I watched AI (Artificial Intelligence - The Movie) on DVD yesterday. I missed it at the time for one reason or another. Mr. Bsag wasn't keen on seeing it, but as he's away this weekend, I thought I might as well indulge myself (by watching the film -- behave yourself!). I was pretty disappointed. I read Supertoys Last All Summer Long by Brian Aldiss years ago, and was entranced (and chilled) by the questions it raised. Of course, it's always a worry when a short story (a very short short story in this case) gets made into a two hour film.
I thought that some things in the film worked well. There was a reasonably good exploration of the ethics involved in making a robot which can feel and love -- if it thinks it's real, is it? Would it be morally acceptable to destroy such a robot if it out-stayed its welcome? Could we love such a being? After all, we love our pets, and we don't know for sure that they feel or love. Is it the non-organic bit that makes the difference? That aspect of the rather conflicted relationship between David and Monica was well done. I also enjoyed Gigolo Joe (played brilliantly by Jude Law) and the whole concept of sex robots (oh, that's going to get some misdirected Google searches). The 'Flesh Fair' was an interesting idea too, and a depressingly accurate idea of what would happen if robots became too life-like.
But Spielberg lost me with David's long, protracted search for the 'Blue Fairy' so that he could become a real boy, and the whole thing with the aliens. I think I wanted more robot red-light district, and less fairytales. It could have been a very complex story about difficult moral and philosopical questions, but it turned into a rather simple-minded children's story. The effects were pretty good, though I can't be the only one who found the sight of the World Trade Center towers half buried in ice in the flooded Manhattan.