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Alexandra DuPont is not all that impressed with the IQ of Spielberg's AI

Well, it appears AI hit Ms DuPont exactly the same way it struck Father Geek. What was it I said in that mini review a few days ago? Oh yeah, "Beautiful, but somehow empty; Awesome, but not awe inspiring." Anyway here's Alexandra's well spoken comments...

I sort of wish I could write this as a personal memo to Mr. Spielberg, truth be told -- and that I could direct the Beard to Professor Moriarty's excellent (albeit spoiler-binging) demolition of the film. The Prof, you see, really gets at the heart of what's wrong with the movie, despite his logorrhea.

Putting it briefly, "A.I." -- while visually stunning and boasting no small amount of ambition and clever acting -- is, alas, a noble failure. Precisely one person applauded at the film's conclusion in my packed preview audience, and at least one person laughed at the applauder for doing so. I'll declare the movie a noble failure for precisely two reasons:

(1) "A.I." is ponderous, but unlike a Kubrick film, it is ultimately ponderous in the service of CHEAP SENTIMENT -- a deadly admixture.

(2) "A.I." does not trust its audience, and feels the need to spell its points out when they'd be best left enigmatic.

I'm not going to go too deeply into the three-act story, spoiled to death elsewhere already. Suffice to say, the movie takes an Oedipally obsessed robot boy and his plucky Teddy Ruxpin from (1) domestic tragedy to (2) "Blade Runner"/"Mad Max" Lite to (3) "Close Encounters" (only with insultingly explicit narration) over a leisurely two-and-a-half hours.

I'm also going to say right up front that the movie packs a few absolutely smokin' moments, performances and imagery. Jude Law, for example, is terrific -- reacting to any and all surroundings with the small set of flamboyant mannerisms allotted to him by his pimp programming (which means he does such off-kilter things as dance a soft-shoe in a muddy wood). In fact, all the robots interact with each other within the limits of their programming-set agendas, making for an odd set of protagonists and social dynamics; the resulting effect is a bit like watching a movie starring highly functional mentally-challenged adults, each with a different goal.

"Props" also to Haley Joel Osment (esp. the stunning moment when he begins to "feel," plus another moment as he clambers awkwardly through the ice after a long shutdown); the Kube-channeled visuals, which are stunning again and again and again, really; the sibling rivalry between Osment and his rascally flesh-and-blood "brother"; the effects, particularly those involving robots and the destruction thereof; a gleefully weird denouement for Jude Law; and the antics of the toy "Teddy," who sounds like a Speak and Spell trying to channel an NPR newscaster.

But.

This is important: All those impressive elements just sort of don't hang together. Seriously. Yes, Spielberg takes up Kubrick's languid pacing and slight iciness toward his characters, but Spielberg also (a) milks the sap -- I counted at least three too many shots of robots crying, a cheesy staple of far too many robots-yearning-to-be-human morality plays already -- and (b) doesn't trust the audience to sort out the narrative curveballs he throws at the end, and so chooses to smother them with Ben Kingsley narration that overexplains -- and thus explains away -- any magic to be had.

So. What we've got here is an undeniably talented craftsman stylistically aping one of the 20th century's greatest filmmakers with uncanny precision -- only he fails to trust the story he's telling. The result is a bit maddening, because "A.I." is packed with irony and ideas and images but it's also slow, disengaging, corny and saddled with more than a few logic flaws and bits of narrative silliness.

I predict everyone will see the movie exactly once. But what do I know? Here's what my pal Alina DeVries (my date at last night's preview and perhaps not coincidentally sitting by me at yon word-processor this morning) would like to add per my request. I have included some bracketed additional commentary:

1) "A.I." is NOT a Stanley Kubrick film. "A.I." is a Steven Spielberg film.

2) John Williams' score seems a hodgepodge of some of his (and other people's) better ideas. Still it's not as cloying as it could be, and disappears into the background quite well. [Loving JW's heroic, bolder scores, I personally found this one a bit dull -- "Empire of the Sun" leeched of some vital essence. -- A.DuP.]

3) Haley Joan [Joan? --A.DuP.] Osment is awesome in this movie. What Agee said about Shirley Temple might apply here as well: Is this guy a midget?

4) What Kubrick is great at (leaving you with something to question for days after the movie is over) is what Spielberg is quite probably the worst at. To paraphrase Kael, Spielberg is great the way a good Big Mac is great -- even when he does something like "Schindler's List." Has any Spielberg movie had anything that would count as a subtext intentionally? Though Spielberg tries his best, there is nothing here that makes you question the world at large the way Kubrick's films do.

5) Jude Law plays Gigolo Joe, a robot that plays Fred Astaire music and is essentially a human vibrator who gets caught up in a badly staged murder mystery. He has nothing to do in the film. Enough said.

6) Robin Williams and Chris Rock have vocal cameos, and Ministry plays a concert called "Flesh Fair". Staged rock and roll in movies always sucks -- as do noticeable cameos by stars more than halfway through a non-comedy. No exception here.

7) Kubrick probably would not have personified the robot as Spielberg does, and the robot's quest is supposed to be the center of the film, but one never senses Spielberg's possible discomfort with the idea of a robot's love or what it means for humans to create robots that love. It reminds one of the "standing on the shoulders of giants" line from "Jurassic Park." But this is never addressed and never becomes the crux of the film.

8) It is 140-plus minutes long, and there are at least three discernible points where the audience was questioning if the film was done yet or not.

9) It's an incoherent film, but it makes an interesting transition point for Spielberg. To what?

10) All these complaints lodged and it's still the best film I've seen this summer, and has people using multisyllabic words, yet suffers the same lack of depth as everything else that has come out.

Sigh. Back to you,

Alexandra DuPont.

dupont@dvdjournal.com

Readers Talkback
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  • June 27, 2001, 11:42 p.m. CST

    I no longer have any desire to see this movie

    by Regis Travolta

    I have seen all the different versions of the TV commercials, several different trailers, and now having read five reviews of it I feel as if I've already seen it and been let down by it. And so I will most likely wait til it's on video then I will rent it for $2.50 so I can watch it at my leisure and deny Steverino the $7.50 the rest of you will spend to see this apparently cliched and shmaltzy motion picture. Or I could just sneak into it and give my $7.50 to another movie that needs it. Decisions, decisions...

  • June 27, 2001, 11:51 p.m. CST

    hmmm

    by NateWave

    I'm not sure how I am going to react to this film. It is a bit like mixing ice cream and mushrooms. I love ice cream and I love mushrooms, but mixed together, I don't think they would turn out so good. I think when you add Spielberg and Kubrick together, you get an overflow of genius. Their brilliance cancels each other's out. I put the feeling I am getting about this movie into words, but I think you can figure out what I mean. But then agai, I'm an engineering student, so what do I know about art? nate

  • June 27, 2001, 11:58 p.m. CST

    AI

    by xpurgation

    As a true Kubricktologist that is no longer on the short list of beautiful people - I have not been graced with the honor of attending a pre-screening. Oh well - I will just have to wait until after the film opens to toss in my 9.5 cents worth.

  • June 28, 2001, 12:06 a.m. CST

    Saw it last night. (WARNING: here there be spoilers.)

    by vroom socko

    My problem with A.I. is simple: nothing fit together. For example; Teddy was a cool character. I'd pay money to see a movie about Teddy. Exept for one detail, he was pointless in this movie. Jude Law as Joe rocked the house. He was a cool character. I'd pay to see a movie about Gigolo Joe. Exept for one detail, he was pointless in this movie. You get the idea. Also, the ending was so wrong on so many levels. The last 15-20 minutes treated the audience like they were first graders. We had the Blue Fairy explain the end to us, then the Alien/Mecha/Mutant explained the end to us, then Ben Kingsly, with the worst narration I've ever heard, explained it to us. When Teddy pulled out the lock of hair at the end, the audience damn near busted a gut. ****** Now, here is how the movie might have been better. Spielburg should have thrown us a curve ball. With all the talk about Pinnochio, actually make the story an adaptation of The Little Prince. Much of the groundwork for that story is in the movie, the search for purpous and identity. The understanding of what makes individuals unique. The acceptance of death's reality. I loved it when David dived into the ocean. That would have been a killer ending. Have the William Hurt character come to terms with his son's death throught that. Instead, we get two thousand years trapped in ice. Fuck that. Anyway, you don't have to take my word for it, see it for yourself if you want.

