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Short Circuit (DVD)

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Genre: Comedy / Theatrical Release: 1986 / Director: John Badham / Actors: Ally Sheedy, Steve Guttenberg ... / DVD released 05 April, 2004 at Cinema Club / Features of the DVD: PAL

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      13.03.2014 03:06
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      A robot learns the meaning or life with metal for skin & battery fluid for blood but a heart of Gold

      INTRODUCTION
      ************

      Short Circuit (1986) is a film about the possibility, reactions toward and relations with artificial intelligence that is or becomes sentient and in this case cute, friendly and sassy. It's more of a personal take on being friends with a sentient robot one on one rather than as a group/'species' and overall is a comic sci-fi with an unusual buddy pairing. It was popular enough to get a sequel and even though I love both films the first one holds a special place. There's a number of familiar faces in the cast including Steve Guttenberg and G.W. Bailey (both figured prominently in Police Academy) which help to set the tone since they're acting like characters we already associate them with instead of treading new ground and overall the film has a comfortable/familiar feel rather than scary, awestruck or threatening sci-fi.


      PLOT SUMMARY
      ************

      Being electrocuted is a recurring theme in bringing beings to life or sentience and Short Circuit is no exception. The military via a company/offshoot called NOVA is developing robots for warfare (big surprise) that can not only destroy things efficiently but pour you a gin and tonic. Their newest line of robots, named Strategically Artificially Intelligent Nuclear Transport or ironically SAINT for short are the products of their latest efforts, but when you make things so well are you bringing them closer to the possibility of turning into or doing things you wouldn't expect? Saint Number 5 goes through a series of inexplicable events that causes 'it' later him to not only gain his own sentient identity but to escape the secure laboratory facility. The scientists that developed him (think the predecessors of The Big Bang Theory) are in the usual 'but I want my technology to be used for the benefit of humanity' vs the military bind yet they still work for the military because you know, they wouldn't get to play with expensive tech otherwise. Newton Crosby and Ben Jabituya aka the two scientists behind SAINT's development in particular are sent to retrieve their missing child after the usual gung-ho boys with toys and SAINT No: 5's own siblings fail to get him back.

      No: 5 is an armed to the teeth weapon/solider of war but meets a passionate and compassionate woman named Stephanie who is trying to make enough money to look after her dependents whilst fending off external influences like a parasitic ex-boyfriend and regulators, yet takes him in thinking he's an extra terrestrial and does her best to help him learn and be friends. Not the usual combination in a movie but they are so endearing and peaceful with each other minus an argument when she finds out he's not an alien but even then, while she's ranting and having a go at his origins under the belief that he's a non-sentient machine she still talks to and argues with him like a person and treats him with that respect.

      The rest of the film outlines No: 5's physical and mental journey of discovery, meeting a best friend who tries to help them both live free and arguments for and against whether a robot can think and feel.


      THOUGHTS
      *********

      Even though on the surface this film might seem superficial there are really heart moving, wrenching as well as warming and comic parts and there's quite the elated feeling when No:5 renames himself as Johnny 5. He and Stephanie are very protective of each other. Both only really have themselves to rely on, yet instead of being suspicious and scared of the other they become very close. It's not as if they were lonely before meeting, but their pure friendship is really beautiful and they feel better for it. Their friendship is even highlighted in his naming as he wonders about calling himself Kevin or Dave but decides on Johnny. Wonder why? I only recently noticed the very first song he hears with Stephanie - a clever bit of background detail that's easily missed.

      Technically the film is dated but in comparison to modern equivalents there's something charming about the seeming simplicity robot design. I'm obviously not the only one who thought so as the design is similar (in my opinion) to that of Disney's Wall-E (2008). The cuteness is emphasized by details like Johnny's voice changing from a creepy voice scrambler style and his eyes looking less threatening when he becomes 'alive'.

      The film is action packed with shootouts, general fights, chases and confrontations but there's enough dialogue, jokes, tongue in cheek one-liners and sentiment to keep the pace and the plot moving without getting boring at any point. Even the closing scene is one of movement which feeds into the idea of a 'journey'.

      Interesting note 1) The stereotypical 'Indian guy' is not Indian, the use of darkening actor's skin to play roles hadn't disappeared yet and of course Gandhi (1982) was a major movie that did the same. That said I haven't come across any upset over it nor with Gandhi where Ben Kingsley is half Kenyan Indian but still had dark makeup to play the part.

      Interesting note 2) There's a plethora of cultural references in the film i.e. music and other famous flicks that are used in Johnny's education. That helps to make it more 'real' and relatable to people who remember those times well but conversely dates the film and makes it less recognizable to younger people.

