Artificial Intelligence: AI [2001]

History will place an asterisk next to A.I. as the film Stanley Kubrick might have directed. But let the record also show that Kubrick--after developing this project for some 15 years--wanted Steven Spielberg to helm this astonishing sci-fi rendition of Pinocchio, claiming (with good reason) that it veered closer to Spielberg's kinder, gentler sensibilities. Spielberg inherited the project (based on the Brian Aldiss short story "Supertoys Last All Summer Long") after Kubrick's death in 1999, and the result is an astounding directorial hybrid. A flawed masterpiece of sorts, in which Spielberg's gift for wondrous enchantment often clashes (and sometimes melds) with Kubrick's harsher vision of humanity, the film spans near and distant futures with the fairy-tale adventures of an artificial boy named David (Haley Joel Osment), a marvel of cybernetic progress who wants only to be a real boy, loved by his mother in that happy place called home. Echoes of Spielberg's Empire of the Sun are clearly heard as young David, shunned by his trial parents and tossed into an unfriendly world, is joined by fellow "mecha" Gigolo Joe (played with a dancer's agility by Jude Law) in his quest for a mother-and-child reunion. Parallels to Pinocchio intensify as David reaches "the end of the world" (a Manhattan flooded by melted polar ice caps), and a far-future epilogue propels A.I. into even deeper realms of wonder, even as it pulls Spielberg back to his comfort zone of sweetness and soothing sentiment. Some may lament the diffusion of Kubrick's original vision, but this is Spielberg's A.I. (complete with one of John Williams's finest scores), a film of astonishing technical wizardry that spans the spectrum of human emotions and offers just enough Kubrick to suggest that humanity's future is anything but guaranteed. --Jeff Shannon

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Gigolo Joe:
Are you in trouble? Have you run away from someone?

David:
My mother told me to run away.

Gigolo Joe:
Why did she say that?

David:
I guess because Henry didn't like me.

Gigolo Joe:
Why was that?

David:
Martin came home.

David:
Martin is Mommy and Henry's real son. After i find the Blue Fairy then I can go home. Mommy will love a real boy. The Blue Fairy will make me into one.

Gigolo Joe:
Is Blue Fairy Mecha, Orga, man or woman?

David:
Woman.

Gigolo Joe:
Woman? I know women! They sometimes ask for me by name. I know all about women. About as much as there is to know. No two are ever alike, And after they've met me, no two are ever the same. And I know where most of them can be found.

David:
Where?

Gigolo Joe:
Rouge City. Across the Delaware. Too far for our feet. We'll need help to get there. And it's not without peril. We will have to journey towards the moon.

David:
Are there many women in Rouge City?

Gigolo Joe:
As there are stars at night.

David:
How do we find just one?

Gigolo Joe:
We will ask Dr. Know. There is nothing he doesn't. Exactly what name do you give this woman?

David:
She is just Blue Fairy.

Gigolo Joe:
Blue Fairy. In the world of Orga, blue is the color of melancholy. Yet the services I provide will put a blush back on anyone's cheek. I will change the color of your fairy for you. She will scream out: 'Oh yes! Oh God! Oh, yes! Oh, God! Oh, God!' She will make you a real boy for I will make her a real woman and all will be right with the world because you held my hand and saved my brain so that once again my customers my ask for me by name: 'Gigolo Joe, what do you know?'

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