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A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)



Average Rating: 6.6/10
Reviews Counted: 190
Fresh: 139 | Rotten: 51

A curious, not always seamless, amalgamation of Kubrick's chilly bleakness and Spielberg's warm-hearted optimism, A.I. is, in a word, fascinating.


Average Rating: 6.2/10
Critic Reviews: 44
Fresh: 29 | Rotten: 15

A curious, not always seamless, amalgamation of Kubrick's chilly bleakness and Spielberg's warm-hearted optimism, A.I. is, in a word, fascinating.



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Average Rating: 3.1/5
User Ratings: 411,023

My Rating

Movie Info

Based on the 1969 short story Super-Toys Last All Summer Long, by Brian Aldiss, this science fiction fantasy bears similarities to Pinocchio (1940) and originated as a long-gestating project of director Stanley Kubrick that passed to his friend Steven Spielberg after Kubrick's death. Haley Joel Osment stars as David, a "mecha" or robot of the future, when the polar ice caps have melted and submerged many coastal cities, causing worldwide starvation and human dependence upon robotic assistance.


Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy

Steven Spielberg

Mar 5, 2002


Dreamworks - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (195) | Top Critics (45) | Fresh (139) | Rotten (51) | DVD (46)

A confined domestic drama, a considerable morality tale, a fleeting futuristic noir, a persecution parable, an on-the-nose fairy tale adventure... and then it keeps going.

April 21, 2011 Full Review Source:
Top Critic IconTop Critic

At heart it's a terribly anguished expression of rejection, loneliness and love. If only it knew when to stop.

August 16, 2007 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

At heart it's a terribly anguished expression of rejection, loneliness and love. If only it knew when to stop.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out New York
Time Out New York
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Temperamentally, Spielberg and Kubrick are such polar opposites that A.I. has the moment-to-moment effect of being completely at odds with itself.

October 29, 2001 Full Review Source: New York Magazine
New York Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The most puzzling, trippiest piece of pop fantasy of Spielberg's career.

July 16, 2001
Miami Herald
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The most philosophical film in Kubrick's canon, the most intelligent in Spielberg's, and quite possibly the film with the most contemporary relevance that either one has made since Kubrick released Dr. Strangelove in 1964.

July 16, 2001 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader | Comments (2)
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Flawed, to be sure, but beautifully crafted, unimaginably complex, visually dazzling, rich with metaphor and deeply affecting.

May 16, 2011 Full Review Source: IGN DVD

An unsettling sci-fi fairytale mélange of "Pinocchio" and "The Wizard of Oz" that's elegantly written, visually opulent and thematically challenging and discontented. One of Steven Spielberg's finest, and most fiercely misread, films.

September 25, 2010 Full Review Source:

Provocative movie suitable for teens.

September 2, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

A "good" A.I. would be of infinitely less value than the A.I. that we have...a staggering creation.

February 14, 2010 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

Steven Spielberg tries to rescue the world's most elusive filmmaker from an unhappy ending.

September 1, 2009 Full Review Source: City Pages, Minneapolis/St. Paul | Comments (3)

Shows a more complicated understanding of childhood than you would expect...

June 17, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4

This may be the first solipsistic epic since 2001, but it has none of that film's wonder or mystery.

July 23, 2007 Full Review Source: | Comments (2)

It's odd to see the nearly infallible Steven Spielberg so visibly unsure of himself.

July 14, 2007 Full Review Source: Big Picture Big Sound | Comment (1)
Big Picture Big Sound

Steven Spielberg's A.I.: Artificial Intelligence is a return to sci-fi in true form.

December 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

One of Spielberg's most ambitious and problematic films, a result of trying to blend two divergent sensibilities, his and Kubrick's, but as a sci-fi, it has both thematic and visual merits.

August 9, 2005 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

The demands of the story would have been better served by Kubrick.

December 6, 2004 Full Review Source: Looking Closer
Looking Closer

[The] middle section [of A.I.] contains perhaps Spielberg's finest work, ever.

September 6, 2004 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Although the film itself and its immaculate pacing keeps us believing his love is real - it is impossible to be intellectually honest and come to that conclusion.

July 13, 2004 Full Review Source:

It turns out that Kubrick was right. The problems this story presented couldn't be solved after all.

January 1, 2004 Full Review

A.I. is a different kind of Spielberg film, and some audiences may not be ready for it.

May 23, 2003 Full Review Source:

Striking in looks but peculiarly disturbing in tone, the futuristic tale that began as a Kubrick project and finished under writer-director Spielberg is more nightmare than feel-good fantasy.

