Artificial Intelligence: AI (2001)

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Released 13-Mar-2002

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Menu Animation & Audio
Featurette-Creating A.I.
Featurette-Acting A.I.: A Portrait Of David; A Portrait Of Gigolo Joe
Featurette-Designing A.I.: From Drawings To Sets; Dressing A.I.
Featurette-Lighting A.I.
Featurette-Special Effects
Featurette-Robots Of A.I.
Featurette-Special Visual Effects and Animation: ILM (5)
Featurette-The Sound And Music Of A.I.: Sound Design; Score
Featurette-Closing: Steven Spielberg: Our Responsibility To A.I.
Theatrical Trailer-2
Storyboards-3
Gallery-Prod Dsgn (9); ILM (6); Portrait Gallery; Spielberg BTS
Filmographies-Cast & Crew
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 139:51
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (72:50)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Steven Spielberg
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Haley Joel Osment
Jude Law
Frances O'Connor
Case Slip Case
RPI $39.95 Music John Williams


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 EX (384Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 EX (384Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 EX (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
Italian
Dutch
Arabic
Spanish
Portuguese
German
Romanian
Bulgarian
English for the Hearing Impaired
Italian for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    A.I. is unlike any movie I can recall watching in a long time. It is a fascinating story that started over 15 years ago as a project that director Stanley Kubrick had in the pipeline. He spoke to Steven Spielberg years later about the possibility of him directing the film and Kubrick producing the film. After Kubrick's death, Spielberg decided he would still like to go ahead with the film and sought the blessing of the Kubrick estate to proceed. At the time Spielberg took on the project, he was in negotiations with Universal Pictures to direct Jurassic Park 3. He declined the Universal offer so he could concentrate solely on A.I. which he thought was the better of the two movies.

    A.I. is set in the future. The polar ice caps have melted, leaving cities like Amsterdam, Venice and New York all underwater. We are taken to a lecture room where we learn that mechanical robots (Meccas) have been built and that they can now take the place of humans. David (Haley Joel Osmont) was built to be a caring loving child to a family. He is brought to his new home where he soon develops a very close bond with his new mother played brilliantly by Frances O'Connor. Any family who adopts a Mecca and no longer wants the robot must return it to the manufacturer where by law the robot must be destroyed, so after a couple of mishaps where David nearly drowns his adopted brother and cuts a lock of his mother's hair off one night while she is sleeping in bed, she decides to drive him out to the middle of the forest where she will abandon him to fend for himself rather than have him destroyed. It is at this time that we are introduced to Gigolo Joe (Jude Law), a cool and classy Mecca who says he has a real way with the ladies. Gigolo Joe takes David under his wing and the two of them take off together looking for some unanswered questions that David needs to find the answers to. The next  phase of the movie occurs 2000 years later, but I won't spoil the plot by telling you what happens from here. I must admit, though, that the ending was not quite what I was expecting.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer of this movie is first rate and is of reference quality.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is extremely clear and sharp with fine details coming through in splendid detail. The picture looks a little grainy early on in the film, but this was the filmmakers' desired look - it looked exactly the same theatrically. Shadow detail looked amazing. In the darker scenes in the film, everything could be seen without any problem at all. Low level noise was completely absent throughout this movie.

    The colours looked wonderful with a very stylised neon appearance. Colours were vibrant and rich but never distracting.

    There were no MPEG artefacts seen at all - this is about as good as a movie will look when transferred to disc.

    This disc is an RSDL disc with the layer change placed at 72.50 which is approximately half way through the movie.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio on this disc was somewhat quiescent in nature which surprised me considering that it was a Spielberg film - his movies normally have very active soundtracks. Nonetheless, it was still a very pleasant listening experience. The sound effects were very well placed throughout the movie and never distracted.

    There are three audio tracks on this DVD; you have to select from a start-up menu which language you wish to listen to so there is no default setting. The selections are; English Dolby Digital 5.1 EX, French Dolby Digital 5.1 EX and lastly Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 EX.

    The dialogue quality on this disc was first rate. Everything was clear and easy to understand. Audio sync was not a problem at all with this movie.

    The musical score by composer John Williams was wonderful. John seems to have the knack of putting together the finest musical scores around. His use of strings to heighten tension and piano for emotion is amazing. I am a big fan of his work.

    The surround channels were used quite often but when they were used it was mainly for ambient effects and music. There were also a few scenes in the movie when the surrounds were used very aggressively with full scale audio and bass below 40Hz.

    The subwoofer was highly active during the movie's louder moments, but it was also used to great effect throughout by the musical score.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    To call this disc a Special Edition would be an understatement - there are an enormous amount of extras. Unless otherwise stated, all the special features are in an aspect  ratio of 1.33:1 and are recorded in Dolby Digital 2.0.

