Thursday, July 17, 2003

“Scaryduck’s ‘Did You Know...?’ No. 12”

* In New York, it is illegal for taxi drivers to operate without a beaded seat cover
* Ostrich racing is forbidden within the city limits of Dallas, Texas
* Californian law forbids the screening of Baywatch, a law upheld in the Supreme Court as “some things just CAN’T be covered by free speech”
* The death penalty still exists in Britain for the crime of “Cow Nudging”
* In Hazzard County, Georgia, them Duke boys are still unable to cross the county line
* In Sydney, Australia, you can be fined up to $500 for “not calling someone Bruce”.

We feel we must salute the fair city of Dresden in Germany, which has instituted death by bulunga for street mime and juggling.

"Jesus be praised! It's the last bad movie review!"

A.I. - Spielberg's travesty of a homage to Kubrick --- Review by Balders

Like many of the films nominated, A.I. is here not simply because it is a bad film (it truly sucketh), but also because it shouldn't have been.

A.I.s origins go waaay back to the early 1980s when the great Stanley Kubrick optioned a number of stories including the poignant Super-Toys Last All Summer Long by Brian Aldiss. This and two other stories (Supertoys When Winter Comes and Supertoys In Other Seasons) were written at the end of the 60s and have a distictive charm and style almost unique to English SF of the time. The problem was that special effects were nowhere near as good as Kubrick would need, and he refused to compromise his vision.

And so A.I. became one of those movie treatments that gathers dust while rumours of its production surface every now and again. And in the meantime, Kubrick went on to make Full Metal Jacket (brilliant with small flaws) and Eyes Wide Shut (not so brilliant with slightly larger flaws).

And then Stanley saw that the effects industry had caught up with his vision, and the time was ripe for his hi-tech slant on the Pinochio story. But before he could really get out of the starting blocks, old Stanley went and carked it.

And that should have been that.

But it wasn't.

Unfortunately for us, Stanley had been corresponding with Steven Spielberg, and on the death of the former, the latter picked up the baton with the blessings of Stanley's family. Fools!

Don't get me wrong, I've a lot of time for Spielberg. Duel was a brilliant film, Close Encounters was inspired, and who can fail to be touched by Schindler's List or Saving Private Ryan. Oh, but then there's E.T. or worse still, the revisionist E.T. with guns removed. And the cutesy elements he just can't resist.

And so what we ended up with was an arse-numbing two and a half hours of poorly explored plot ideas and scenic vignettes. Not to mention a completely wet Haley Joel Osment and a tacked on epilogue so shite I can hardly bring
myself to mention it.

It wasn't all bad. Jude Law pulled out all the stops and makes his scenes memorable and worth watching. But one performance can't save a stinker, especially one with William Hurt snoring his way through it.

Way back in 1982, Ridley Scott gave us Blade Runner, a film that challenged our perceptions of real and artificial and what it means to be "alive". With the Directors Cut, Blade Runner is a classic. All A.I. can do is travel the same road, but in a more mawkish and self-indulgent manner. Even Disney's Pinochio is a better film than A.I.

If there had been any justice, Kubrick would have called it quits after Full Metal Jacket, and Spielberg would have directed A.I. with a little less respect for Kubrick and a bit more respect for the audience.

That neither of them did is the reason why this film is a dog. If you must watch a film called A.I. I'd recommend "A.I. - Artificial insemination and how to revitalise your herd after the BSE crisis" by Defra. It's a lot more entertaining....

And that, my friends, just when I thought it would never end, is the last of the ten bad movie reviews. You know the form by now --- Vote in our bad movie poll!. Over 11,000 people have so far, though I suspect that there may be one or two duplicates in there. Still, honesty never won an election - the vote remains open until next Monday, when I shall be wrapping up the whole sorry affair.

Vote Freddie Got Fingered. You know it makes sense.

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