thecharacters v1.0
  1. Introduction to The Characters
    1. Introduction
    2. Version History and Credits
  2. The Characters
    1. The Swintons
      1. David
      2. Monica
      3. Henry
      4. Martin
      5. Teddy
    2. The Gigolos
      1. Gigolo Joe
      2. Gigolo Jane
    3. Cybertronics Employees
      1. The Visionary, Professor Allen Hobby
      2. Sheila
      3. Syatsoo-Samma
    4. The Flesh Fair
      1. Lord Johnson-Johnson
      2. Ministry
      3. Little Girl
      4. Little Girl's Father
    5. Rouge City Inhabitants
      1. Dr. Know
    6. Other People
      1. Dr. Frazier
      2. A.R.T. Repairmen
      3. Martin's Friends at Birthday Party
    7. The "Specialists"
      1. The Narrator/Head Supermecha
      2. The Blue Fairy
  3. Bibliography
    1. Films
    2. Books
    3. Websites

1.1 Document Introduction

To aid you in your quest to understanding A.I. (or going insane, whichever comes first), The Mysteries of A.I. has sought to provide a detailed description of each and every character (of importance) in the film. In the time to come, you may be able to come here and instantly find out what scenes each character was in; how much screentime they have; and even various lines of dialogue that they spoke. However, as of this moment we only offer descriptions and such, albeit informative ones at that!
In addition, we would like to note that these temporary character descriptions were written by the fabulous Bryan Harrison and originally appeared at the A.I. Haven.

1.2 Version History and Credits

1.0 Updates

  • Uploaded March 4th, 2002 - 8:25PM PST
  • Written and copyright by Jedi Kindergartner and Bryan Harrison; Individual Material is copyright it's respective owner.

2.1 The Swintons

The Swinton family is what one might consider the suburban equivalent of the future. While the Swintons are undoubtedly far better off financially than most, their lives resemble somewhat that of a typical American family. The Swinton family is comprised of Henry and Monica (the mother and father), Martin (the son), David (the mecha son), and Teddy (the toy).

2.1.1 The Swintons - David

He looks so real! But inside he’s just like all the rest... Or is he? The result of an unprecedented vision, David, A.I.’s protagonist, is the unique prototype of a newly developed series of robots, or “Mecha”, designed as substitute children in a world where childbirth is legally controlled. David is designed simulate a human child in every respect from the state of the art physical simulation, to his childish mannerisms. And there is another human condition that David can reproduce; that one truly human aspect that no Mecha before him has ever been able to duplicate: Love. But is his love real? This seems to one of the underlying questions posed by the resolution of this character’s tragic circumstance.
In a performance that can easily be claimed as unequaled by an actor in his age range, Haley Joel Osment stunned the A.I. audience with such adult emoting and control that it is hard to believe that he was just 12 years old at the time of filming. This performance above all others in the film deserves recognition. David becomes a member of the Swinton household when he is taken in to replace their comatose son. But things don’t work out as planned. From the scene where he is first ‘imprinted’ by Monica, the woman who he comes to know as “Mommy”, to the melancholy and thought provoking conclusion of the film, David’s desperate search for ‘love’ is a moving, philosophical quest, full of plot twist and Kubrickian allegory. Accompanied by Teddy, the furry little Supertoy inherited from his ‘Orga’ sibling, David is set unwillingly into an unsympathetic society to survive on his own. Desperate and dealing with feelings that no robot before him has ever had to contend with, he grasps hold of a dream extracted from a fairy tale and sets out to make that dream come true. This quest drives him into the realm of a troubled and dangerous world that has drowned in it’s own excesses. On the way he encounters Gigolo Joe, an unlicensed lover-Mecha on the run, and together they face the obstacles to David’s quest. The conclusion of his plight is one of the most moving moments ever filmed.

2.1.2 The Swintons - Monica

“Did you see his face? He’s so real… but he isn’t is he?” This anguished question, spoken to her husband upon her first meeting with the small Mecha, defines much of Monica Swinton’s plight. Monica, the woman whom David would come to know as “Mommy” has a human child who is locked away from her, frozen in a cryogenic stasis. She is the character in the film whose love is sought by David. She is also a complex and troubled character and there is much controversy among fans of the film about many aspects of her relationship with the little robot protagonist. But it is in seeking her love that David undergoes his mission to become real.
Wonderfully portrayed by Frances O’Connor, Monica Swinton seems to be a woman trapped within a web of conflicting emotions and desires. She desires to be a mother in a world where limits are placed on the number of children one is allowed. When her son is taken from her by disease, she is presented a gift by her husband, Henry. The gift is David, the special Mecha-boy, a prototype of a series that has been programmed to express love. Desperate for the feelings and responsibilities of motherhood she ‘imprints’ David, awakening his emotional aspect and the bond between them grows. Then, soon later, she gets a fateful phone call from Henry regarding their “Orga” son, Martin, and everything changes. It is in this difficult period after their son revival that Monica will be forced to make the hard and heartbreaking decision that sets David on his quest.