      Interesting note 3) The closing credits show scenes that didn't make the cut and for the longest time before I had the DVD I kept thinking I'd missed something or somehow hadn't seen the whole movie!

      All in all who wouldn't have liked a friend like Johnny?


      MAIN CAST
      *********
      Character - Actor - Notable Other Film/Shows

      Johnny 5 - Tim Blaney (voice) - Puppeteer for The Muppets
      Stephanie Speck - Ally Sheedy - The Breakfast Club
      Newton Crosby - Steve Guttenberg - Cocoon
      Ben Jabituya - Fisher Stevens - Early Edition
      Howard Marner (executive at NOVA) - Austin Pendleton - A Beautiful Mind
      Skroeder (enforcement at NOVA) - G.W. Bailey - Police Academy


      DVD INFO
      ********

      Runtime: 95 minutes
      Rating: PG

      I have the 2012 edition which available at a range of prices on Amazon upto approx £11. Thankfully its rich in special features:

      *Scene Selection,
      *Commentary and Interviews from the Cast and Staff,
      *Official Trailer,
      *'The Creation of Number 5' which is really interesting showing how they transfered human movement to the machines and;
      *Behind the Scenes

      The film is also available as a double feature on DVD with the its sequel Short Circuit 2 (1988).


      COMPARISONS
      ************

      If you like/d this film you may like E.T (1982) about an alien stranded on Earth simply wanting to contact home and return. It sparks up a close friendship with a young boy and his siblings, and they band together to help against the authorities whilst keeping it secret and get their friend home safely.

      Batteries Not Included (1987) - The residents of a building about to be torn down find themselves in a tough position, accept the forced offer and aggressive method of being moving or stay and protect their home. They are assisted by mechanical looking mini-aliens who also live in the building whilst waiting to be rescued.

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        12.01.2011 09:46
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        An excellent example of one of the better movies from the 80's

        Plot

        After a successful launch 5 Robots are being returned to Nova Robotics when a freak accident occurs whilst the last of these Robots, Number 5 is being recharged. The recharge unit is struck by lighting and initially everything seems fine but as the Robots are being taken to a party to celebrate the launch Number 5 goes missing. He finds himself outside of the compound and soon discovers that rather than being another machine he has become alive. With the help of an ice cream seller he befriends Number 5 must evade Nova or else he will be terminated.

        Short Circuit And Me

        There are films that when your growing up you take to and then stay with you for years to come and it would be fair to say that Short Circuit is one of those films. I remember seeing it for the first time at my Nan's in the late 80's following its 1986 release. Since Then I have owned the movie on both VHS and DVD and seen it more times than I care to remember but one thing always strikes me about the movie despite the time that has passed, even now 24 years on it is still as enjoyable and fun as it was the first time I saw it.

        Direction & Writing

        The film was directed by English director John Badham who also lists 80's hits Wargames and Stakeout as well as 1977's Saturday Night Fever in his impressive list of other work. For the time the movie was made the Robots look realistic and given the technology available to the team behind the movie that aspect alone looks quite impressive. HE does a really good job with the direction and although there are a few cheesy moments within the film it does work really well. The Special effects, particularly in the scene at the end of the movie look really good.

        I really felt that every detail had been covered and with a decent idea and good execution they really did do justice to Brent Maddock and S.S. Wilsons script. It's a script that perhaps works because of its quirky nature and despite the passing of time the film doesn't look massively dated. With a release later this year of a digitally re-mastered version as well it stands to reason that Short Circuit will reach out to a new generation of fans. For its time it was a different concept of movie and one I really enjoyed both as a child and right through to the present as an adult. The feel good aspect of the film really shines through and between the writing team and director I really felt they got this spot on.

        Casting

        The main attraction for me was the lead role being given to Steve Guttenburg who I had seen and found to be good in the Police Academy films. Looking back his performance here, just like in those movies is incredibly cheesy but it works for him. He can really pull it off with ease and his characters doubts and change of opinion about Number 5 was quite enjoyable. He also shared good on screen chemistry with Ally Sheedy who played the ice cream seller Stephanie. The pair look good on screen together and their love-hate-love relationship works very well.

        From the first time she appears on screen you take to Sheedy as Stephanie. She has a caring personality and because Number 5 takes to her it seems to make her more amenable to the viewers. Of course whilst both Guttenburg and Sheedy are good I felt that Fisher Stevens really stole the show as Guttenburg's co worker Ben. He provides some of the films funniest moments along with Number 5 but his presence, accent and general demeanour on screen show why he was picked for Short Circuit 2 as well. The final stand out performance was of course from Tim Blaney who provided the voice for Number 5 but I think the credit for that performance belongs more to the writers.

        Is It Worth It?

