Thursday, December 04, 2014

Reasons to hate Steven Spielberg, sort of.

AI (Artificial Intelligence): One of these bad films with just enough good in them that it keeps me going back over and over them, trying to figure out what the hell the problem was (aside from the sentimentality, and Spielberg once again exploring his abandonment issues). A few thoughts:

1) Too short. Yes, for a movie it's way too long, but it also feels like it's rushing from plot to plot, scene to scene. We never actually see the couple bonding with their new AI son; the woman gives him the imprinting programme, and then practically a scene later we're into the sibling-rivalry scenario when their natural child wakes up from his coma. If it were a 6-part TV series, then there'd be time for the story to breathe, and scenarios to develop.

2) Wrong ending. The story should have ended with the advanced AIs discovering David. It's perfect; we find out what happened to the world, David gets his wish to be a "real boy" (as he'll be the closest thing to one on the planet) and we can end on a high, tempered with the uncertainty of what sort of future he'll have out there. And we'd be spared the creepily Freudian stuff.

3) Too many fridge moments. Gigolo Joe is framed for murder *how*, exactly? Surely the mecha have some sort of Asimov's-three-laws system preventing them from harming a human, and even if not, he could surely upload his memory to the court and demonstrate that he was with Paula Malcolmsen at the time. Why aren't the police tracking their own helicopters? Why does William Hurt leave David alone in the lab for 20 minutes, with predictable consequences? And so on.

4) Doesn't age well. It was first written in the 1970s, and it doesn't seem like it was updated much when it was filmed in the late 1990s: no mobiles, no Google, a family in which the wife stays at home all day doing, as far as I could see, pretty much nothing.

On the other hand, hey, cool practical and digital effects, and I want one of those teddy bear androids.

Movie count for 2014: 54