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*batteries not included More at IMDbPro »

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Index 59 reviews in total 

Always Worth Watching Again

Author: Loretta Yeo from United States
6 August 2016

In looking at other reviews I was amazed how many first saw "*batteries not included" as kids. I was 33 years old in 1986, and I got it on Beta, then LaserDisc before I bought the DVD. This is a movie you watch when you're in the doldrums because it will definitely cheer you up.

Yes, all the performances are great. Yes, the model filming by ILM is perfect - reality trumps computer generated images hands down; just look at the pudgy ENTERPRISE in the CBS "updates" of "Star Trek."

Where I disagree with some reviewers is in the plot. I think it is substantial enough to get you involved in the story, and using your brain and heart. Most of us don't need to be spoon-fed with too much detail; in fact data overload can rob you of the chance to imagine.

While I too love Spielberg's films, it would never have occurred to me to rank any of them as "not good," especially this one. While "Schindler's List" is amazing, honestly, can you watch it several times a year? Probably not, because it's just too intense. "ET" is one of those movies we can lip-sync the dialog while watching, we've seen it so often. But "*batteries not included" always seems new and fresh.

Next time you watch, see how the demolition/construction workers interact with the residents of 817 East 8th Street.

I would be more likely to recommend this movie to adults, although children can get the basics of it.

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The Sentimental Touch of Spielberg

Author: gavin6942 from United States
22 May 2016

Apartment block tenants seek the aid of alien mechanical life-forms to save their building from demolition.

This story started out as something destined for "Amazing Stories", and you can tell that it maintained the feel when expanded in length. It still has that sentimental nature Spielberg loves and packed the show with, and it just has that sort of light-hearted fantasy you don't see very often.

Aside from the two leads -- Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy -- the cast is largely unknown, and that may not be a bad thing (though it is disappointing that they didn't go on to become bigger names). This isn't a "star" film, it's about regular people helping each other out.

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Batteries Included.

Author: Python Hyena from Canada
23 March 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Batteries Not Included (1987): Dir: Matthew Robbins / Cast: Hume Cronyn, Jessica Tandy, Elizabeth Pena, Frank McRae, Michael Carmine: Inventive visual spectacle that is basically recycling E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial. These little disc shape creatures not only operate on their own but teamwork seems to be the prime function. Five people are threatened when a real estate developer wishes to demolish their home. They refuse to leave and these tiny creatures appear and provide friendship. Conclusion demonstrates these creatures at their best. Director Matthew Robbins does a fine job but the real estate developers are your standard villains. The screenplay is saved only by the presence of the gifted Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy. They steal the film and witness the spectacular in the climax but beyond that they are a real life married couple, which certainly translates into making their characters real and believable from an emotional standpoint. Supporting roles are either other depressed residents of the building or the idiot developers who wish to tear their home down. They come off as the standard thugs with no personalty to save their life, or the film. While the film is nothing compared to E.T, it still has its charm as well as inventive visual elements that will certainly entertain younger viewers who will likely marvel at the creation. Score: 6 / 10

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This movie will make you believe in miracles!

Author: OllieSuave-007 from California, USA
19 February 2015

This movie will definitely make you suspend reality and take a trip inside some imaginative fun, where five tenants faces eviction when their beloved apartment is about to be demolished. The developers hire a local gang to force them to leave, but, visiting outer space aliens in the form of miniature flying saucers visit the tenants and use their powers to help them.

I remember watching this movie on and off when I was a kid and really enjoyed seeing those miniature flying saucers mingling in with the humans and helping them in any way they can. The special effects team did a great job in making the aliens believable and Matthew Robbins did a pretty nice job directing, keeping the story going at a fairly fast pace, though, the plot is pretty basic with few twists.

Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy had great chemistry together and made great character leads. I did, though, wished more emphasis were placed on Michael Carmine and Elizabeth Pena and wished there were a little more action coming from the aliens. It would have made the plot a bit more exciting.

But, overall, this is still a pretty nice film and is fine for the entire family. It is imaginative and out-of-this-world, but will make you have faith in miracles.

Grade B-

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Author: Harriet Deltubbo from United States
22 August 2014

Apartment block tenants seek the aid of alien mechanical life-forms to save their building from demolition. My first impression: From an artistic standpoint, there were some plot elements and character developments I didn't think were totally needed. They do however drive the story, which seemed to be their purpose, so I can accept them. My second impression: It will bring you to tears and make you laugh. My third impression: The acting is very effective. And finally, my fourth impression: This kind of sentimental character piece needs a tight focus so all of the nuances of the characters shine through. The characters in this film have a lot of depth, and that makes all the difference.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Uplifting story about a group of apartment dwellers...