        Overall despite being 25 years old this year it is still a very good film. The concept works particularly well but it would have been nothing without the direction of John Badham to really make it work. It has numerous cheesy moments and it is far from being a perfect movie but what it is, is a simple, feel good movie that will make you laugh and really provide an proper escape from daily life. It's a movie that seems to be shown on TV every now and again and if you haven't already seen it, I seriously suggest you look out for it.

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          02.02.2010 11:42
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          An advance robot is struck by lightning and becomes alive!!

          'Short Circuit' Oh wow! This has to be one of my all time favourite movies from the 80's as I was growing up.
          I remember that when I was around the ages of 6 - 10, if I was ever off school sick I would watch this film at least 3 times a-day, obviously whilst I was collapsed on the sofa under a blanket with a sick bowl (or that would just be bunking off).
          For some reason I could just watch it over and over, without even getting the slightest bit tired of any part of it.

          Now, as I am relatively a hell of a lot older, I thought that it may not have the same effect anymore, as just like everyone else, memories from childhood always seem to be not as great when your older for some reason, but the other day I saw it for about £5 and decided to buy it, and to my surprise, and I was surprised, I thought it was flipping great, and even better than that, my 7 year old gave it a go and it had the same effect on him. He has watched it at least 5 times in less than a week!

          The plot -
          The idea of this film is a simple one; the US military have developed advanced robots that can be used for war instead of human soldiers, the most sophisticated robots on the planet. But after one of them is struck by lightning, it somehow develops a mind of its own, a consciousness, and basically becomes alive.
          After stumbling around (almost the way a child would at the early days of development) the robot escapes from the military base and goes about to develop one emotion after another. One emotion it develops quickly is fear, fear of being shut down.
          And so our story is set. The robot, called number 5, sets about trying to prove to his creator that he is alive, whilst trying to avoid being destroyed by the military.

          From the description above, you may think to yourselves "That sounds a bit boring" or "God, how many times has that been done" But, this masterpiece of 80's humour is definitely not boring and although many films exist today with similar plots, you have to remember that this was done back in 1986, and as such was a great piece of work to come out of that decade.

          The main cast of the film are -
          Steve Gutenberg plays Newton Crosby, the creator of the robots, a guy that is always in the lab and useless with women, he's smart but at the same time very cynical and adds very well to the humour of the film. In my opinion this was one of the best roles Gutenberg ever played (with the exception of police academy) and was him as his best before his down hill slide of B-movies continuing to the present day.

          G.W Bailey plays Schroeder, the military leader and the main person behind the search and destroy mission. If you don't recognise the name, you may remember him as Captain Harris in all the police academy films. Although in this he is not as humorous as when he played Harris, he still has the same way of talking and tone in his voice that will remind you of the academy films.

          Alley Sheedy plays Stephanie, she is basically the love interest of the film, for the Number 5 and Newton Crosby. Although I found her a little bit annoying throughout (only now as an adult) she plays her part well and adds most of the emotional sadness that is needed in order for you to feel sorry for Number 5 (although the robot does do a good job of that too!)

          And last but certainly not least - Tim Blaney does of the voice of Number 5 - Number 5 is a brilliant character that gives us most of the laughs during the film, if not nearly all, and somehow does a brilliant job of making you feel sorry for him and really routing him on!

          All in all, as a kid in the 80's I thought this was an amazing film, and that doesn't seem to be any different nowadays as my son thinks the same. But even better than that, as an adult I still love to watch it.
          You have to remember that this is not a serious film, that it is meant to cause laughs for the audience, and maybe, just maybe a couple of tears for the more emotional types. There are plot holes and a lot doesn't make much sense, but that just kind of adds to the fun of the film.

          I would recommend this for children of all ages, and for adults to probably watch on a Sunday afternoon after a nice roast.

          Number 5 is Alive!

          DVD running time 95 mins.
          Certificate PG.
          Year 1986.
          The dvd doesn't really have any extras other than scene selection.

          This film went on to spawn a sequel and various computer games. There were also many toys made at the time.

          Awards -
          Won the 1987 BMI Film Music Award.
          Nominated for the 1987 Saturn Award for best director, best science fiction film and best special effects.

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            01.12.2009 19:10
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            A+. Another great movie from the 80's. Classic!!

            ******************* Contains Movie Spoilers******************

            1986 brought us Short Circuit, a film that I watched countless times as
            a child. I had the added pleasure of recently watching it again on a
            larger screen than my family owned 15 years or so ago. The film
            centers on a robot, a machine that has been specifically built military to use as a weapon which also has on board, state of the art artificial intelligence.

            One day after an exhibition of the robots to in action to military personnel there is a lightning strike whilst they had just been rounded up for collection.