  • June 28, 2001, 12:28 a.m. CST

    Can't remember who made the comment

    by otis von zipper

    Whether it was Alexandra or her friend, but the comment about Spielberg and lack of subtext really hits it on the head for me. Does he not trust his viewers to grasp something below the surface, or is he a shallow filmmaker? This film still interests me, but it is sounding like typical Spielberg; decent but with major shortcomings.

  • June 28, 2001, 12:41 a.m. CST

    AICN will NOT ruin another movie for me....

    by Bannlust

    Tomb Raider, Pearl Harbor, Rollerball ... the list goes on and on. So I have decided, that I will never ever read ANY review of ANY film posted on Mr. Knowles Site. BL out.

  • June 28, 2001, 1:02 a.m. CST

    "Game over man, game over! What the f*** are we supposed to do n

    by Kyle.Reese

    Will we ever see a good film from Hollywood again? AI was meant to be good, actually it was meant to be perfect. Now what do we have left? Planet of the Apes. Pleeeease Burton make this an unforgettably good film. We're all counting on you now, and we deserve something special after the garbage we've suffered.

  • June 28, 2001, 1:47 a.m. CST

    AICN - Growing Pains

    by Mark

    These are a few things that have been bugging me lately about this site and movies in general these days: I have stopped reading pre-release news about movies that I plan on actually seeing (POTA, Matrix 2). Obsessively reading stuff like this either raises your expectations about a movie or sets you up for a disappointment. I always have to laugh at fanboys like Moriarty, who actually believe themselves to be qualified to second-guess people like Spielberg, who has proven time and time again to be a masterful, visonary storyteller. These fanboys build their expectations up so impossibly high that anything is going to be a letdown. Who should I believe about AI - Spielberg or a geek fanboy wanna-be film student? The problem with reading pre-shooting scripts is that you get to see what a movie *might* have had in it, and of course budget constraints always chop out the cool stuff. So the fanboy is profoundly disappointed about scenes that the average film goer has no idea ever existed. And I would like to call into question AICN's wanna-be "indie" status. When Harry is flown all over the world to visit film sets he is clearly being schmoozed and therefore automatically loses his cred. Of course, an exception would be his Rollerball review, but I blame the shoddy action sequences on the current Hollywood trend of editing action scenes - 3 frames of this, 4 frames of that, 2 frames of WHITE, 3 frames of the other thing, 4 frames of the next thing, 2 more frames of WHITE, etc. It's a nauseating experience and I can no longer watch most action sequences these days without becoming violently motion sick. I couldn't watch most of Tomb Raider because the editing was so poor. The quick-cut editing style that is currently destroying every movie Hollywood makes reminds me of the old "blipverts" from the Max Headroom show. They pack the imagery in, but nothing registers and it's all wasted. Frankly, if AI has properly dramatic pacing and the editing isn't spazzmo-inducing, I will see it.

  • June 28, 2001, 2:35 a.m. CST

    Maybe it will work, maybe it won't...

    by Lobanhaki

    Kubrick always intended for Spielberg to do this film. That says a lot. What also says a lot is Kubrick's last two films I mean, they weren't entirely traditional, or what the audience thought they were going to be. Try and watch Full Metal Jacket without being puzzled by it's abrupt ending, and it's drastic shift in tone. Try and watch Eyes Wide Shut without being very attentive, and you may miss or have missed the point the movie was trying to make, in spite of its marketing. -------------------------------------------------------------------- AI was not meant to be a straightforward movie. It wasn't meant to be the sort of film where if you just laid back and let the movie go by, that you would understand it. -------------------------------------------------------------------- What's even worse is the accusation that this film is empty, hollow. It might seem that way, but the likelihood is, it was never intended to be such, and the emotion, heart, and soul of the film is most likely there, just not in gushing overflowing amounts.

  • I now know after Morairty and Ms. Dupont's observations that this is not really a Kubrick film, but a Speilberg film, and that one may do well to view it solely as such. Kub could be a taskmaster, but for well-founded reasons. Speilberg has a lot of other pots on the fire right now, and that couldn't have but helped to divert his attention, gifts, and (I suspect already) focus away from this film. I have wanted this Badly for a while to be a masterful meeting of the minds, but that is the Utopia not the harsh reality. I hope my overall feeing for this one falls somewhere in between. This one may be bandied about with "ifs, ands, and buts" by film geeks for years (at least those who still respect Speilberg as a filmmaker and not as a large cog in the Hollywood machine). Ok, enough conjecture for now, time to either wager on this or "shut-down-my-brain-and-enjoy" TF&TF.--------> ;)

  • June 28, 2001, 4:22 a.m. CST

    I love these people who rip on Spielberg, as if they amounted to

    by Indiana Jones

    It suddenly seems in vogue for people to bash Spielberg's skills as a director. Show me one of your fucking films, and we'll compare your skills to his!

  • Saw AI last night in Toronto - I was loving it until the ending - which I too will not go into - except to say that my friend and I both wondered what Basil Exposition (from Austin Powers) was doing there - see, the ending, which at first looks like it is going to be evocative and creepy, instead becomes talky - not to mention that it neatly wraps up the story through an explanation that does not have anything to do with the rest of the film. It seemed like SPielberg, in a drunken stupor, turned to the craft services guy and said "Aw, fuck it, I'm sick of this - you finish it" and then promptly disappeared to Burma (you may know it as Myanmar).

  • June 28, 2001, 4:35 a.m. CST

    Did Ms DuPont just "out" herself?

    by Some Dude

    I've read her intelligent writings with great eagerness in the past and this seems to be the first allusion to any romantic life, gay or straight. If I am not reading too much into this, congratulations and I hope you had fun this past Pride weekend.

  • June 28, 2001, 4:41 a.m. CST

    Spielberg bashing

    by Antifanboy

    It may be en vogue to bash Spielberg, but isn't it en vogue to bash everybody who is successful, especially when you're an envious little fanboy who wants to direct? Anyway, I'm not a sheep, and don't follow that trend. I thought Saving Private Ryan and The Lost World were poor, but Schindler's List and Jaws were great. If this film is more Spielberg than Kubrick - excellent! Kubrick is massively overrated. I liked his early stuff (Spartacus and Paths of Glory) which were intelligent without being cerebral to the point of being literary, unlike the utterly dire 2001. 2001 is effected by Emperor's New Clothes Syndrome; a load of sheep prattle on about its brilliance simply because they see others waxing lyrical about it. It was overlong, pretentious, mawdling and boring. I hope AI hasn't suffered because of Kubrick's involvement.

  • June 28, 2001, 4:45 a.m. CST

    Criteria for critiquing film-makers...

    by Some Dude

    To the fools who dismiss any and all criticism of their favorite directors (in this case, Mr. Spielberg): why must one be of the same calibre as the director to raise any questions or make comments on his/her work? If we follow that logic, then no one should ever criticize the President, because how many of us have ever run a country? How dare one complain about a ballplayer's recent performance, as it is doubtful many of us could hit one out of the park. See where I'm going with this? If we are qualified enough to spend money and time on their work, then it is safe to say that we have the right to criticize it. Of course, as with all rules, there is one exception: Paul Verhoeven. As he is god, all his films are perfect.

