Ending to AI (spoilers)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Simon Massey, Feb 3, 2002.

  1. Simon Massey

    Simon Massey Cinematographer
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    This thread carried of from a discussion in a previous thread.
    __________________________________________________ __________
    The film brings up all sorts of questions about the nature of existence and love, but allows you to make up your own mind about David ? Yes, he isn’t human, as he is made up of machinery, but is his existence and wish to be loved any less valid than our own ? How should he be treated ? At what point do you draw the line between “reality” and “artificiality” ? Throughout the entire film, David is treated by the human characters as an object, a piece of property, which you might get attached to, but if it breaks, you can always get another one? As the film progresses you start to sympathize with David because you, the audience, feel he is more than just an object (or I did anyway) Thus I began to feel more for the character. But at the end, the scenes with David in the house with the artificial “Monica”, and his blind acceptance of her love, to me reinforced David’s artificiality.
     
  2. Chris Lynch

    Chris Lynch Stunt Coordinator

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  3. Chris Lynch

    Chris Lynch Stunt Coordinator

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    Sorry for the double post, and sorry for jumping in on this conversation right smack dab in the middle of it, but I needed to say this:

    OOPS!

     
  4. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    What kills me is that by most accounts the A.I. ending is much like what Kubrick had in mind all along, even before Spielberg came aboard.

    I would add that the ending and the themes fit very closely to the short story the film is based on "Super Toys That Last All Summer Long". And the beginning of the story has scenes brought to life directly from the story.

    I think the film felt very much like that story fleshed out by Kubrick.

    And the ending was ironic as hell to me. David would never achieve his goal, though he was fooled into thinking he did. Worse yet is that the new A.I.'s didn't understand the failure anymore than he did. Human existence is gone as we know it.

    Yet are AI's the latest incarnation of human existence in many ways. Maybe they are what "human" now is.

    I also think SS is great in his evaluation of the situation. He doesn't blame anyone in terms of being "wrong", just seems to understand how things have been misunderstood. I love his openness on the subject and I wish he would do more discussions about his work or even some commentaries. I love hearing him discuss the making of Jaws for example.
     
  5. Anthony Hom

    Anthony Hom Supporting Actor

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    It may have been Kubrick's inital vision, let us not forget that Kubrick usually re-writes his scripts during filming. Alterations take place during principal photography. Maybe he might have kept this ending, maybe he would have changed it.

    We'll never know. At least Speilberg kept the original vision, even though we can debate until the end of time whether Kubrick would have kept it or changed it.
     
  6. Simon Massey

    Simon Massey Cinematographer
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    As a continuation of my previous post, I think it took a lot of guts for Spielberg to go with the ending he had. He is surely aware that he has a (misplaced) reputation for "happy-ever-after" fairytale endings, and that, given the ambiguity of the ending, he must have realised it could easily be interpreted in this way as well. For me the so-called "downer" ending under the water is a cop-out as well, and leaves little room for discussion about the ideas and questions the film had raised. It would smack of Spielberg saying to the audience "See, I can do dark endings to my films as well [​IMG]"
    Another thought I had initially was that David's blind acceptance of the artificial Monica's love could be characterised as a non-artificial trait as well. Humans have a great desire to be loved and accepted, especially children, and if the lack of such love and acceptance is completely absent, as in David's case, would it not also be a human response to seek and accept any attention or love, no matter how artificial or "unreal" ?
    I still side towards the artificiality of David, though, given that my interpretation of him going to sleep is "death" and not "mimicing sleep behaviour".
     
  7. Rex Bachmann

    Rex Bachmann Screenwriter

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    Well, that's quite an analysis. Quite an interpretation. Good luck with it.
    As I said previously, the whole story is sort of an irony in that the android boy seeks to become a "real boy" a la Pinocchio---and they weren't the least bit subtle at all about the analogy---and he can never be that. An ant is ant and an elephant is an elephant. There may be some ways an ant is similar to or can mimic an elephant; but it will never be an elephant.
    There's a (mad?) M.I.T. scientist, featured in several PBS specials and in the press a lot, who gleefully(!) predicts that man will be descended by artificial life forms a la those in this movie. So, not a bad message for a science-fiction film, if that was Mr. Kubrick's intention for the outcome.
    Still, I'm left with the question of just how sad was the ending of Dr. Strangelove (my favorite Kubrick film), to my mind a far grimmer piece than this. Well, in point of fact, it was not "sad" at all, despite the (presumed) end of mankind with the portrayal of the detonation of the doomsday device. In fact, there's an ironic jubilation in the song that accompanies the film footage of nuclear blasts at the end. The "sad" stuff, therefore,---the very mood of A.I.'s finale I think is Spielberg, whoever may deserve credit/blame for the content.
    And, aside from any intentions of the author creators here, is the fact that the verisimilitude of the turn of events is for me low. I never bought that a new "ice age" would eliminate the entire human population of X-billions of people. Hominids survived the last glaciation without either the technological knowledge or the teaming numbers that we have today and are projected to have in the near future. Surely, some of that vast population would survive. And, from where I sit, if you can't swallow that twist as the most probable one, it then becomes harder to get in the mood to be "saddened" by the eventual loss of humanity. Maybe that's just me.
    Finally, the fade-out at the end of the movie, if I remember it correctly, looks ever so much like the final page of an old children's picture storybook to me (". . . and they lived happily ever after"). I doubt that the resemblance is any co-incidence. I'm still not clear the kid dies. I'll have to watch the film again for definite evidence.
    I think A.I. is a good (often technically superb), but flawed film.
     
