RANKED: Steven Spielberg (#17 — A.I.: Artificial Intelligence)

Photo: Warner Bros.

Photo: Warner Bros.

Chris Luckett

17. A.I.:

Release Date: June 29, 2001

Chronology: After taking a few years off after Saving Private Ryan, A.I.: Artificial Intelligence arrived a year before Minority Report and Catch Me If You Can

Box Office: $79 million ($105 million, adjusted for inflation)

Oscars: 2 nominations, 0 wins

Premise: Legendary director Stanley Kubrick passed away during pre-production on A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, so Spielberg (who was close friends with Kubrick) picked up the torch in making this modern Pinocchio tale. Haley Joel Osment plays David, an artificially intelligent and self-aware robot designed to help grieving parents who’ve lost a child. Monica (Frances O’Connor) adopts him to fill the void left by her comatose son, but when her son wakes up, Monica leaves David at the side of the road, sending David on a journey of mystery, terror, and self-discovery.

Over two hours?: Yep

John Williams Score?: Yes

Father Issues?: The entire movie is about a robotic boy searching for the man who created him. So, yeah.

War?: No war this time

Aliens?: No, although people often mistakenly think the advanced robots at the end of the movie are aliens

Special Appearances: Jude Law, Robin Williams, William Hurt, Clark Gregg, Brendan Gleeson, Ben Kingsley, Meryl Streep, Chris Rock, and Adrian Grenier

Fun Fact: The movie was originally going to simply be called A.I., but surveyed subjects read the title as A1, so the subtitle “Artificial Intelligence” was added to avoid audiences thinking it was a movie about steak sauce.

Best Line: “You are a real boy. At least, as real as I’ve ever made one.”

Best Scene: 

Verdict: Before The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, A.I.: Artificial Intelligence was the movie many pointed to as having way too many endings, and it certainly does have at least one too many. Still, the ingenuity and creativity of the world of the movie is so amazingly rich, it feels less like a futuristic story than a glimpse into the future – something Spielberg would explore to even greater depths in Minority Report. Osment and Law both give brilliantly mechanical performances, and Spielberg does an excellent job of capturing the spirit and visual style of Kubrick.

Rating: 4 stars / 5