A.I.

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A.I. Steven Spielberg, dir., script, one of three producers (initial work: Stanley Kubrick). USA: Warner Bros. and DreamWorks main credited prod., also Amblin Entertainment, Stanley Kubrick Productions / DreamWorks, Warner Bros., 2001. Ian Watson, initial screen story, from Brian Aldiss's "Supertoys Last All Summer Long."

Film features a number of robots—including Jude Law's "Gigolo Joe," sex-toy robot—and a theme of "mecha" vs. "orga": mechanism vs. organism, along with very real hatred of machines by many humans and the literal replacement of human beings by highly advanced robots (both similar to themes in I. Asimov's robot series, with imagery of the destruction of machines in the cyberpunk, Mad Max style). As in "Supertoys," there is the question of the "reality" of an A.I. robot ("Am I a 'real' boy?") and whether such a sentient creature can love and be loved; the film expands this issue with the question of the more literal reality of a robot that can be replicated into any number of (as they say in BLADE RUNNER) replicants. The film invites comparisons of itself with much of Spielberg's SF canon, plus Kubrick's 2001. Most developed: the robot-boy David and E.T., the moon in E.T.[1] with a threatening balloon, the scientists' vehicles in the chase sequence in E.T. and hell-hound motorcycles; the Pinocchio theme with David's wanting to become a "real" boy; visual similarity between the aliens in CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND and advanced robots in A.I. See also D.A.R.Y.L. and the SHORT CIRCUIT films. As in Asimov's "The Bicentennial Man" (listed under Fiction) and the THE BICENTENNIAL MAN (1999 film), the central robot desires to become human, and humanity requires mortality—but here the humans die, and robots live on. As in the Terminator films, ability to feel pain is important, but in A.I. robotic AI sentience includes pain receptors, which can be turned off in some but not, at least for psychological pain, in David.

Discussed with illustrations, and stress on Kubrick's initial work, in The Stanley Kubrick Archives, pp. 804-15.

(RDE, Kelly Searsmith, 28/06/01, 03/07/01, 27/XII/14, 22Aug20)