A.I. or I Just Don’t Get It

I finally re-watched Spielberg’s A.I. for my essay and seriously, that movie just jumps from one plot hole to the next, doesn’t it? I mean…

  • Why build a child robot that cannot grow?
  • Or if it cannot, then why not build it to be reprogrammable since robots don’t die? Shouldn’t it be in the interest of the corporation’s capitalist interest to make as much profit out of that product as possible?
  • Why can’t David eat spinach without breaking, but is able to submerge in the pool without any problems at all?
  • That’s just awful and flawed design, really.
  • Where do his tears come from? Why can he cry but not eat spinach?
  • How come David has no idea about how the world works? He is scared of the moon coming towards him and does not seem to get that if you put a human under water that he will drown.
  • Also he cannot read social clues. Other than shitty programming the only explanation would be the authors forcing the world to fit their contrived plot…
  • And why does only the mother imprint on the child? Why not two parents?
  • Seriously, I do not want to delve into Spielberg’s psyche and Daddy issues. Like, at all. David’s phantasy at the end was fatherless.
  • Dr. Know is like google without the internet. Why, though? Humans can build robot children but no wireless network??
  • And one more thing: the entire middle section, humans are portrayed as the moral catastrophe above all, and the viewer empathizes with the robots. But 2000 years later the next evolution of robots (which I seriously did not understand at first viewing bc they used the iconography of aliens) seems to think humans were the best thing ever. What the actual fuck.
  • It’s also hilarious how pseudo time physics that have never been hinted at in the previous 2 hours prevent the aliens from bringing Monica back forever, so David can only be with her for one day. I mean, never mind that the aliens can read his mind and construct illusions and build spaceship boxes that dismantle themselves and then fly off in pieces. Successful cloning is obviously beyond them, makes perfect sense.

Seriously. I have no idea if it doesn’t make any sense because it was originally Kubrick’s idea and Spielberg adapted it, or if the film was always intended to be this contradictory, but it actually doesn’t matter since the viewer is the one to construct meaning with films and…. I’m just not getting it.

[Also this was written late at night and in a state of exasperation, so please forgive any blatant errors or typos…]

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I had Three Problems with “Kingsman” [spoilers ahead]

Don’t get me wrong – I LOVED the first two thirds to death, seriously. There were so many amazing things about the film, like the general premise, the aesthetic, the setting up of the plot, Gazelle or the entire Valentine character… but I left the theatre with a bitter aftertaste. And here is why:

  1. Harry’s death – and him staying dead: Given that his character was the catalyst for the entire plot, I was rather surprised when Valentine killed him. Even more surprised when he did not, in fact, come back and go all BAMF over the big showdown. However, in the light of the entire “It’s not that kind of movie” theme, I understand that the lack of resurrection did serve a function in the overall structure of the film – it just left me deeply disappointed. I could have overcome this one, mind you, if it weren’t for the ensuing last third…
  2. The chauvinistic male power-fantasy ending: I understand that the entire film is a male power phantasy and basically the male version of Jupiter Ascending in terms of wish fulfilment. And I mean, Kingsman did pull off a great female character – then why do they have to ruin it with the anal joke at the end? Eggsy getting the princess after everything would have been just fine – why portray anal sex as the ultimate price in such a crude way? What I’m taking issue with here is the “if you save the world you’ll get to fuck me from behind” line (not quoted verbatim, though) and the last image Merlin sees through the camera, where the princess is wriggling on her stomach in front of Eggsy on the bed. I cannot put into words exactly what it was that disgusted me exactly, but it lies within these two images.
  3. The way they handled the violence: Don’t get me wrong, the aesthetics up until the heads explosion scene were awesome. Especially Gazelle’s scenes were incredibly well done in terms of cinematography and generally made me really happy. Even the computer-game style POV shots added to the aesthetic… However, when the heads started exploding and it was all colourful smoke and fireworks…

Granted. Valentine can’t see blood, so it makes sense that he designed the chips in a way that would keep the red stuff to a minimum. But what the utterly unrealistically shaped clouds of smoke and brain matter made me realise was just how overly glorified violence was in this film.

I love action movies. I have nothing against mountains of corpses piling up behind a protagonist. What Kingsman did that I do not agree with, is take the finality out of violence. It’s all very nicely staged, makes you go “wow” and “ahhh” with awe, though not once does the film actually portray, let alone pay any heed to the incredible scope of death and destruction that was left in its wake. I’m not advocating a long philosophical discussion of the ethics of killing for the greater good, though declaring “Everyone is saved!” while half the world has just bashed each other’s heads in and the world’s leaders are all lying in a mountain bunker with exploded heads… That is sending the wrong message for me.

There was no reflection on the millions that surely died during the time the sim cards were active. There was only a celebration featuring anal sex of having saved the world, without acknowledging that said world’s future probably lies in anarchy with a lot of the leaders dead and who knows how many officials more.

So, yeah. While the film delighted me for the first two thirds, it left a very bitter aftertaste. It all does make sense within the world the film created, so I totally understand that not everyone will take offense like I did, but… yeah. I just can’t think fondly of this film after the ending.