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From: Adam Stephanides <adamsteph@earthlink.net>
Subject: Re: (urth) O.T. and A.I. (spoilers)
Date: Sun, 07 Oct 2001 11:01:34 

on 10/6/01 12:05 PM, Tony Ellis at LittleSense@necronomicon.co.uk wrote:

> Although as Adam Stephanidies


> I can't agree that the first part of the picture is brilliantly directed. A
> film about a robot boy who can love that opens with a lecture from an
> idealistic scientist to his students explaining that they're going to make a
> robot boy who can love. does not impress me much

When I said the first part was brilliantly directed, I had temporarily
forgotten Dr. Hobby's lecture, which I agree is a clumsy device.  "This is
what the film is going to be about, so take notes."

> The middle section is a lot livelier, which is to say it's a completely
> different film, with a fine performance by Jude Law. I can't argue with the
> points made in this thread that the Rouge City sequence is heavy-handed and
> pastiche Bladerunner, but hell, at least it gave us something interesting to
> look at. Spielberg could have made the whole film more watchable, not to say
> suspenseful, simply by opening with this section, and gradually explaining
> how David came to be on the run in a series of flashbacks.

To my mind that would have been all wrong.  The heart of the picture is
David's relationship with Monica, and starting with David in Rogue City
would just confuse this.

And I didn't like Jude Law's performance (though I'm in a small minority on
this): much too vaudevillian for me.  Kubrick had intended Gigolo Joe to be
much more sinister and aggressive, which might have been an improvement.
(He had also intended Rogue City's architecture to be much more blatant,
which probably wouldn't.)

> If it had ended with David underwater this would still have been a halfway
> decent film. The 'second ending' as it is being called is cloyingly,
> mawkishly, tediously sentimental, and I think Adam is giving the director
> more credit than he deserves in seeing it as a psychological tragedy.
> Spielberg is not exactly famous for his bleak, unhappy endings.
> If he had shown David waking up the next morning beside the cold, stiff
> corpse of his precious Mummy then maybe, yes. But Spielberg makes the film
> end with the fatherly, fairytale narrator assuring us that a) David's last
> moment with her lasted for ever as he had hoped, and that b) for the first
> time ever, David dreamed that night. Translation: a) love can transcend
> death, and b) Pinocchio became a real little boy in the end.

I didn't like the narration at the end either (although it was Kubrick who
wanted David to become a real boy).  And I found the the scene where Teddy
pulls out the lock of Monica's hair cringe-worthy on both viewings, although
it does serve the narrative function of showing that "Monica" is not a
construct produced by the mechas from David's memories (if she were, there
would be no reason to first tell David they couldn't bring her back).  But I
still don't agree the ending is mawkish.  I think Spielberg left it open for
people to take it that way, which may have been a mistake, but it wasn't his
intended meaning.

> As for the dire psuedoscience wheeled on to justify this tearjerker ending.
> All I can say is that people who found the end of The Amber Spyglass
> contrived (which would include me) are unlikely to find this one much of an
> improvement.

Agreed; but again, it's not entirely Spielberg's fault.  For whatever
reason, Kubrick wanted David to be reunited with Monica for only one day,
and Spielberg had to rationalize this somehow.  I don't think there was any
good way to do it.

As to the rest, we'll have to agree to disagree.


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