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AI: Artificial Intelligence

Year: 2001
Director: Steven Spielberg
Writer: Brian Aldiss
Cast: Hayley Joel Osment, Jude Law, Frances O'Connor, William Hurt
The most terrible thing about AI was that I saw it during the Australian theatrical release just days after September 11, 2001, and in the final sequences when the aliens arrive in the next ice age, there are the towers of the World Trade Centre jutting proudly out of the ice. You could feel everyone shifting uncomfortably in their seats.

But there was plenty more about it that was terrible. Kubrick - who agreed to do Eyes Wide Shut so he could direct this film - died before production began, and Spielberg took it over, turning it into another child-in-search-of-love slurpfest.

Most of his incredible visuals (Rouge City, Dr Einstein, the destroyed and waterlogged New York at the end) are there throughout the movie, it just seemed to meander too much and was missing... something.

Robot boy (David) is bought by a couple whose son is in a coma and comes to life by the keywords given to his 'mother' (O'Connor), turning into a far-future Pinocchio, believing himself a real boy.

When the real son awakens, the guilt-ridden mother drops him off in the forest to get rid of him, and the film follows his journey across America, accompanied by Gigolo Joe (Law), a male hookerbot, and his ridiculous artificially intelligent teddy bear.

Wending their way through a series of great looking but pointless and unrelated adventures, David finds the blue fairy he's looking for, which turns out to be the fairy statue at Coney Island in New York. It of course ignores him, he shuts down, and goes to sleep on the bottom of Manhattan harbour until stupidly benevolent aliens wake him up thousands of years hence and give him a final dream sequence of being with his (now long-dead) mother before he 'dies' for good.

A confusing and unengaging storyline, Spielberg's incredible vision, a schmaltzy moral and silly characters make a mishmash out of what could have been among the director's best.

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