revisiting A.I.

June 21, 2006

I spied Steven Spielberg's A.I. on my DVD shelf this evening and decided, on a whim perhaps, to watch it. It had been quite some time since I had last seen it, and my memory of it had dulled to a point that I couldn't be quite sure whether I had really enjoyed it or had just purchased it for the sake of completeness (I'm a rather big Spielberg/John Williams fan). As it turns out, I'd forgotten nearly all of it, including the Kubrickian tone that pervades it.

Having now seen 2001: A Space Odyssey, I think I have a great deal more appreciation for that aspect of it than before; I find nearly breathtaking at times the awe and wonder that film and especially sci-fi can create, and both 2001 and A.I. really do that well.Haley Joel Osment's quite the actor as well; I must remember that in spite of throwaway fare like Secondhand Lions that he's done more recently. Williams' score is also delightfully poignant at times, especially during the third "act" that takes place far in the incredibly distant future. Simple piano melodies accompanied by strings do wonders to evoke the heartbreaking yet hopeful emotions that surround the film's rich concluding moments.

On a lighter note, there are a couple of cameos that were rather surprising: Enrico Colantoni, most famously of the CW's Veronica Mars, and Adrian Grenier of HBO's Entourage (the third season of which, incidentally, I wrote about just a couple of days ago); as a fan of both, it was really rather amusing to see them here playing characters that are very similar to those they play on television. In all, a very worthwhile way to spend two hours. Spielberg gives viewers much to ponder, though of course the film isn't for everyone (particularly children).

–D. S. W.

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