            The result of sparks a memorable movie character that has last the ages. His name is "number 5 - a.k.a Johnny 5", the name of the machine, brought to life by a miracle, and this is where this wonderfully enjoyable film begins.

            New to the world, an innocent and naive number 5 seeks input, he wants to learn about everything that intrigues him and what the world is about. Even though he doesn't know what he was created for once he discovers, he doesn't want to continue along those lines, a killing machine, but instead practicing free will and doing what he chooses to do.

            So throughout the film number 5 has many experiences, both happy and sad.

            You see him try and interact with humans, insects, and animals. I liked one of the first scenes where he spots a butterfly and copies its actions with his eyebrows, as if they were the wings.

            There are also sad scenes, well I thought at the time, where he squishes a grasshopper, and then talks to his new found friend about "reassembling" it. He doesn't understand disassemble at first and this is one of the charming things I liked about the film.

            Just because he is a machine and knows parts of him can be replaced, he expected the same of other living creatures around at first. But as his adventure unfolds he learns a lot.

            As you would expect, an 11 million dollar military weapon capable of mass destruction on the loose doesn't go down, not only with creator, but also his superiors. An alert is put out to track number 5 and find answers to why he is "malfunctioning".

            Number 5 must try and survive not only using his wit, or lack of.. But with the help of new found friends that he has made along the way. You'll
            discover what he believes are valid attempts at looking inconspicuous,
            or blending in, as well as his own cheesy one lines that I love.

            This film is excellent from start to finish. There are totally unexpected happenings that make you remember this as a classic and glad that a sequel was made. One of my favourite scenes is when he dismantles a car! Who would have thought that up?

            Speaking of making things up, this is supposed to be a family movie, but one of the key characters is one randy individual, Ben Jabituya, played by Fisher Stevens. Once he is introduced to Stephanie, the woman that helps Johnny 5 throughout it seems that everything he says is related to you know what..

            Anyway! The supporting casting are great, as is the leading male Newton Crosby (Steve Guttenberg). There are lots of quality scenes that make this a fun and enjoyable movie to watch. Not only is there action, car chases, but heart to heart's also. All thrown into the mix with an end result being called 'Short Circuit'.

            I wish more recent films took from movies like Short Circuit. Simple humour, and imagination is the way forward in this type of genre. This is a flawless piece of film making in my opinion. It hits home on so many levels for a family comedy, not to just judge someone from what they look like, or what they are, go deeper, try and understand them, who knows where that will take you!. That and there are moments for adults too that the children will miss. So yeah, funny, sad at times, and classic lines make me recommend this to all.

            5 out of 5.

            Thanks for reading.

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              17.11.2009 18:31
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              Kids film about a cute deadly killing machine!

              Short Circuit was actually quite a popular film back in the eighties, it was like a very early live action prototype of Wall-E starring as most films of that period did, Steve Guttenburg.

              Made in 1986 by John Badham, the film is actually very much a kids film but it will sound much more demanding.

              A weapons manufacturer create a machine which is wanted by the military, it is a mobile unmanned reconnaissance droid and weapons platform. Known as number 5, the droid decides that killing is bad and runs away. He is eventually found by a young woman who is an animal rights activist (Ally Sheedy) and she helps the machine hide from the authorities and teaches it more human emotions such as love and compassion.

              Main Stars:
              Ally Sheedy ... Stephanie Speck
              Steve Guttenberg ... Newton Crosby
              Fisher Stevens ... Ben Jabituya
              Austin Pendleton ... Howard Marner
              G.W. Bailey ... Skroeder
              Brian McNamara ... Frank
              Tim Blaney ... Number 5 (voice)
              Marvin J. McIntyre ... Duke
              John Garber ... Otis

              It sounds like a strange concept, a killing machine getting a conscience, but it happens often in films, in this case the machine is struck by lightning which premeditates its change of heart. The film is really a kids film, the killing machine looks cute and has a silly voice, while the mad professor who created him is one of the heart-throbs of the era who falls in love with 5's protector.

              There is no real story to speak of here, its a bit of a weak film which wanted to follow the trail set by ET about a monster hiding from the authorities with the people and being shown humility and love, this doesn't work emotionally and kids will see this as inferior to ET on most levels, it spawned a sequel and may possibly spawn a remake which is worrying but inevitable they way Hollywood is going.

              Watch the film if its on channel 5 on a Sunday afternoon as its light and whimsical and may bring back memories for some but don't buy it, its not worth even the 99p you can pay for it on Ebay.