  • June 28, 2001, 4:47 a.m. CST

    Discouraging signs, but I'm still going.

    by rabid_republican

    After Ms. Du Pont's review, as well as her "date's" (indeed we shall ponder sucha narrative), I can say my hopes have dimmed even further, regarding A.I. I'm still intent on seeing the film, although my expectations have ebbed to their lowest point. This I can deal with. There is one thing bugging me, however: Those who naysay Moriarty and Ms. Du Pont, without accepting the notion that their opinions are for fans, but more mature that most. I sincerely doubt the majority of fans are "wannabe film makers", but that doesn't make them numb to what's visually pleasing.++++++++++++Talkbackers are constantly naysaying "geeks" simply because we expect better, from people who continue to try and gamble in entertaining us (Yes, I mean Spielberg as well as Kubrick.). I for one, don't think this makes us embittered.+++++++++++++True embittered people don't give films a chance--heck, embittered people, some of whom have posted here, won't even see A.I. because of the reviews! Once again, as correctly observed in the reviews above, A.I. has us engaged in a conversation on level most fanboys (even the most self-loathing to be sure) seldom see. For that alone, I'm willing to plunk down my $5.00 matinee price to see what all the fuss is about.

  • June 28, 2001, 5:08 a.m. CST

    I liked it quite a bit...

    by agentcooper

    ...And here's why: It is a bold, different movie. Alexandra is correct in that the film is made up of three very distinct acts (Spielberg even fades to black between each one to make the point). The first act is the saddest movie I've ever seen. The second is a dark, dark adventure; a quest for the impossible. The third act is a science fiction fairy tale. The film is not afraid to make each section vary wildly in style, and tone. Haley Joel is really remarkable in this role. He holds the whole film together. He does some subtle work that is simply heartbreaking...Okay, now the audience that I watched the film with on Monday seemed to be split about half and half. I think that this will be the general public reaction, as well. Spielberg has made a film that is not for everybody. It is, at times, cold and odd. To me, Monica (Mommy) did not deserve David's love and adulation. The ending act is jarring because it is so "science-fiction-y" after the just-beyond-the-horizon vision of the future he presents in the first two acts. But the movie sticks with you. I saw it three days ago and I am still thinking about it. It makes you think. Questions posed by the film A.I.: a) If God exists, did he create us as playthings, never intending to love us and take care of us? b) If we continue to play God, ruining the planet, creating new technologies that we cannot control, what will be our legacy, as humans? c) Is one form of existence more valid than another? Am I a more important part of the Universe than my dog, a bird, a self-aware machine, because I am human? Is it the best movie Spielberg has ever made? No, that would be Jaws. Is it the best movie of the Summer? Judging from what I have seen so far, probably. Will those involved in the production be taking home little naked golden men next March? If Haley Joel Osmet doesn't need to clear some space next to his Little League trophies, it'll be a crime.

  • June 28, 2001, 5:12 a.m. CST

    Harry Potter Trailer...

    by agentcooper

    ...Oh, one more thing: No one has mentioned the Harry Potter trailer that is attached to A.I. I was blown away. To make an instant classic, all Chris Columbus had to do was FILM THE BOOK. It looks like he did exactly that. I don't like to set expectations too high, but this one looks like a winner.

  • June 28, 2001, 5:25 a.m. CST

    Go see A.I. despite what you hear

    by TerryToon

    I saw A.I. the other night, and have since been reading all the reviews. My personal reaction to the film was: Visually amazing - but emotionally cold. The film is haunting. I have been thinking about some of the scenes and images ever since I saw it. My first reaction was that Spielberg blew it because, unlike Pinocchio, we (the audience) never could care if David became a real boy. He's a robot. Why should the audience care about thos "robot"? Many reviewers don't care for the third act - 2000 years in the future, a post script. After a few days, thinking about the film on the whole, I realize how important this third act is to the film. David represents mankind's child. A "living" time capsule who embodies the human desire to love and want to be loved. If given the choice to live forever without love or to live for only 24 hours with the chance to spend it with love, we humans choose love. This may sound "deep", or "stupid", but that's what this film is about. A.I. is the work of a smart, talented pair of artists (Spielberg and Kubrick). I intend to see it again. It may not be Spielberg's best film, it may not be "genius". But there is a larger meaning to the allegory or parable presented on screen.

  • June 28, 2001, 6:18 a.m. CST

    I can't wait to see this film

    by virkku

    The film will probably be something between good and very good to me. I don't expect a masterpiece, but a flawed film with some great moments and some disappointing moments. The thing that troubles me most is how the film apparently has lot's of voice overs explaining the audience what is happening in front of their eyes and what they should think about it. That's always sloppy screenwriting and can ruin even an otherwise great scene. Voiceovers are rarely used well in movies. But the this film fascnitates me and I can't wait for the autumn when it arrives to Finland.

  • June 28, 2001, 6:27 a.m. CST

    agentcooper's questions

    by The Pardoner

    If this is all that Spielberg has in this movie, if this is what the movie can be reduced to under the slightest heat, then it's worse than I ever could have hoped. --- Question A is ludicrous; read some Kant. Even if I affirm your immensely silly conditional, the answer (from the Judeo-Christian perspective, which I assume is yours by birth or by association) is Yes. Read a decent translation of Genesis some time (I'd suggest Rosenberg), and you'll see why. Question B is devoid of significance. The question of legacies is one of the dying obsessed with the dead. Question C is just funny. Only the most emotionally warped masochist would even begin to argue that another entity is more important than they are. The purpose of that which lives is to go on living, and to propegate, which is conditional upon the continuance of life up to (and in some cases past) the age of sexual maturity. Assuming an order of priority in nature is tantamount to asking why lambs don't just file orderly into the jaws of wolves. --- I will see this movie, if only to heckle, but not during its opening weekend. If all goes well, AI will not have a stellar opening, and simply fade into the slurry of cultural mediocrity whence it was drawn. If it gets a big openign weekend, the $ signs may draw out enough cretins to make it a "success" in the eyes of far too many.

  • June 28, 2001, 6:35 a.m. CST

    agentcooper's questions

    by agentcooper

    Pardoner, thanks for providing all the answers. Now I don't have to ponder them myself.

  • June 28, 2001, 7:02 a.m. CST

    It's gonna be one of those movies.....

    by XTheCrovvX

    Movies like this split audiences right down the middle....it deserves respect from all on just being able to ellicit that kind of reaction, and discussion on all fronts...but that's cool....the last time i heard a number of reviews EQUALLY hating and loving a movie was Dancer in the Dark....i just think, theres no true way to judge this thing until you see it...fortunately, the theater i intend to see this at has $5.75 matinees until 6 pm, so i will be taking the last show before then.....but something on this site seems to bug me....while on other places around the net, the split is more obvious, all I see on AICN is negative reviews, or at least, mixed, negatives, thinly veiled under praise...so, who's accepting the negatives only? kinda makes you wonder....but, of course, we're all wondering...where's Harry's review? What does Mr. Head Geek have to say about this? Not like that's gonna stop ANYBODY from piling in to see this thing...and if nothing else, you gotta give Spielberg credit...he does have the people talking..Revolution is my name...

  • June 28, 2001, 7:04 a.m. CST

    You really are a twit...

    by The Pardoner

    I provided one answer, the soundness of which was conditional upon your further adventures in the printed word. None of your three questions was deserving of an answer, nor even of being asked, except as a demonstration of your own feebly sentimental ponderings, and of Spielberg's. --- Radix malorum est cupiditas.

  • June 28, 2001, 7:14 a.m. CST

    I haven't posted for months and now I'm in a flame war?

    by agentcooper

    Pardoner: These were the questions the film made me ask myself. I appreciate you taking it upon yourself to recommend some light summer reading for me, however, I am not really interested in what Kant and Rosenberg have to say at the moment. I am looking inward for the answers to these questions. I did not mean to insult your lofty intelligence with my simple mental ponderings, I merely wished to share my reactions to a film I quite liked. A film that, in your wisdom, you have chosen to bash before viewing.

