"I cannot live without books." -- Thomas Jefferson

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Artificial Intelligence

From Stanley Kubrick to Steven Spielberg:
The Vision Behind the Film

A wonderful book chronicling the genesis and long gestation period of what is undoubtedly one of the finest science fiction films ever created. And created is the operative word here (not directed) because so much collaboration went into the making of this film, that it could hardly be said to be strictly a Kubrick/Spielberg vision.

The source material was, of course, Super Toys Last All Summer Long by Brian Aldiss (a haunting short story), who collaborated on a treatment and screenplay with Kubrick for about 15 years. Much of that time was spent expanding the short story into a larger mythological fairy tale, which involved the absorption of Carlo Collodi's Pinocchio novel (with some of Disney's version) into the narrative. Ideas were also incorporated from Kubrick's collaborations with Ian Watson, Bob Shaw, Sara Maitland and Chris Baker, the comic illustrator whose elaborate storyboards were approved by Kubrick himself and heavily utilized by Spielberg during the filmmaking process.

Artificial Intelligence details this three decade long process of bringing Aldiss' story, by way of Kubrick and Spielberg, to life. Kubrick's notes are even reproduced here--notes which will certainly put to rest, if not all, then certainly most of the misconceptions of the film, and the lazy criticism that followed the film's release.

The book names a number of the pre-eminent artificial intelligence thinkers and their respective writings, which served as an influence for not only Kubrick, but the succession of writers with whom he collaborated.

One final thought: The fact that this book was published eight years after the film's release indicates a growing fascination and appreciation for a film of such thought-provoking layers and complexity, that perhaps one day we'll be able to once again see it in all its glory on the big screen.

No comments: