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File:Ai artificial intelligence.jpg

What do you get when you cross a Steven Spielberg movie with a Stanley Kubrick movie?

You get A.I.: Artificial Intelligence.

In the 22nd century, global disasters have drastically reduced the human population. In an effort to maintain human society, humanlike androids called mechas are developed and programmed to simulate humanlike behavior and emotions. Among them is an advanced prototype named David (Haley Joel Osment), a child robot with the ability to virtually feel love, rather than simulate the appropriate behaviors. The Cybertronics company tests out David on two of its workers, Henry and Monica Swinton, whose son Martin has been placed under suspended animation until a cure can be found for his rare disease. Though Monica is initially afraid of this artificial child, she eventually warms to him after activating his imprinting protocol, which irreversibly causes him to feel love for his new "mother".

However, disaster strikes after Martin is cured, leaving David cast off and alone with his mechanical teddy bear companion Teddy, searching for his place in the world, ultimately embarking on a journey to find his own humanity alongside Gigolo Joe (Jude Law), a "love mecha" also on the run after one of his clients is killed.

Released in 2001, this adaptation of the Brian Aldiss short story "Supertoys Last All Summer Long" had started development under Kubrick in the early 1970s, under a long series of writers hired by Kubrick himself to try to bring his vision to life, but had languished in Development Hell for years due to the limitations of CGI, which Kubrick believed would be necessary to bring the childlike robot hero to life. Finally, in 1995 Kubrick handed over the project to Spielberg, but it continued to languish until Kubrick's death in 1999.

