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Registered User
(7/2/01 1:42:12 pm)
A.I., Kubrick, and fairy tales (potential for spoilers)
Hello all! Sorry I've been gone so long!

I just saw A.I. yesterday and was wondering what others think about it, especially in reference to fairy tales. I saw it as a combination of the very blatant Pinocchio references and the more latent Peter Pan references- an aritificial child who will never grow up but wants to be a real boy. Also, there seemed to be a brief reference to Hansel and Gretel. I want to say there was something else there, but can't put my finger on it. I haven't seen too many other Kubrick movies (Clockwork Orange through interlaced fingers and Eyes Wide Shut with eyes wide open and still confused), so I was wondering if this was something he was attracted to when choosing films to direct. Any other thoughts?

Soft whispers and dandelion dreams,


Edited by: Kerrie at: 7/2/01 1:45:07 pm
Robin Brock
Registered User
(7/3/01 8:49:27 am)
Kubrick? I thought A.I. was Spielbergh.

Unregistered User
(7/3/01 3:05:24 pm)
Kubrick and Spielberg
AI was a Kubrick project that Spielberg took over after Kubrick's death, I believe.

The final film is much more Kubrick in vision than Spielberg. I didn't think it was a family film. Definitely an ages 13 & up type of film.

Robin Brock
Registered User
(7/6/01 10:24:17 am)
Re: Kubrick and Spielberg
Ah! Now I'm much more interested in seeing it!

Unregistered User
(7/6/01 6:35:54 pm)
A.I. and Fairy Tales
Hi all - haven't posted in quite awhile due to poor and sporadic internet access. (It's better now but still not great.)

Actually, this is my second try at this post, since the first one got eaten by the post-eating monster and I'm annoyed about that because now I can't remember everything I said! *sigh*

In any case - I'm a little surprised not to see more responses in this thread because I noticed fairy tale themes running throughout the movie. The most obvious is Pinocchio, of course. Kerrie, I didn't see anything that put me in mind of Peter Pan; I'd love to know what you did. I noticed the Hansel and Gretel reference, but I think it's broader than that - that theme appears in many tales, doesn't it? ("Good" parent trying to save child from "bad" parent.) (It's awkward writing about A.I. because I don't want to use any examples directly from the movie, don't want to give anything away.) Would you say there's a play - slight, I guess, but there - on the Sleeping Beauty theme?

I thought A.I. was rather dark in tone and definitely not a family film. There are good reasons for it to be rated PG-13. Kind of returning the fairy tale to the realm of adult literature. I'm not sure yet whether I like it or not. I think it's one of those movies that you either love or you hate, but I'm not sure which way I'm leaning. It's cruel in places and kind it others. It gives hope and steals it away and gives it back again.

BTW, have any of you read the short story the movie's based on? How does it compare? (If I remember the credits correctly, it's "Super Toys Last all Summer" or something similar, by Brian W. Aldiss.)


Registered User
(7/10/01 3:24:53 pm)
Re: A.I. and Fairy Tales (SPOILERS)

The Peter Pan reference I saw was in the fact that he's a boy that will never grow up, kind of in a robot Never-Neverland. Would the Sleeping Beaty theme be when he "sleeps" for 2000 years, or when his artificial mom wakes up to spend the day with her little prince before returning to sleep? There's also the thought of The Little Prince, in that we are "responsible forever for what we have tamed" (or something like that) whereas the robot is ultimately the responsibility of the creator? I'm sure I'm just reaching now. I suppose, as long as I'm reaching, you could even say Snow White, whereas the mother is like the Huntsman abandoning David (Snow White) in the woods to save him. Any other thoughts? Even far-fetched ones?

Soft whispers and dandelion wishes,


Unregistered User
(7/13/01 10:54:03 am)
Re: A.I. comments (minor spoilers)
I sure don't think of Pinocchio as a fairy tale, but I suppose it is at it's heart. A.I. wasn't so much a movie that made reference to it as a movie that reached into the past and ripped out big chunks of the story and retold it.

And what's with the Mommy stuff? Good grief, it was almost as offensively infantile as the Pearl Harbor rah-rah-Americana crap.

A.I. sure fits in with a lot of this summer's other movies in that it looks great but doesn't deliver an engaging story. I was told to bring a box of kleenex and kept waiting for something that wasn't stone cold and filmed, emotionally, from 50 feet away.
Too bad Spielberg didn't say, thanks for your input, Stanley, but I'm going to make my own movie now.

Unregistered User
(7/17/01 4:50:01 pm)
Sleeping Beauty
Hi Kerrie - Hadn't thought about the boy who never grows up but I can see your point. About Sleeping Beauty - yes, I was thinking about him sleeping for 2000 years and then being awakened. I wasn't thinking about the mother being "awakened" for a day, but I guess, with a stretch, I could see that too. I wonder if there are any fairy tales whose theme is more closely related to that? I hadn't thought about the Hunter abandoning Snow White to save her, but that's a good one. That's the part I was thinking of when I mentioned the good parent abandoning a child in the woods to save him or her from the evil parent.

