Steven Spielberg’s ‘A.I.: Artificial Intelligence’ on Paramount+ and MGM+

Steven Spielberg meets Stanley Kubrick in A.I.: Artificial Intelligence (2001), a dark, visionary fairy tale. Call it a cyberpunk Pinocchio with a robot boy who wants to be human despite the cruelty and hate he finds on his odyssey.

Haley Joel Osmet, so preternaturally removed from himself in The Sixth Sense, is the robot boy David, and he proves his abilities in a performance so controlled and so genuine that it’s been unfairly overlooked by many critics. Jude Law is the “love robot” Gigolo Joe, gliding on confidence and charm as he dances and traipses through the movie with a song in his neck. He’s a clockwork recreation of a Hollywood Lothario without a scheming circuit in his body: sex and innocence with a seductive sheen.

It makes for a fascinating melding of sensibilities: the cold pessimism of Kubrick’s view of humanity’s self-destruction warmed by Spielberg’s passionate belief in the power of love and faith in the human soul. And it features one of Spielberg’s most beautifully devastating moments, a heartbreaking scene of hopeless, guileless optimism

Spielberg’s craft is impeccable and the challenge of meeting Kubrick’s story with his own sensibility (Spielberg wrote the script from Kubrick’s treatment and notes) has pushed him into new, somewhat scary territory: more cerebral, less hopeful, yet just as passionate. If the film seems to fall short of his ambition, perhaps it’s because he’s never set himself such an ambitious goal.

Rated PG-13

Streams for a limited time on Paramount+ and on MGM+

Also on Blu-ray and DVD and on SVOD through Amazon Video, iTunes, GooglePlay, Vudu and/or other services. Availability may vary by service.
A.I. Artificial Intelligence [Blu-ray]
A.I. Artificial Intelligence [Two-Disc Special Edition DVD]

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The Blu-ray and deluxe two disc DVD includes “Creating A.I.,” which follows the creative path from Kubrick to Spielberg, and 14 additional featurettes that focus on separate aspects of the production (from performance and music and lighting to special effects and sound design and visual conceptualization), adding up to 90 minutes of in-depth behind-the-scenes study.

Sean Axmaker is a Seattle film critic and writer. He writes the weekly newspaper column Stream On Demand and the companion website, and his work appears at, Turner Classic Movies online, The Film Noir Foundation, and Parallax View.

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