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AI Apology

Tuesday 22 January 2013, 12:05

Mark Kermode Mark Kermode

When I interviewed Steven Spielberg last week I felt the need to apologise to him for getting it so wrong when I first reviewed AI - here's why I have revised my opinion of this film.

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Comments

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  • rate this
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    Comment number 1.

    The Terminal is a fantastic film about real feelings and real people.
    War Of The Worlds is a masterpiece of suspense

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    Comment number 2.

    Aldiss created, Kubrick took on and Spielberg delivered. Good to see that the good doctor has now agreed that A.I. is great. The pleasure is now guilt-free unlike mine for 1942... My secret precious...

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    Comment number 3.

    I would have to say that my favourite is 'Empire of the Sun'. Easily still Christian Bale finest performance as Jim, although in my view it is also the most un-spielbergian of his films. Although the Japanese occupied Shanghai is presented as a kind magical wonderland, and that is very Spielbergian there are none of the usual themes or devices - no sharks, aliens or an interesting relationships between lead character as in ET between Elliott/ET or Amen Goth/Oskar Schindler.'

  • rate this
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    Comment number 4.

    Always liked Empire of the Sun. I love the book, but the film is one of the few literary adaptations which changes large parts of its source material without annoying me. I think it stays true to the spirit of Ballard's book and captures Jim's dystopian journey perfectly.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 5.

    As much as I hate to say this...Hook. Even today there are still things in that film that make me want to cringe but I still watch it

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    Comment number 6.

    My underrated 'guilty' pleasure is definitely War of the Worlds, even though i don't like the middle act at all (with Tim Robbins). The fact that i still love it despite its numerous mistakes shows how brilliant the rest is. The mastery of its set pieces still awes me, and that scene of the first tripod emerging from the town square is my favourite action scene of all time - Spielberg nails the beats like no one can. I almost burst with excitement every time i watch it. If, as Mark says, a film makes you cry is doing something right, what can i say about a film that nearly makes you pop!

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    Comment number 7.

    I'm with 5, that film will always be associated with seeing the wonder on the kids faces as they watched it. However, whilst I know people pan it, Private Ryan is a wonderful epic, I still use Amistad and Schindler in my teaching and remember wonderful teenage nights sneaking into the cinema through the fire escape aged 12 to watch 1941 over and over again!

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    Comment number 8.

    Honestly mines would have to be Temple of Doom, a film that Spielberg himself dislikes. I love the horror elements and its Indian backdrop. I know that the movie suffers from the annoying Willie (Kate Capshaw) but the ritual scene where Mola Ram removes the guys heart still gets me to this day, "Kali Ma, Kali Ma". And I think that Temple of Doom's score is John Williams best work.

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    Comment number 9.

    For the Spielbergian touches in an otherwise bland film, has to be Jurassic Park: The Lost World. The slowly cracking glass still has me on a knife-edge, and the velociraptors in the long grass is thrilling cinema.

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    Comment number 10.

    The Terminal. It makes me laugh every single time and Tom Hanks gives such a beautiful performance I well up every time in the scene when he first sees the news of the troubles in his home country.

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    Comment number 11.

    percentage wise spielberg is a VERY over rated film maker in my mind

    he has made 30 films

    and FOUR of them (A.i, saving private ryan, catch me if you can, jurassic park) are his only good films

    i would also like to add that they are not good because of spielberg

    if they had a different cast they wouldn't of been good - like the dodgy 'terminal'

    i bet indiana jones is only good because of harrison and lucas

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    Comment number 12.

    It has to be 'Jurassic Park'. I was 8 when the movie was released and it was my first cinema experience. I could easily relate my fond memories of the film to childhood nostalgia, but there have been few cinema outings since, that have had the same lasting impression; the entrance of the T.Rex is still a stunning spectacle to behold. The gradual reveal, the imminent danger and the earth shattering noise!

    For me, A.I. destroyed any interest I had in sci-fi, and it would be years until I delved back into the genre. I watched it again on T.V last year to see if, like you Mark, I had misjudged it. I was right the first time

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    Comment number 13.

    Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, because it fun without making you want to smother a child, its really over the top, but you get they are doing it to be over the top and parody films like The Man Who Would Be King and not because they need to cater a dumb audience. to entertain is the essence

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    Comment number 14.

    Empire of the sun was always one of my favourite Spielberg films. I loved it as a child, I loved it in secondary school (after studying the book) and I still love it now. I know it perhaps doesn't have the cinematic brilliance of some of his other films, but its always been a film I keep going back to throughout my life. With each new visit moving me in a slightly different way.

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    Comment number 15.

    I caught 'The Terminal' once on television, I thought the story about an immigrant trapped in a terminal due to a legal technicality was an interesting one and that Tom Hanks and Catherine Zeta-Jones delivered fine performances in it. I wouldn't claim that it was 'Citizen Kane' (or should I say 'Vertigo'?) but I felt that it was nice film about nice people. I didn't realise though when I was watching the film that it was directed by Steven Spielberg. If I had known it was at the time perhaps I might not have enjoyed it as much as I did - he is after all Steven Spielberg.

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    Comment number 16.

    I have a great fondness for Catch Me If You Can and The Terminal. They might not be considered his most iconic films but I have always liked them.

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    Comment number 17.

    How about Poltergeist? Not an official part of the Spielberg canon maybe, but his alleged level of 'creative involvement' on set could argue for honorary inclusion at least...

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    Comment number 18.

    My Steven Spielberg is the Spielberg of the '70s. Since then, I really couldn't care much for his work. Close Encounters is my favourite, but I'd hardly call that a guilty pleasure as it's so widely regarded as the magnificent picture it is. Everything else, excepting Duel, Jaws & Schindler's pales into insignificance.

    Maybe you could argue Raiders Of The Lost Ark. But is that really a 'guilty' pleasure? You see, Spielberg pretty much makes dross these days, so I've nothing to like of his and feel guilty about. Lincoln was underwhelming, a really lifeless portrait of an iconic US president. Then we go back to Crystal Skull, Munich, War Of The Worlds, Catch Me If You Can, Minority Report, Saving Private Ryan - all, at best, average examples of a once-great film-maker's craft. Even Schindler's List suffers from an infuriating final scene of over-egged guilt that almost killed the film for me.

    In short, I love Duel, I love Jaws, I love Close Encounters (and I'm not going to feel guilty about liking them), and I like Raiders and I like Schindler's and I like Jurass--

    It's Jurassic Park! Not sure I genuinely feel guilty, but it's the best you're going to get.

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    Comment number 19.

    I'm with those who rate War of the Worlds and, indeed, Minority Report; both of them seem to achieve everything that they set out to do. Also, isn't The Sugarland Express due for reassessment? I saw it on DVD a few months ago and found it both satisfying and unsettling.

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    Comment number 20.

    Mark, I wish I could see what you see in AI, but I don't. I really hate it. There aren't many films I hate, but AI is one of them. It is unbearably preachy, pretentious and long. I suspect I may be a minority in this opinion on this blog.

    I feel I'm not qualified to select my own under-rated Spielberg film, because there are still so many I haven't seen. The Spielberg films I love - Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Saving Private Ryan and Minority Report - tend to be well appreciated by others too.

 

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Outspoken, opinionated and never lost for words, Mark is the UK's leading film critic.

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