SPOILERS: Fwd: A.I. (the movie) (fwd)

From: Eugene Leitl (Eugene.Leitl@lrz.uni-muenchen.de)
Date: Wed Jul 04 2001 - 10:10:46 MDT

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---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, 1 Jul 2001 02:44:14 -0700
From: Bill Humphries <bill@whump.com>
To: fork@xent.com
Subject: Fwd: A.I. (the movie)

On Saturday, June 30, 2001, at 09:06 PM, Jeff Bone wrote:

> It's a big story, and
> the movie suffers from some disjointedness as a result. The three
> acts should narratively have been separated by large amounts of time,

I got back from seeing it in Milpitas. They're rolling previews of Harry
Potter and "Lord of the Rings" beforehand, so that's a draw as well. My
companion said that they got the Dark Lord's riders right.

The transition didn't bother me, as I took it to be a switch from
Spielberg to Kubrick. I'm not sure how'd you get David to wander in
woods for fifty years or so without running into other mechas. [1]

> Gigolo Joe is entertaining in his own right; I only wish it'd been
> Geisha
> Geege or something instead...

If you accept the idea that Spielberg's going to make some nods to
Kubrick's movies, then Gigolo Joe is Alex from "A Clockwork Orange".
Watching him dance down the street to his internal soundtrack, spashing
in the gutter with Gene Kelly's footwork, brings the 'ultraviolence'
back to mind, even if Joe's a dildo, not a war club.

I think Spielberg did something interesting in the second act as well,
playing a game with how the mechas behaved, and how we interpret those
behaviors. The damaged nannybot, strapped to the demolition machine in
the "Celebration of Life" is smiling beautificaly at David. My first
reaction is that she's taking her impending martyrdom with grace. But
then when you think about the nannybot's programming. She's behaving in
a calm, reassuring fashion because that's that you'd want a nanny to do
in order to keep her charges calm in a crowd of loud, violent people.
But I first saw it as if she was Joan of Arc at the stake.

Dr. Know is like that to a lesser extent. He appears to be a capricious
genie (wish carefully) when he's behaving like a pay-as-you-go search
engine might. [2]

> The "framework" of the last act is fascinating, though the execution
> seems like an exercise in wrap-up.

He was able to create some set pieces that stayed with you. I haven't
seen that since "Empire of the Sun" where we get to see the bombing of
Hiroshima reflected across the Sea of Japan by clouds.

Again, compare the recreated house to the "Hotel Room at the End of the
Universe " from "2001".

Thinking of _The Difference Engine_, the opening of the last act reminds
me of the closing scene in the latter, where all that is left is the
machine world. (Ah, we worked Eirikur into the thread.) It's chilling,
yet it's hopeful. While the end of the _The Difference Engine_ is
chilling. [3]

I agree with Jeff's assessment, go see the movie.

[1] Apropos of nothing, there is detritus from an OSX dock 'poof' on my
screen obscuring part of it. I just woke my iBook from sleep, and the
poof residue is still on the screen. An interesting bug.
[2] Clay, the people of the future have that micropayment thing worked
[3] Unless you're Hans Moravec. Also, the mechanics of resurrection
reminded me of A.A. Attansno's _The Last Legends of Earth_, another big,
sprawling mess that's worth reading.

Bill Humphries <bill@whump.com>


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