Oceans have risen to swallow cities. Land and
resources are scarce, hence pregnancies must be
licensed. But technology has advanced to fill the
void of a truncated family - why not purchase a
bouncing baby robot?
The film begins slowly, tediously. The very first
prototype MECHA (mechanical boy) that can love (and
perchance, dream) steps into the home of a loving
couple with a comatose child. The MECHA is programmed to love, but will
he be loved back? Will the fragile mother abandon
him? Should the real son awaken ... will the
love/jealousy catalyze violence? Certainly, the
atonal music predicts tragedy.
This segment, a good 30 minutes or more, plays
heavy, an unbecoming thriller - nothing to pull us
in, nothing to hook our emotions. A scene where the
mother "imprints" Haley (the robot) should have set
our lower lips trembling, but falls short.
Undoubtedly this segment was written and possibly
shot much longer, but cut to its bare essentials to
make way for the "real movie" to follow. Thankfully,
we aren't delayed too long, but the cuts do make the
segment even less relevant.
Haley, separated from the family unit, must fend
for himself in a world where the flesh (humans) enjoy
trashing the MECHA's for philosophic/sadistic
purposes. Enter Jude Law, robot lover (for the lonely
human) extraordinnaire, "Once you've had a MECHA,
you'll never want a real man again." He tilts his
head sharply, music appears as if from an old
Victrola or drive-in theater speaker. Jude Law simply
sparkles; he takes this B- movie and sets it
spinning. Of course, the spectacular artistic design
of "Rouge city" (not terribly unlike "Moulin Rouge's"
Paris) also dazzles. Haley begins his quest back to
house, home, and the love of mom. Jude pairs up.
Spielberg "imprints" himself all over this film.
From the "Close Encounters" homage (in the visual and
the audio) to an over the top (excuse the expression)
mechanized moon, to the very title "A.I." (Need I
remind ..."E.T."?) When given the choice of solid
story-telling or big impressive visual - Steven
chooses the latter every time. Therefore, expect a
bumpy ride. Btw, some visuals work fantastically, but
there are those that don't. (Year 2000 motorcycles
with dragonheads? A year 2015 electric car in this
distant future film?)
An odd blending of "Moulin Rouge" and
Man" (Robin William's voice cameos), Jude
Law, Haley, and the Teddy Bear deliver wonderful
performances across a backdrop of futuristic fantasy.
It bumps and thumps a bit, more simulated than real,
but in the end "A.I." just barely pulls down an "A-."
Still worth seeing.