  • June 28, 2001, 7:39 a.m. CST

    Hmm

    by scudd

    Frankly, I see Dupont as a self involved snob and for some reason I cant shake the mental image of her sitting over her keyboard, thesaurus in hand, trying to fit as many "college" words in there as possible. I am not saying she should be dminished to the "rocks or sucks" critique, but stop this high horse bullshit. I actually skipped her "review" and came straight to the talkbacks. I don't think I have agreed with her on one film yet. Want to see a real review? Go check out one from Nick or Smilin Jack Ruby over at CHUD. They just give it to you. 1. 2. 3.

  • June 28, 2001, 7:56 a.m. CST

    Indominable Spirit...

    by We're Not Roamin

    Hey wasn't this ghost-directed by Famous Mortimer? Wasn't Bodave Odencross originally cast as Gigolo Joe, (Changed from Shit-Stain Jane to get a PG-13 rating)?

  • June 28, 2001, 8:02 a.m. CST

    A,DuP. appends with a super-spoilerific discussion of the ending

    by Alexandra.DuPont

    I've read a few of the Talk Backs where people argue we're not enjoying the film because we don't "get" it -- but that's not the problem. The PROBLEM is that Spielberg tries to spell everything out for you when you SHOULDN'T explicitly "get it" -- and as a result he creates some major logic flaws and silly-ass narrative. ***** Want an example of a logic flaw? It's a major spoiler. Still reading? Okay: There's this climactic reunion -- thanks to the magic of cloning -- of human and "mecha" characters at an unspecified point in the film. But we're told (not shown) that, for the sake of bittersweet thematic convenience, the clone(s) only have a shelf life of one day. Now, there are a number of promising, dare-I-say Kubrickian themes that could be explored here -- most notably the irony of a robot stuck with an unaging clone who must be recycled daily, with all its memories reset daily a la "Groundhog Day," in effect reversing the whole robot/human dynamic so that the HUMAN is unchanging and the robot acts as weary custodian. Right? Right? Well, instead I ask you to imagine the LEAST interesting exploration of this device -- a one-time-only reunion filled with tears and mawkish music, drowning in expository narration, that lends itself to a treacly denouement -- and you've got a pretty good idea of the least-common-denominator choices that Spielberg makes a few too many times during the course of "A.I." Given all the marvelous moments he's also juggling in the film, it's a waste and a real damned shame. ***** Oh, and thanks for all your comments -- especially the mean ones. Believe it or not, I LOVE hate mail.

  • June 28, 2001, 8:20 a.m. CST

    Maybe Spielberg has pulled off the ULTIMATE Kubrick tribute. . .

    by Hardyboy

    Starting with "2001," every single Kubrick film received violently mixed reviews, and some were even dismissed as outright failures. It's only been with the passing of time that people were able to stand back and say, "Wait a minute. . .that movie was a real classic!" So maybe Spielberg has managed to pull a real Kubrick and completely polarize the critics and audiences about "A.I." Who knows what we'll say about it in ten years? ***Oh, and I honestly don't care who's dating who at AICN.

  • June 28, 2001, 8:26 a.m. CST

    Response to A.DuP's response...

    by agentcooper

    ...Alexandra, wasn't the contrivance that a human could be cloned for one day only, never to be cloned again? I believe that this was the case. The alien/evolved machine tells David that everyone's essense is out there in the universe somewhere, but if they are brought back, that essense disappears. It is as if, after the one day they are "brought back" they never existed at all. Doesn't then make David even more "human" at the end when he decides that, for his own selfish love, he must be with his mommy, if only for a day? That even if it means Monica's place in the universe will now be empty, his need to see her again and have her love him overrides this? I don't know, I'm still questioning the film...By the way, you are the best writer on the site. Put as many "college" words in as you like. This joint could use a little class.

  • June 28, 2001, 8:31 a.m. CST

    Yawn.

    by The Pardoner

    At least have the decency to deliberately misrepresent with flair. I assaulted NEITHER you NOR the movie: however, whichever one of you is responsible for those laughable questions ought to and will be mocked at. When I've seen the movie, I'll know. --- People who "look inward" very rarely see their own bowels - why is that? Introspection and individuation are very handy excuses for weak interpretations and weak interpreters.

  • June 28, 2001, 9:09 a.m. CST

    Final response to Pardoner...

    by agentcooper

    You think I'm not as smart as you. I get it. Let's move on.

  • June 28, 2001, 9:16 a.m. CST

    The Day Spielberg Died.

    by Psalmolive

    I promised myself that I wouldn't read any reviews of A.I., mostly because I wanted to be surprised. I know that the reviewers on this site are completely unable to write a spoiler free review of any film they view. I don't blame them for their amateurish reviews, I blame myself for reading them. Like many children growing up in the 80's, Spielberg enchanted the young mind, creating visceral experiences just for them. I respect Spielberg for his imagination, and making my childhood moviegoing enjoyable. As I got older I became more aware of the business practices of Hollywood. There is nothing wrong with making the most money possible in a capitalistic society, but there is definitely something wrong with exploiting people. Steven Spielberg made "Schindler's List" and despite its box office success and Academy Award winnings, Spielberg has still yet to give any money to Oscar Schindler's widow, who is living in poverty in Argentina. I know that you should be able to separate the man from his art, but unfortunately in this case it is very difficult. I have never been able to see another Spielberg film with the same enthusiasm as I did before. He appears to be more of a calculating and uncaring businessman who doesn't put his craft before the bottomline figure. It is unfortunate when an artist's life encroaches upon his/her art. I have some definite issues with seeing A.I. because of this. I will be contributing to the Spielberg empire. The only reason I will go to see it is because I am a fan of Kubrick. To see his career almost bookended by movies with machines who have human-like cognitive processes and emotions (2001, A.I.) and with Stan Winston discarding all of Chris Cunningham's original robots (he worked with Kubrick for two years designing and building the robots for A.I) I want to see if he will receive any credit. With the nepotism that exists within Hollywood, it is of no surprise that Spielberg gave the job to Winston. The only reasons I am going is for those two: Kubrick and Cunningham. But the unsettling feeling will not come from A.I. , but from my conscience. Psalmolive

  • June 28, 2001, 9:27 a.m. CST

    Oscars

    by Neosamurai85

    I have a very good feeling that this just might be the year a foreign film wins Best Film. Look at the pattern from over the last two years. Life is Beautiful, Best actor among other things. Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, four more academy awards! These films are rising up and Hollywood

  • June 28, 2001, 10:30 a.m. CST

    Enough with this story about Schindler's widow "living in povert

    by Bill Carson

    It was true before the film came out, but since then she has received money from B'nai B'rith as well as both the Argentine and German governments. She also received a house as a gift. So let's not perpetuate this myth and the attendant suggestion that Spielberg exploited Emilie Schindler. Mrs. Schindler has been duly compensated, and until any of you yobs manage to contribute more to the world than the Righteous Persons, the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History, and the Starbright Foundations, let's shut the fuck up about Spielberg's philanthropy or lack thereof, aye?

  • June 28, 2001, 11:33 a.m. CST

    These People are confusing...

    by hoorayforeric

    Critics are wannabe filmmakers that never got that chance. When they see these movies..they look into them as if they could have done better. I go into a film and just watch the film. If it triggers any kind of emotion from me and I have a good feeling...or even disturbed..as in good disturbed...I know I saw a good film. When I watch plastic garbage like The Mummy movies...I feel empty. I like the fact that this is turning into total chaos!! All reviews seem to be totally split! Even the reviews themselves in single. They talk about how many flaws the movie has over and over again...then at the end..they say.."But it's the best movie to come out this summer." I read one review that stated..."I was disturbed, haunted, confused, angry and swallowed in....I LOVED IT and Want to see it again!" HUH? This movie still remains in the minds of it's viewers and people don't their minds played with. It's not an ordinary film. Some movies I can see and walk away five minutes later and not even think about it. This one...well...I'll have it on my brain for quite sometime!!! It is truly a special movie. Not a masterpiece. Raiders of the Lost Ark and Empire Strikes Back were masterpieces. This is...well...see it and you'll know. This review A..something..is probably thinking the same thing I have been. And it had lost me some sleep. That may piss off people. I for one...have need a movie like that for a looong time.

