Re: The AI ending
>> Aldiss ... wasn't keen on the happyish ending...
> I've only seen the film once ... I said much the same thing at the time
Yes, I felt that too - it should have simply faded to black with the solemn narrator voiceover. The tacked-on ending feels like gratuitous added sugar.
That said, when I saw the film again some years later, the epilogue seemed less "jarring", but maybe that's just because I was expecting it. Watching it "without prejudice", it didn't feel quite as "empty" either, although I still don't think anything would really be lost by simply truncating the film (and arguably the whole might be improved as a result).
I suppose we should just be grateful Disney didn't get their hands on it. I don't even want to think what the result might have been like after they'd finished dumping truckloads of sugar into it.