Here's something that I hadn't thought of when I first responded to your post - I'm sure it's familiar to everyone here: "'Real isn't how you are's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.' 'Does it hurt?' 'Sometimes....When you are real you don't mind being hurt.' 'Does it happen all at once, like being wound up...or bit by bit?' 'It doesn't happen all at at once....You become. It takes a long time.'" From "The Velveteen Rabbit, of course.

So, did he become Real?


Registered User
(7/19/01 8:08:07 am)
It's funny you should quote from "The Velveteen Rabbit", as my wife did the same thing as we walked home from the film. Specifically, she liked the resolution in The Velveteen Rabbit far more than in A.I. Same question being asked, but not a stupid answer.

I liked some aspects of the film, some elements of the story. Unfortunately none of those things occur in the last act, the last third of the film. A "deus ex machina" ending if ever there was one. Please, Steve, stick to directing and leave the writing to those who can. I would love to see Ian Watson's screenplay as he collaborated with Kubrick. I expect it is quite different from what ended up on screen. And once again we have a filmmaker who must think we're morons, because we have to be lectured to by almost everyone who shows up (save Jude Law). The alien's little chat with David about why mommy could only be brought back to life for a single day was about enough to drive me from the theater. It's as if Spielberg just stuck a book of fairy tales in a revolving door and absconded with whatever shreds survived.


Unregistered User
(7/21/01 4:50:14 pm)
Super-Toys info & possible spoiler
Someone mentioned earlier that they were interested in reading the original story. It as a quick read - about 6 pages on regular printer paper. It is a story written by Brian Aldiss called Super-Toys Last All Summer Long.

I found it on Wired Online's archives:

*possible spoiler below*
I enjoyed the story, although I think it was meant to have a surprise ending that is lost to the modern reader who has any idea what "AI" is about. The story is obviously the basis for the movie, though it ends where the movie is just beginning (for better or worse). After reading it I realized that the cold, distanced, superficial feeling in the movie was probably intended because the story does feel that way too.

I have to agree with Gregor about the alien/android thing. I wondered why in the world are we here? Perhaps we should have been left in the ice, as chilling an ending as it may have been (pun sadly intended ). But by that time i was almost beyond caring and it raised too many unanswered questions that may not even be worth wondering about.


Robin Brock
Registered User
(7/25/01 5:36:38 am)
I made the mistake of going to see the movie as a distraction after receiving news that my grandmother had died. Wow. Sure wasn't the feel-good movie of the year. I was expecting "Disney's Pinnochio meets E.T."

I thought that some of the elements of the film were absolutely spectacular. The FleshFest, for example. And I loved Jude Law's character (and not just because he looked so yummy in that leather trench coat).

I do think that the Pinnochio allegory would have been more effective if it had been insinuated rather than directly stated. Having him actually read Pinnochio and say "Hey! He's just like me!" and then go hunting for the Blue Fairy was a bit heavy-handed. I liked the more subtle fairy tale references, like being abandoned in the woods.

And the ending was just outta nowhere. Where did those silly X-Files aliens come from?! Why do we care? And I agree, the lengthy explanation about why they could only resurrect David's mom for one day was too much. The ending dragged on for so long that I just didn't give a cr*ap by the time I got to leave. It seemed detached from the rest of the story, and totally extraneous.

But Jude Law was great.

Unregistered User
(7/25/01 10:21:36 pm)
AI (*Spoilers*)
Robin asked:

And the ending was just outta nowhere. Where did those silly X-Files aliens come from?! Why do we care?

I agree. I saw it last week and came away scratching my head more than anything. My brother postulated an interesting thought about the ending 'aliens' however... He thought that they were the Mechas - 2000 years evolved. Going back to Jude Law's statement about how they were made too smart, too many and too fast and how in the end there 'will be only us'. That indeed, that was all that WAS left after the ice age - and that they evolved and the 'originals' were worn out and that was the reason that they were so excited to find David - he was actually 'alive' concurrently with humans. I couldn't figure out what the 'alien's' interest in humans was all about - but it would make more sense if they were interested because humans had been their creators...

That made the ending a little less 'out there' for me...

Any other thoughts?


Registered User
(7/27/01 1:51:06 pm)
Well, we just saw it yesterday, and it's a movie I'm awfully glad I saw, though I thought it was very flawed.

I'm with those who feel that the movie should have ended with David at the bottom of the sea with the blue fairy -- then to me it would have been a deeply painful story about unfulfilled longing.

To me the leaving in the woods was much more Hansel and Gretel than Snow White, everyone's nightmare of being abandoned by a parent in the dark woods.

I think the Sleeping Beauty theme was underscored musically -- wasn't it the Sleeping Beauty Waltz that was playing while the mother was reading to Martin (when he was still sick)? Or am I wrong?

I thought it was a beautifully made film, and one with a pretty bleak vision (despite the "happy" ending) -- the humans were so cruel and the "good" people were all mechas.

Lots to talk about!

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