'The post Kubrickian' : Stanley Kubrick, Steven Spielberg and A.I. Artificial Intelligence

Melia, Matthew (2017) 'The post Kubrickian' : Stanley Kubrick, Steven Spielberg and A.I. Artificial Intelligence. Screening the Past, 42, ISSN (online) 1328-9756


The aim of this essay is to explore and discuss the legacy of Kubrick in the post-2000 work of Stephen Spielberg. The Kubrick-Spielberg relationship (at least in cinematic terms) is well known and several stylistic and formal parallels may and have been drawn between their work (spatial, in mise-en-scene, use of architecture, framing etc). Focusing mainly on Spielberg’s A.I Artificial Intelligence (2001), this paper will look at Kubrick as a source of adaptation rather than as one who adapts and drawing on a body of archival material I will look at the points in the film where the ‘Kubrickian’ and the ‘Spielbergian’ meet (or indeed appear to divest from each other). The paper will draw on a range of material relating to Kubrick’s own treatment for the film (itself an adaptation of Brian Aldiss Supertoys Last All Summer Long) – including a script from June 1993 in the Kubrick archive that appears to have been annotated by Spielberg and returned to Kubrick - and offer a close analysis of the film in terms of its Kubrickian influence and ask what remains of Kubrick’s vision for the film. The film will suggest A.I to be a lynchpin of the Kubrick/Spielberg relationship and Tim Kreider’s article ‘A.I Artificial Intelligence’ (published in Film Quaterly, Vol 56, No.2) will provides a starting point for my investigation which I will expand to include a range of other (less studied) post 2000 Spielberg films where there is a visible and recognisable Kubrickian influence. Kubrick died on the cusp of the millennium. This paper will therefore, through close analysis, be interested in how Spielberg ‘adapts’ or imagines Kubrick to deal with a set of post millennial technological, spatial, architectural, political and cultural concerns and anxieties.

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