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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
by Betty Jo Tucker

ANNOUNCER: Welcome back to Fantasy Network for today’s discussion of Steven Spielberg’s new film, A.I.: Artificial Intelligence.

Roger Ebert couldn’t be with us as originally scheduled. But we are fortunate to have in his place HAL, the computer from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Joining HAL, as promised, is the legendary Pinocchio. Please welcome them and our host, film critic B. J. Tucker from ReelTalk Incorporated.

TUCKER: It’s a pleasure to finally meet both of you, HAL and Pinocchio. I’m eager to hear your reactions concerning this unusual film. Pinocchio, isn’t A.I. just an updating of your famous fairy tale?

PINOCCHIO: Not at all.

TUCKER: Omigosh. What’s happening to your nose?

PINOCCHIO: No, not again! Well, okay. I guess you’re right. I admit there are similarities between that robot David and me. He also wanted to be a real boy. But he didn’t have to worry about his nose growing whenever he lied. And he didn’t have Jiminy Cricket to help him.

TUCKER: But the lover robot played so well by handsome Jude Law served the same purpose. Don’t you agree, HAL?

HAL: Affirmative. That computes. Joe the Gigolo tried to find the Blue Fairy for David and became his friend. Affirmative also for Pinocchio’s other comment. He is correct in stating David didn’t worry about lying. Robots cannot perform that human activity.

TUCKER: Still, David’s love for his mother seems quite human, especially when actor Haley Joel Osment looks adoringly at Frances O’Connor in their scenes together. Why couldn’t she love him back just as he was?

HAL: Machines can be programmed to love humans in A.I., but humans love only each other.

TUCKER: So the robots in A.I. appear more human than their creators? An intriguing thought --- one that smacks more of Stanley Kubrick than Steven Spielberg. Do you think Kubrick would be pleased by Spielberg’s treatment of his story?

HAL: Negative for some parts of it. When I worked with Kubrick on A Space Odyssey, he input facts regarding his disapproval of extreme sentimentality. Affirmative for first third of movie. The future of robotics and the responsibility of humans for their creations stand out as Kubrick elements.

TUCKER: I’m glad you mentioned those serious themes, HAL. But I wonder how the movie will go over with younger viewers. Pinocchio, because of your expertise on what appeals to children, I’d like to hear your opinion on whether or not A.I. qualifies as a family film, like Spielberg’s E.T.

PINOCCHIO: You know, a similar question came up regarding Walt Disney’s movie about me many years ago. Some people thought youngsters might be terrified when I got turned into a donkey or swallowed by a whale, but most of them knew it was make believe because we were all cartoon characters. However, in this case, A.I.’s Haley Joel Osment looks so real and convincing when sad things are happening to him! And those special effects, especially showing robots in various stages of destruction, could fool anyone. Some kiddies might find A.I. too disturbing.

TUCKER: But aren’t there many things about A.I. children would enjoy?

PINOCCHIO: Oh, yes. For example, when David tries to eat spinach and begins to break down, most kids will get a big laugh. And there’s a cute teddy bear "Super Toy" who walks and talks. They’ll all want one for Christmas! Also, some of the scenes reminded me of The Wizard of Oz, an all-time children’s favorite. The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced A.I. is the best film Spielberg ever made.

TUCKER: There goes your nose again! Back to you, HAL. What do you compute as the most important message in A.I.?

HAL: That being human involves making mistakes, loving sometimes without being loved back, searching for your dream, and accepting your mortality.

TUCKER: An excellent way to end our discussion, HAL. Although A. I. may not be Spielberg’s finest movie, it’s certainly one of his most thought-provoking efforts. Many thanks to you and Pinocchio for joining us today on "Fantasy Network."

(Released by Warner Bros./DreamWorks and rated "PG-13" for some sexual content and violent images.)




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