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.

Related Content

Kermode Uncut: Super 8

 

Comments

This entry is now closed for comments.

  • Comment number 179. Posted by ewaf88

    on 27 Oct 2013 09:14

    I like 'Catch me of you can' I thought it was a bit of 'fluff' at first but on a second viewing really enjoyed the detailed scenes on how the cons were achieved and the energy of the acting.

    I've always liked A.I. and it will be interesting to review again in 30 years time to see how close the film got in predicting how robots might be.

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 179: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 179: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 178. Posted by thekeep83

    on 4 Aug 2013 07:15

    I think the one Spielberg film that i got completely wrong was AI as well. Hated it the first time, now...a masterpiece. My guilty pleasure Spielberg has always been 1941...i just love the whole bombast of the piece...is it funny..not really, but as Stanley Kubrick reportedly said.."i thought it was a drama" Nuff said!

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 178: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 178: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 177. Posted by Alfienoalkes

    on 20 Feb 2013 20:08

    Oh Please !! ! Dr Kermode you always wimp out on your comments when you interview a director.
    ''Oh I am meeting (insert famous Director) next week so I will re visist (insert Film name here) just to check my original harsh comment was justified, Come on Mark have the guts to stand by your original Honest review on what was and still is a Overindulged preaching message ridden piece of pants,
    Keep it up,
    Alfie

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 177: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 177: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 176. Posted by Andrew Stevens

    on 16 Feb 2013 20:34

    A.I is one of the very few films that has bought a tear to my eye . It is in my opinion one of Spielbergs greatest films and like Blade runner I think over time more and more people will re visit it and revise their opinions about it . I was so blown away by it when I first saw it I watched it back to back again 2 times more . I draw many parallels to Blade Runner in the central theme and the ways society and culture have declined and progressed at the same time . Its references to Pinocchio work seamlessly and it is a film that tugs at your emotions and also like 2001 and Blade runner leaves you with many deep thoughts and questions about the very fabric of life and existence .

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 176: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 176: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 175. Posted by Rob

    on 14 Feb 2013 01:54

    I seriously don't get the hype. I'd sit through ET and Jaws under duress, but the only Spielberg movie I would choose to watch is Duel. Everything else is so schmaltzy it hurts.

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 175: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 175: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 174. Posted by Rosko

    on 3 Feb 2013 04:25

    If anyone did really enjoy Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, they should feel guilty.

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 174: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 174: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 173. Posted by Rosko

    on 3 Feb 2013 04:03

    ...another thing to notice about A.I. is Spielberg's understanding of the story - after initially enjoying the film and it's visuals, I was actually forced to reconsider my initial reaction to what I viewed as more of Kubrick film, when I heard Spielberg himself talking about the story in a TV interview. His explanation that the heart of the story in his interpretation was about mankind's love affair with it's creations - that we should value other people's creations as something which other people have a sentimental attachment to and thereby something which is an extended part of them rather than an inanimate object or device - which for me is a complete misunderstanding of the story and a misinterpretation of Kubrick's interest in the original story. The Pinocchio element was Kubrick's and the intent their is clear - this film was supposed to be about what defines 'human intelligence', i.e. if we can put aside our emotional response to a robot as 'inhuman' and see it as we see a child, then is it conceivable that something non-organic might in some way become human or human-like? The uncertainty over this question and the way that it relates to the future of mankind and mankind's legacy was supposed to be the heart of the film. Yet Spielberg tried to turn it into a film about the value of sentimental attachment - in his own words (check the interviews online). That's quite a dum approach to the story and shows the flaws in his dramatic approach. It's like a sort of focus-group philosophy of film making - George Lucas seemed to agree when he said the reason why some critics hate the pair is down to their unlocking of a sort of mass popularity formula - but that's like saying that a political party which wins an election has 'captured the mood of the nation' - the reality is more complex than that, and people come to hate that which they once had a sentimental response to e.g. Tony Blair.

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 173: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 173: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 172. Posted by Rosko

    on 3 Feb 2013 03:14

    A.I. is the only film that, just by chance, I have seen at the cinema with my mother. Predictably, it had us in tears when David says goodbye/goodnight near the end of the film. Most of the final section of the film is unnecessary though and something Kubrick would have done differently - if Kubrick had lived to be a producer on the film it would have better in my opinion. Some of the visual effects that Spielberg managed, with much help from a big-budget and state of the art computer-graphics, were extremely memorable and brilliant. It should be noted that most of the film was action and the dialogue scenes were brief and simple - so not exactly putting Spielberg's direction of actors and script-writers to the test really. And the credit for the dramatic structure of the film has to go to Kubrick's 90 page treatment. I'm not sure that it's much of a compliment to Spielberg to say that his best film is a film largely given too him by other people?

