(For purposes of the following discussion I'm ignoring issues like "why weren't all mecha, distrusted anyway, built with beacons announcing their position?" and "Lady Liberty's submerged but the plot unfolds in New Jersey?" and "broken by spinach but not the pool?" and "don't ice ages make water levels fall?")
Saw A.I. last night. Left the theater feeling peeved and cheated. Aliens? Bleah. I definitely agreed with the critics who said, "Twenty minutes too long."
But then I found this hefty thread on the Home Theater Forum that suggested a different possibility, and one that I'm embarrassed to admit never crossed my mind.
The translucent guys make a lot more sense as Mecha! The self-evolved progeny of the 'bots. Suddenly traits like pictures in the face, touching to transfer information, the ability to read David's memories and possessing sparkly neurons make a bit more sense, as does their quest to discover what humanity was. They also plug into Gigolo Joe's prediction about machines being all that survived. I feel a good bit better about the crafting of the end now. It was Kubrick's, BTW...
I just wish that Spielberg had been a little more overt (or perhaps used a weaker touchstone of creature design), if Mecha were what he intended. They do look a lot like the frequently-reappearing company logo, but everybody I left the theater with was flabbergasted that the movie was turned over to aliens from outer space.
(BTW, Sarah and Mary, fix your archives! I couldn't get back to your A.I. comments.)
OK, just read over glassdog's rather caustic UnHip review of the film as linked by Andy, and while there are some decent points there, I don't think the movie was anywhere near so hackneyed or bad.