along and with character motivation. I guess I liked it enough for what I thought it could have been that I was able to overlook the problems.

Regarding the ending, I thought it was necessary for the following reason. The beginning of the film was about humans creating a robot to satisfy another human. The end of the film was about robots creating a human to satisfy another robot. I loved this movie. It raised more questions than it answered. Good stuff. Sure there were holes, but nothing severe enough to ruin the movie for me.

I greatly enjoyed the movie, but I think that there is something to be said for the fact that a lot of people do not realize that the “aliens” are actually robot. This wasn’t a details film in the sense of the storyline- if more time had been spent on the robot survival beyond humanity, this might have been more obvious.

The image that stays with me is the nurse robot who was melted at the fair. I’m not sure why.

I agree that the movie would have been better to end with the blue fairy. However, it wouldn’t have been a fairy tale in every sense then, and I think that they simply wanted a fairy tale.

I’ve seen the movie more than once, and I never had a problem with the ending. For me, it completes the arc of David’s development, initially set out by Prof. Hobby’s laundry list of what he wants this new breed of mecha to do.

I don’t think the ending is as sentimental as some suggest. David does achieve his goal of finding love and acceptance, but he pays a price: Monica will be gone forever after that one day. I like the idea of a major goal having a major price.

Oh, and I agree with the others in this thread about Haley Joel Osment. Best acting I’ve seen in a movie so far this year, and I defy anyone to name another actor his age that could have pulled it off. Give him the Oscar, and make Michael Caine present it to him.

Actually, I did figure that out, believe it or not, but “aliens” seems an appropriate term for them since they’re obviously the subconscious evolution of the little guys from “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” Come on, isn’t the connection obvious?


I won’t address this to Cervaise because I don’t even know if he’s reading this, but I’ll discuss his arguments with you, since you’re citing them:

Stanley Kubrick is dead.

I admire Kubrick for his work, but he didn’t make this movie, even if it originally was his idea. Cervaise, I believe, is trying too hard to read something into a movie that has a name associated with it that Cervaise greatly admires. (If Kubrick’s name wasn’t attached to the film and it was a pure Spielberg vehicle, I think he’d be far less generous.)

That said, Steven Spielberg made the movie, and the fact remains that a movie should be judged based on its merits as if you don’t know who made it. If you have to say “Well, it sure looked and sounded like an illogical, stupid ending, but Kubrick thought it up and he’s always got something going on,” the movie obviously failed. I want to see and hear something ON THE SCREEN. It doesn’t have to be “Armaggeddon,” and it can be hidden or tricky to extract or leave me with some questions to puzzle over, but it’s got to be there somehow, or else it’s just “Voice of Fire.”

With all due respect to Cervaise, who knows movies, I think he’s reeeeeally stretching here. “Well, it looks sappy and emotional, but it’s not because she’s about to die” doesn’t work for me because the movie effectively tied that loose end. David ends the film happy and satisfied; the voice over talks about how he dreamt for the first time, or something to that effect. Happy, happy, joy, joy. Remember that David’s cry, throughout the film, was that he wanted Monica to love him - losing her isn’t the real issue, it’s the thought that she doesn’t love him that hurts him. At the end, she loves him. He’s accomplished his mission. Hooray.

The ending was sappy. (It was also horribly paced and illogical, but that seems to be accepted.) Had there been no voiceover I’d be willing to maybe concede that there was a bit of ambivalence there, but there was, and it effectively killed any ambivalence I would have found useful in digesting the film afterwards.

(I also give no credence at all to the movie posters, BTW. They aren’t part of the movie. The guys who made the posters probably had nothing to do with the script, so to be honest, that’s just inventing meaning where none was intended. “His love is real, but he is not” was used because it’s catchy, has no big words, and is easy to remember.)

As to the argument that “we’re debating it so it succeeded,” I would remind you that the most-debated movie of the year was “Pearl Harbor.”