  8. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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  9. Simon Massey

    Simon Massey Cinematographer
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  10. Anthony_D

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    I just dont see how Kubrick actually planned this ending...are there any quotes directly from him which indicates that the ending were his wishes for the film?? It sure seems like SS tacked that last 20 or so minutes on to the film.
     
  11. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

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  12. Rex Bachmann

    Rex Bachmann Screenwriter

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    Simon Massey wrote:
    Hope against hope. I'm not joking in the least. (Why would I waste my time in this forum doing that?) It's no more "ridiculous"(!) than the usual ontological-existential happy-sappy-pappy bullshit propogated both institutionally and individually in the West, especially on this (the Western) side of the Atlantic (of which I have some experience). I am not an adherent of the received notions on life.
     
  13. Simon Massey

    Simon Massey Cinematographer
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  14. WoodyH

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  15. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    While I didn't have a problem with Robin Williams voicing Dr. Know (perhaps the program was designed for his voice, him being famous and all), I agree that Chris Rock in the Flesh Fair was jarring and out of place.
     
  16. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    Are people forgetting that AI is a fairy tale told from the POV of the advanced AI/Robots of the future? That sensibility would lead to such a tale fashioned by sterile "sentient" beings trying to convey human emotions.

    Also, the main problem with David is that he lacked free will, so he was simply following his "prime directive" which was to make his imprinted mother love him. Never could he not love his imprinted mother, he simply lacked that choice.

    That, we, as humans, identify with his yearning for parental love doesn't lessen the effect of his quandry in his search for actions that would allow his programming to interpret as being loved by his imprinted mother. We simply draw parallels to our own experiences with parental love, and layer David's journey with our own.

    The closest thing that the advanced mecha will come to understand about human love is embodied in David, thus they created a fairy tale in their own terms to convey that "state of feeling/emotion" that forever separates man from mecha.

    IOW, "Close, but no cigar."
     
  17. Simon Massey

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    Excellent post Patrick and some good points which I hadn't considered.
     
  18. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    The thing that I found to be both ironic and sadly beautiful about the film is that David loves in exactly the manner in which we idealize and romanticize the notion of love, to the point that it is too perfect. The romantic notions of undying unconditional unilateral forgive-all come-what-may love prove to be at turns touching, frightening, destructive, and obsessive. This human idealization of love when put into corporeal form via an android is completely unworkable if it is ever unrequited. David's greatest flaw is that he cannot stop loving or change the object of his affection. In many ways, Gigolo Joe is a better functioning "love machine" [​IMG].
    One begins to realize that the most idealized romantic notions of love that we are familar with via art and literature are kind of scary and that in their purest form are as likely to manifest themselves in the form of Glenn Close in "Fatal Attraction" as they are Leonardo DiCaprio in "Titanic"[​IMG], all depending on the interaction with the object of affection and one's ability to modulate, adapt, and control their love.
    The ending is so interesting because it complete's David's quest in an emotionally moving way, yet one recognizes it as fruitless and pathetic on an intellectual level. That is exactly what I would hope for in a Spielberg directed film from a Stanley Kubrick concept.
    This interpretation in no way invalidate's anyone else's interpretations above. One of the great things about AI is that it works on so many different levels that you can keep picking it up and examining it from different angles, always seeing something new and interesting.
    Regards,
     
  19. Simon Massey

    Simon Massey Cinematographer
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  20. Simon Massey

    Simon Massey Cinematographer
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    Mr Bachmann

    I got your message, but couldn't send one back so I posted here instead as this is the most likely way of catching you.

    Suffice to say that I have misinterpreted your previous comments and thank you for clearing up that point - sorry about that.
     

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