  • June 28, 2001, 11:33 a.m. CST

    Antifan?

    by Chasuk

    I don't "bash" Spielberg, but nor do I like any of his films. Note that I don't _dislike_ any of his films, but none of them have satisfied me, least of all Jaws, which apparently makes me one of the anti-Spielberg sheep. I love all of Kubrick's films, though I like A Clockwork Orange especiallly. I even enjoyed Barry Lyndon. I adore cerebral, literary films... which is why I love Stanley. I suppose that makes me pretentious, but I'll live with myself.

  • June 28, 2001, 1:05 p.m. CST

    No, AllUCanLuvBuffet...

    by Chasuk

    DuPont does not think that we would be better off seeing Michael Bay's "Pearl Harbor" than Steven Spielberg's "A.I."**** In fact, it is fairly explicitly stated that A.I. is "still the best film I've seen this summer."

  • June 28, 2001, 2:39 p.m. CST

    Ignore the negative reviews

    by Lempicka

    Wow, I've read about a dozen reviews for "A.I." and they are all almost unanimiously scathing. Of course, that really doesn't mean jack shit, back in '99 everyone was drooling over 'American Beauty' and it turned out to be the worst damn movie of the decade. In fact, I use a critic's review of 'Beauty' as a gauge for how seriously to take their opinion - if they raved, their opinion is worth about as much as those little crumbs that collect at the bottom of my toaster. It IS possible for critics, collectively, to be wrong..so I'm gonna give Spielberg the benefit of the doubt, plunk down my eleven bucks, and see for myself. I advise everyone else to be the same.

  • June 28, 2001, 3:17 p.m. CST

    Appreciation

    by Loquamani

    I love A. DuPont's reviews. Believe it or not, some people can remember big words without looking them up. She hits the nail on the head more than any other reviewer on this site and I always enjoy it.

  • June 28, 2001, 3:23 p.m. CST

    I say 'A.I.' jumped the shark when

    by FaceHugger01

    David and Gigolo Joe showed up at the Dr. Know booth (get it, 'Dr. No?). The film was never the same after that. What say the rest of ya?

  • June 28, 2001, 3:34 p.m. CST

    Hey, you know what?

    by Johnny Dagger

    This film, as well as Spielberg, will most likely be nominated for an Academy award. And I'd bet that one of the two probably wins, a fact that brings no end to my sorrow. Here's hoping that someone hits a homerun out of the park later on this year, cause I don't know if I could stomach "A.I." getting the Best Picture nod come next spring.

  • June 28, 2001, 3:42 p.m. CST

    Pardoner's comments to agentcooper

    by Roger Bacon

    Your dismissal of agentcooper's comments is nauseating in its arrogance. (Did you really post that he should "read some Kant"?) You come off as yet another unsocialized geek who mistakes erudition as wisdom and (oops, here comes that word you hate) insight. Instead of perceiving knowledge as a gift to be shared, you obviously view it as an axe to be driven through the forehead of anyone you deem uncouth enough to ask the questions agentcooper did. By the way, no, I haven't read Kant. I HAVE read the Tanakh, however, and much of it in the original Hebrew. Agentcooper's questioning of God's intent isn't as definitively answered as you seem to think...

  • June 28, 2001, 7:27 p.m. CST

    All clear for Scorsese oscar sweep

    by Lazarus Long

    Well now that A.I. looks like it's headed for mixed reviews, audience & critical alike, I'm going to put my money on Mr. Scorsese to take home the gold next March. I was really scared for a while, but it looks like by aiming too high this time, Spielberg's inability to get a bullseye (noble failure or not) is going to cost him. That's okay, because Gangs of New York is going to drop jaws to the floor, and the greatest living American director will finally get the empty validation that is the Oscar. Here's hoping Hanks presents it and Marty splits his head open with the statue.

  • June 28, 2001, 7:37 p.m. CST

    Out of curiosity:

    by I'ay Bo-Bo!

    For all the people already geared up to hate this film, can you tell me, or rather enlighten me, as to the titles of some good films from this year (2001), last year and 1999. Just give me a list of some films that really try hard to be something beautiful and succeed. I'm not saying list all the good/okay films of the last three years, but the really excellent ones. I'd like to know where you're coming from if you're prone to complaining about Steven Spielberg. Oh, and also list your favorite Kubrick film. Ah-ha, thanks.

  • June 28, 2001, 7:38 p.m. CST

    story, story, story

    by Watson

    Does anybody remember the time when Spielberg and Lucas would talk about the most important thing in a movie is the story line, everything else is secondary. Now all Lucas and Spielberg have to say is look how beautiful my movie is and look at all the wonderful toys I used in making it. Good special effects can't save a bad movie. I have learned to take talk back and AICN reviews with a grain of salt because most of the people that post are way too picky for my taste, and like to nit pick every thing. I like to go to a movie sometimes just for fun. A movie that I don't have to analyze for its potential to change things. Thats the type of movies Speilberg and Lucas used to make, do you remember them, Raiders, ET, Star Wars?

  • June 28, 2001, 8:42 p.m. CST

    No Snobbery or "Big Words"

    by Chasuk

    DuPont didn't use any big words, nor was she a snob. She wrote an intelligent, literate review, and the anti-intellectual rabble at AICN were confounded.****As for her lesbianism, who cares? How is it possibly relevant? If, in the course of a review, a male correspondent mentioned his female date, would it have merited even a single comment? Or are the readers of AICN really so easily titillated? For the record, I am a bisexual male, and, though my sexuality should have zero importance, I know that some of the more shallow here might find it as interesting as the speculation about DuPont's lesbianism, so I offer it for their amusement.

  • June 28, 2001, 9:12 p.m. CST

    Just got back from screening.. sort of.

    by ILK

    I just returned from Ontario Mills (AMC.. for those of you keeping score) advance screening of AI. Well, at least the first half. The film started out first badly focused, then proceeded to be so badly matted (framed) that we only saw the character's heads for about 5 minutes. Then about an hour into the film, we skipped to the end reel... yes... but upside down and backward. However, it is good to see that spielberg has listened to a few of the words people have been saying and has REMOVED the narration in the film. This was shocking. I will hopefully get a chance to share my feelings on this film, when I actually get a chance to SEE it. Instead of fixing it, and starting it over, they gave us each 2 free passes for the film of our choice. This means of course I will have to deal with tomorrow's crowds. Tonight I waited 30 minutes and was able to choose where I sat. Comfortably in a theatre with about 30 people, tops. It was nice, until there was no more film. 2 passes? For a film I've been waiting for, nearly a decade??? Very disappointing. ilk...

  • June 28, 2001, 10:28 p.m. CST

    Sorry, Moriarty

    by spenworks

    Just got back from AI. Did everybody see a different movie than me? Or is everybody so fucking cynical that they can't see the forest for the trees? AI was pretty fucking brilliant. Good goddamn movie. Only ONE Spielberg moment. Just one! And it quickly recovered. Spielberg really took a chance with the Fairy Tale ending, and it almost worked. The most interesting movie I've seen in years. The flesh fair scene was GREAT!! Not out of place. Simply fascinating. If this movie had been made by anybody else, it would be regarded as pure genius. It took me someplace I had never been. Here's an observation: Spielberg and Kubrick are two of the finest filmmakers ever. Let's compare 2 of their films. Poltergeist vs The Shining. 2 of the finest haunted house movies ever made. Completely different. But each great in their own way. In AI, Spielberg asked good questions, and with very few missteps, the answers he provided were pitch perfect. By the way, teddy was Jiminy Cricket, and Joe gigolo was the fox. The Flesh Fair was the island of lost children. The ending was not paint by numbers Spielberg (except for the hair thing) He used the tools in his toolbox to turn a surreal, entirely engrossing journey into a fairy tale, and it almost worked. It worked well enough for me.

