A.I.: Artificial Intelligence (2001) was the last project that filmmaker Stanley Kubrick worked on.
Kubrick had long planned to film A.I. but had been putting it off until he was confident that the effects could be handled convincingly, all the while working on the script in close cooperation with Steven Spielberg. After many years of exchanging ideas about the project Kubrick became convinced that this film needed Spielberg's 'different kind of sensitivity' and urged him to direct the film. Spielberg finally accepted, using Kubrick's storyboard, and writing the script himself.
Kubrick died before the film shooting started.
It was adapted by Kubrick, Ian Watson and Spielberg from the short story Supertoys Last All Summer Long by Brian Aldiss.
- Haley Joel Osment as David, a young Mecha
- Jude Law as Gigolo Joe, David's companion and also a Mecha
- Frances O'Connor as Monica Swinton
- Brendan Gleeson as Lord Johnson-Johnson
- Sam Robards as Henry Swinton, David's adopted father
- William Hurt as Professor Allen Hobby, David's creator
- Jake Thomas as Martin Swinton
It was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Effects, Visual Effects and Best Music, Original Score.
The film is set in the 22nd century, when an ecological disaster has resulted in a drastic reduction of the land area of the earth and also of the human population.
These problems have been successfully addressed by technology. Robots with very high levels of artificial intelligence (called mechas) have become commonplace but have been granted no civil rights and must submit to government registration or else be destroyed. While mechas have a level of intelligence comparable to that of humans, they seem to lack emotion. They are also able to simulate certain body functions, such as sexual intercourse, but not others, such as eating or sleeping.
George and Monica Swinton are a married couple whose son is extremely sick and near death. In hopes of cheering up his wife, George agrees to his company's offer to let him bring home and test a prototype of an extremely advanced humanoid mecha that looks like a boy about the age of their hospitalized son, and which is supposed to be capable of feeling love. The mecha's name is David, and although Monica is initially frightened of the android, she eventually warms to him after activating his experimental imprinting technology, which makes the mecha feel love for her as a child loves a parent.
The couple's son eventually recovers from his disease and returns from the hospital. This prompts a sibling rivalry between the mecha David and the Swintons' real son, who delights in taunting David, chiefly by telling him that Monica will never love him because he isn't "real". After David nearly drowns the Swintons' son in an accident, Monica sets out to return him to the manufacturer. But fearing that David will be dismantled, she instead releases him into the forest of rural New Jersey to live as an unregistered robot. David is soon captured and nearly destroyed by a group of religious anti-robot activists. He narrowly escapes with the help of Gigolo Joe, a male prostitute mecha, who is on the run after being framed for the murder of one of his tricks.
The two become friends and set out to find the Blue Fairy, who David remembers from the fairy tale "Pinocchio" as a being who has the power to turn him into a real boy. If he becomes a real boy, he imagines that Monica will love him and take him back. With the assistance of some sympathetic frat boys on a road trip, Joe and David make their way to the sin city of Rouge (perhaps a 22nd century Philadelphia), in search of the knowledge that will lead them to the Blue Fairy.
A riddle game with a cybernetic guru eventually leads David, with Joe in tow, to his manufacturers' offices, in the top of a building in the flooded ruins of Manhattan. There, he sees that he is not unique and his manufacturers have created dozens of copies of him. This fact seems to disturb him, and, disheartened, he jumps from the office into the ocean.
David is fished from the ocean by Joe in a stolen amphibicopter (amphibious helicopter), but before he is pulled up he sees the Blue Fairy on the bottom of the ocean. After Joe is seized by the police, David flies the amphibicopter back under the water, where it's revealed that what he saw was a statue of the Blue Fairy in the submerged ruins of Coney Island. Naively believing it to be the real Blue Fairy, he makes his wish to be turned into a real boy and waits for the wish to come true. David waits for many years, sitting in the amphibicopter on the bottom of the ocean and staring at the Blue Fairy statue.
In one of the longest time jumps in movie history, the action skips to two thousand years later. Manhattan is buried under several hundred feet of glaciers and the human species is extinct. A race of advanced androids (evolved from the human-created mechas of David's time) conducting an archaeological excavation discover David and reactivate him. He is deeply upset to be permanently separated from Monica, and eventually the androids offer to revive her, a la Jurassic Park, from a single strand of her hair, although if they do so she will only live for one day and she can never be revived again. David eagerly accepts the offer, and spends one long day alone with Monica, basking in her love. The film ends when Monica and David lie down at the end of the day, to go to sleep.
The movie had an unusual publicity campaign consisting of a "game" involving approximately 30 interlinked websites. The websites purported to be sites for a number of organisations (universities, businesses, and personal home pages) set in the fictional world of the movie in the 22nd century. Hints to the websites' existence were contained in posters, trailers and other movie publicity materials. This type of game is known as an Alternate Reality Game.
By studying the information on the sites, a story set in the world of the movie involving the murder of one Evan Chan became apparent. Solving various puzzles and hints, some involving email, physical meetings in New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago, telephone calls and telephone answering services, allowed the unlocking of more websites which gradually revealed the story of whodunnit and why.
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