May 20, 2003
Palo Alto Weekly

From Kubrickese to Spielbergian, something got lost in the translation. What could have been a dark but brilliant film drags on until it finds some kind of happy ending

March 20, 2003 Full Review Source:

Audience Reviews for A.I. Artificial Intelligence

A well-constructed fairy tale concerning a robot boy (Haley Joel Osment), the first of his kind, and how he tries to fit in with his adopted family, especially his mother (Frances O'Connor), and how he becomes convinced he won't earn her love until he becomes a "real boy". Although possessing an overabundance of darkness that definitely threatens to drag it down into the pits at times, the wonderful, mystical 2001-esque conclusion, paired with the great performances and realized story, give this film some life that is desperately needs. It is not a great movie, there are some things in the middle of the story that probably could have been cut out, and the acting at the very beginning feels a little contrived, but overall the character of David feels genuine, which is honestly why this film is a success in the end. It could have expanded on it's man vs. machines battle perhaps a little bit, but at the heart of it all this is a fairy tale story about a boy trying to find out what makes him special and unique. Throw in some Spielbergian fantasy and some Kubrick-esque scenes and lighting choices, this movie is a winner.
May 27, 2013
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer

Damn it Spielberg you did it again! I thought you wouldn't get me but once again you made me cry whilst watching one of your films, sheesh!. Right...'A.I.', batten down the hatches mateys, this could be a big one.

From the collective minds of Kubrick and Spielberg comes this lavish epic about a little robot boy who is brought into a young couples life. Based on a short story by a writer I admit I've never heard of, yet the idea could easily be mistaken for work from the brains of Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov or Philip K. Dick.

Lets begin, this film gave me a headache, not a bad headache, more of a problematic headache. I was stuck and didn't know what to think. The film is a massive story betwixt two ideas or genres almost, on one hand you have the first half of a film that centres around the human angst and emotion of trying to adapt to adopting a robot child. The pain of a mother who's child is at deaths door from disease, and the decision by her husband to offer her a brand new state of the art robot child that for the first time can learn and express love for its 'owner'.

The second half of the film then changes completely, gone is the sentiment and powerful family bound plot as we enter into a more seedy grim world. One could almost say the film adopts many visual concepts from other sci-fi films/genres, which do work on their own, but maybe not together with this story.

The story is enthralling and draws you in...but oh so many questions arise Mr Spielberg, where to begin!. Once we leave the comfort of the family orientated first part of the film we pretty much straight away hit the 'Flesh Fair'. Now this really did seem too harsh for me, a completely disjoined idea that harks back to a 'Mad Max' type world. Why would people of the future act like this towards simple machines? the whole sequence looked like some freaky red neck carnival. It also seemed like a huge setup for not very much, just a few minutes of carnage, was all that fan fair really required?.

This lead me to the question of why do this to old, lost, outdated Mecha's? (the term for robots in this film which sounds a bit Japanese to me). Now surely these robots cost a lot to make, much time, effort, design etc...went into creating them, so surely destroying them is a complete waste. Wouldn't fixing them up for simple labour tasks like cleaning or whatever, be more useful? maybe selling them on? and even if you did have to shut them down, just do it more humanly, why the need for all the violence?. The whole sequence just didn't seem sensible really, and it was thought up by Spielberg!.

Eventually we get to 'Rouge City', where is this suppose to be? why not use a real city?. Again the whole concept seemed out of place, the city seemed much more futuristic than everything else we have seen, plus the architecture was truly odd. The huge tunnel bridges with a woman's gaping open mouth as the opening? it seemed very 'Giger-esq' to me, quite sexual too, kids film anyone?. Then you had buildings shaped like women's boobs and legs etc...geez!. Its here we meet 'Gigolo Joe' who is superbly played by Jude Law I can't deny, but really at the end of the day, was he needed at all?. He is a nice character, very likeable but virtually bordering on a cartoon character, and why the need for the tap dancing?.

The makeup was very good for the Mecha characters, simple yet effective for both Law and Osment. Kudos to Osment of course for his portrayal of the robot 'David', I honestly can say its probably the best performance for a robot I've ever seen. Brilliant casting too I might add, Osment can act but his looks are half the battle won right there, he has this almost perfect plastic looking young face, its all in the eyes I think.

Speaking of characters how can I not mention the star of the film, 'Teddy'. Now this little guy was adorable, I still find myself wanting my own 'Teddy' *whimpers*. Every scene this little fellow was in I loved, I loved to see him waddle around and assist 'David' in his simple electronic voice. I found myself caring for all the characters in this film but especially 'Teddy', he was just awesome. Sure he seemed to have some kind of infinite power source but that made him even cooler damn it!. What really broke my heart was we don't know what happens to lill 'Teddy', we see him at the end but what becomes of him?? what Steven WHAT??!!. I loved that lill guy *sniff*.

As you near the end of the film and its multiple ongoing finales you literately get submerged in questions. 2000 years pass from the time 'David' is trapped under the sea and his rescue (the ferris wheel didn't crush the helicopter/sub thingy??), in that time the planet has gone from global warming jungles to a MASSIVE ice age? I mean a REALLY HEAVY ice age. Now I'm no scientist but that doesn't seem right. I might quickly add, in the future why are all the skyscrapers in New York in tatters? as if they've been burnt out?. Sure the bottom of them has been flooded but they look like skeletons! as if a nuke hit them, eh?.