2.1.3 The Swintons - Henry

A contentious figure in the film, Henry Swinton, husband to the woman that David would come to know as “Mommy”, is the one who actually initiates the fated love between the two. He is the one who, out of love for his wife, brings David home to bring her out of the deepening depression caused by their son’s comatose state. But then Henry develops an antagonistic attitude towards the prototype Mecha when things get complicated by their son’s revival. The contention about him arises from who Henry really is and what his motives really are. That is for the viewer to decide. At one point Henry seems to represent that uncompromising beckoning of the real world and its depth of responsibility when, after an unfortunate and misunderstood conflict between David and the ‘real’ son, Martin, he pressures Monica to make a fateful decision. At another point he seems to simply represent all the antagonistic fear and prejudice around Monica and David’s relationship when he seems to be insistent on misinterpreting something David does in order to gain Monica’s love.
Another complex character wonderfully played by Sam Robards, Henry on the surface seems to be a mono-dimensional vehicle for delivering David into his plight. But he is also a necessary element in understanding the myriad of pressures on Monica and the family triad, created by David’s presence.

2.1.4 The Swintons - Martin

Martin Swinton, Henry and Monica’s ‘real’ son, is one of the little boys you love to hate. Mischievous, destructive and downright conniving at times, he is not easy to sympathize with, even considering his difficult situation. Struck down by a debilitating disease, Martin is taken away from his family for five long years until he inexplicably recovers. He then comes home to find he has a new competition for his mother’s love. At first he thinks David is just another toy, another plaything to amuse him, but things quickly happen that cause him to rethink this assumption. In his antagonistic relationship to David, not only is he responsible for tricking the robot-boy into a course of action that damages his household standing, but Martin is actually responsible for exposing David to the ‘Pinocchio’ story which eventually drives his quest to be ‘real’. Martin tries to slight the Mecha by having Monica read the tale to them, but it backfires on him when David takes the story to heart, believing that someday he could be ‘real’ too.
Jake Thomas does an effective job of portraying the typically boyish character, from his sarcastic sneer when he introduces David to Pinocchio, to the sharp manipulative eyes when he says to David, “If you do something really, really special for me… a special mission…” thereby initiating David’s fall from grace. Then a tragic and misunderstood event between the two boys seals David’s fate.

2.1.5 The Swintons - Teddy

Every generation seems to get better and better toys. And this process has apparently not changed in the fictional future forecast in Artificial Intelligence. A bright spot amid David’s hardships is his furry little friend and the Jiminy Cricket of the tale: ‘Teddy’. He’s a Supertoy, although he does not being called a ‘toy’. He’s a walking talking Teddy-bear that would provide wonderful companionship for any small child. Originally owned by Monica’s first son, Teddy gets passed down to David who is in need of a companion when Mommy is not around. The little bear immediately steals the audience’s heart with his human-like expressions and clever antics (like sewing up his own worn hide). More importantly he becomes a self appointed watchdog for David who is struggling with his new human emotions and becomes pivotal in the development of the plot. Teddy provides moments of comic relief to the film as well as acting as a guiding conscience for David.

2.2 The Gigolos

Charismatic mechas, Gigolo Joe and Jane are designed with one sole purpose: to serve as lover-bots.

2.2.1 The Gigolos - Gigolo Joe

Perhaps the character that underwent the most revising when the film project was handed over to Steven Speilberg, Gigolo Joe, the handsome, charismatic ‘lover-robot’ who befriends David, pronounces his programming clearly when he tells a hesitant customer, “You deserve much, much better in your life; you deserve me!” Written by the late, great Stanley Kubrick, as a darker, earthier character, Spielberg’s ‘Joe’ seems more to represent Mecha as an abuse underclass than the self-serving mechanized sex-toy that was outlined originally. It was suggested that Joe might have been the one element that would limit A.I.’s audience by giving it a higher rating, so the changes may have a practical as well as thematic reason.
With his usual on screen charismatic subtlety, Jude Law shows us a multi-dimensional, evolving character whom, after being suddenly thrust into a situation in which he is forced to break his ‘programming’, assists David in his search for the elusive Blue Fairy. The circumstances that lead Joe to cross paths with the little protagonist are a result of manipulations reminiscent of the kind that have always been placed on the underclass. A creature designed and “built specific” to his task, Joe is much more restricted by his programming than David. But is it possible that being exposed to David’s very un-Mecha-like behavior might be having an effect on him? This is a performance that definitely deserves recognition.

2.2.1 The Gigolos - Jane

Jane - though only briefly shown onscreen - is the female equivalent of Gigolo Joe, a sextoy robot designed for that sole purpose. Jane is played by female model Ashley Scott.

2.3 Cybertronics Employees

Cybertronicsis a powerful leader in the field of Mecha manufacturing, creating artificial life. Cybertronics is helmed by it's C.E.O., the Visionary - Professor Allen Hobby.

