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A.I. Artificial Intelligence
(2001)
Album Cover Art
Composed, Conducted, and Produced by:

Principle Vocals by:
Barbara Bonney

Songs Performed by:
Lara Fabian
Josh Groban

Orchestrated by:
John Neufeld
Labels Icon
LABEL & RELEASE DATE
Warner Brothers Records
(July 3rd, 2001)
Availability Icon
ALBUM AVAILABILITY
Regular U.S. release.
Awards
AWARDS
Nominated for an Academy Award, a Grammy Award, and a Golden Globe.
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ALSO SEE




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Availability | Awards | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... if you're intrigued by a score so conflicted that it is almost too bittersweet to love, but too lovely to ignore.

Avoid it... if you were offended by the bleak outlook on humanity exhibited in the film's plot, for John Williams accentuates the contrast between love and despair with melodrama that nearly crushes the score with its own weight.
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EDITORIAL REVIEW
FILMTRACKS TRAFFIC RANK: #109
WRITTEN 7/6/01, REVISED 1/2/09
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Williams
Williams
A.I. Artificial Intelligence: (John Williams) A complicated and convoluted concept in each of its numerous side stories, A.I. Artificial Intelligence is essentially a film about a boy's love for his mother. In the time between Brian Aldiss' original story of 1969 and Steven Spielberg's realization of the adaptation in 2001, famed director Stanley Kubrick continuously toiled with A.I.. After several unsuccessful attempts to begin production on the film in earnest, Kubrick eventually shelved the idea in the 1980's until such a time that special effects technology could meet his extremely high standards for the look of his vision. When he saw the stunning effects of Jurassic Park, he determined that the time had come to make A.I., but despite engaging Industrial Light & Magic and the casual advice of Spielberg, he proceeded to make Eyes Wide Shut first. That decision unfortunately meant that the director died before being able to turn his attention squarely on A.I., and to honor Kubrick's career, Spielberg went ahead and tackled the project himself. While his involvement ensured topnotch technical qualities, the conflicting world views of Kubrick and Spielberg led to several problems in the script. Through the years, Kubrick had darkened the story by several shades, eventually deciding on the basic premise of the controversial epilogue that mostly survived intact. The challenge with A.I. has always been the on-screen battle between Kubrick's strikingly cold outlook on the human/robot relationship and Spielberg's hopelessly optimistic alternative. Thus, the soft ending of A.I., as well as several smaller plot points in between, is in conflict with the chilly atmosphere of Kubrick's vision because Spielberg essentially romanticized the concept to improve its appeal. Some have claimed that the director also extended the "Pinocchio" connections (which Kubrick nurtured all along) into an allegory about the historical fight between the Romans and the Jews. So many divergent accounts of the "facts" involving the circumstances behind the creation of A.I. exist that it's pointless to belabor them much further. The film ultimately earned its grosses through Spielberg's reputation rather than stellar critical response.

What does matter is that A.I., for all its efforts to provoke thought, is both a beautifully enchanting and frightfully offensive film at the same time. Since these two seemingly incongruous descriptors are ultimately the downfall of the picture, they have to be explored in order to understand the extreme contrasts in John Williams' music for it. Many readers have disparaged the following statement through the years, but A.I. really does give listeners a hint as to what a collaboration between Kubrick and the maestro would have sounded like. The underlying social commentary of the concept, hauntingly brutal in a way that few could create as well as Kubrick, guides the basis of the story. The sappiness of the film is the influence of Spielberg's usual attempt to infuse a sense of magic into such fantasy topics, causing a variety of screaming fallacies of logic and an ending that was destined to be classified as nothing short of unsatisfying no matter how it was rewritten. Whatever interest that could be maintained by the future conflict between orgas (people) and mechas (robots) is restrained and diluted by the simple fact that the concept of an unloving and incapable mother who abandons one who loves her dearly is devastatingly depressing and disturbing to watch. In this case, a young boy robot is programmed to unconditionally love a couple whose biological child is ill and incapacitated. When the real child is miraculously cured, the mother intentionally abandons the mecha child in the woods. That boy (joined by his equally lovable, talking teddy bear, whose fate at the end of the journey also remains sadly unresolved) is the first model that can feel emotions, and to see him spend the rest of the film in a fruitless attempt to find his mother is frankly the offensive part of the story. Both Kubrick and Spielberg intended to allow the robot to find her for one last fleeting moment, but that conclusion, whether it had followed Kubrick's extremely depressing variant of Spielberg's ultimately soft and fuzzy death scene (of sorts), damns humanity in ways more vile than even concepts like Soylent Green could suggest. This intense dissatisfaction with A.I., as basically a glorified child abandonment picture, has a strong and strangely distancing effect on the opinion of Williams' score.

