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A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)

Artificial Intelligence: AI

Do not speak the seven-word activation code unless you mean it

Rating: 7/10

Running Time: 140 minutes

UK Certificate: 12


Hayley Joel Osment stars as David, an artificial child – the first to have been designed to have real feelings and be capable of love. The world of the future in which he is created is much changed from the present. The polar icecaps have melted and the oceans have covered many of the world's coastal cities. Humankind, now restricted to the dry areas, has to control its population and its use of resources. As a result, they have created 'mechas', humanoid robots that can fill a variety of roles without requiring much in the way of resources. David has been created for Monica Swinton (Frances O'Connor) and her husband Henry (Sam Robards), as a substitute child because their real son Martin (Jake Thomas) is in stasis having contracted an incurable illness.

David comes complete with a seven-word code that will commit his love permanently to his 'mother', and Monica in her sadness is perhaps too hasty in using it. Things take a turn for the worse for David when Martin returns home after a cure is discovered – Martin is jealous of David and makes trouble that results in David being abandoned by the 'mother' he loves. He falls into the company of Gigolo Joe (Jude Law), a robotic sex-toy for women, and together they set out to find the Blue Fairy from the Pinocchio fairy tale, whom David hopes will be able to turn him into a real boy so that Monica will love him and take him back.

Although overall this film is not bad, given the talents involved in its making and the amount of money spent one would expect much more from it than it can actually provide. Most of the actors do a good job, but somehow the characters don't always appeal in the way they are written. In addition, the film has an obvious natural finishing point that would have worked well, but unfortunately Spielberg fails to take advantage of it and continues, leading to an ending that is weakened by its implausibility and sugary sweetness.

It's Got: An appealing talking teddy bear.

It Needs: To be less sugary and sentimental, especially at the end.

DVD Extras A substantial collection of extras come with this two-disc DVD set, wanting only a director’s commentary to be complete. Extras: Creating AI, Acting AI, Designing AI, Lighting AI, Special Effects, Robots of AI, Special effects and animation, Sound and music of AI, Interviews with Steven Spielberg, Hayley Joel Osment and Jude Law, Behind the scenes featurette, AI Archives, Storyboards, Chris Baker’s portfolio, Production design portfolio, Industrial Light & Magic portfolio, Production photographs, Trailers. DVD Extras Rating: 8/10


This is a reasonably sound sci-fi fantasy, but hardly the great masterwork that was promised.