Sunday, January 4, 2015

Life is not a malfunction

Recently re-released on Blu-ray and DVD, 1986's Short Circuit starred Police Academy star Steve Guttenberg as a scientist whose robotic invention became sentient after being struck by lightning. After wandering off the military base Number 5 (Tim Blaney) would eventually find his way to Stephanie Speck (Ally Sheedy) who befriends the machine and begins feeding its insatiable appetite about life and information.

I'll admit to loving the movie as a kid and still having a soft spot for it (but not its sequel) years later. More likely to appeal to kids than parents, Short Circuit is memorable for a number of reasons including the robot itself (obviously the template years later for Wall-e), some very quotable lines ("Malfunction. Need input.", "Nun soup?"), and the bizarre (and kinda racist) choice to have Fisher Stevens play an Indian scientist. It's not a great film by any means, but it's held up pretty well over the years and continues to offer fun family entertainment that does discuss the nature of life and debate whether or not a machine such as Number 5 could ever truly be alive.

The latest Blu-ray includes previously-released extras such as commentary from director John Badham and writers S.S. Wilson and Brent Maddock, a music effects audio track, a featurette on the making of Number 5, behind-the-scenes footage and interviews from the cast, the theatrical trailer, and a photo and design gallery.

[Image Entertainment, $24.98]

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