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                12.08.2009 14:45
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                A loveable family film

                This is a cutesy 80s movie.
                A robot (Number 5) created by the company Nova is designed as a weapon, but gets electrocuted and slowly begins to learn more about the world outside its programming. He soon realises that he is a sentient being and is not just malfunctioning as Nova claims. He gets help from a woman, Stephanie (Ally Sheedy) to escape from Nova and the threat of being disassembled and dying.

                The special effects in this movie are quite reasonable seeing as it was made around 30 years ago, Number 5 manages to portray emotion almost as well as the newer CGI models are capable of.

                This movie also far from gently mocks the American military as their policy is portrayed as to shoot first and ask questions never. They seem to be completely withdrawn from the civilians in the movie that explore the concept of something manmade being able to express human emotion.

                This is a really fun old sci-fi movie with the objective to make its audience laugh; there are references to other shows such as police academy and the three stooges.

                I would say that if you can get past the fact that this show doesn't have the special effects that are now associated with these kinds of movies, that it is a fun family film. Number 5 will charm adults and children alike with its innocence, use of synonyms and self taught morality.

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                18.06.2008 23:07
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                Number five IS alive.....???

                Director: John Badham
                Producer: David Foster and Lawrence Turman
                Writers: S.S. Wilson and Brent Maddock
                Stars: Ally Sheedy, Steve Guttenberg, Fisher Stevens, Aystin Pendleton, Brian MacNamara, Tim Blany and G.W. Bailey.

                Released in the spring of 1986 this comedy/sci-fi involved the feelings of a military robot who began to refuse orders, believing itself to be human.


                **BRIF PLOT**

                Down at Nova Laboratories in Damon, Washington, Dr Newton Crosby, (played by Steve Guttenberg) and his colleagues have designed and built five prototype robots to use as front line soldiers and they are happy to show them of to the US military.
                Unfortunately, during the demonstration, one of the robots, number five, is struck by a power surge brought on by a severe lightening storm.

                The power surge causes number five to become more humanoid, gaining feelings and emotions, struggling with its orders to fight in war, its voice, (By Tim Blaney ) sounding as human as a robot can sound.

                When the strange looking number five is accidentally taken outside the confines of Nova Laboratories it confusingly rolls around with a thirst for knowledge and some heavily powerful weaponry strapped to its back.

                Somehow Number five ends up in Astoria, Oregon at the home of Stephanie Speck and her vast collection of animals.
                With Stephanie thinking she has met an extra-terrestrial she is not happy when she discovers the truth about where the robot came from.

                Dr Newton and his colleague, Ben Jabituya, (played by Fisher Stevens), who haven't been outside the Nova compound for a long time, are sent to try and recapture the straying robot before it can cause any damage to the general public.

                Also, at the same time, a security team from Nova Laboratories, led by Captain Skroeder, (played by G.W. Bailey) are sent out to track down the escapee with orders to destroy it on site.


                It becomes a fight for survival for the robot which thinks it's a human and, with the help of Stephanie, they have to try and convince its pursuers that 'Number five is ALIVE'.

                **IN CONCLUSION**

                This movie has been given a PG guidance which I feel is adequate.
                It is a fun film for all the family.
                The idea of a robot thinking it is human is not new but in this movie the entertainment value is portrayed brilliantly.
                The partnership between Fisher Stevens and Steve Guttenberg is excellent, the banter between the two is sometimes hilarious as the pair travel around in a van looking for the runaway robot.
                And with the comical way that G.W. Bailey leads his men to try and destroy the fugitive robot is sometimes eye-wateringly funny.

                More importantly, my kids sat through this entire movie without fidgeting, (which is very unusual for them as their attention span during a movie is pretty limited) and I too enjoyed this family friendly comedy.

                This movie contains no blood shed, no real violence and no swearing, which is quite unusual in a military based movie.

                Would I recommend this movie.?
                Yes I would, for a lovely family night in front of the television with some popcorn and coke.

                The kids will love it for the robots adorability alone even if the story is sometimes a little over the younger ones head.

                And with the song 'who's Johnny' drumming in the background you'll be singing the tunes all day long.

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                  27.03.2008 12:56
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                  Short Circuit (1986)

                  A fun family movie, Short Circuit was directed by John Badham in 1986. It was so successful that a sequel was made merely two years later in 1988, with the innovative title Short Circuit 2!

                  The Plot

                  In essence, the plot is a silly one. But it works. In the mid-1980s, computer technology was the subject of many films, and in Short Circuit, we find a military prototype robot struck by lightning and taking on a mind of its own. Named Johnny 5 as the fifth of its kind, the robot finds its way to the home of Stephanie, and thus follows a lovely family tale of a robot with feelings who is fighting for his right to stay 'alive'.