Tropes used in A.I.: Artificial Intelligence include:
  • Adaptation Expansion
  • Alternate Reality Game: One of these one concocted as a marketing tool - and appears to be the first such.
  • And I Must Scream: Thousands of years of being locked in ice, staring and praying at a statue that can never grant what David wants. Yikes.
  • Apocalypse How Planetary/Species Extinction, by the end of the movie.
  • Arc Words: "Please make me a real boy."
  • Artificial Human: A truly heartbreaking example here.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Implied in the pool scene. "Then let's see what you can't pee with."
  • Berserk Button: David does not take the fact that there are more of his model well, to put it mildly. And it follows with...
  • Big Applesauce
  • Bittersweet Ending: The transhuman robots of the future find David and Teddy frozen, the only two functional mechas who knew living humans. Using David's memories, the mechas reconstruct the Swinton home, and explain to him via the Blue Fairy that he cannot become human. However, they recreate Monica from a lock of her hair saved by Teddy and restore her memories from the space-time. She can only live for a single day though and the process cannot be repeated. Thus, David spends the happiest day of his life playing with Monica and Teddy. Monica tells David that she has always loved him as she drifts slowly away from the world. And so, David closes his eyes for the last time, and goes "to that place where dreams are born."
  • Black Robot Dies First
  • Blue Eyes: David, as displayed very prominently in this trailer.
  • Break the Cutie
  • The Cameo / Hey, It's That Voice!:
    • Robin Williams as the voice of Dr. Know.
    • Chris Rock has an even briefer and more random cameo as one of the robots destroyed at the Flesh Fair.
    • Meryl Streep as the Blue Fairy.
    • Ben Kingsley is the narrator and the Advanced Mecha leader. He also appears makes an on-screen appearance as a technician in a scene where David is repaired after eating spinach.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The lock of Monica's hair that Martin goads David into cutting off.
  • Children Are Innocent: Played with, but with David, ultimately played straight.
  • Creepy Child: David. It's not his fault.
  • Department of Redundancy Department / Shaped Like Itself / Viewers are Morons: The title, obviously; it's a bit like calling a movie "FBI: Federal Bureau of Investigation." The film was originally titled simply "A.I.", but apparently the studio discovered that moviegoers misread the poster as "A.1." and wondered why anyone would make a movie about steak sauce.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Invoked intentionally during the flesh fair. David is panicking realistically, while the other robots who presumably do not have his advanced emotion programming have dull, calm expressions even while fleeing for their lives.
  • Distant Finale: David and Teddy remain frozen in the ice for over 2,000 years before they're thawed out by the Future Mechas, when humanity has long since died out.
  • Do Androids Dream?: The role of David's and Gigolo Joe's original programming in shaping their behavior, or not.
  • Driven to Suicide: After he's told by Professor Hobby that the Blue Fairy isn't real and being confronted with an entire assembly line of copies of himself, David jumps off the Cybertronics building into the Ocean. Subverted, as since he's a Mecha the fall can't kill him, nor does he drown.
  • Eating Machine: David discovers the hard way he isn't one.
  • Einstein Hair: Dr. Know is a cartoon Einstein, complete with (of course) the hair.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The patrons of the flesh fair cheer as machines are horribly disfigured and destroyed. But They are appalled that the operator would want to kill a child, machine or not.
  • Eye Awaken: When Monica activates David's seven-word code in the trailer. Very slowly.
  • Failsafe Failure: Shortly after Martin is cured, he's having a party with his friends, and the kids decide it would be a hilarious idea to test David's personal safety subroutines. Right next to the pool. They do this by gently approaching his arm with a knife, at which point he takes a death grip on Martin and begs him to "Keep me safe", which freaks out Martin, overbalancing them both into the pool and nearly drowning Martin. Granted, David is meant to mimic a child, but holy crap—how did the potential for this sort of thing to go wrong not come up in testing?
    • David is a prototype, and laboratory tests never work out all the problems. Granted, this is a fairly major problem, but also a rather specific one (robot is threatened near a pool and the person he feels responsible for his safety just happens to be wearing a heavy and awkward exoskeleton on his legs). And again, David's a prototype. The whole movie basically is his testing period.
  • Fantastic Racism: Of the most chillingly inhumane kind.
    • Fantastic Slur: Lord Johnson-Johnson calls robots "iron". (the acceptable terms are "mecha" and "orga", removing the -nic from both)
  • Foreshadowing: When we first see David's silhouette, the light distorts it to resemble the body shape of one of the future mechas.
    • Gigolo Joe's confident prediction that the human race will go extinct and only mechas will be left.
  • Go Out with a Smile:
    • The Nanny-bot at the flesh fair.
    • David, at the end.
  • The Hero Dies: David, but he lived long enough to find his happy ending.
  • History Marches On: In the movie, the World Trade Center is still standing in the ice-choked ruins of New York after two thousand years. In Real Life, this movie was released only a few months before 9/11.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Gets a slight aversion at the end of the flesh-fair, when Lord Johnson Johnson is exhorting the crowd to kill David and they turn on him instead.
    • Mainly because he looks like a little kid and he's begging for his life - the mechas never begged for their lives before.
    • The only reason David was spared was because the crowd couldn't be convinced that he was a robot.
  • Humanity's Wake
  • Humans Are Flawed: Gigolo Joe's opinion.
  • Humans Are Special: The Future Mechas clearly say that they are studying humans because they believe them to hold the key to the Meaning of Life.
  • Inferred Holocaust
  • Innocent Inaccurate: A programmed version. Gigolo Joe thinks that a client's horrible bruises are the result of sexual "passion," although the woman has clearly been abused.
  • It's What I Do: Gigolo Joe's response when David asks him about the dancing. Part of the film's Do Androids Dream? debate (a freely willed act, or just executing a string of code?).
  • Jerkass:
