Short Circuit (1986)
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Short Circuit is, at heart, a comedy about what happens when a robot designed to replace a special forces soldier is struck by lightning, and starts to believe he is a living entity. Much of the rest of the film revolves around either Number 5's attempts to evade capture by the people who made him, or his attempts to convince the people he meets of the truly wonderful thing that has happened to him. Ally Sheedy and Steve Guttenberg provide an excellent support cast that does a first rate job of interacting with the character. This was one of the first films to show human actors engaging in conversation with what was essentially a full-scale puppet, and it remains one of the best. With brilliant voice acting by Tim Blaney, Number 5 seems more human than some of the other actors in the film, especially G.W. Bailey. They must have had a special on Police Academy alumni that year.
Speaking of Police Academy, the "let's rip the front seats out and sit in the back" joke gets a couple of references here. In fact, a few old classics get a good reference in this effort. Interestingly enough, the Three Stooges short that is shown and imitated in a couple of sequences is called Woman Haters. Go figure. The one weakness of the film is that it seems primarily constructed around a few puppeteering or special effects sequences. The use of the laser beams here seems very dated by modern standards, and the computers would look unbelievable if I hadn't personally seen the computers that were available to the public and business around this year.
Sadly, they do not make films like this anymore. In this day and age, where every film has to be made as expensively as possible, and even films aimed at children seem segmented, nobody seems willing to consider that the adults in the audience might need to be entertained, too. Which is a real pity. Films like Short Circuit have the ability to appeal to this viewer even more now that he is twenty-something years old than was the case when he was eight years old. I doubt that anyone who turns twenty-six in 2020 is going to same the same about the Pokemon or other such mind-numbing single-digit-age-only crap that is being churned out.
I gave Short Circuit an eight out of ten. It is starting to show its age, but as a relic of the mid-1980s, it also shows that there were people asking questions about the advancement of technology. Indeed, on the basis of films like Short Circuit, I am almost willing to regard the 1980s as the last bastion of creativity in the mainstream film industry. Give it a look expecting a film about more than money, and you may be pleasantly surprised.
However, I recently had the chance to watch this flick again. I must say, that it still has it's redeeming value to it.
If you ask me, Number 5, is STILL alive! I recommend this movie to anyone. 7 out of 10.
10 out of 10 is my rating because this movie has played a great part in my movie-watching life. I first saw it at the age of 9 (edited Disney broadcast version, with the adult language cut out) and have looked to it ever since if I just want to get a little laugh. And, for me, a little laugh in my otherwise stressful life is a great thing.
Need input." So Stephanie lets No. 5 reed all her encyclopedias then lets him watch the T.V. all night.
After all the initial fun and "input" the chase begins when No. 5 realises that the people from Nova are after him and want to dismantle him. Because they think he's malfunctioning.
"No dismantle! Not malfunction. No. 5 is alive!" Are what No. 5 says. And N. 5 has to go through a number of obstacles to avoid being destroyed by these soldiers and a ruthless general who will do anything to permanently shut No. 5 down. But No. 5 is just too smart. He out smarts military men in many was, using all these tricks he has up his sleeves...or in his massive memory bank.
So overall if you have a heart then No. 5 is the perfect friend. He will truly capture your heart.
Speck becomes good friends with 'Number Five' who begins to take on a lot of human characteristics, transcending the static life of a robot or the hostile life of a military weapon, which is what the robots were designed for.
Speck learns that Number Five's owners are looking for him, but she knows that the military would only destroy Number Five or terminate the emotional drive that he has developed. Number Five's designer, Newton Crosby (Guttenberg) and his silly assistant Ben Jabituya (Stevens), have yet to appreciate what Number Five has achieved, as a shell of wires and controls able to take on human qualities, but, soon, they too will join Speck in the quest to save 'Number Five.'
Some of it is kind of reminscint of other 80s sci-fi movies like 'Batteries Not Included' and 'E.T.'
There's two issues at work in this movie. The first, and obvious one being about the development of human emotion and would it be possible for anything to gain an understanding and appreciation for it? And the second being the ethics of military useage. Plus, it's your standard 80s love and friendship story. Because of the story and the sharp wit comedy and sarcasm, it's makes for good comedy. I haven't seen the sequel in a long time, but I do remember enjoying it almost as much as the first. I think that's because 'Number Five' is such a funny, loveable robot.
If you like the theme of this movie, I recommend seeing the hilarious comedy, 'Making Mr. Right,' which is about a robot designed for space exploration rather than military use. But, the robot begins to take on human emotions while the owner becomes increasingly more like a robot. (It's from Susan Siedleman, the director of 'Desperately Seeking Susan.')
I also think that the type of people who would enjoy this movie are the people who feel like Newton Crosby. He's devoted his entire life to something (science and technology), just to have others who used to be devoted to it steal it all away from him. It's almost like the whole movie you want to score one for the little guy. Most of us have been there at some point in our lives. This movie kind of captures that, and if you watch the movie with that intent, it does keep the viewer intrigued.
The movie also makes you appreciate what your life is, when you see just what the robot can do, and you realize just what your mind is capable of.
All in all, I think I found it a lot more touching than it should have been, because it was 3:15am when I started watching it, and I THINK I watched the movie Pi right before it.