Re: A.I. review - or, how Spielberg conned me out of 2.5 hours of my life

From: Robert Coyote (
Date: Tue Jul 03 2001 - 23:04:34 MDT

Just saw it , can't add anything to the below exept to say "It's a renter"

----- Original Message -----
From: "Technotranscendence" <>
To: "Extropy" <>
Sent: Tuesday, July 03, 2001 11:04 PM
Subject: A.I. review - or, how Spielberg conned me out of 2.5 hours of my

> This is a review from a friend. He's given me leave to pass it along to
> this list.
> Cheers!
> Daniel Ust
> From: David Euchner
> Sent: Tuesday, July 03, 2001 2:43 PM
> Subject: A.I. review - or, how Spielberg conned me out of 2.5 hours of my
> life
> There is no need for a "spoiler alert" in this message.
> This is because after having seen A.I. this afternoon, Jessica and I are
> finding it quite impossible to find any way to "spoil" this movie that
> Spielberg did not do himself. I promise you, I went into that theater not
> as Stanley Kubrick's #1 fan looking to bash Spielberg, but as a movie fan
> looking to enjoy a movie. I am not a professional film critic and I stand
> nothing to gain by bashing a movie. But I decided that I had to see it in
> order to give an honest review, and here it is.
> Put it this way - if you've seen Pinocchio, and you've seen E.T., then
> imagine what the two merged together would look like and you get A.I. For
> those who wanted science fiction, it wasn't there. For those, like me,
> wanted an exploration of the moral quandaries surrounding the development
> of scientient robots, it was a serious letdown as the issue was not
> explored in the least.
> Instead, the entire movie was about "a robot boy who wanted to be made
> a real boy so his mommy would love him - and the Blue Fairy from the
> Pinocchio story would make it happen." I'm not kidding, I'm not
> exaggerating. Interspersed in the film are plenty of cheap "Kodak
> such as a silhouette against the moon a la E.T., and other ripoffs of
> movies which are not even remotely subtle.
> The score was awful - just plain awful. I whispered to Jessica "I wonder
> who this is, it's cheesy like John Williams but it doesn't sound like his
> stuff." Sure enough, it was John Williams (though I did not know this
> until the closing credits). It was awful because of the complete lack of
> seriousness in a film whose topic deserved at least a sliver of
> Because the script (authored by Spielberg) was so simplistic, I imagine it
> was difficult to get any serious actors to want to be in the film - for
> this reason, other than Haley Joel Osment the only actors cast with any
> kind of pre-existing established reputation were William Hurt and Jude
> Law. And Hurt's character was cast to the wind, leaving only Osment and
> Law to carry the film. Osment did as much as he could, but his shoulders
> are not THAT broad (literally and metaphorically).
> The rest of the acting was as poor as the script would allow. The mother
> (Frances O'Connor) and father (Sam Robards), both previously unknown to
> will soon vanish from my mind, for their performances were simply
> incompetent. Martin, played by some other child actor, was OK for a child
> actor, which in this film made him stand out above the rest of the
> supporting cast. The surprise casting move of the movie was for a
> cartoonish Einstein holograph called "Dr. Know"; the voiceover was done by
> Robin Williams in much the same flavor as Gilbert Gottfried's annoying
> voiceover in Disney's adaptation of Alladin. And finally, the only other
> character who appeared in more than one scene was the robotic teddybear
> Teddy - who was essentially the Jar Jar Binks of this movie.
> The special effects were excellent - but as Mr. Ust says about The Phantom
> Menace, "See why money and lots of effects can't make a bad story
> good." All of the technical facets of the film were top-notch
first-rate -
> but the technicians are limited by the artistic vision of their director,
> and in this movie special effects functioned as little more than eye
> The reason why I love Kubrick films is because of the way he could make a
> picture say a thousand words, and because of the way at 24 frames a second
> he could give an audience a most intense catharsis (I won't say "the most
> intense" because of my lack of knowledge of foreign film, but certainly
> more intense than any other American director). He didn't just tell a
> story in his films; he taught us something important about ourselves or
> about the world in which we live. There was one reason why Kubrick had
> never "co-directed" or given any kind of creative control of his projects
> to anyone else; in the end, the finished product that was shipped out was
> HIS vision - and though all of his movies are distinct, they are all
> distinctly HIS.
> A.I. had Kubrick's name listed as a producer, and in my opinion this is a
> grave blasphemy. When Spielberg deigned to pick up where Kubrick left
> he had a moral responsibility to the memory of Kubrick and to the body of
> work that Kubrick left behind (including 2001: A Space Odyssey, which also
> explores the moral issues surrounding artificial intelligence) to make the
> most brilliant film of which he was capable. At the very least, with
> Runner nearing its 20th anniversary I think that the least Spielberg could
> have done was to try and outdo the depth that Ridley Scott provided to his
> human characters as well as his replicants.
> On the contrary, I don't think there can be any doubt that Spielberg
> put the slightest effort into making a decent movie. I haven't seen
> Private Ryan, but I have seen Schindler's List and Amistad and I know the
> man is capable of better than this. He was clearly coasting through the
> project and looking to make a quick buck off of Kubrick's reputation.
> In short, on a 10 scale, Jessica rates the film a 2 and I rate it a 3.
> rationale for not giving it a 1 is the same: when the special effects
> people put this job on their resumes we don't want anyone to think that
> they did a poor job.
> We advise everyone to skip this at the theater, and if you have to see
it -
> borrow an illegal copy. Spielberg must not make another dime off this
> Most sincerely,
> Dave

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