  • June 28, 2001, 11:13 p.m. CST

    It looks like Spielberg is in the Winston Chruchill camp.

    by imhotep78

    "If you have an important point to make, don't try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time - a tremendous whack." Winston Churchill What's wrong with making this kind of film? Sure I love seeing a movie that will work my brain a little, but I also love a film that will let it rest, at least while I watch it.

  • June 29, 2001, 1:02 a.m. CST

    My Four Star Review of A.I.

    by Xocxoc

    I know some people will see this movie and ask, "Why do you think think this is one of the best movies of the year?" Well, if you read the rest of my reviews you will note a pattern to all of my views: most all of them lack originality. This movie, however, has originality in spades. So original is this movie that the lack of familiarity will cause many people to leave the theater and say "What the hell was that?!" First, let's get one thing clear, this is not a Spielberg movie, this is a Stanley Kubrick movie which Spielberg finished. The best way to describe the movie is that it is a cross between Pinocchio and 2001: A Space Odyssey. The Pinocchio references are obvious, Ghapetto is Frances O'Conner, the Fox is Jude Law, Jiminy Cricket is a Teddy Bear, and the adventures include starring in a carnival, getting swallowed by a giant mouth, and finding the Blue Fairy played by William Hurt. The 2001: A Space Odyssey references are far less obvious, but once you pick them up, the bizarre ending becomes perfectly clear. David is HAL 9000, 2001 was about the evolution of humanity, A.I. is about the evolution of machine. In 2001, the domineering computer breaks down. In A.I., it is humanity that breaks down. The end of 2001, we see Bowman enter a black hole and travel through time and see the evolution of humanity as it spreads out to the stars. The final section of A.I. represents the same journey, only this time it is HAL 9000's turn. Yes, I thought the year 4000 robots were a bit goofy looking, and the narraration in this scene should have been cut (the 2001 approach of text saying "2000 Years Later" would have been less distracting) But, I am convinced this movie will be considered a classic after it has aged a little.

  • June 29, 2001, 1:06 a.m. CST

    As someone on another AI page said:

    by Cthulu

  • June 29, 2001, 1:07 a.m. CST

    As someone on another AI page said pt.II:

    by Cthulu

    This shouldn't be judged as a Spielberg movie or a Kubrick movie. Just a movie.

  • June 29, 2001, 6:15 a.m. CST

    Re: I'ay Bo-Bo.

    by Defiler

    In response to your question: Good films in 2001: O Brother, Where Art Thou? Snatch Shadow of the Vampire Memento Shrek (couldn't help but like it.) Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon Good films in 2000: The Ninth Gate Timecode 2000 Gladiator The Patriot (so sue me.) Scary Movie The Cell (visuals=good) Quills Unbreakable The Emperor's New Groove Fave Kubrick films: A Clockwork Orange Full Metal Jacket Dr. Strangelove

  • June 29, 2001, 6:16 a.m. CST

    Bah

    by Defiler

    Talkback butchered my formatting. Oh well. You'll figure it out.

  • June 29, 2001, 7:44 a.m. CST

    What I Want To Know Is.......

    by GEEKBASHER v3.0

    what they had for breadfast? Egg McMUFFin...

  • June 29, 2001, 8:55 a.m. CST

    10 Things that annoy me about this TB (for anyone still out ther

    by Seepgood

    1) The "I'd like to see you do better" mob. Just how many plumber/dentist/sportsman/whatever analogies does it take to make you people grasp the fact that audiences are entitled to expect quality from professionals (especially highly-paid ones) and to criticise its absence? 2) Their close, and often overlapping kin, the "critics [insert optional "snob/liberal elite" remarks here], and indeed anyone who doesn't bow down and worship any film-maker who I happen to like are just frustrated fanboy would-be directors" mob. By their own logic, these people can only be frustrated fanboy would-be film critics. After all, whatever possible reason but jealousy could anyone possibly have for criticising anyone or anything? Sheesh. 3) The third branch of this delightful tribe, the "anyone who agrees with me is a dynamic, perceptive, independent thinker. Anyone who disagrees with me is a mindless sheep who pretends to hold a certain opinion because some frustrated fanboy would-be film-maker of a critic [see above] has told them to. Deep down, you know you agree with me, you just won't admit it" mob. Congratulations guys. You have grasped the fact that just because a lot of people hold a certain opinion that doesn't necessarily make it correct. Now, do you think you could possibly summon up the mental and emotional resources required to accomodate the realisation that just because a lot of people hold a certain opinion that doesn't necessarily make it incorrect either? If you can manage that maybe we'll start you on the notion that other people can truly, authentically and unfeignedly hold valid and justifiable opinions on matters of subjective taste that differ from your own, but let's take this in easy stages, eh? 4) Drooling DuPont groupies. Please, guys. Show some decorum. Maybe even get out once in a while. 5) People apart from myself who make remarks like number 4 above, especially the "people's sexuality is strictly their own private business and not to be speculated upon, even when they drop grauitous hints about it" individual above. Tragic though the idea might be, the sad fact is that ADuP is regarded as something as a celebrity around here, and unfortunate though this might also be, celebrities' private lives are widely regarded as fair game for speculation. These poor, desperate individuals are just products of the society they inhabit. Besides, the hint was pretty hard to miss and...anyway...lesbians! Eh? Eh? DuPont...lesbian...wooooaaarrr! Eh? 6) Anyone who notices, let alone mentions that there might be anything contradictory about numbers 4 and 5. 7) People who complain about DuPont using "long words". Er, like what exactly? Anything that isn't a monosyllable? Illiterate morons. 8) Our resident self-appointed Ubermensch and playground bully The Pardoner. Nuff said. Still, it's nice to see that he's playing to his strengths and sticking to the philosophy, since his lit crit's wobbly and his history just plain stinks. The patronising Olympian disdain he enjoys so much is like pedantry: it only works if you're right. Otherwise you wind up looking ridiculous. 9) Anyone who accuses me of having too much time on my hands because of this extended whinge. 10) The Pardoner [yes, I know, but I thought I'd give him two lots. Makes it a nice round number, anyway], for delivering a sustained volley of verbal sneers and then claiming with breathtaking disingenuousness [number 7 people, that one's for you] not to have "assaulted" (by which, this being an internet forum and not a street brawl I assume he means "insulted") his target. How does "you really are a twit" fit in with that claim, exactly, oh name-dropping one?

  • June 29, 2001, 9:11 a.m. CST

    An 11th thing

    by Seepgood

    Myself, for letting that "h" slip into what should have been "O name-dropping one".

  • June 29, 2001, 9:25 a.m. CST

    Geekbasher..."wimpy, wampy wumbly..."

    by Uncapie

    "I like the way you said that? Did you know that?"

  • June 29, 2001, 11:22 a.m. CST

    I peyne me to han an hauteyn speche...

    by The Pardoner

    eggshell: Jesus son, you're the next Noel Coward, aren't you? If you can scoop it in your hands, chances are it isn't wit. ----- Roger Bacon: knowledge certinaly isn't an axe. It's more of a sticky, impermeable membrane that some people learn to secrete, and use to smother. Hegel was great at it. ----- Seepgod: that mass was brilliant. I've never been characterised better. If AICN supported .sig files, I'd have it right under "Radix malorum est cupiditas". These people who are jumping around about DuPont's drop are probably the grandchildren of those who were shocked "possible admissions of immorality" in "The Seven Pillars of Wisdom". Still, you should have kept the "h". ----- Ah, and although I am frankly more than a bit careless with my history ( which I still translate as "story"), I don't ever recall involvement in literate debates on this site. Any specific recollections, or are you just one of those people who didn't like my "King Lear" benchmark?

