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Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Description: A scientific retelling of Pinocchio. A robot boy and his sidekicks journeys across a lush landscape of luddites, flooded cities and the imagination.

There will be spoilers for the end of the movie, be warned. 

I'm almost afraid to say this, because every time I say that I loved AI, someone says, "Yeah but..." or "Well what did you like about it," or, "What about this scene," or "This or that didn't fit," or "They should have used a different ending."

I hesitate to say that I loved it, not because I wish to qualify my love, but because those who did not like it, seem to hate it. As if it had insulted their mother. As if it were a Communist in 1950s America. As if it were a dot com that just went bust. Well, get over it because I liked it.

I loved every scene. I felt that the unity of the whole added up to an incredible film. I liked the beginning. I liked the middle. And I especially like the end. Not because I need a happy ending. I was a literature major. Romeo and Juliet, Dombey and Son (well from a pro-woman point of view it's a tragic ending), Sister Carrie. Not happy books. I enjoyed them just fine thank you very much. In my opinion, AI's conclusion was the only end that could be. The only end that could possibly have completed the bildungsroman (journey from innocence to experience) of the epic in a Joseph Campbellian Jungian archetype sort of way. Anything less would have been an arrow fallen to earth. Target unreached. Incomplete. A nagging tooth in the mouth.

The movie was visually stunning. So, many incredibly images. David in the pool with his outstretched arms. Teddy picking up the falling strands of hair. The Nannybots final smile. The viscious moon. The vision of Man-hattan. The Blue Faery with strands of sea weed in her hair.

Haley Joel Osment was absolutely incredible as David. The moment when his program to love activates and you see the little melting in his body language that says that he has gone from emotionless to needy child in a single moment. The pure longing in every core of his body. The lack of understanding. Give the kid an Oscar already.

Jude Law as Gigolo Joe also puts in an excellent performance. Shallow and yet utterly loyal. He is the sexually experienced sidekick that appears over and over in the universal epic.

And this is an epic. A story of human experience and growth. The bildungsroman of a boy seeking to learn what it means to love. Because David does not fully express love, does not understand love throughout most of the movie. How can he? He has been programmed to love by people with an imperfect understanding of the emotion themselves. Professor Hobby, as played by William Hurt, is so obsessed over his son's death that Hobby chooses to remake his dead son, the first David, over and over in a hardier form. David's adoptive mother, Monica, as played by Francis O'Connor, wants to receive David's love, but has trouble returning it. Thus with no role models, David's love is the obsessive love of a child, without the adult understanding of the emotion. He just knows that he needs. That he seeks, without truly understanding what he is looking for.

I find it interesting that David's quest is to become human so he can receive love. However, it is only when he is freely given the love, which the parent owes the child, that he can finally make that leap to become human. Monica, the mother of his heart, tells him that she loves him and David is finally able to fall asleep and dream. Thus in that weird faery tale sort of way, his mother was the Blue Faery all along. 

I suppose the story could have ended with David futily praying to the faery under the ocean. And yet, it would not have been true to the story, which was not science fiction, it was a faery tale. An epic. The hero journeys into the underworld to seek knowledge. I suppose Dante, Aeneas, or Beowulf could end their stories in the underworld. But they don't. The tides pull back. The heroes works their way through to the end. Beatrice comes down from Paradise to lead Dante the rest of the way to heaven. The Sybil brings Aeneas back out of Hades. Beowulf defeats Grendel's mother.

And so 2000 years go by. The world freezes. What a wonderful metaphor for the heart. And in that cold heart, that womb, a race of future robots seeks to find the face of their creators in the rubble. They find David. He helps them understand where they came from and they help him finally complete his quest. Because they, the products of our genius, do understand love. They know how to give. And so they do, and so David finally learns love. Learns to dream. To imagine. To be more than the sum of his parts.

So, to sum up. I loved the movie. I laughed. I cried. I walked away thinking about the issues that it raised. However, you may not like this movie. I am in the minority. All I can say is go see AI with an open mind.

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