The first robotic boy programmed to love, David (Haley Joel Osment) is adopted as a test case by a Cybertronics employee (Sam Robards) and his wife (Frances O'Connor). Though he gradually becomes their child, a series of unexpected circumstances make this life impossible for David. Without final acceptance by humans or machines, David embarks on a journey to discover where he truly belongs.
This film is amazing. The imagination that went into it, the kind of world created, I loved it. I loved the sheer basicness of the plot. David’s main desire was to become a real boy because he wanted his mother to love him. The film makes many references to Pinocchio and in a sense, it is like an elaborate version of the famous fairy tale. The film was shot in 67 days.
Haley Joel Osment is so fantastic in this film. It’s definitely one of his best. He’s extremely talented, for an actor that age, to do what he’s done. David’s character, being the central one in the film, is very interesting and important. Other androids, including Gigolo Joe, are made to look artificial with makeup and unmoving hair, but not David. He is considered to be the most advanced mecha of the corporation that made him. He appears so human that the belief is he may even be able to take the place of a couple’s sick child. This is not the case, however. It would be fair to say, while he is loved, it is more the love one has for a family pet, than another child.
There are so many heart breaking moments and emotional moments that I was on the edge of my seat for. The scene when the scrappier robots are taken captive and destroyed for public entertainment. The poor robots!! I had to pause these scenes several times because I was so afraid of what was going to happen or I didn’t want to watch it. There is a moment when David is in the ring and he started shouting “I’m David, I’m David”, I nearly started crying. I never cry for these moments.
Jude Law’s character, Gigolo Joe (a prostitute robot whom David encounters upon his journey), is kind of funny. There was a moment when David said they needed to find The Blue Fairy and explained that she was a woman, and Jude Law’s character suddenly exclaims in delight “I know women!” I admit I laughed out loud for that. I don’t know if one was supposed to...
And of course, you have to love Teddy, David’s insightful robotic toy! How could you not?
Robin Williams features in the film too as the voice of Dr Know, a robot Gigolo Joe takes David to when trying to find the Blue Fairy. I have to admit I didn’t recognise his voice when I was watching it!! I only saw his name in the credits afterwards and I had to do a double take. Robin Williams actually recorded his dialog for the film with Stanley Kubrick directing the recording session. He did it a long time before Steven Spielberg took over the directing. It’s really interesting how in another of Robin Williams’ films, “Bicentennial Man” (1999), he plays an android who wants to become human. Coincidence!
Director Stanley Kubrick was initially intended to direct this film in the early 1970s. However, the film could never get going because Kubrick felt that computer-generated imagery would not be effective or advanced enough for the character of David. At the time he believed that no child-actor could play David convincingly enough. As a result of this indecision, Kubrick handed the project over to Steven Spielberg.
This film was the first to develop the use of the virtual studio. The technique allowed Steven Spielberg to walk through a virtual version of Rouge City with his camera and select shots. This technique was later used in The Lord of The Rings films.
This will keep you thinking after the credits end. It’s kind of a bittersweet tale. You might like to have a box of tissues handy!! Definitely a must-see.