Short Circuit Blu-ray Review

 

Fans of robots, high-definition and Steve Guttenburg will be in overload this month as Short Circuit makes it’s Blu-ray début in the UK. This charming kids classic tells the story of Number 5, a US military robot, who gains self-awareness in a freak lighting storm and travels through sub-urban America in search of knowledge, love and freedom.  Aiding the metallic-marvel in his quest for input, Steve Guttenburg plays Number 5’s socially awkward designer who must try to bring him in before the US army reduce him back to a pile of Meccano. Whilst Guttenberg is not half as charming or funny as he clearly believes, he does perform with apt niavity and innocence to hold the film together.  The story’s emotional core can be found in the relationship Number 5 builds with the eccentric young woman who shields him from the authority’s radar. Kookily played by AllyThe Breakfast Club”  Sheedy, Stephanie initially believes she is teaching an alien visitor about Earth’s society. Her examples of culture involve The Three Stooges, pancakes and 80’s synth-pop music which could likely provoke a full scale assault on earth, so luckily for Stephanie and Earth than Number 5 reveals himself to be a Wall-E like philanthropist.

Even after twenty-five years, Short Circuit still stands as one of the most endearing, and iconic, examples of family cinema your ever likely to see. It’s cheesier than a Swiss food festival and is so upbeat it makes Caravan of Courage look gritty, the film neither avoids this nor apologises for it; it proudly wears it’s heart on it’s sleeve. Through director John Bodham‘s effective use of stereotyped characters, the narrative can be easily understood by children of today’s generation, as the archetypes of mad-scientist, crazy-cat-lady and angry-army-man escaped the eighties and still exist today. An unfortunate consequence of Bodham’s caricatured approach to character results in Fisher Stevens’ rather racist portrayal of an inept Indian scientist. Relying on an embellished and offensive Indian accent, Stevens’ character doesn’t have much to do other than make mistakes, run away and be the butt of many jokes. Parents may also be shocked to remember the degree of foul language and sexual terminology present in several scenes.

Despite its simplicity, Short Circuit is still worth your family’s attention and its themes of romance, exploration and love are still topics that today’s infants can connect with. However, potential purchasers would be wise to consider a DVD purchase rather than a Blu-ray disk: The high-definition format doesn’t assist Short Circuit’s inexpensive special effects work. In a number of scenes, puppeteers strings are clearly visible and in the digital age of film-cell scrubbing and airbrushing, there is no real excuse for this other than a lazy and cheap conversion from standard to high definition.

About The Author

Liam graduated from the University of Kent in 2012 with a first class degree in Film Studies. Whilst studying at Kent he discovered his passion for cinema criticism by questioning the merits of as many examples as possible'; from Hitchcock's The Lodger, to The Hangover Part II. Liam's cinematic range encompass' genres and auteurs far and wide, however, the fusion of technology with outstanding storytelling is where his key passions lie: Therefore, the work of James Cameron, David Fincher, Steven Spielberg, Christopher Nolan and Peter Jackson forms the bulk of Liam's must see catalogue.

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