The final incarnation of A.I. creates the difficult position of causing one to be utterly repulsed by the film while loving the score despite its specific contributions to the worst parts of the film's ultimate plot failures. In other words, Williams' music is an extremely effective contributing factor to the offensive emotional chains that the film throws around you, so you can either loathe it for accentuating those traits in the film or love it for its individually gorgeous parts. When you look back at the basic circumstances of this production, it's hard not to get the impression that Williams was confronted with the most problematic aspects of the script more than any other crew member, forced to write a coherent score that satisfied both the dark and light elements of the two directors' visions of the story. Williams had scored the darker sides of humanity before, but never for a film in which there is no redeeming quality for any human character. A.I. is nothing short of a suspense and horror film for most of its running time, and the heroes are an unlikely trio of robots (if you include the teddy bear and "Gigolo Joe"). The closest Williams had ventured to the same general sense of disturbed suburban lifestyles was for Presumed Innocent, which remains the most similar score to A.I. in Williams' career in terms of grim tone. The quiet, unnerving terror of the sickening domestic failure in A.I. is even more tragic than the spookier revelations of Presumed Innocent, but Williams handles them similarly. His use of a piano to represent the symbol of the mecha boy and his family is not a revolutionary technique, but Williams has a particularly effective method of combining it with the woodwind and string sections to create optimistic harmony in theme while being offset by underlying disharmony in other layers of the orchestra. The first half of A.I., embroiled in the extremely distasteful and unpleasant inactions of the family that has adopted the artificial boy, has very few optimistic scenes to offer, and Williams lays on the suspense very well, continuing the plucking uncertainty from Presumed Innocent with much skill. Just as unpleasant as the film is to digest in that first half, Williams' music for those scenes is equally unnerving on album.

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VIEWER RATINGS
4,677 TOTAL VOTES
Average: 3.65 Stars
***** 1,562 5 Stars
**** 1,269 4 Stars
*** 912 3 Stars
** 549 2 Stars
* 385 1 Stars
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COMMENTS
213 TOTAL COMMENTS
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Stop also reviewing the film, just do the score...
Ollie - August 28, 2012, at 9:32 a.m.
1 comment  (759 views)
Please do your research
Theowne - July 11, 2008, at 11:18 a.m.
1 comment  (1652 views)
Well...actually...
Robye - October 22, 2007, at 10:58 p.m.
1 comment  (1407 views)
The complete Original Score
daniel estrella - October 1, 2007, at 5:23 p.m.
1 comment  (1671 views)
performer-LSO?
joel - July 1, 2005, at 6:17 p.m.
1 comment  (2075 views)
Good Job, Mr Williams, your work has helped inspire an entire generation...
Julio Gomez - April 23, 2005, at 8:12 p.m.
1 comment  (2132 views)
More...


Track Listings Icon
TRACK LISTINGS AND AUDIO
Audio Samples   ▼
Total Time: 70:11
• 1. The Mecha World (6:23)
• 2. Abandoned in the Woods (3:07)
• 3. Replicas (5:58)
• 4. Hide and Seek (3:08)
• 5. For Always - performed by Lara Fabian (4:42)
• 6. Cybertronics (3:30)
• 7. The Moon Rising (4:26)
• 8. Stored Memories and Monica's Theme (10:56)
• 9. Where Dreams are Born (4:23)
• 10. Rouge City (4:56)
• 11. The Search for the Blue Fairy (6:52)
• 12. The Reunion (7:45)
• 13. For Always (Duet) - performed by Lara Fabian and Josh Groban (4:41)

Notes Icon
NOTES AND QUOTES
The insert includes the usual short note from Spielberg, but no extra information about the score or film.
Copyright © 2001-2015, Filmtracks Publications. All rights reserved.
The reviews and other textual content contained on the filmtracks.com site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from A.I. Artificial Intelligence are Copyright © 2001, Warner Brothers Records and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 7/6/01 and last updated 1/2/09.
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