[MOVIE REVIEW]Spielberg's Latest Is Robotic

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[MOVIE REVIEW]Spielberg's Latest Is Robotic

"Stanley Kubrick was born to be a storyteller." So said Steven Spielberg, 54, himself considered one of the best directors and storytellers in the recent film history.

The late Kubrick (1928-1999) was known for dwelling upon the dark side of human instinct. Kubrick is regarded as a true "artist," unconcerned with his films' popularity. Spielberg seems to know the secret of box office success. "A.I.: Artificial Intelligence," to be released Friday in Korea, is likely to draw crowds partly because it is a collaboration of two master filmmakers. Kubrick hit on the idea of making a film about a robot capable of love 20 years ago, after reading the 1968 short story, "Supertoys Last All Summer Long," by Brian Aldiss. Though Kubrick bought the rights to the story in 1982, the project was plagued with problems. Kubrick died before the project got off the ground, but he had spoken in detail with Spielberg, a good friend, about directing the film.

"A.I." is a blend of drama, sci-fi and adventure. David (Haley Joel Osment), a robot with emotions, is adopted by Henry (Sam Robards) and Monica (Frances O'Connor), whose "real" son, Martin is in a coma. Spielberg deftly depicts David's growing attachment to his human family. When Martin is revived, however, David is cast aside.

In the film's distinct second part, Spielberg shows his gift for science fiction and fantasy. Spectacular scenes of robots, or "mechas," abound in the Flesh Fair, where anti-robot humans or "orgas" are intent on destroying robots. The scenes are deliberately reminiscent of the dystopia in Kubrick's classic "A Clockwork Orange" (1971). The third part depicts David on a journey to find the Blue Fairy, who he believes is equipped to make him a real boy.

In 144 minutes, Spielberg draws his audience fully into the film, but he sometimes seems to be unnecessarily prescriptive. He harps on his message - that robots (or any sort of artificial intelligence) will clash with humans in the future - and does not let the story speak for itself. The characters discuss the relationship between robots and humans, and it is too long and too predictable. This is why "A.I.," from two great masters, cannot be a masterpiece. Pity for the robots is too manufactured, and thus the film is not as touching as Spielberg's "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial" (1982) nor as philosophic as Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey" (1968).

by Chun Su-jin

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