What was all that guff about humans only being able to occupy one part of spacetime before vanishing forever? Why can the mother only be resurrected for one day? What makes the humans so fracking unique, huh? All that talk of spirits and souls robs the final blissful apotheosis of some of its uncomfortable undertones. Spielberg's fuzziness gets in the way of what should be the underlying existential horror running through this film – that human beings are an assemblage of circuits and that fairy-tales are a virus corrupting our software. Love can be coded. We're all going to die. The universe will stand bemused, indifferent.
THAT I can understand. The cold hard universe-eyed-view of us puny humans on our puny polluted planet. That is the starting point of great science fiction. And it will make those moments of love, gentleness, happiness all the more precious, because they are tiny pinpricks in a vast darkness. The fuck do we care if we just live out the destinies written in our genes, the possibilities our foggy minds suggest to us. Doesn't make that experience any less real or valuable or meaningful. I needed that edge from A.I. to make the sentimentality wash. I didn't mind the alien-like future beings at all. If anything, my problem with the film is that it was too human.
Where the allusions to filmmaking are, I cannot tell. I mean, it kicks off with a reference to Genesis – God created human beings and can treat them as he pleases (making Genesis a riot to read, btw, totally unhinged). Human beings exercise a similar tyranny over the narratives they create, the stories they tell. But Grant Morrison has spent a career confronting this particular idea head on, this film suggests it and moves on.
I'm not going to slam this too hard, because Jude Law and Haley Joel Osment were perfect. And then there's OMG THAT TEDDY SO CUTE I WANT ONE!!! Plus there are some fairy-tale meets reality parts of the film – the wolves in the forest, the carnivalesque zombie-robots, the flesh fair – that were striking and evocative and what have you. But I'm not going to come to Spielberg for philosophy. I don't think he has the stomach to do it properly. By which I mean, of course, the way I like it.