Kubrick's Story, Spielberg's Film

A.I. Artificial Intelligence

By (author) Julian Rice

Hardback - £38.00

Publication date:

16 June 2017

Length of book:

308 pages


Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

ISBN-13: 9781442278189

In 1963 Stanley Kubrick declared, “Dr. Strangelove came from my desire to do something about the nuclear nightmare.” Thirty years later, he was preparing to film another story about the human impulse for self-destruction. Unfortunately, the director passed away in 1999, before his project could be fully realized. However, fellow visionary Steven Spielberg took on the venture, and A.I. Artificial Intelligence debuted in theaters two years after Kubrick’s death. While Kubrick’s concept shares similarities with the finished film, there are significant differences between his screenplay and Spielberg's production.

Kubrick’s Story, Spielberg’s Film: A.I. Artificial Intelligence, Julian Rice examines the intellectual sources and cinematic processes that expressed the extraordinary ideas of one great artist through the distinctive vision of another. A.I. is decidedly a Kubrick film in its concern for the future of the world, and it is both a Kubrick and a Spielberg film in the alienation of its central character. However, Spielberg’s alienated characters evolve through friendships, while Kubrick’s protagonists are markedly alone. Rice explores how the directors’ disparate sensibilities aligned and where they diverged.

By analyzing Kubrick’s treatment and Spielberg’s finished film, Rice compares the imaginations of two gifted but very different filmmakers and draws conclusions about their unique conceptions.
Kubrick’s Story, Spielberg’s Film is a fascinating look into the creative process of two of cinema’s most profound auteurs and will appeal to scholars of film as well as to fans of both directors.
Rice, a retired English professor, takes a deep dive into the 2001 film A.I. Artificial Intelligence, concentrating on its background as a Stanley Kubrick project taken over by Steven Spielberg after Kubrick’s death. The writing is dense and scholarly, yet consistently inviting to the non-specialist. Throughout the text, Rice teases out the film’s thematic concerns and their resonances with other films in both Spielberg and Kubrick’s oeuvres, particularly Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the work that created the initial bond between the two filmmakers; 2001: A Space Odyssey, Kubrick’s other, notably bleaker reflection on artificial intelligence; and the apocalyptic vision of Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove. Rice’s work is eclectic and wide-reaching, with equal insight brought to bear on A.I.’s roots in Arthurian legend, Joseph Campbell’s concept of the hero’s journey, and Jungian archetypes, as well as its legacy as a cautionary tale about global warming. This eloquently written book will foster a deeper appreciation for a unique posthumous collaboration between two celebrated filmmakers, even for readers who aren’t fervent fans of the film itself.