A.I.: Artificial Intelligence
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this movie is rated PG-13 for some sexual references (Joe is a robot created to have sex with women, a crude joke about the equivalent for men) and some violence (mecha are destroyed, critically ill child, characters in peril). Children may also find the theme and some of the situations disturbing and may also be unsettled by the open-ended nature of the story, which leaves many questions unanswered. It will be most suitable for teens, who may enjoy debating some of the issues of love, vulnerability, the nature of humanity, the future of the human race, and even the meaning of life.
What's the story?
David looks like a 12-year-old boy but is really a "mecha," a highly developed robot. He's the creation is Dr. Hobby (William Hurt), who decided to take robots a step further and develop the first robot that can feel love. One of his employees, Henry (Sam Robards) is chosen to be the beta tester. Henry and his wife, Monica (Frances O'Connor), have a son, Martin, who is critically ill. At first, Monica is horrified by the idea of "adopting" a mechanical boy, but her need for love is so overpowering that she initiates the sequence that will bind David irrevocably to her forever. He immediately changes from a pleasant if emotionless toy into a child whose mother is his whole world. He loves, which means that he is needy, jealous, and He thinks like a three-year-old, calling for his mommy and wanting her all to himself. When Martin gets better and returns home, he and David are jealous of one another. Believes that David may be a threat to Martin, she sets him loose in the woods. David is determined to find the Blue Fairy who can turn him into a real boy, as she did with Pinocchio, because he thinks that will make it possible for Monica to love him.
Is it any good?
Cross 2001 with E.T. and Blade Runner and throw in some Pinocchio, some Wizard of Oz, some Velveteen Rabbit and a touch of Our Town, and you might have some sense of what to expect from A.I. It is an ambitious, complex, provocative movie that is likely to lead to more late night college dorm debates than anything since the ones about 2001's monolith and the ape throwing the bone.
Developed by Stanley Kubrick and completed by Steven Spielberg, this is a two-part invention of a movie that owes both its strengths and its weaknesses to the collaboration between two men of such prodigious talents and such different, even opposing sensibilities. Kubrick is the master of the cool image; Spielberg the master of the warm feeling. The juxtaposition of their influence is particularly apt for this story of the struggle between heart and brain, not just on the part of the mecha, but on the part of the orga (humans) as well.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about whether what David feels is love, and Dr. Hobby's real reason for creating him. Is there any way to make a robot "real?" If the movie is about making a machine that can feel, why is the title "Artificial Intelligence?"