I absolutely love this film, even with its blemishes and quirks. It delivers a huge emotional gut-punch and frames a number of important questions in a way that only sci-fi can do.

I also consider it the most atheistic film I've ever seen; a parable of the Problem of Evil, an indictment of faith-based thinking. I have written a short analysis of it, that can be found here:

http://alenthony.wordpress.com/

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While I found the film thought-provoking and worth seeing for someone who is interested in this subject, overall I didn't think it was a good movie. Maybe if Kubrick had completed it instead of Spielberg it would have been less silly and sentimental.

((spoiler))

The point where for me the movie went from OK to just plain bad was when David goes psycho and destroys - murders - an identical robot. This is a character we're supposed to feel sympathy for flying into a destructive rage when it suspects its goals are threatened.

Now that I've vented I'll read your critique.
I've never seen this, but that was a very good review. I'll place a request for it from the library.
I can certainly see the atheistic and religious themes that you refer to. I haven't seen the film for the better part of a decade and when I did watch it my thought's didn't delve so deeply. I certainly enjoyed A.I. however at the time I felt that it suffered from *Spoiler*


the double ending syndrome. David didn't need to wake up centuries later when robots rule the earth. Incidentally that reminds me of the flight of the concords robot song.

A final question I would ask is that if the film is showing spirituality from the perspective of the robots who obviously have no afterlife because they are created. Could one argue whether the film offers a perspective on the origins of humanity ie who created the creator. It's been too long since I saw the film for me to offer such a perspective.
According to Wikipedia they're alien looking robots and that's also the impression that I had watching the film. Not sure if the movie commentary says any different.
Interestingly, I saw it in the theater with my wife. She was so disturbed by this film that she had to run out of the theater at one point. She came back about an hour later and barely made it through the rest.

She is extremely sensitive to anything involving children suffering. Or anything that gets between the mother-child bond. So after the film, I tried to probe her a bit on this (carefully) - I basically asked her why she reacted so strongly when it was clear from the start that David was only a robot. She didn't want to discuss it at all. Which is too bad, because at the heart of her strong reaction is something very telling, it seems to me, about what she considers human. It isn't the flesh, or even the DNA.

I find this subject utterly fascinating, and Sci-Fi is really the best medium to investigate it.

So another film that deserves mention, right besides A.I., is Bladerunner. I assume everyone here has seen that. There have been so many essays written about that film and its treatment of what it means to be human, and its deep religious allegory, that it would by pointless for me to write an analysis of it. Required viewing!
Blade Runner is an amazing film, as is the novel "Do Androids dream of electric sheep" of which the film was based. I would also recommend the Japanese anime "Ghost in the shell" which delves into similar themes. The original Ghost in the shell movie heavily deals with the issue of people being more than just the flesh.
Ya know, I've never seen Blade Runner!
Well, Blade Runner isn't an "atheistic" film, IMO, but is more of a retelling of Christian mythology. That being said, it is a great, great film. There are several versions, the director's cut that does not have the voice-overs is best.

The Matrix trilogy is another religious parable along the same lines.
Well, most Western literature (storytelling) is nothing more than Biblical myths revisted: creation and/or fall from grace, redemption through sacrifice, etc.

While I hate xtianity, I can listen to some xtian inspired music (such as Arvo Part), and like some religiously themed movies, like Bergman's The Seventh Seal.
Yes, I despise xtianity as well, as religion... I think if it is treated as pure mythology it is very interesting, just as all mythology is. I love how myth resonates with something deep in the psyche, something primitive beyond language - just symbols.

A few years back I watched Mel Gibson's Passion Of The Christ, just treating it as a story, and I cried my eyes out at the end. I'm sure Joseph Campbell would understand...
Sure. As a mythology, it does have some interest. Like The Divine Comedy. But as a moral guide, it is very lacking. And there is some wisdom there too, but that is human wisdom, not divine. That's where the unwise get tripped up.

I've not seen PotC.
@Justin:

A coworker just put me on to "The Flight of the Conchords". I just watched Season 1 on DVD. It is really funny, especially since none of the lines are ever delivered in a funny manner (unlike most sitcoms).

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