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A.I. Revisited

...if the movie has to be explained by brilliant cinephiles holding the blueprints to the true meaning of this or that ("Well, in Kubrick's original draft, yadda, yadda, yadda...."), then kids, the film fails miserably. Don'tcha think?

I received so many e-mails and cell calls regarding Spielberg's A.I. that I realized that the film, yummy or foul, really did have a sorta restrained impact. Not an OMIGOD-this-is-a-really-great-movie, but more a what-else-have-we-got-to-talk-about sorta thing. It fills SOME of the many hours in a day.

Several contemporaries wanted to make sure I understood that the string bean, taffy chaps that visited the robo-kid were—make no mistake about it—NOT aliens, but rather, robots; that they loved us because we created them (as we love our creator), which more than justifies their compassionate attitude toward the mecha child and the exhausting preservation of our congealed past. I thought this was a good point, a keen observation. However, if the movie has to be explained by brilliant cinephiles holding the blueprints to the true meaning of this or that ("Well, in Kubrick's original draft, yadda, yadda, yadda...."), then kids, the film fails miserably. Don'tcha think?

Now—don't misunderstand my skepticism. The e-mails were ALL good, kind and warm-hearted; in short, I was very touched. The e-community is ripe with super fact-jacks and celluloid brats who easily challenged my pedestrian eye, and I sincerely hope I get to hang out with some of you, my awesome kin, tossing bits of acuity at one another; so keep those postcards and letters coming!

But Spielberg's sci-fi smorgasbord should have a bold disclaimer, stating that even though the glassy dudes from the future LOOKED like E.T. hybrids, they're NOT, they're robots (didn'tcha read Kubrick's notes?)—thank you very much. Because I might just agree if I did read the production notes or had actually taken the time to read the Brian Aldiss short story (Supertoys Last All Summer Long). But I didn't, so I must go with my initial interpretation: they looked like aliens therefore they ARE aliens. The rest is simply too much work for my sloppy, goofy ass to care about.

In my book, A.I. is a glorious corporate board meeting, disguising itself as a super-slick, hip, brain ride; representing a lily-white future, complete with a Chris Rock-'em, sock'em robot destroyed while spouting Sambo-style witticisms—appalling. In the end, I was really being too kind with my review, because the mush-o-rama (the kid, boss, the kid) really nabbed me, and I was still flopping around on the hook of Spielberg's fine manipulation. But A.I.'s use of blatant script-lifts made my stomach dance the jiggly-wiggly and I don't wanna go back and view that awful mess again. HOWEVER—at least we got to whisper in our neighbor's ear, tell them that we care enough to share our once-distant estimations, and in that exchange, the Internet becomes another victor. I'm all for coffeehouse banter, even if we share a cup of java thousands of miles away from one another. If you can help me see what it is you're looking at, then in that instant, we are human beings, not robots. In the moment I open an e-mail, read a response to something I've penned, I am participating in a sphere that's never fruitless, never ending, and unlike Spielberg's attempt at divine communiqué, that's a true, spiritual marvel, my far-off cyber friends.


Posted by: r - Legacy Article

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