Ahhhh….the mother-lode of WOO!
- “A heart is not judged by how much you love, but how much you are loved by others.” This famous quote from OZ seems to proclaim the theme of A.I. It is set up in the intro when one of William Hurt’s students asks him what’s the point of making a robot that can love if humans can’t love it in return… which of course turns out to be the protagonist’s conflict.
- Mommy is silhouetted, back lit, as she prepares to imprint the robot boy. Take care, Lady, you are being lured into dangerous territory. Brilliant shine against shadow always whispers “caution”.
- Professor Marvel’s (AKA Wizard of Oz) hot air balloon has a cameo role as the rounder upper of expendable robots for the flesh fair’s show. Pay attention as it rises over the horizon. It’s a dead ringer for the big moon in Joe vs. the Volcano…also featured in E.T. and on Amblin’s logo.
- The nefarious severed arm is prominently spotlighted in the scavenge scene at the dump. See Jaws, Saving Private Ryan, Joe vs. the Volcano.
- Gigolo Joe with his tap dancing on road and curb—not to mention his clever patter—defers to Scarecrow’s, Tinman’s, Lion’s best song and dance antics.
- Listen for Teddy’s response when a worried David asks him what they should do…The answer is “RUN’, of course.
- Going to Rouge (red) City to ask Dr. Know=going to Emerald City to ask Wizard (rouge alternative to ruby as in slippers?) See The Terminal, Minority Report for other quests to find ‘wizards’.
- ‘All roads lead to Rouge City’=Follow the yellow brick road
- Dr. Know appears in explosion of light, however only his head and hands show up. The Great Oz too appears as a talking head. Both are tricky fellows who don’t play fair all the time. Dr. Know counts off the first bogus question unfairly and his answers to the others aren’t quite correct. Professor Marvel/OZ was a manipulator/showman pretending to know more than he did. See See Empire of the Sun, The Color Purple, Lincoln, Munich, Saving Private Ryan, A.I., Always, Goonies, Jaws, Catch Me if You Can. Schindler’s List for tricksters.
- Teddy is as loyal a companion to David as Toto is to Dorothy. Like the little dog, he is occasionally very helpful getting David rescued—like at flesh fair.
- The quest imposed by Dr. Know on David to find the Blue Fairy (to become real so Mommy will love him and let him come home)=Dorothy’s quest to witch’s castle to fulfill wizard’s bargain to get her home. For more quests, see Always, Amistad, Joe vs. the Volcano, Tintin, Poltergeist,Twister, Sugarland Express, Lincoln, War of the Worlds, Minority Report, The Goonies, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Saving Private Ryan, Munich, Jaws, Inner Space, The Terminal, Schindler’s List, Super 8, Raiders of the Lost Arc, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Catch me if You Can, Always, Twilight Zone the Kick the Can episode,
- Home references abound. “If I become a real boy, can I come home?” “After I find the Blue Fairy, then I can go home.” “Teddy, we’re Home!” almost verbatim Dorothy’s, “Toto, we’re home!” “Mommy, we’re home.” See Jaws, War Horse, The Terminal, Sugarland Express, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Empire of the Sun, Catch Me if You Can, Saving Private Ryan, War of the Worlds, Super 8, 1941, Amistad, Minority Report, Hook, Poltergeist for other characters anxious to get home to safety.
- Steven’s ascents and descents between the echelons of realization and growing consciousness are emphasized here as never before. David rides up the elevator to a cozy future which ends with the fall into the pool; the balloon ride shows him what he really is; the helicopter sets him on his quest; sinking then rising from the ocean bottom will finally seal the deal. The ingress to and egress from Oz always required some fancy aeronautics.
- The Blue fairy’s gentle voice is so reminiscent of Glinda, good Witch of the North. With creepy, modulated kindness, both sorceresses pound in nail-hard facts. Your mommy’s dead. The witch is after you. The road is long. You had to find out for yourself.
- David sleeps at the end, home at last with Mommy dying. He goes to a place ‘where dreams begin’. Dorothy sleeps as the tornado strikes, then after clicking the heels of her ruby slippers, wakes up at home, ‘her dream ended’. Where is home really? Here in physical world or there in dreams? See Joe vs. the Volcano.
- Don’t miss the ringing chimes when Mommy takes David for a drive deep in the forest, our clue that her intentions are less than honorable. Tinkling wind chimes in a window at the end signify magic is coming…David will find Mommy waking up. This pre-magic moment (or significant change coming moment) presaged by a tinkling sound appears in many Spielberg films. You will remember that we always knew Glinda was coming when we heard the chimes begin. See Always, E. T., The Color purple, Jaws, Close Encounters, Empire of the Sun, Super 8, Twister, Twilight Zone, Joe vs the Volcano.
- Check out the Gone with the Wind scenery look-alike when Gigolo Joe is silhouetted next to a tree as robots scavenge for parts in the dump. (see War of Worlds, War Horse). For a long time I attributed this scene and several others in various Spielberg pictures to GWTW. Recently though, I realized the small bridge where Scarlett shelters in the creek with the horse cart as the Union army crosses is awfully similar to one seen in Wizard of Oz when Dorothy runs away to Professor Marvel. Victor Fleming directed both films so it seems plausible that he found a double use for that particular bridge…and maybe the set with the tree and split rail fences as well? I realize King Vidor directed much of WOO, especially Kansas scenes, but does that preclude possibility that Victor and he occasionally shared sets? Is Steven purposely doing the same thing?