A.I.: Artificial Intelligence
Reviewed by: Carole McDonnell
Sci-Fi Fantasy Drama
2 hr. 25 min.
Year of Release:
June 29, 2001 (wide)
Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer
What about the issue of suffering? Doesn’t this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer
Does God feel our pain? Answer
The Origin of bad—How did bad things come about? Answer
What kind of world would you create? Answer
Life Before Birth (stories and articles with a pro-life perspective) Index
Why aren’t my prayers answered? Go
Am I good enough to go to Heaven? Go
What is the being of light encountered in near-death experiences? Answer
Suicide—What does the Bible say? Answer
What does the Bible say about intelligent life on other planets? Answer
Are we alone in the universe? Answer
Does Scripture refer to life in space? Answer
questions and answers about the origin of life
In today’s movies, characters routinely discard and shrug off people who love or need them. “A.I: Artificial Intelligence”, the Steven Spielberg film, will touch most people… all but the most adrenaline-addicted unfeeling moviegoer… because it shows us the pain and consequence of love.
When the film begins, we see Martin, the cryogenically frozen son of Monica and Henry. Because her son is in a state that is neither life nor death, Monica is unable to grieve. Meanwhile, in a Mecha (android) think tank, Professor Hobby (William Hurt in his usual cold performance) has shared his new plans with his colleagues: he wants to create a mechanical boy who can love. One of the professor’s colleague asks the question: “Can humans truly love an android?” The professor answers that God made Adam to be loved. But this, as any audience member knows, does not begin to delve into the murky waters of creating a loving child whose object of affection is mortal and has free will. Monica and her husband are chosen to be the parents of the mechanical boy, David. Initially upset, she comes to like David and makes a fateful decision that will begin to make David a living soul, much to the audience’s grief and sorrow.
Like Pinocchio, David ends up in the cold hard world. With Haley Joel Osment playing the character so wonderfully, David the Mecha becomes an object of care and love for the audience. He is not only a motherless child, but a rejected adopted child—even worse… his lack of normalcy makes him seem like a special child… someone who might be slightly autistic, deaf, or mentally retarded. This is a kid that will tear a woman’s heart apart. The audience’s worries for this child gets even worse when we discover what the real world is like. Apocalyptically speaking, the world is well on its way to hell or highwater. The Polar Caps melted and the human race—sinful and violent in its “ritual of blood and electricity”—has almost been destroyed by a flood of Biblical proportions. The only decent people left on earth are the androids—who with no free will—are loving and programmed to follow their prime directive. Even Gigolo Joe (Jude Law), David’s companion and polar (but obedient to his program) opposite. He is sensual and sexual, yet innocent and guiltless.
“A.I.” will remind the viewer of many films and stories, including “Blade Runner”, “Pilgrim’s Progress,” “The Wizard of Oz” and primarily “Pinnochio.” It’s a film that asks several moral question: “Would humans be better if God had programmed and without free will?” “Are we responsible to those who love us?” “Does someone’s love for us make us responsible to them? Especially if we caused someone to love us because we needed love at a particular time? And should we drop someone out of our lives simply because they are no longer needed?” These moral questions are asked in a sci-fi/fantasy film but they are questions most people face at one time or another.
David’s journey towards a “defined” kind of boyhood that only focuses on being loved by mommy is problematical because there are times when the viewer wants him to give up his dream. He is, however, a boy. Forever a boy-toy, he has no other purpose but to be worthy of his creator, whom he believes is his mother. His purpose is seemingly futile—Boy-toys last for only a season and are discarded when something better comes along. Yet his childlike persevering faith in the blue fairy is so strong and innocent and the world is so cruel, that the viewer hopes against hope for a “fairy-tale ending.” The innocent, we feel, should not suffer like this.
There are two scenes that suggest sexuality and some snide cracks against the Christian God and the Christian community. Gigolo Joe comments on humanity’s belief in their own Maker and their need to pray. His commentary on those who pray to their Maker is that he usually picks up some people who exit the chapel. Humans do not pray as deeply or as intensely to the Virgin Mary as a mechanical boy will pray to the Blue Fairy. Gigolo Joe scorns the human faith but readily believes in the faith of a mechanical boy. In addition, some destructive dogmatic types who “celebrate Life” seemed like the usual Hollywood knocks at the Right-To-Lifers and the Christian Right. Young children might be disturbed by the theme of a lost mother and by the sibling rivalry.
As usual, savior-aliens are ever helpful in Spielberg’s films. Although, I find myself increasingly more annoyed at these saving beings of light, I accepted their presence in this film because I wanted some kind of happy ending for David. The ending will cause many discussions as to what actually happened and is the ending “happy” or not. How are we to react to what appears to be the end of his suffering? Christians will be on both sides of that discussion. It is good, however, to see a film that challenges us to love those who love us. This is one of the most memorable, meaningful and touching films of the summer. Definitely a tear-jerker.