                  The Cast and Performances

                  Naturally, the star of the show is a robot, voiced by Tim Blaney, and very well. Ally Sheedy and Steve Guttenberg provide the top billing, and give typically solid performances. The star of the show for me is geek Ben Jabituya, played by Fisher Stevens. The remainder of the support cast is standard.

                  My Opinion

                  For me, the cast is not what makes this film. It is the inimitable style of a fun family 1980s movie. The concept of a robot going AWOL from the military and ending up in an average person's company, only to become emotionally attached to those who take him (it!) in is a wonderful concept, and is well transitioned onto the big screen by some flowing directing and acting.

                  I really like this film. I wuill not go so far to say that it is a masterpiece, but it slotted into the right niche at the time, and still sits in my heart from when I first watched it as a child.

                  Conclusion

                  A fun family 1980s film

                  I rate this film at 4 stars out of 5

                  The DVD is available from amazon.co.uk for £9.98 new, although used copies are available from 80p.

                  This review may be posted on ciao.co.uk

                  Thanks for reading

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                    22.06.2006 00:52
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                    A Robot breaks free from a military base.

                    Whilst on a military display in front of the top brass, one of a set of proto type military robots is struck by a bolt of lightening. This sudden surge of electricity causes a short circuit in its computer system which gives it a personality and an ability to learn. With this knew intelligence, he escapes the confines of the military base and comes across the home of Stephanie Speck (Ally Sheedy) an ice cream seller. At first she thinks that the robot is an Alien from outer space, but soon realizes that it is a robot after spotting some writing on one of its panels. In it's search for knowledge, the robot quizzes Stephanie and flips through all her books.

                    Hot on the tracks of the robot is his creator, Newton Crosby (Steve Guttenerg) and his sidekick Ben Jabituya (Fisher Stevens), as well as a group of soldiers lead by the ruthless Skroeder (G.W. Bailey). When they finally catch up to him, they are amazed to find that he has developed an artificial intelligence. With the knowledge, that if they took him back to the military base he would be reprogrammed, all 4 of them go on the run as the rest of the military close in.


                    Released back in 1986, Short Circuit is a family movie about an AWOL robot with the name of Johnny 5. Although it is classified as a sci-fi, the film is more focused on the comedy side of things, as Johnny 5 learns all about life, and makes quite a few comical errors on the way. The comedy also comes from Fisher Stevens as Jabituya the creator's sidekick who gets all his sayings jumbled up. Even today after 20 years the film is still as enjoyable as the first time I watched it. Yes, it has become a bit dated, but it is still a very funny film which unlike modern comedies, it doesn't offend you. It also helps that the film includes the comedy talents of Steve Guttenberg, who comes across like a cheeky school kid and the innocent looking Ally Sheedy. In fact this film was so popular at the time that a sequel was released 2 years later.

                    The real star of the film is Johnny 5, which although looks a bit dated now, still provides the very funny focus of the film, robot speak has never sounded so good. In the male lead role of Newton Crosby is Steven Guttenberg (Police Academy) who coasts through this film so effortlessly as the creator with a heart. Opposite him is the kind hearted Stephanie Speck played by Ally Sheedy (St Elmo's Fire), who also plays a love interest for Steve Guttenberg. The supporting cast is also really good, with solid comedy performances coming from Fisher Stevens, G.W. Bailey and Brian McNamara.

                    The film is directed by John Badham who also directed American Flyers and Stake Out. I feel this was probably his best directional outing, as he kept the film moving, the humour plentiful but stayed focused on the story. It is a shame that directors these days have seem to have lost this art of film making, and rely on so many special effects and bad taste humour to satisfy the audience.


                    =======
                    The Cast
                    =======

                    Johnny 5
                    Ally Sheedy .... Stephanie Speck
                    Steve Guttenberg .... Newton Crosby
                    Fisher Stevens .... Ben Jabituya
                    G.W. Bailey .... Skroeder
                    Austin Pendleton .... Howard Marner
                    Brian McNamara .... Frank
                    Tim Blaney .... Johnny 5 (voice)


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                    Technical Details
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                    Certificate: PG
                    Length: 98 mins


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                    Conclusion & Rating
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                    20 years on and I still love Short Circuit as much now as I did when I watched it all those years ago. It appeals to all age groups, and you would have to go along way to find anything offensive or disturbing in the movie. In an era where most family movies have some sort of dark undertones, this film is so honest it is like a breath of fresh air. On top of this, Short Circuit is available on Amazon for just £3.97 which is amazingly cheap.

