Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Episode Five (A.I. Artificail Intelligence / Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein)

A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)

Director: Steven Spielberg
Writers: Brian Aldiss (short story "Supertoys Last All Summer Long"), Ian Watson (screen story), and 
Steven Spielberg (screenplay)

Stars: Haley Joel Osment, Jude Law and Frances O'Connor

So much potential - I loved a lot of this movie, but it feels so... "inconsistent." I can't help but wonder how this would have turned out if Kubrick would have been able to make it, since the obviously "Spielberg" segments are the weakest. It leans a bit too far into melodramatic, overly sentimental territory and runs far too long. I'll admit that many scenes got to me emotionally, but the manipulation is a bit too heavy handed and constant. If it had ended where it should have (and Kubrick supposedly planned it to end), I would have bawled like a baby. You'll know it when you see it, sad but beautiful. But Spielberg refuses to quit while he's ahead and continues for at least ten more minutes with an epilogue where he might as well stand at your shoulder and tell you "It is time to cry now." Really? Jude Law is awesome though.

Score: 5 / 10

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)

Director: Charles Barton
Writers: Robert Lees (screenplay), Frederic I. Rinaldo (screenplay), and John Grant (screenplay)
Stars: Bud Abbott, Lou Costello and Lon Chaney Jr.

Abbott and Costello's best work, in my opinion. It's great fun seeing Lugosi and Chaney Jr. recreating their famous monster roles in this setting, though its a real shame that we don't get Karloff to round out the crew. Some of the humor is certainly dated at this point, but there's plenty of great slapstick and quality jokes as well. Tons of memorable moments here: Costello freaking himself out by reading about Dracula in the wax museum, searching Count Dracula's castle (with the obligatory secret passage hi-jinks), the final chase and battle through the rooms and halls of the castle. Hilarious. Lenore Aubert has fun hamming it up as the femme fatale as well. I might be overrating this a bit, but I don't particularly care. I love it.

Score: 8 / 10

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