I've said fairy tales and films don't go together, and I've been proved wrong twice this year. Luckily Spielburg seems to consistently prove this (remember Hook anybody?) and with AI he hasn't let me down.
This was meant to be Kubrick's last film. It might have been good (or it might have been Eyes Wide Shut). But then he died. Spielburg took over. So what we have left is a sugar coated Kubrick. The result is really quite odd. The story is about a robot who can love (awww), and about how the thing which separates humans from robots is the ability to believe in things which don't exist. I'm not sure this is a good moral to go home with, but it is a moral.
The good points, The kid, Haly "I can see dead robots" manages to act really well (all the part calls for is wooden acting, but its good wooden acting, not just the accidental sort we got in Tomb Raider (Hmm, maybe it'll turn out all the characters in Tomb Raider were robots...)). There is also a neat idea trying to get out (a robot who travels through fairy tales because he believes in them). The first act is very strong, Spielburg at his sacharine best. One can imagine Kubrick turning it into a horror/Oedipus complex nightmare, but keeping that to just an undercurrent works quite well.
The bad points, well act 3 - it was needed to end what had been set up, but it just didn't work. The boy could have wandered into a lava lamp, there could have been a series of nuclear explosions, hell, ET could have gone home for all I care. What they did just didn't satisfy me. Act 2 had good moments, but was too disjointed - there was no story tying all the different fairy tales together (pinnochio was the strongest, but it didn't make its way through). On the bright side act two did feature some charismatic acting from a teddy bear and synthetic male prostitute.
About the best thing I can say is that I'm glad I went to see it - there was a good film trying to get out even if it didn't quite manage it. All told I think 3 metric tonnes of sugar out of a possible 5.