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                      01.10.2001 16:24
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                      This is a truly wonderful and despite many viewings since I first saw it back in the 80s it still remains a personal favourite. It is one of those movies which is fun for all the family and which thanks to some great characterisation never seems to grow old or wear thin. Its hardly a masterpiece either but its certainly a very funny, heart-warming movie. Short Circuit begins in the NOVA robotic laboratories where a group of new military robots is giving a display. However a storm cuts the demonstration short and they are returned to their storage room, but not before No.5 is struck by lightning. Everything seems ok though and the robots are lead back to their laboratory but No.5 gets distracted by a coffee machine and wanders off in search of "input". No.5 is reborn with an insatiable desire to learn and he escapes the research station by stowing away aboard a van driven by a civilian called Stephanie. Once home she finds him in her house and is convinced that he is an alien and befriends him. However No.5's insatiable desire for input leads into all kinds of chaos and when the truth becomes known as to his identity she must hide him from the military who is convinced that he has malfunctioned and is dangerous and try to convince his creator that he is alive before they destroy him. This is a very funny movie and one which has some rather silly but extremely touching moments. This man made machine of war learns to be a pacifist and what it is to be 'human' and teaches those around him a lesson or two about humanity. He learns about life and death whilst accidentally crushing a bug whilst trying to emulate its jumping...he learns and we learn along with him. But ultimately its a comedy, no matter how touching etc. the comedy is the main root of the show and it is the characters who make the movie. Stephanie is incredibly sweet and of course No. 5's creator(Steve Guttenberg) falls for her charms even though he thinks that sh
                      e is insane for believing that his robot could possibly be 'alive'. Then there is the superb Ben, who is simply hilarious in his poor control of the intricacies of the English langauge. These characters gel wonderfully around a script which is simply perfet for this type of movie and which will keep young and old enthralled from start to finish. I loved this movie as a kid, and watching it recently I still love it. Politically incorrect in parts it may be with Ben's steroetypical representation, but then I would rather laugh at our differences than make them a problem personally. Its simply great rom start to finish and it spawned an equally good sequel as well which is also well worth checking out.

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                        03.04.2001 17:35

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                        I'm sorry to disagree with everyone else who has commented on this film, but i wouldn't put anyone through unnecessary torture and recommend this film to them. The film is one of those christmas films like "flight of the navigator" that is ok the first time round but then gets worse and worse. The film centers around an inventer who comes up with an advanced domestic robot which gets into the wrong hands and is used in the wrong ways. Roll on cheap jokes and terrible effects.

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                        04.11.2000 01:34

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                        A classic movie, that spawned a mediocre sequel, this film is the story of Five, a military built robot, who's supposed to be an ultimate killing machine, parachute it into enemy territory and it'll take out the enemy.. although Five's had a bit of a change of heart, following a direct lightning strike. He goes on the run, and ends up befriending an animal lover, before the military find out where he is and orders him to be destroyed, sending the remaining four robots after him.. these are of course despatched with ease each time, even making three of them pretend to be the Marx brothers! Well worth a watch if it's on on a saturday afternoon in the near future! Of course, there's the groovy robot in there too, with some excellent special FX.

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                        18.10.2000 04:52
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                        This is a classic 80's film starring Steve Guttenberg and Ally Sheedy (and a robot). A Robot (No 5) is designed as a weapon and acts as just a machine until there is an electrical storm and he gets struck by lightening and 'becomes alive'. He then escapes from the military compound and finds his way to Ally Sheedy's home. The film follows No 5's adventures as he comes to realise what life is and what humans do. In particular it shows how the relationship between Ally Sheedy's character and Steve Guttenberg who is the designer of No. 5 develops as they get to know the robot and try to hid him from the military. Short Circuit is a very funny and endearing film and the Robot No. 5 has some very quick one liners. An excellent film with a slightly surprising ending....!!

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                        28.09.2000 21:01
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                        Containing then state-of-the-art effects and no CGI just real hardware, Short Circuit was the cutting edge technology back then, the movie itself looks very dated but is still a fun and exciting film. The film starts with Nova Robotics displaying its new product the SAINT (Strategic Artificially Intelligent Nuclear Transport) robot. The robot is the ultimate weapon and can withstand most attacks and is armed with a laser beam and nuclear devices. They demonstrate the robots to the military, and they are very impressed, but during the demonstration there is an electrical storm and lighting strikes a generator. One robot, number 5, is the robot that takes most of the electricity in one big power surge. This fries number 5's circuits bringing it 'To Life', nulliflying his original programming and gives him a thrist for data, later number 5 runs away from the Nova compound. When the breach is found out the Nova President orders the robots creator Newton Crosby (Steve Guttenberg) and is assistant Ben (Fisher Stevens) to track an dring back Number 5. While they are tracking the robot Nova security boss Skroeder is trying to find number 5 to destroy him, while all this is happening number 5 has found Stephanie Speck (Ally Sheedy) a young chef you takes on stray animals. She thinks number 5 is an alien and helps him retreive the data he wants, when she discovers he is infact a robot and the security chief wants to kill him she decides to protect him. She meets Newton and Ben and convinces them to help her protect number 5, while love spreads between the two. Very dated when you watch it (they all use Macs), it is still a 'charming' film that is both exciting and funny at the same time. Number 5 is great to watch and is works very well, Ben is another stand out character with his dodgy English. Combine this with the confident direction of John Badham (off of Wargames), and you’ve got a film that still holds up today. Wri
                        tten by S.S. Wilson and Brent, who went on to pen Tremors and Batteries not included, have written a great script here, but the movies itself starts to fell too cute and I would like to see that fine actor Number 5 go on to star in better things. Short Circuit may appear dated in the technology department, but the story still works and the movie is full of laughs and excitement. Check out the sequel if you want to see what number 5 gets upto further on in his life. But then again - Number 5 is alive!!!.