  • June 29, 2001, 11:33 a.m. CST

    Ah, and my use of the word "assault"...

    by The Pardoner

    ... was due to agentcooper's nearly physical abuse of the word "bash".

  • June 29, 2001, 12:23 p.m. CST

    Pardoner, you still don't get it...

    by Roger Bacon

    References to T.E. Lawrence, Noel Coward, and Hegel don't conceal a paucity of good judgement and common courtesy. And for all your vaunted erudition, your posts are riddled with misspellings and poor syntax (how do you "secrete an impermeable membrane"?). Learn how to be interested in your fellow human beings, and maybe you'll be able to communicate with them in a less discordant manner.

  • June 29, 2001, 1:19 p.m. CST

    by Gladiateher

    They weren't aliens at all. It was our technology that evolved past human existance. They were digging us up as say the way we dig up cavemen. Just as we would want to see where we came from. They made mention several times during the movie that the human race was dying and would be replaced. "They made us to smart and too many". Remember not Aliens, technology and you might see the ending differently

  • June 29, 2001, 6:11 p.m. CST

    If anyone's reading this far down, go see Baby Boy!

    by Basic Alias

    If anyone had told me that John Singleton would make a better film this year than Spielberg, I would've laughed out loud, but it's true. Baby Boy is a great film. It's smart, funny and has a lot to say without a hint of preaching or patronizing. Tyrese and Ving Rhames both give what I consider to be Oscar-worthy performances, and Ving in particular has what will go down as one of the funniest fuckin' love scenes this year. I swear, you gotta see it to believe it. That and the scene where he makes breakfast (those who've already seen it know what I'm talking about!) Listen, if you don't believe me, go read Capone's review. I'm just trying to drum up some extra awareness for this flick, 'cause I'd hate to see it get lost in all the other, over-hyped mediocre nonsense.

  • June 29, 2001, 6:28 p.m. CST

    Talkbacks are Surreal

    by IronRabbit

    Does anyone here have any personal knowledge of Miss Du Pont? Is there any good reason to believe that "she" is or isn't some 80 or 18 year old guy named Joe in Austin or New York or San Fran? Do you have any reason to believe his/her "date" was of the same sex? How many explanations can you think of for why they would be writing a review together the next morning? Now, isn't it a little surreal that people are getting worked up about/alleging/defending/ or having any opinions at all about this character's sexual practices. To me, this discussion is like a fervent argument about whether Superman and WonderWoman are getting it on or whether WonderWoman is a lesbian; as if they were real people. I nearly busted my gut when one talkbacker accused another of being personally responsible for the spread of AIDS. So you hate elephants? Well I'm an elephant and I resent your remarks.

  • June 29, 2001, 7:20 p.m. CST

    Comen forth anon, and kneleth heer adoun...

    by The Pardoner

    ... And mekely receyveth my pardoun. I forgive your seemingly bathetic (through 'p' and 'b' are both bilabial stops, their transposition does create very different words) stupidity, and will cheerfully bind up your bloody ignorance with gauze. ----- For those of you unable to understand the English language, I advise at least purchasing a dictionary; they're quite handy. For instance, Oxford's definitions (hardly a masterful collection of figurative language, but handy in the efficient disposal of simpletons) include the following for "secretion" - a process by which substances (note the deliberate choice of a multisemic term) are produced and discharged from a cell, gland or organ for a function in the organism of for excertion. Now, here's the broadest definition of "membrane": a pliable sheetlike structure acting as a boundary, lining or partition in an organism. Clearly, the process by which a membrane would be created and excreted from within an organism would be "secretion". Irrespective of any biological conventions, the secondary defintions (which I have omitted for space) CLEARLY allow for broader interpretations to be adopted. As for the adjective "impermeable", I will again attempt to clarify for those for whom language is a foreign concept. Clearly, no membrane could be ABSOLUTELY IMPERMEABLE. However, in the metaphorical context of knowlege as a suffocating membrane, through which the suffocated cannot see or hope to push, the membrane would be, for those suffocated, EFFECTIVELY IMPERMEABLE. ----- This concludes our remedial English lesson for the day. If you have any questions, please address them to the nearest cistern.

  • June 29, 2001, 7:25 p.m. CST

    Roger Dear, some special advice just for you:

    by The Pardoner

    If you're going to accuse someone of poor writing habits, you ought to hve some grasp of stylistic economy yourself. Maybe then I'll be able to communicate with less discord. Alternatively, I could be like you, trip on my own toungue like some vestigial tail, and really "be able to communicate with you in a less discordant manner." ----- This is like picking cherries. Radix malorum est cupiditas, mein Kind.

  • June 29, 2001, 8:23 p.m. CST

    Are "hve" and "toungue" words?

    by Roger Bacon

    Sorry, I couldn't resist. You know, Pardoner, you can parse your metaphor in all the long-winded ways you want--it remains clumsy and innacurate. And you STILL don't get why I, and so many other talkbackers, find you pathetic. If you want to hypnotize yourself into thinking that your initial comments to agentcooper were appropriate and justified, have at it, son. I'll just know enough to disregard ANYTHING I read from you in the future. And my (correct)use of "discordant" still applies. Be sure to use some more Chaucerian English in your inevitably tiresome reply, ok?

  • June 29, 2001, 8:43 p.m. CST

    Gosh, two typos?

    by The Pardoner

    All quake before the sovereign might of Roger Bacon, lest he root through your posts like a snuffling pig and lay bare your deepest faults, manifested in your mechanical errors at the keyboard! ----- The only reason my metaphor needed parsing was to make its most rudimentary meaning apparent to those whom it escaped. Now that I think about it, I ought to have let the thing run away from you, instead of tethering it down and proceeding with dissection, so that you could stand around drooling in your "PEACE AND LOVE ON THE INTERNET" bucket and vainly attempting to mimic comprehension. Now get some sleep - even punching bags need their rest.

  • But clearly that title belongs to The Pardoner. I mean, what kind of numbnuts comes to a beer 'n' pretzels hangout like Ain't-It-Cool-News with pretensions of intellectualism? As far as I can divine, his sole purpose is to paint himself as the biggest fucking snob on the planet. Mission accomplished there, anyway. Pardoner, did you actually have anything to say about THE MOVIE, or were you just spoiling for a fight? Be honest, 'cause your bitchy little posts speak for themselves. Is it possible you can't gain respect amongst fellow academics, thus reducing you to intellectual sniping at a cult internet movie site? Ooh, wotta man! Let me ask you, how's it feel to know that you've succeeded in alienating everyone in this Talkback, ensuring that no one will even consider the merits of your points? Why you're quite the miserable failure, old chap!

  • June 29, 2001, 9:36 p.m. CST

    The identity of the "investigators"

    by Fernce

    this film worked wonderfully for me, and it was great to see a movie inspire thought instead of deadening it. This one point seems to have escaped many viewers, however: the characters who appear at the end to grant David's wish are not aliens; rather, they're mechas. The super-advanced descendents of David and Joe and Teddy, and, as Joe predicts halfway through the film, "all that is left". An important distinction.

  • June 30, 2001, 12:30 a.m. CST

    "Daily Affirmations, by Pardoner"

    by Roger Bacon

    "I am smart...My continual use of Middle English doesn't come off as pretentious and slightly creepy...I am not so alienating that Roger Bacon actually received emails from people he doesn't even freaking know who think I'm a complete tool...I am not so defensive and insecure that I will rationalize my viciousness and condescending attitude to the last breath in my body...and, Gosh Darnit, 'knowledge is secreted as a sticky, impermeable membrane which is then used to smother'is the most beautiful and clearest metaphor ever written, and anyone who doesn't think so is just a big doody-head!"