Author: dwpollar from Evansville, Indiana USA
11 November 2006

1st watched 11/11/2006 - 7 out of 10(Dir-Matthew Robbins): Uplifting story about a group of apartment dwellers who don't want to leave their building while the neighborhood around them is leveled so that a new business complex can be built. After prayers and wishes are offered up to the heavens, a couple of electricity-needing otherworldly miniature spacecrafts come to their assistance by fixing things after getting what they need. The bad guy in the story works for the tycoon putting up the new highrises and first offers them money to leave their residences then starts destroying their properties to bully them into leaving. The group who want to stay is led by the Hume Cronyn character who owns a restaurant, that's on the 1st floor of the building, with his alzheimer-ridden wife played by Jessica Tandy. They make a great couple as always with the supporting players layering on enough neediness to keep the viewer routing for them. This is a forgotten classic of a movie that was overlooked in the Spielberg-hyped era and if I remember right it was advertised as being another Close-encounteresque type of movie when it weighs much more heavily on the human side. One of the executive producers was Spielberg, so the advertising was probably trying to cash in on that. Definitely worth another look if you hadn't seen it in awhile because it's well done from beginning to end and is a thought provoking essay into believing in your dreams and not letting go.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Charming and Fairly Witty

Author: AJ-92 from AKRON, OH, USA
17 June 2001

I loved this movie when I first saw it. I still like it a lot, but nowhere near as much as I used to. The comedy and cute little spaceship thingies is what drew me into "*Batteries Not Included." This is like "E.T." in a more cute and cuddly way. In this nice family flick, elderly inhabitants of an apartment find small spaceship-looking creatures in their home, but the secret can't be kept for long. Punks are forcing people out of their apartments, including our main stars. Can they keep their place for long? "Dun dun...." If you like funny family films or are looking for a flick to keep your kids entertained, this will work for you. But if you are a fan of "E.T." and expect the exact same here (I don't like the flick, but I understand its so-called "superiority"), look elsewhere.


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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

One of the most compelling movies I have seen.

Author: ladibug340 from Murphy, North Carolina
20 February 2001

Matthews Robbins does an excellent job directing the characters in this way out movie about a group of destitute people fighting to prevent the destruction of their Chicago apartment building in the mist of progress. Faced with the taunts and threats of the developers, five families are forced to take a stand. Help comes from two tiny "living" spaceships that give birth to three more, one of which "dies" and is brought back to life by an ex-boxer who has not spoken in years after his failure in his career. With the help of the outsiders, the diner on the ground floor of the apartment building is able to continue running even after it is destroyed by agents for the developers. Although helpful, the "babies" find themselves in pancake batter and replacing the meat in hamburgers! A hilarious film. A must see by all who have a tender heart!

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3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Old people and aliens...perfect box office combo?

Author: Leofwine_draca from United Kingdom
5 January 2013

I'm guessing that following the success of COCOON, Hollywood producers saw the potential of mixing old-timers with aliens, hence we get BATTERIES NOT INCLUDED. Despite the presence of the geriatrics in the cast, it's a children's film through and through, an old-fashioned fable about tenants in a run-down housing block trying to hold out against greedy developers and the little aliens that come to help them.

I don't usually 'do' sentimental films, but I'll make an exception for this one: it's a solid piece of entertainment that quite often reaches magical levels. Certainly the aliens themselves are wonderful creations; little UFOs who whizz around the screen and commit all sorts of mischief. The special effects are exemplary and hold up to this day, even by modern standards.

The cast are faultless; Jessica Tandy is a given, but kudos to the producers for hiring SHADOW OF A DOUBT's Hume Cronyn, who has a kind of crusty charm all his own. The highlight, for me, is Michael Carmine's villainous Carlos, who's given much more characterisation (and who elicits far more sympathy) than you might expect from a Hollywood bad guy.

Yes, BATTERIES NOT INCLUDED is twee, sentimental and silly, and totally unrealistic with it. Needless to say, Spielberg's fingerprints are all over it. Nevertheless, it still works when you watch it, even today, as a touching fable. One of the things I liked most about it is that it has great characterisation for an effects film; all of the people living in the apartment block have their own story arcs. Plus, the inclusion of the dementia sub-plot gives it an adult, bittersweet taste missing from your usual kid's flick.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Could have done with batteries...

Author: Rocketeer_Raccoon from United Kingdom
6 May 2016

I remember seeing this film a long time ago as a kid, however I didn't like it back then because the old woman in this film annoyed me. It had been years since I had last seen this film and my memory of it was very rusty so I thought I give it a new watch now to refresh my memory, and to see if my opinion of the film has changed. Unfortunately I still don't like this film and I wasn't very impressed with it, to me it felt like it dragged on a bit and became boring, and I still hated the old woman. Like a typical old woman she has dementia (memory loss) but what's even more jarring is how does she know what the alien robots eat? I think the film could have done with more comedy because there hardly was much in the film. Overall it's not a terrible film but it feels poor and it could have been done a lot better.

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