Creating A.I. (12.07)

    This is the only special feature on Disc 1. All other extras after this one can be found on Disc 2. This feature explains how the story was conceived with interviews with Steven Spielberg and the rest of  the crew and how Stanley Kubrick believed Spielberg was the perfect director for this story.

Acting A.I.

A Portrait Of David (9.08)

    Explains how Haley Joel Osment got the part of David in the movie, including interviews with Spielberg about why he thought Osment was perfect for the part and how they got the actors to look robotic.

A Portrait Of Gigolo Joe (6.02)

    Shows how Spielberg envisioned the character of Gigolo Joe and how many hours a day Jude Law spent in the make-up room to achieve his unique look.

Designing A.I.

From Drawings To Sets (7.28)

    This feature shows how the movie's sets went from the drawing board to the final sets that were used in the movie's many lavish scenes.

Dressing  A.I. (5.30)

    Talks about how the costumes were picked for the many different characters in the movie, from very plain for the mother to very hip and cool for Gigolo Joe.

Lighting A.I. (4.25)

    Talks about how the movie is divided basically into three parts and how the movie had to look visually for the three different settings in the film.

Special Effects (7.45)

    Talks about how the movie's many special effects came to be including how they made New York appear to be underwater and how they gave the robots a unique look.

Robots of A.I. (13.44)

    Talks about how the many robots without families are always on the run from humans because if they are caught they are used in an entertainment show for humans where they are smashed and killed off in many different ways. Also shows how the robots' designs vary greatly from one another.

Special Visual Effects And Animation: ILM

An Overview (5.12)

    Talks about how Stanley Kubrick frequently spoke to Industrial Light and Magic over a period of many years about many of the special effects he had in mind for the movie and whether it would be possible to achieve them.

The Robots (3.26)

    Talks about how shadow detail was achieved and how ILM got the animatronics of the robots to work perfectly.

The Miniatures (4.18)

    Talks about how a lot of the movie's central locations were miniatures and shows how they made Coney Island look so real.

The New York City Sequence: Shot Progression (2.53)

    Shows how the computer graphics were designed for the shot of David and Gigolo Joe flying over an underwater New York.

Animating A.I. (8.08)

    Shows how the animators brought the movie to life through the use of computers and how David's toy (Teddy) was brought to life through animation.

The Sound And Music of A.I.

Sound Design (6.47)

    Informative interview with Gary Rydstrom who worked with Spielberg on many of his other films. Gary talks about how he achieved the movie's many exciting sound effects.

Score (5.49)

    Another informative piece talking about the musical score for the movie and how they used strings to heighten the suspense and piano for the movie's emotional moments. As previously mentioned, John Williams did the musical score for A.I.

A.I. Archives

Kaleidoscope (1.45)

    This is a teaser trailer for the movie. It is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and carries Dolby Digital 5.1 audio.

Introlink (2.13)

    This is a slightly longer trailer for the movie. It is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and carries Dolby Digital 5.1 audio.

Galleries

    Five different storyboard portfolios as well as portfolios from David James, Chris Butler and also Industrial Light and Magic. There are well over 200 still images spread over these five portfolios, but they are worth having a look at.

Cast Bios

    Cast biographies for Haley Joel Osment, Jude Law and many more of the cast.

Crew Bios

    Crew biographies including Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version misses out on;

    Both versions have exactly the same special features but we miss out on the DTS track, which is a big loss in my opinion, so I would choose the Region 1 version of this DVD over the Region 4 for that reason alone. (Ed. I'm not sure that I would agree, but readers are advised to weigh up the relative merits of PAL formatting versus DTS audio and decide for themselves which version they would prefer).

Summary

    A.I. for me was quite a good film - maybe not quite what I was expecting, but a fascinating movie all the same. Whether Spielberg made the right decision by passing over Jurassic Park 3 to take on A.I. is yet to been seen but only time will tell.

    The video transfer is of reference quality.

    The audio transfer is superb. Whilst not quite reference quality, it comes very close.

    The extras are excellent. Leave yourself plenty of time if you want you get through them all because there are an enormous number of them. This is a disc well worth adding to your collection and is highly recommended.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Stephen Wilson (read my bio)
Friday, February 15, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-737, using Component output
DisplayBarco 708mm CRT front projector (line doubled) onto a 2.5m wide 16x9 aspect screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderMeridian 568.
AmplificationAdcom 555 mk2 x3
Speakers3 Klipsch La-Scala speakers (left, centre and right); 2 Infinity sm122 speakers (rear); 2 Mirage bps 400 subwoofers with 400w built in amps

Other Reviews
DVD Net - Anthony H (read my bio)
Jeff K's Australian DVD Info Site - Magalie S
Dark Horizons - Garth F

Comments (Add)
Video too grainy? - REPLY POSTED
I'd expect Disc 2 to be single layer? - REPLY POSTED
Dolby Digital EX - Damien (biotech is godzilla)