AI is one of those rare flicks where while watching the film all you're thinking
is how awesome the movie is. You are spellbound from the start right until the
finish, both by the script and by the execution of it.
The time is the not-so-distant future where the population is under the strict
control of the government. A couple decides to go in for a robot which will fill
the void in their lives caused by their only son being stuck in a tube with frost
growing on his face. The funda is that he's being cryogenically frozen until the
cure for his disease is found.
The couple, Henry (Sam Robards) and Monica (Frances O'Connor), decides that David (Haley Joel Osment) is just what the doctor ordered, and takes home this robot that's been programmed to cook, clean, mop up and also, as a festival bonus, to 'love'. The couple is pretty thrilled with this mecha-boy, who soon becomes a part of their everyday existence. David is a regular kind of kid, except that he can't exactly prevent his fuses from blowing off while eating salads - despite the fact that salads are an excellent source of iron!
All is well until Sleeping Beauty - the son - emerges from his slumber, and David is unceremoniously packed off. The adoptive mom decides that instead of sending him off to the junk yard to be turned into scrap, she'll let him loose. David, armed with his teddy bear, makes his journey through the cold, dreary world with the help of his new friend Gigolo Joe (Jude Law).
Gigolo Joe is a sleek looking mecha who oozes optimism and a truckload of charm. They both head out into a journey of self-discovery and a quest to find the purpose of their existence.
The film then turns absolutely wondrous, with the boy making it to places such as the fair where the robots are being destroyed. There are some jaw-dropping visuals here, with a submerged Manhattan and skyscrapers popping out like reeds. The film begins to resemble a fairy tale at times, taking on a likeness between the tale of 'The Boy And The Ice Princess' and that of 'Wizard Of Oz'.
Haley Joel as the robo-boy portrays his role with a quiet melancholy which makes the movie all the more gripping and almost real. The parts where he tries to find the elusive bridge between machine and humanity leave you bawling all over the place. He strikes the right balance between android and human, and seems to have a visage that oozes innocence coupled with vulnerability.
The film is quiet rightly a science fiction fairy tale, and towards the end does not quite provide you with all the answers that you might be looking for. But what it does provide is a lush canvas for the presentation of a visual that might well occur in the future. And like a true blue sci-fi, leaves the door open for formulating your own interpretation of the story that you just saw. The result is a warm fuzzy feeling at the end of the flick which serves as a proof that you've just seen something thought provoking.
AI is Spielberg's first scriptwriting project after the excellent 'Close Encounters Of A Third Kind', and the brilliance shines through. This flick was originally that of maverick filmmaker Stanley Kubrick, and was taken over by Spielberg after his death. So it essentially remains a Kubrick film seen through the eyes of Spielberg.
Storytelling at its most amazing, AI offers the best possible in terms of the
script and in terms of performances. It is a film that will haunt you for days,
and whether or not movie-going audiences will appreciate the flick depends on
how far down the rabbit hole they are willing to go.