2.3.1 Cybertronics Employees - The Visionary, Professor Allen Hobby

“I propose we can build a robot who can love,” says the ‘Visionary’, and he is not talking about the kind of ‘love’ that is sought from the variety of sensuality simulators in the dark anonymous streets of the city. In the opening of the film the ‘C.E.O’ of Cybertronics, a leader in the highly competitive field of Mecha manufacturing, inspires his crew of technicians and engineers with what would seem an impossible task; to create a robot that can feel actual ‘love’. His vision sparks the dream that brought a new form of sentient life into the world. But is his creation ‘alive’? Does it really ‘love’? These questions are a philosophical subtext to this film, the answer to which must lie in the result of their arduous undertaking; the special and tragic mechanical figure which becomes the protagonist of the film.
In a powerful if somewhat brief performance by William Hurt, the ‘Visionary’, driven by his own inner conflicts, at once encompasses the striving of humanity to attain an ideal; and our arrogance.

2.3.2 Cybertronics Employees - Sheila

Sheila is but one of Cybertronic's creations.... While at first glance, she may appear to be a rule human, she is actually one of the less-advanced mechas.

2.3.3 Cybertronics Employees - Syatsoo-Samma

Syatsoo-Samma is but one of Cybertronic's employees, obviously the "quality tester" of the sex-toy mecha line. ;)

2.4 The Flesh Fair

The Flesh Fair, a horrible spectacle akin to modern day's WWF wrestling "competitions." Run by Lord Johnson-Johnson, the Flesh Fair destroys weary and damaged robots as a means of "entertainment" of the angry crowd.

2.4.1 The Flesh Fair - Lord Johnson-Johnson

Any old iron?! … Expel your Mecha!” With this disturbing chant, a charismatic and direct antagonist to not only David’s plight, but to all of Mecha-kind, enters the scene in a dazzling and violent round-up reminiscent of the clearing of the ghettoes in Schindler’s List; and that is no coincidence. Taken to the terrible spectacle, “The Flesh Fair” in Lord Johnson-Johnson’s ‘Moon Balloon’ the weary and damaged robots are destroyed for the entertainment of the angry crowd.
In a captivating performance by Brendan Gleeson, Lord Johnson-Johnson portrays at once the rightful indignation of a people forced to live in a world ruined by greed, and the willingness of the opportunistic and ambitious to take advantage of that indignation. But who are these people that have taken Lord Johnson-Johnson’s message of hate and scape-goating to heart? Does even he know? In a scene sure to raise the ire of the films audience, Lord Johnson-Johnson drags a struggling David to his doom at the hands of the crazed mob. But is there a point that even his devout followers will not go beyond?

2.4.2 The Flesh Fair - Ministry

In a raucous cameo appearance, the group Ministry provides a violent soundtrack of ‘Industrial’ grind-core metal for the Flesh Fair, entirely befitting of the event.

2.4.3 The Flesh Fair - Little Girl

David is brought to the attention of Lord Johnson-Johnson due to a little girl, who notices Teddy - who leads her to the cell where he is being held. The little girl immediately mistakes David for a real boy, and runs off with Teddy to tell her Father, one of Flesh Fair's production managers, it seems.

2.4.4 The Flesh Fair - Little Girl's Father

The little girl's father is, it seems, one of the Flesh Fair's production managers. His daughter brings to his attention David, and after careful inspection, he is puzzled at how David isn't real. He then shows Lord Johnson-Johnson.

2.5 Rouge City Inhabitants

Rouge City - a dazzling wonder city, filled with all different sorts of orga and mecha on all different sorts of business. What (and who) will the city hold for David and his quest?

2.5.1 Rouge City Inhabitants - Dr. Know

Dr. Know, the Albert Einstein of knowledge. There is nothing he doesn't know! However, information comes at a price, and to obtain knowledge from this computer (represented in holographic display), you must pay the fee.
Dr. Know has long-since been a Stanley Kubrick creation, and early storyboards show that the Dr. Know sequence of the film is practically a carbon copy of Kubrick's intention.

2.6 Other People

Other People - hey, there's lots of 'em!

2.6.1 Other People - Dr. Frazier

Dr. Frazier is a head doctor at the Cryogenics Hospital, one who is in charge of Martin's case. He offers little hope to Henry and Monica, however, as he knows all too well about Martin's condition.

2.6.2 Other People - A.R.T. Repairmen

The A.R.T. Repairmen come into the Swinton home to repair David after his Spinach mishap.

2.6.3 Other People - Martin's Friends at Birthday Party

Martin's friends appear briefly at Martin's birthday party. They are immediately intrigued by David, though they refuse to treat him as anything but a machine...
Most of Martin's friends are among 14 years of age - there is quite an age gap between Martin and his friends, it seems... a curiousity that has puzzled many people. One must remember, though, that Martin was cryogenically frozen for several years, and during those years he obviously did not age himself. So the friends at the party were obviously the same size as Martin before his freezing, but now are older and bigger.

2.7 The "Specialists"

Coming Shortly!

2.7.1 The "Specialists" - The Narrator/Head Supermecha

Coming Shortly!

2.7.2 The "Specialists" - The Blue Fairy

Coming Shortly!

3.1 Bibliography - Films

  • A.I. Artificial Intelligence, a film by Steven Spielberg.

3.2 Bibliography - Books

  • Hehe, as of yet we haven't used a book for this section!

3.3 Bibliography - Websites

  • The A.I. Haven.

The Mysteries of AI. - Copyright 2001 by Jedi Kindergartner