A.I. and Minority Report

(Welcome to 21st Century Spielberg, an ongoing column that examines the challenging, sometimes misunderstood 21st century filmography of one of our greatest living filmmakers, Steven Spielberg. First up: A.I. and Minority Report.)

“What if Peter Pan grew up?” pondered the tagline of Steven Spielberg’s 1991 fantasy Hook. It was an intriguing premise: what would happen if the perpetual child – the boy who refused to get older – embraced the cold, stark, finite nature of adulthood? Of course, the compelling concept of this tagline is all but forgotten in the runtime of Hook, where the adult Peter Pan quickly reverts to childhood in order to save the day. Still, what a notion!

Sometimes, life imitates art. In the 21st century, Steven Spielberg, the perpetual child – the pop culture impresario who found a way to turn childhood and nostalgia into a lucrative, highly entertaining art form – did something remarkable.

In the 21st century, Steven Spielberg grew up.

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Steven Spielberg Stanley Kubrick side-by-side shot comparison

If you’re more than a casual fan of either Steven Spielberg or Stanley Kubrick, then you likely know that the film A.I. Artificial Intelligence is basically a collaboration between the two filmmakers. Kubrick began working on the film in the 1970s and kept developing it through the 90s, mostly because he didn’t believe technology would effectively allow him to create the lead character David in the way he wanted.

In 1995, Kubrick handed the project to Steven Spielberg, who would run with it starting in 1999 following the death of the iconic director behind The Shining, A Clockwork Orange and 2001: A Space Odyssey. However, when you look at some parts of A.I. Artificial Intelligence, it’s almost as if Kubrick was looking over Spielberg’s shoulder. There are some striking similarities in shots between the 2001 sci-fi film and Kubrick’s previous work.

Watch the Steven Spielberg Stanley Kubrick side-by-side shot comparison after the jump. Read More »

Artificial Intelligence video essay

While some movies are immediately beloved and acclaimed, destined to be one of the films we talk about every year for decades, others come and go without much pomp and circumstance. One of those movies seems to have been A.I. Artificial Intelligence, the former Stanley Kubrick project that was completed by Steven Spielberg and released in 2001.

The film certainly wasn’t a dud, but it wasn’t universally acclaimed either. At the time, Rotten Tomatoes wasn’t used as a reference point for the quality of a movie, but retrospectively, it has a 73%, which is a decent score for such a dense, wandering sci-fi fairytale of sorts.

Over the years, as the film has gotten older, some critics and bloggers have revisited the film, finding it to even improve with age and reexamination. And that’s just what a new video has done, examining the film in a 15-minute visual study. Watch the Artificial Intelligence video essay after the jump! Read More »