A.I. is the last film to be released that Stanley Kubrick had anything to do with. The story of how A.I. came to become a movie is not a simple one.
A.I. Artificial Intelligence
Directors: Steven Spielberg
Producers: Bonnie Curtis, Kathleen Kennedy, Steven Spielberg
Writers: Steven Spielberg, Ian Watson (screen story), Brian Aldiss (original short story)
Features: Two Disc Set | Original 1.85:1 Theatrical Aspect Ratio | Enhanced for Widescreen Televisions | English and French Dolby Digital 5.1 Sound | English DTS 5.1 Sound | English Dolby Digital 2.0 Sound | Featurettes | Still Gallery | Theatrical Trailers
David - Haley Joel Osment
Gigolo Joe - Jude Law
Monica Swinton - Frances O'Connor
Henry Swinton - Sam Robards
Professor Allen Hobby - William Hurt
A.I. is the last film to be released that Stanley Kubrick had anything to do with.
The story of how A.I. came to become a movie is not a simple one. Originally, Kubrick was going to direct this film, then he decided Steven Spielberg should do it, then Spielberg decided Kubrick should do it, then Kubrick died, so Spielberg did it.
The movie is a spectacular vision of a future world where robots (or mecha as they're called here) are commonplace, and essentially do all the work that people don't want to do (but will for huge sums of money).
The guy slogging around in the sewer pipe? Mecha. Coal miner? Mecha. As such, humans have moved up the evolutionary ladder and mecha have essentially taken over all the grunt work.
It may seem like a far-fetched premise at this point, but Sony just introduced a biped robot which can stand on its own, understand words that are spoken to it, see in three dimensions and even recognize individual people by their names and faces. This first robot is just for entertainment purposes, but how much of a leap is it, really, before these things evolve into servants?
As such, there isn't as much of a need for people, and population controls have been put in place. Nobody is allowed to have more than one child, and nobody is allowed a child without a license.
Professor Allen Hobby (William Hurt), a top scientist at a robot manufacturing facility, has decided that robots need to evolve again. He has decided to build a robot child truly capable of feeling emotion as a surrogate for those families who can't have a child.
The result is David, a first of his kind robotic child who is placed into the care of the Swinton family.
Henry Swinton (Sam Robards) is an employee in the company developing David, and his own child is sick and in what looks like some kind of cryogenic chamber until such time as a cure for his unspecified disease can be found.
Monica Swinton (Frances O'Connor) is Henry's wife, and is so focused on her child's fate that she is basically forgetting to live her own life.
When David enters their lives, Monica slowly grows to accept him and to love him, and then a cure is found for their son and he comes home.
At this point, a sibling rivalry occurs between David and Martin that results in David being abandoned by Monica in the woods.
At this point, David begins his journey to become a "real boy", and we're taken on a wild ride unlike anything you've ever seen before.
A.I. is unlike any film ever made before. It has elements of many films in it, ranging from Pinnochio to Blade Runner, but it really is a unique beast.
The movie changes gears frequently, becoming everything from a heated debate on our responsibilities to our own children and those things that we create to an epic road movie where characters travel great distances in the hopes of great rewards.
A.I. is a film that carries both Spielberg and Kubrick's fingerprints, and manages to succeed amazingly well in melding the visions of two very different filmmakers.
Also, like every Kubrick film before it, A.I. has managed to divide both audiences and critics, and has managed to stir great debates between the lovers and the haters of this film.
A.I. has been misunderstood, misinterpreted, over analyzed and even under analyzed, all in the first few weeks of its release.
I believe, as well, that like every other Kubrick film before it, A.I. will eventually be regarded as a great cinematic achievement which was misunderstood and wrongfully ignored at the time of its release.
Warner Bros. has done a great job on the A.I. DVD, releasing a two-disc set which has almost everything a true fan of the film could hope for.
On the first disc is the film, presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio, with a stunning picture and just the slightest bit of edge enhacement here and there.
I saw this film in the theatre originally, and the transfer here is very true to the print I watched on the big screen.
The audio for the film is presented in Dolby Digital and DTS. Both tracks are excellent, with the DTS one being a tiny bit better.
Sadly, there's no real subtitles for hearing impaired viewers, an omission which surprised me.
The second disc contains all the bonus features, and there are quite a few here.
Don't get me wrong, this disc is not overly loaded with features, it's just that the ones that are here are of such high quality that they're going to suck up a lot of time.
There are almost two hours of featurettes on the making of this film. Everything from the original conception of the story to the visual effects to the audio design is covered here. These are not your typical studio produced featurettes designed only to sell you on a film you already own. These are film school quality supplements that will give you a real idea as to the amount of work that goes into a film like this (as well as why films like this cost so much money).
The one omission everyone has been complaining about is the lack of an audio commentary track by Spielberg. I personally think if Spielberg doesn't want to do audio commentary tracks, he doesn't have to. I still would have liked to have heard a track by the visual effects, guys, though, since their work in this film is so amazing that even the excellent featurette on it barely scratches the surface.
All in all, A.I. is a great film with a fantastic DVD release. An instant underrated classic, there's absolutely no reason why you shouldn't own this disc.
Contributing Editor: www.dvdfuture.com