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                        22.08.2000 00:01
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                        The very first time I saw this movie, I was not thrilled about watching it. In fact, I curled up in the other room reading "Watership Down" to avoid watching this boring military movie. But as I read, the spontaneous outbursts of riotous laughter from my family convinced me to wander over to see what was going on. And I was hooked. Since that first viewing, I've probably watched "Short Circuit" a hundred times, thoroughly enjoying it each time. It is the tale of a robot who wants to be more. The story begins at the NOVA robotics center, where a demonstration is cut short by a sudden storm. Upstairs, the robots line up to promenade down to show themselves off to the visitors. Number 5 is in the wrong place at the wrong time (or should I say the right place at the right time?) and is struck by lightning. Seemingly unfazed by the incident, he follows the other robots but gets distracted by a robotic coffee server. One thing leads to another, and he finds himself outside, in the bed of a truck leading out into the country. Voraciously reading everything in sight, he is a sort of metallic Pinocchio who finds himself brought to life by the blue fairy of lightning. While NOVA is in an uproar looking for him, he hitches a ride on the back of a snack truck driven by a young woman named Stephanie. She unknowingly drives him home, and when she discovers him she welcomes him into her home, convinced he is an alien. Fascinated by all the wonderful new things in Stephanie's house, he begins to investigate, wreaking havoc in the process. The rest of the movie is pure laughs as Stephanie learns Number 5's true identity, NOVA tries to recapture him, and Number 5 tries to convince everyone that he is alive. Great characters are just as essential to this movie as the hilarious situations and memorable lines. There's Number 5, of course, the robot who is learning what it is to be human and teaching everyone
                        else in the process. Stephanie is the rather ditzy animal-lover who takes him in and eventually begins to believe his story. Newton Crosby, the creator of Number 5, is a pacifist who has fallen for Stephanie but thinks she's crazy to believe that Number 5 is alive. And then there's Ben, the idiom-mixing-up fellow from who-knows-where who evokes a laugh each time he speaks. This movie is just plain clean fun, and it raises some very interesting issues as well about what it means to be alive. Number 5 (re-christened Johnny 5) was one of the predecessors to Star Trek's Data and many of the other androids we love so much. He appears in a second film with Ben, and that is well worth a viewing. But the original movie is the one which I will continue to watch over and over again. One of the funniest movies of all time, any connaisseur of comedy should pick this one up. It is sure to become a family favorite. To name just three of the actors who were very good in this film were: Steve Guttenberg, Ally Sheedy, Fisher Stevens.

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                      John Badham's family-orientated adventure comedy Short Circuit, though obviously hatched in the wake of E.T. and Star Wars, manages to create its own identity through a sweet tone and an affectionate sense of fun. Military robot Number 5, a well-armed killing machine, is zapped by lightning during a test and emerges with a wacky sense of humour and a new peace-loving philosophy. Ally Sheedy (who debuted in Badham's hit WarGames) is the animal-lover whose home is sanctuary for a zoo-full of strays and who adopts the adolescent robot. Steve Guttenberg is the goofy but reclusive robotics designer who goes off in search of his creation to save him from the gun-happy army. The mix of gentle slapstick and innocent romance makes for a harmless family comedy. It veers toward the terminally cute, what with Number 5's hyperactive antics and E.T.-ish voice, and the mangled grammar of Guttenberg's East Indian sidekick (Fisher Stevens) threatens to become offensive, but Badham's breezy direction keeps the film on track. Sheedy and Guttenberg deliver spirited and engaging performances, but most importantly the robot emerges as a real person. Give credit to designer Syd Mead, an army of puppeteers and robotics operators, and the cartoony voice of Tim Blaney: Number 5 is alive. --Sean Axmaker