    • Martin.
    • Henry qualifies when you think about it. He's the one who brings David home to "replace" Martin and then gets creeped out by the fact that David is so "creepily human". On top of that, AFTER Monica bonds with David, Henry shows signs of hostility towards David even before Martin gets better. Which leads to Unfortunate Implications that mothers and offspring can and will form powerful attachments, but fathers and offspring can not and will not form any attachments even if their lives depend on it.
  • Just a Machine: There is a group of humans who hunt and brutally destroy mechas to vent their rage at the automation of labor.
  • Meaningful Name: "David" means "beloved".
  • Mechanical Evolution
  • Mistaken for Murderer: Why Gigolo Joe is on the run.
  • Monumental Damage: Note the Statue of Liberty's torch on the way to Manhattan.
  • Moral Myopia: We see a group of humans that make a sport and spectacle of publicly destroying sentient robots in various ways. They are shown having great concern when the possibility that a child has gone missing on their grounds and that it may have been confused with a robot is presented to them. Meanwhile, the crowd who've gathered to see this show end up rioting when the MC tries to have the child-mecha David dissolved in acid, and it's clear that they did this mostly because the MC failed to prove that David was a robot.
  • Noodle Incident: Before hunting down Gigolo Joe, Lord Johnson-Johnson asks his subordinate to confirm that Joe isn't human, alluding to an otherwise unexplained (but probably fatal) "Trenton incident." The fan-made novelisation both confirms and expands on this: a homeless man, drunk and scanned with dodgy equipment, ended up captured by the Mecha-hunters and ripped to pieces on stage- almost ending the Flesh Fair for good.
  • Novelization: An online, fan-made one still exists here; it expands on much of the story, on numerous minor characters, and the mysterious Specialists at the end of the film.
  • Our Souls Are Different: Apparently, spacetime itself stores information about past events and people.
  • Parental Favoritism: Admittedly, David is "just" a realistic robot.
  • Phrase Catcher: "Hey, Joe, whaddya know?"
    • "Hey, Jane, how's da game?"
  • Pick Your Human Half: Averted - David has both the appearance and behaviour of a human.
  • Pinocchio Syndrome: Anviliciously and deliberately used here, complete with a Blue Fairy.
  • Population Control: Mentioned in the expository voice-over as a response to the polar ice-caps melting and the coastlines flooding.
  • Punny Name: If you tried to find out the identity of the Puppetmasters running the Alternate Reality Game by querying DNS records, you'll get Geppeto in the name field.
  • Ragnarok Proofing: When David is discovered after 2000 years under the frozen sea, he is seen still mostly functional.
    • And New York City is intact under a sheet of ice. Mind you ice sheets move and would have long ago torn the city up and pushed the rubble into the sea.
  • Recycled in Space: Pinocchio IN THE FUTURE!
  • Replacement Goldfish: David is intended to spiritually replace the couple's comatose son - but things get awkward when he's no longer in a coma.
  • Ridiculously Human Robot: David is even more ridiculously human than normal robots. He even fools humans into thinking he's human.
    • He still can't eat or drink though.
  • Robot Buddy: Technically, David and Teddy are this to eachother, but Teddy fits the trope better.
  • Robot Kid: Why yes.
  • Rule of Pool: The fact you know it's coming doesn't make it any less heartrending.
  • Secret Project Refugee Family: The gang of runaway robots.
  • Sex Bot: Gigolo Joe, a rare male example, and Gigolo Jane, his female counterpart.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The beginning of the Flesh Fair scene involves an elaborate, drawn-out, single-camera shot involving fair workers and Teddy. This is generally regarded as an homage to Stanley Kubrick’s style of cinematography.
    • Whether intentional or not the film has a few Disney related references, some blatant, others subtle. There's the entire Pinocchio plot but then we have Monica (David's mother) playing "Once Upon a Dream" from Sleeping Beauty to her cryogenically frozen son... She's then also humming the tune latter before going to a party with her husband and as they're leaving her shoe slips in a Cinderella moment. There is a possible referance to Tron, the bikers sent to collect robots for the flesh lights are on Tron-esque bikes and have Tron Lines.
    • Gigolo Joe dancing down the street is a Shout-Out to Singin in The Rain.
    • Hello, Doctor Know?
  • Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids: Gigolo Joe goes down this route once it becomes clear that David will stop at nothing to find the Blue Fairy and be reunited with his mother, whether or not he has to abandon Joe in the process.
  • Skele-Bot 9000: The advanced Mechas at the ending.
  • Sliding Scale of Robot Intelligence: Towards human.
  • Stan Winston: Teddy, a puppet of astounding realism and personality, is often lauded as Stan's best creation since The Alien Queen.
  • Super-Powered Robot Meter Maids: Averted. David has no super powers, and when injured he reacts like any child would.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: David already knows that he's a machine. He later discovers to his horror that he isn't special - there are other Davids (and Darlenes), all mass-produced, all not special.
  • Tech Marches On: Doctor Know, an information service that charges per question, and by "question", we mean "anything ending in a question mark". Too bad there is not a free source of information available in a public place in the future, huh?
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Inverted, the "sinful earth" dies first, David outlives it.
  • Tragic Dream
  • Transhuman Aliens: A rare positive example.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: Possible aversion. It is unclear what happened to humans by the end of the movie, but it is apparent that they are extinct, and the silvery robotlike beings outlived them. Plus, they were also genuinely interested in studying humans and were utterly fascinated with them.
  • Underwater Ruins: Of a mostly submerged New York City, no less.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Teddy at the end. Those aliens/robots better look after him.
  • What Is This Thing You Call Love?: Explored from two different angles by David, the child-mecha, and Gigolo Joe, the prostitute mecha.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: The entire movie is a discussion of this.
  • Why Did You Make Me Hit You?: The murderer's excuse for killing Gigolo Joe's client, Samantha.