The we get to the evolved Mecha's (or 'Close Encounter' aliens). How would these robots evolve into these angelic liquid-like creatures?? I don't get it, if the human race became extinct tomorrow would computers evolve into alien-like creatures?. Sure these robots can fix themselves and update themselves but that far? really?. Then you gotta ask yourself why would they be digging up old human remains? they know humans created them, OK they might not understand why but does that matter?. They clearly have highly advanced technology so why don't they travel space and look for new similar intelligent life?. Why bother with the human race, of which many despised them anyway, treated them like crap.

This then leads onto the resurrection part of the story. I still can't quite work out why 'David's' mother would only live for one day when brought back. There is an explanation from the advanced Mecha's but I couldn't follow it. Again we then have all manner of plot issues...why his mother doesn't recall her husband or son when she wakes, she doesn't question why 'David' is there, she's disorientated but doesn't question anything. She doesn't seem to remember anything like the fact she was probably an old lady when she was last 'awake', and she doesn't ask to go outside! they stay inside the whole time. You could say the advanced Mecha fixed it so she wouldn't recall anything so not to jeopardize the situation, but when she wakes she acts as if nothing happened and its just a new day.

Where the plot really gets silly is the fact this is all possible simply because 'Teddy' kept some strands of cut hair from 'David's' mother about 2000 years prior. Where on earth did he keep these hairs? its not like he has pockets, and what's more...why did he keep the strands of hair??!!. On top of that, and again I'm no scientist, but surely you'd need the roots of human hair for the DNA, not just cut strands, no?.

Now there are a lot of whines in there but unfortunately there are a lot of plot issues in the film. I won't and can't say its a bad film, its a truly fantastic bit of sci-fi with some lovely design work and visuals, but there are problems along the way. First half is a decent sci-fi story similar to 'Bicentennial Man', second half is really a rehashed rip off of the classic 'Pinocchio' tale set in the future.

The film garnered a lot of interest due to the involvement of Kubrick and Spielberg admittedly but its still a wonderful bit of work. Part sci-fi but all fairytale in the end, the film slowly becomes more of a children's tale the deeper you go, the narration nails that home if you think about it. The very end is kinda tacked on and doesn't feel correct, true, you can see they had trouble ending the film and a weepy ending was required so they made one. But god damn it works *sniff*.

The final sequence of 'David' lying besides his motionless mother still brings a lump to my throat as I type this now. We then see 'Teddy' join them on the bed and just sit down to watch over them both, like a guardian. Does 'David' actually die here? does he voluntarily switch himself off somehow? again...what happens to 'Teddy'? I'm not sure. But as the score swells and the lights dim, you can't help but wipe away a tear.
April 15, 2013

Super Reviewer

Amazing, dazzing and criative, A.I. bring the darkness of the master Kubrick and the adventure and optimism by Spielberg, in this Sci-Fi terrific work.
July 29, 2012
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer

If you didn't already know: Stanley Kubrick had the rights to film this Brian Aldiss short story, but when he died, Steven Spielberg took the project over. The aesthetic bears a resemblance to Kubrick's 2001, and also, in the middle third, to Ridley Scott's Blade Runner, or Tron. Plot-wise, you could compare it to The Wizard of Oz, and of course, Pinocchio, as the overt references in the film tell us.

Having never seen Haley Joel Osment in anything other than Sixth Sense, I have to say, he impressed me. There was actually an arc in his performance as he became less robot and more human. The rest of the actors I could take or leave, all of them character or B-list types, save for the glittered Jude Law.

The premise worked, but the film alternated between abosolutely wondrous and just plain cheesy several times throughout, and often, while my jaw was dropping at the visuals, my brain was saying "Wait, why did he do that?" or "Get on with it!"

In the end, it's too long, but I think a lot of people/reviewers were a little too hard on it. I don't think I'd rewatch it, but I get why some people would. For me, I thought it was trying to be too many things at once - a perfect homage to Kubrick, if you think about it - and the Spielberg gloss only saved it sometimes. It's almost a masterpiece, but it just misses the mark.
March 25, 2012

Super Reviewer

    1. Professor Hobby: You are a real boy. At least as real as I've ever made one.
    – Submitted by Facebook U (13 months ago)
    1. David: Please make me a real boy?
    – Submitted by Facebook U (13 months ago)
    1. Monica Swinton: I can't accept this! There is no substitute for you own child!
    – Submitted by Facebook U (13 months ago)
    1. Gigolo Joe: They hate us, you know. The humans. They'll stop at nothing.
    – Submitted by Facebook U (13 months ago)
    1. Professor Hobby: The greatest single human gift - the ability to chase down our dreams.
    – Submitted by Facebook U (13 months ago)
    1. Gigolo Joe: I am.I was
    – Submitted by Facebook U (13 months ago)
View all quotes (12)

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