Xpress, the Coolest Section of the St. Petersburg Times, is the home for features, news and views of interest to young readers. Most of the work in Xpress, which appears on Mondays in Floridian, is produced by the Times' X-Team. The team of journalists ages 9-17 from around the Tampa Bay area is selected every year at the end of the school year to serve during the following school term. The current team of 12 was chosen out of 150 applicants. Watch for X-Team application forms in Xpress during the month of May.

Read the reviews by Xpress Film Critic Billy Norris

St. Petersburg Times Online

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World of 'A.I.' a dark and scary one


© St. Petersburg Times,
published July 2, 2001

[Photo: DreamWorks]
Haley Joel Osment and Jude Law play spooky mechanical beings in A.I. Even the teddy bear is a robot.

Movie: A.I. Artificial Intelligence

Rating: PG-13

Summary: In the not so distant future, many very intelligent robots are being produced to meet the needs of their human owners. But then, Cybertronics Manufacturing decides to take it over the edge. They develop a child robot that is able to love. His name is David (Haley Joel Osment), and he is imprinted and programmed to love his new family, and only them; if they decide they don't want him, he must be destroyed. After a while, things aren't going so well, so his "mother" is forced to leave him in the woods. He is captured by the Flesh Fair, a group of humans whose fun comes from destroying these threatening robots. He escapes and goes on a quest for the eternal affection of his mother and a place that is safe from these unfriendly humans.

My view: I found this film to be very strange. A plot with a few good twists is entertaining, but this one changed directions so many times that my thoughts were completely cluttered by the end. When I left the theater I really wasn't sure whether or not I liked this movie. I'm still not truly sure.

Favorite part: There was a robotic teddy bear toy named "Teddy" (voice of Jack Angel) with humanlike qualities. It was a great character because it had lots of personality. Its mannerisms reminded me of a gremlin (from director Steven Spielberg's 1984 movie, Gremlins). Teddy seemed to add a lighter side to a really deep movie.

Least favorite part: After David gets acquainted with life in the human world, the whole ambiance of the film turns extremely dark.

Recommendations: I definitely wouldn't recommend this movie to anyone under 13. There was much darkness, sadness and violence, and parts of it were scary. This movie includes a lot of unsettling material (do we really want to be replaced by robots?) that many kids won't want to deal with.

Grade: C

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Billy Norris will be in the eighth grade at Seminole Middle School, and is a former member of the Times X-Team.

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