Quick Film Guide: A.I. Artificial Intelligence (Steven Spielberg, 2001)

A.I. Artificial Intelligence
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
USA

Stanley Kubrick had considered bringing Brian Aldiss’ futuristic Pinocchio tale to the big screen in the ’70s. However, he didn’t think the visual effects of the time would be able to make it justice. In the early 2000s, the project resurfaced as A.I. Artificial Intelligence. It was initially a collaboration between Kubrick and Steven Spielberg who, having directed such spectacular flicks as Close Encounters and Jurassic Park, knew a thing or two about special effects.

Kubrick died long before the film saw the light of day but the finished product feels partly like a tribute to him. Its visual style is heavily influenced by 2001: A Space Odyssey and there is a dark, existentialist side of A.I. Artificial Intelligence that could be defined “Kubrickian.”

Still, it is Spielberg’s authorial voice that rises supreme. He makes sure that the fairytale romanticism of the story of an abandoned android child is never lost, sometimes to an excess. In such overly saccharine moments, it is child actor Haley Joel Osment who sustains the credibility of the film, with one of the finest child performances in a film of its time.

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