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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

 

A.I. Artificial Intelligence [Blu-ray]

 

(Steven Spielberg, 2001)

 

   

   

   

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Warner / Stanley Kubrick Productions

Video: Warner Home Video

 

Disc:

Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:25:50.700

Disc Size: 39,882,401,350 bytes

Feature Size: 34,600,525,824 bytes

Video Bitrate: 22.12 Mbps

Chapters: 32

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: December 22nd, 2010

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: VC-1 Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3917 kbps 5.1-ES / 48 kHz / 3917 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1-ES / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital EX Audio French 640 kbps 5.1-EX / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital EX Audio German 640 kbps 5.1-EX / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital EX Audio Italian 640 kbps 5.1-EX / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
* Dolby Digital EX Audio Japanese 640 kbps 5.1-EX / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital EX Audio Spanish 640 kbps 5.1-EX / 48 kHz / 640 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Portuguese 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, none

 

Extras:

Behind the Story

• Creating A. I. (12:05)

Acting A. I. (A Portrait of David - 9:06, A Portrait of Gigolo Joe - 5:59)

• Designing A. I.  (5 parts - Drawing to Sets, Dressing, Lighting, Special Effects, The Robots of A. I.)

• Special Visual Effects and Animation: ILM (5 segments)

• The Sound and Music of A. I. (Sound Design - 6:45, The Music - 5:49)

Closing: Steven Spielberg: Our Responsibility to A. I. (2:26)

A. I. Archives

• 2 Trailers

• 3 Storyboards

• Chris Baker's Portfolio (7 segments)

• Production design Portfolio (9 segments)

ILM Portfolio (6 segments)

Portrait Gallery of Photographs by David James

Steven Spielberg Behind-the-Scenes Photographs by David James

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: A.I. Artificial Intelligence, also known as A.I., is a 2001 science fiction film directed, produced and co-written by Steven Spielberg. Based on Brian Aldiss' short story "Super-Toys Last All Summer Long", the film stars Haley Joel Osment, Frances O'Connor, Jude Law, Sam Robards, Jake Thomas and William Hurt. Set sometime in the future, A.I. tells the story of David, a child-like android uniquely programmed with the ability to love.

Development of A.I. originally began with director Stanley Kubrick in the early 1970s. Kubrick hired a series of writers up until the mid-1990s, including Brian Aldiss, Bob Shaw, Ian Watson and Sara Maitland. The film languished in development hell for years, partly because Kubrick felt computer-generated imagery was not advanced enough to create the David character, whom he believed no child actor would believably portray. In 1995, Kubrick handed A.I. to Steven Spielberg, but the film did not gain momentum until Kubrick's death in 1999. Spielberg remained close to Watson's film treatment for the screenplay, and replicated Kubrick's secretive style of filmmaking. A.I. was greeted with mostly positive reviews from critics and became a moderate financial success. This film was dedicated to Kubrick's memory with a small credit after the end credits, saying "For Stanley Kubrick".

Excerpt from Wikipedia located HERE

 

 

The Film:

I'm not the only one to consider "A.I. Artificial Intelligence" a very great and deeply misunderstood film; others as disparate as Andrew Sarris and the late Stan Brakhage have more or less agreed with me, as well as my friend and favorite academic critic, James Naremore. (Click the link above to read my full review.) But it's also clear to me that any ordinary auteurist way of processing cinema can't begin to handle this masterwork adequately: Reading it simply as a Spielberg film, as most detractors do, or even trying to read it simply as a Kubrick film, is a pretty futile exercise with limited rewards, even though the fingerprints of both directors are all over it. Seeing it as a perpetually unresolved dialectic between Kubrick and Spielberg starts to yield a complicated kind of sense -- an ambiguity where the bleakest pessimism and the most ecstatic kind of feel-good enchantment swiftly alternate and even occasionally blend, not to mention a far more enriching experience, however troubling and unresolved. As a profound meditation on the difference between what's human and what isn't, it also constitutes one of the best allegories about cinema that I know.

Excerpt from Jonathan Rosenbaum at Film Salon located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Firstly, this is the Japanese Warner disc, but aside form packaging it should be the exact same contents (transfer, extras) as sold throughout the world. The menus are in English but there are multiple foreign language subtitle and DUB options.

 

This is a good transfer on Blu-ray from Warner. It is dual-layered, 1080P with a decent bitrate. The manner it was shot the film was never meant to look pristine and glossy. There is some texture and film-like heaviness to the canvass - that is very consistent and pleasing. The visually impressive effect sequences look quite excellent in high-def. Much more immersive than on DVD. Colors are brighter and truer than SD could relate and contrast exhibits healthy black levels. Most of the film is intentionally dark and sterile with frequent flaring bright lights and saturations that the new format handles capably. This Blu-ray exports the films effects quite seamlessly. It produced a solid presentation for me - I don't know that it could look much better. While the entire film might not be considered demo material for your home theater - there are sequences that remain quite entrancing and dream-like.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

There are plenty of foreign language DUBs but only the original English is in lossless with a strong DTS-HD Master 5.1 ES at 3917 kbps. This is where the film can really be impacting despite not being aggressive. John William's score is clean and uplifting with a nice crispness that wasn't present in the DVD version. The soundstage is adeptly replicated and without any notable flaws. It really does sound good. There are optional subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

Extras :

The supplements appear to duplicate the 2002 2-disc DVD set with expanded categories of 'Behind the Story' and 'A. I. Archives' with the former focusing on many production attributes with sub-divided featurettes on many categories eventually concluding with a closing statement by Steven Spielberg on 'Our Responsibility to A. I.' Under the 'Archives' we get trailers, storyboards, photographs, galleries etc. All in all, aside from an absent commentary, this is totally stacked with information about the film and it is well worth indulging in. Those keen to investigate should be very satisfied with the content selection.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I struggle with this film but still find it fascinating. I seem to find something new each time I watch it. If you get nothing else from A. I. you will surely have some stimulating discussion afterward. The Kubrick factor is definitely viable - and my viewings have always left me somewhat empty - which may very well have been the intention. The Blu-ray exports the 'feel' of the film far better for your home theater experience - and it is nice to have the extensive extras available on one disc. This may be primarily considered if only for the vastly improved audio rendering. A.I.: Artificial Intelligence is a cerebral movie - one that raises pertinent questions of technological advancement and moral ambiguities. These conflicts will surely elevate as modern society advances. This Blu-ray is certainly recommended! 

Gary Tooze

December 27th, 2010

   

   

   

 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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