… I’ve changed. A lot. Case in point – the way I view movies.
Remember A.I.? Yeah, that one with The Sixth Sense kid as a robot who loves his mother. Darc saw it when we were at the library and I commented that I’d like to see it again. I watched it when it first came out on video, back in ‘02. What I remembered of it – and remember, I have a Swiss cheese memory when it comes to movies – was that it was a heartwarming story about a boy robot who loved his human mother and that it had really cool robots.
The movie I watched earlier was not the same as I recalled.
Oh, the scenes were the same, don’t misunderstand. It was the same movie. It was my response to it that was different. The movie I saw tonight was disturbing to me on a few levels and I didn’t come away with anything remotely like “heartwarming” as I did before. And I know it’s because I’m different.
First off, I had to scoff at the opening scenes wherein the narrator described a world that had been destroyed by flooding caused by glacier melt caused by global warming. I also felt a bit nostalgic seeing the World Trade Towers in the scenes of New York – which had been flooded up to the torch that the Statue of Liberty holds. It went through my head that, “Terrorists were apparently stronger than ‘global warming’ and ‘global flooding’ and ‘two thousand years of freezing’ ever was.” But what really bothered me was the portrayal of this little robot boy’s “feelings” as anything remotely resembling love, and anything like the child/parent relationship.
See, love is a choice, an act of will, it’s not a “feeling.” And it’s about putting the needs of someone else ahead of your own. Not once did robot boy ever do anything like that. And while the feeling a child has for a parent often tends to be more selfish than that of a parent towards a child, there wasn’t anything loving in this “child’s” behavior. It was 2 hours of him obsessing over his mother. He was jealous at his mother’s biological son coming back home to live, he destroyed another robot who looked like him because he wanted to be sure that he himself was “the only one” for his mother. (“She’s MINE!” he screamed at his robot “twin.”) He obsessed about finding his mother again, and making her love him. It was kind of stalker-ish in a weird way. That was his mission, his goal in life – to become a real boy and make his mother love him. And at the end, when the skinny advanced future robots “resurrected” his mother from a lock of her hair, he spent a day with her – making her coffee, playing games, just the 2 of them without the “distractions” of her husband and son, and then he curled up in bed with her when she fell asleep, holding her hand like a lover. It was creepy. It was all about him and what he wanted, which was to “make my mother love me.” Purely selfishness, not love.
And what’s with the “making robots to replace our lost children” thing anyway? That’s sort of sick. In case you forgot, the robot’s creator made the child robot to be a replica of his son who’d died, and the mother in the story agreed to have a boy robot because she’d been told her son, who was on life support, would never recover. And when her real son did get better, instead of having the robot destroyed, she just dumped him in the woods somewhere and left him to fend for himself. Oh yeah, that’s real maternal and loving. “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you about the world!” were her last words as she drove away.
Is this what passes for love in Hollywood? Yes, that’s a rhetorical question. It’s a pretty sad state of affairs. How many people define love that way? Obsessive, controlling, selfish, “what will you do for me?” I don’t know if that’s “life reflecting art” or “art reflecting life” or however you want to arrange it. I just know it’s wrong, and that makes me really sad.
I noticed that the commenter over on ImDb loved the movie and raved on and on about it. I might have felt sort of like that the 1st time I saw the movie too. Not to the same degree as s/he did, but at one time I could have related. So not the case anymore.
What a difference a few years makes, no? I probably shouldn’t watch any more movies I still retain any fondness for.