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Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy, who were previously teamed in the pleasant family drama "Cocoon" highlight this 1987 Universal release, a severe mess of a fantasy comedy and one of the decade's all time worst films. Minor shades of "Cocoon" are occasionally (though not successfully) evident in this ridiculous tale of a group of tiny aliens and their tiny metal ships who try to help a group of people prevent themselves from being evicted. Absolutely horrible.
Kids may enjoy "*batteries not included" for the tiny spaceships and some
the funny antics they get themselves into. These same kids however may not
be able to identify with the adult characters in the film. In similar
like "E.T." kids enjoy seeing other children directly involved with the
story. An example is the famous bicycle escape scene.
Adults on the other hand will no doubt find this film overly
The story is about a group of tenants that are being forced out of their apartments by some pushy developers using dirty tactics such as gang-for-hire to get the job done. When some tiny spaceships visit the apartment to re-charge their power supplies they end up staying awhile and eventually help the tenants out. Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy do a fine job in there performances but can't make this film anything more than a Lazy Sunday Movie.
I have also seen the film and I was really disappointed of the aliens and of many other things. All in all the story was funny, but the producers could have done more with it. They could have made it also for adults. I was 15 years old when I have seen it and I was disappointed because the pictures and the summary in my TV magazine had promised more. It was too bad and I always hoped for more Action. It would have been better, if the aliens were looking like humans and not like flat things flying through the air. When they arrived, I expected some aliens looking like humans. The only person I really liked was old Faye Riley. She was funny and in a way she was nice.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
At age 30, I just watched this for the first time the other day, and I
have to say, I know why I wasn't into it for as long as it's been out.
There's something a bit less-than-family-entertaining about senile old
people just trying to get by as a local gang of ruffians attempts to
beat up tenants and muscle them out of comfortable living. Even a huge
former boxer was afraid of these guys at some point, and then he turns
out to be a 1-2 brawler out of nowhere. And for some reason, the story
needs to hang onto the story of an artist who's courting a resident
pregnant woman with no support for her in sight. It's chaos!
So out of nowhere comes some magic that patches the entire motley crew together. Must be nice! Where were you creatures in the 2012 movie? I won't give away what the movie poster doesn't give away already: a tiny spaceship is involved. The magic element of this spaceship (and possible other magic powers?) is what makes me groan all the way through the movie. I personally cannot stand watching a magic element at the beck and call of a rundown community.
The movie was fun at times, watching the spaceship animation in composite shots; I like watching older movies that still shot like this for special effects because they still seem a lot more "real" than CGI does. The story is very blah: it relies on the special magic forces that fix everything a little too much. Jessica Tandy and Tom Aldredge really took the acting duties for this one, mainly because the other characters were a bit bland. The gang that followed the one main Latin dude reminded me of most bad 80's gangs, almost like the rat gang in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?.
Overall, I wasn't very impressed by it. I didn't have any childhood moments other than the dated special effects (good, but dated). The villains were there simply as a plot point without much background as to why these people had to leave this shamble of a building. Why would they stay? It's a hazard for god's sake! I would recommend it to those feeling nostalgic, but not for modern kids nor adults. It wasn't that entertaining.
For those looking for a "classic" type of family film, but with color
film and a bit more in the way of special effects, this is perfect for
The distinct old fashioned streak is both the strength and weakness of this film. The plot is predictable and is not otherwise outstanding, but the simplicity suits it well to small children. There are fewer jokes than in many of the recent Disney blockbusters, but one is also spared the smothering glibness that accompanies this sort of humor.
While the average family film nowadays takes the tone of a particularly sarcastic twelve-year-old in hopes of appealing to everyone, "Batteries Not Included" aims particularly at two groups; small children, and theater (that is stage) aficionados. Both groups have plot elements and characters focused specifically on them, and whether one likes the film depends mostly on whether one can appreciate the elements aimed for either adults or children, and tolerate or ignore the rest.
* batteries not included C+/B 2.11.00 1.85:1/5.1
First Viewing Anamorphic Widescreen
It's a cross between Cocoon and E.T. but doesn't live up to either. The story is too cute at times, yet no where does a single young child appear in the film. The DVD looks and sounds fine, but the only extras are production notes.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Director Matthew Robbins and the Spielberg production company (Amblin
Entertainment) present us with a movie that has been influenced greatly
by the success of Ron Howard's "Cocoon". We have here two stars form
that film (Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy), a very similar plot idea and
almost the same music (same composer).
The story, about tiny alien spacecraft who help save an old block of flats from being destroyed, comes across as silly, and the script is thin and poorly worked. Weak characterisation and blatant predictability don't help either, not to mention the lack of comedy. Not much to smile about.
Monday, March 1, 1993 - T.V.
I am a diabetic and this was just too much sweetness for my system.
I know there are some that consider Miss Daisey (Jessica Tandy) and Hume Cronyn to be some kind of national treasures, but they were just a couple of old people who get all gaga over some mechanical beings from outer space. It was really difficult to watch them.
I have to admit that Elizabeth Peña and Dennis Boutsikaris were the best part of this movie, even if he did remind me a bit of an actor I hate. I know that's not his fault, but it detracted from my enjoyment of his performance.
All-in-all this belongs on the Disney Channel so it can be avoided by those who can't take too much sugar.
Cutesy Spielbergian shlock too syrupy even for kids. Aliens again, as though Spielberg could ever make a movie without aliens. There's an evil character ripe for redemption, and of course he earns it at the end of the movie. There's an artist with a knack for losing girlfriends, but wait the single pregnant woman neighbor is perfect for him, how much you wanna bet they will be together at the end of the movie? Two animated pie-tins descend to earth to procreate, so they choose the middle of a bustling city instead of some abandoned warehouse in the country. Makes sense to me. Instead of replicating themselves full-size, they make three tiny babies, one of whom is a runt and is brought back to life by the magical minority who always shows up in Spielberg films. Through all of these unbearably sappy shenanigans, an evil developer schemes to raze the apartment building they all live in (is there such a thing as an altruistic developer?) and replace it with a gleaming new development. Blah blah blah, if you watched the Smurfs nonstop for forty-eight hours you'd get an idea of how treacly and simple-minded this movie is.
This movie takes a silly, ridiculous premise and actually turns it into a pretty good flick. Most of the actors play their parts in an understated manner and they don't try to go for laughs with the little space alien aircraft. But, Jessica Tandy overacts horribly and her character is grating and annoying. Her husband, Hume Cronyn does a good job. It's too bad he didn't try to keep his wife under control. Miss Tandy's character is supposed to be suffering some form of mental illness. The exact nature of that illness is never explained but it appears as if she is suffering from dementia or the start of Alzheimers. In any event, she plays the role badly. Every time she started that ridiculous dancing around the room at inappropriate times it was obvious that she was an actor portraying a sick woman and was never, for a moment, believable.
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