  • June 30, 2001, 12:39 a.m. CST

    Sorry for posting the same message 3 times...

    by Roger Bacon

    Well, I'm not a teary mess, but I apologize just the same...

  • June 30, 2001, 4:07 a.m. CST

    Dammit, I missed a good talkback!!

    by Vance Castaway

    For "The Pardoner"....The history of the human race (naturally I mean the history of its mind and not merely its wars) is readily intelligible on the theory of the appearance of genius, and of the imitation by the more monkey-like individuals of the conduct of those with genius. The chief stages, no doubt, were house- building, agriculture, and above all, speech. Every single word has been the invention of a single man, as, indeed, we still see, if we leave out of consideration the merely technical terms. How else could language have arisen? The earliest words were "onomatopoetic"; a sound similar to the exciting cause was evolved almost without the will of the speaker, in direct response to the sensuous stimulation. All the other words were originally metaphors, or comparisons, a kind of primitive poetry, for all prose has come from poetry. Many, perhaps the majority of the greatest geniuses, have remained unknown. Think of the proverbs, now almost commonplaces, such as "one good turn deserves another." These were said for the first time by some great man. How many quotations from the classics, or sayings of Christ, have passed into the common language, so that we have to think twice before we can remember who were the authors of them. Language is as little the work of the multitude as our ballads. Every form of speech owes much that is not acknowledged to individuals of another language. Because of the universality of genius, the words and phrases that he invents are useful not only to those who use the language in which he wrote them. A nation orients itself by its own geniuses, and derives from them its ideas of its own ideals, but the guiding star serves also as a light to other nations. As speech has been created by a few great men, the most extraordinary wisdom lies concealed in it, a wisdom which reveals itself to a few ardent explorers but which is usually overlooked by the stupid professional philologists.

  • June 30, 2001, 2:10 p.m. CST

    Pardoner: At the risk of boiling down so many legitimate argume

    by LlGHTST0RMER

    "SHUUUUUT UUUUUUUUUUUP!!!!!!!!!!!"

  • June 30, 2001, 2:22 p.m. CST

    A relevant passage from a good Henley song (and a PS to our good

    by LlGHTST0RMER

    "We're being treated to the wisdom / of some puffed-up, little fart / Doing exactly what I used to do / Pretensions to anarchy and art / He speaks the language of a warrior / He mounts his misinformed attack / He wears the clothes of a dissenter / But there's a logo on his back / And it's a hollow rebellion / As rebellions mostly are / It's just another raging tempest in a jar." Gee... don't know WHAT in the world made me recall these lyrics. It's anyone's guess, really.... (PS to Pardo: Kant was a sexually repressed twit with self-loathing and self-esteem issues. Why in God's name would we want to refer to him as a reliable authority on things truly significant?) --E pluribus unum... Klaatu barata niktu. (You pretentious fuck.) Lightstormer out.

  • June 30, 2001, 8:14 p.m. CST

    Well, you can tell Alexadra's dating a Spielberg hater.

    by Drath

    Hey, everybody is entitled to their opinion, but I appreciate knowing the taste of the reviewer before I take the review itself too seriously. Anyone who goes on about how Spielberg is a hack or he equals fast food is, well, not someone I'm in agreement with to put it kindly. Micheal Bay is fast food, and Spielberg is far far far far better than a director of Micheal Bay's caliber(or lack thereof). No, that's what I believe. Don't argue with me unless you want to talk to hear yourself speak, which you're entitled to do obviously, enjoy. Alexandra Dupont, has meanwhile given a rather sensitive review that suggests she's not on the Spielberg's-a-hack band wagon that so many have joined since Moriarty's intelligent but scathing review appeared(I don't mock you, Moriarty, you love the old Spielberg and really I think we all want that Steven to come back and show Hollywood they should not settle for the likes of Simon West anymore). Well the worst has happened with the AI hoopla, Spielberg has gone too far to become Kubrick. Instead of creating a movie everyone would like(although, to be fair he hasn't made a movie for EVERYONE to like since . . . well, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom) Spielberg made a movie that his fans aren't too pleased with. And the people who didn't like Spielberg before weren't going to change their tune now and, predictably, they haven't. It's odd that all of Kubrick's movies, most notably his last one, weren't showered in praise when they first came out either. They were largely bludgeoned by critics and underappreciated by audiences. Now AI is getting the same thing. Does the film have hidden genius? Hey, don't say "no" outright until you've seen it enough times to be objective. I remember Kubrick fans said of Eyes Wide Shut, "it's a brilliant movie, we just don't know how yet." Very faithful followers, Kubrick had. So maybe AI will impress its detractors(Spielbergo and Kubrick fans alike) when they see it for the second or third time and they have a chance to look past their expectations. Then again, maybe it'll just seem worse like Hook did. Too bad it's not the relief from the SHIT OF SUMMER '01 we could all use(The Score is next on my list). Man, I hope whoever scheduled 2001: A Space Odyssey for AFTER the summer has been fired. Seeing 2001 remastered on the big screen over the summer would have beaten the mediocrity we've had in its stead hands down. I mean I know these have been mostly action movies, which can never be very deep, but these aren't even good action movies! The last trailer for Planet of the Apes was better than anything I've seen on screen for a while! Okay, Atlantis was nice, but that's like saying Waterworld was good next to The Postman. But as to AI, all I care about is if I like it or not. Yeah, it's too bad it didn't blow everyone away, but how many films this overhyped can accomplish that?

  • July 1, 2001, 1:37 a.m. CST

    Bye, Sleep

    by Dave_F

    I dig what you're sayin' man, but AICN ain't all that bad. Conversation doesn't have to be meaningful to be fulfilling, and if you just think of this site as a place to shoot the breeze about cool movie shit, same as you would hangin' out with your friends, it seems quite a bit more innocuous than your "social experiment gone wrong" assesment. Did you ever sit around with your friends in the living room and talk about "Star Wars" or John Woo or comics? Probably. And if it's cool in that context, what's wrong with hanging out with a bunch of online folks to discuss the same stuff? Some folks *do* take it too seriously. Some don't, and I like talking to 'em. Sometimes we even get to something meaningful. If you're tired of it, though, nothin' wrong with leaving the geek hangout to go talk to other people. Later, man.

  • July 1, 2001, 7:52 p.m. CST

    When I grow up I want to be a computer geek film critic!

    by johnke

    You guys need to relax, sit back and "try" to enjoy a good movie. I can only imagine what you might have done if you had been around to "review" The Wizard of Oz, The Sound of Music or even 2001: A Space Odyssey....Try getting off your fat ass and making a movie someday! True art is not for computer geeks like you...I'm sorry you have forgotten how magical movies can be!

  • July 1, 2001, 8:12 p.m. CST

    I'm bored.

    by johnke

    Harry, I agree with others who visit your site.....you've become tiresome and trite. GOODBYE!

  • July 2, 2001, 5:43 a.m. CST

    Sloppy Camera Work

    by PEZboy

    $100 Million and they couldn't remove the boom micrphone. The danged thing shows up TWICE (if you don't count its appearence in the mirror.

  • July 2, 2001, 11:47 p.m. CST

    re: Secret Person

    by no_h8

    People are complaining that this place is too depressing and that their losing steam and burning out and that things need to change around here. Maybe you should stand up, get away from your computer and go outside. You might realize that this year has sucked major donkey balls in the way of movies and A.I. is simply put, not a good movie by one of the best movie makers of his time. What are the blockbusters this summer: Tomb Raider and A.I. two movies that are bad. What are some other not good movies out there? Swordfish, Crocadile Dundee in Los Angleles, Pooty Tang, and many more than I want to list. All the while, an excellent movie such as Snatch is almost ignored by the movie going community. Simply put, good/original ideas are rare in hollywood right now, and when those ideas are formed, they are far too often destroyed by poor move making. Enough said.