    Most of his output is in the guilty pleasure category for someone. It come's down to a basic philosophy of film-making - I remember Baz Lurman saying that he found the idea of portraying real-life in film boring and that film's purpose was to portray a 'heightened reality'. Spielberg seems to be of a similar approach, yet unlike Lurman, he also wants to manipulate the audience into feeling something for certain characters ('schmaltz') in order that they suspend their disbelief and buy into the story -he has a tendency to construct stories in a way which simply aids the dramatic effect of the film as a set-piece rather than to try and portray some 'truth' about life, as say a Werner Herzog might (despite his use of iconic images and surrealism too). He has no concept of the appropriate time to cut away and not show something, or end the film succinctly - to allow the audience to see in their minds eye rather than trying to enterbrainwashtain them. You can see that he has too much concern for what the audience thinks when you look at the cherry-picked approach to Lincoln's politics, leaving out for instance the fact that Lincoln was an open racist, despite being an abolitionist (e.g. The Lincoln/Douglas Debate - well documented).

    For me his film output is a string of brilliantly memorable visual scenes and effects (the opening of the ark by the doomed nazis, the high-speed entrance to sin-city in AI, the bullet spattered run up the beach in Saving Private Ryan, the first glimpse of the space-ship in Close Encounters, the E.T. in the closet, the desert car park in Empire of the Sun, the food fight in Hook, the cup of water vibrating in Jurassic Park, DiCaprio's final capture in Catch Me If You Can, the triplets hooked up to a brain reader in Minority Report, the razor blade incident with Danny Glover in The Colour Purple, the metallic octopus in War of The Worlds, the first attack on the boat in Jaws and so on..) however, these are usually strung together with extremely forgettable and banal dialogue, with the exception of a few more personal films like Schindler's List or Empire of The Sun. You can use the excuse that it's "just entertainment", but most of his films don't have the sense of humour that Indiana Jone's has, so that doesn't really add up as an explanation. He understands film brilliantly, but not people, whereas if you watch a film like Michael Haneke's 'White Ribbon' you can see some film-makers have both key elements - but unfortunately no distributor and marketing machine to back them up.

    Film's like Lincoln show that he has the potential to be a more subtle film-maker and of-course he has the funding to put terrific quality up on the screen, but if you look at the dramatic skill of Lincoln, drawing on the magnetism and realism of someone like Daniel Day-Lewis, it is markedly different from most of Spielberg's output (as he says himself) as if he is only beginning to realise what other film makers like Werzog have been doing for many decades.So that being the case, why do all the plaudits go to the guy who's just learning how to get the best out of actors rather than the people that have been doing it for years? and is that fair? Why do you think Lewis turned down the film three times before agreeing?

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 172: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 172: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 171. Posted by robg

    on 30 Jan 2013 22:07

    Having posted already in response to your question, I feel I need to add a piece on AI specifically. I didn't see it when it came out, and never bothered to catch up with it...until your piece appeared. I was aware of some of the critical opinion, and that people had taken against it, but I watched it the other night for the first time with no preconceived ideas. For me, the first act is the standout. The setup is great, and HJO's performance as David is breathtaking. However, once we moved into the flesh fairs and Rouge City sequences, I found I was becoming increasingly disengaged. Now, don't get me wrong, the standard of the performances remains of high quality, but I think the story lost its way. Indeed, by the time we get to the third act, it all felt like a bunch of Spielbergian hoop-jumping just to move the story along. And I'm afraid the final coda left me completely cold (no pun intended)...the fact that it needed a voiceover tells you all you need to know - I neither need, nor want, sentimentality explained to me. It should be self-evident. It's such a shame because the opening setup was so promising.

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 171: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 171: 0
    Loading…
  • Comment number 170. Posted by SilentBob

    on 30 Jan 2013 10:04

    First, anyone on hear who claim Speilberg is "over-rated" needs to come forward and let us know what someone needs to do to be rated as a film maker and director.

    I was born in 1981 and Speilberg is the film maker of my generation.

    I count two "duds": JP: Lost World and IJ: Crystal Skull.

    His greatest works are: Duel, Jaws, Close Encounters, Indiana Jones, ET, Saving Private Ryan (argue all you will) and Schindler's List. These are some of the greatest films of all time.

    In terms of 'guilty' pleasures, someone of my age needs to think about that time when you first saw the film, the effect it had on you, how you feel about revisiting the film now, when you are older. To this end:

    1. Empire of the Sun. A beautiful account of a boy's jounrney through war torn Japan at a momentus tipping point in history. It is precursor to what Speilberg would go on to do with some of his more historical accounts, and is classic Speilberg in the way it put children at the centre of the drama, delaing with abandonment and coming of age amidst sweeping melodrama. There is no one working in film who does this better.

    2. Jurassic Park. Goldblum, Neil, Attenborough, Velociraptors and a T-Rex. I was 13 and came out of the cinema buzzing with excitement. It's magic may have faded but, at the time, it was glorious fun.

    3. Minority Report. A neat counter-piece to AI, with pace and superb visual style. It paved the way for numerous copies, done far more poorly.

    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of positive ratings for comment 170: 0
    • This entry is now closed for comments. Number of negative ratings for comment 170: 0
    Loading…
More comments

More Posts

Previous

Next