Do you want to see a Short Circuit remake?
Kyle 2012/04/11 20:53:25
I'm just going to say it: Short Circuit was one of my favorite
movies growing up. I, like many of my peers, loved the story of Johnny
5, a robot engineered to be a Cold War killing machine who comes to life
and discovers his humanity. It was goofy, sweet and hopeful. Like the
kids who adored him, Number 5 was looking to learn, grow and become what
he chose—even if that didn't jive with the desires of his parents…or
engineers, whatever. It was a touching and totally '80s tale for which I
unapologetically still have a nostalgic soft spot.
So, no, I'm not in favor of a Short Circuit remake. The story of
intelligent life coming to life is intriguing, and in the context of a
family friendly movie can be beautiful. Besides Short Circuit, both Wall-E and The Iron Giant
have shown this. And while each could be considered a descendant of
Johnny 5, neither needed to be a direct remake to prove spectacular.
They borrowed elements but were uniquely their own. So why bother with a
Short Circuit remake?
For Hop director Tim Hill, the story of Johnny 5 is more timely now than it was in the midst of Cold War paranoia. Talking to 24 Frames, the slated helmer of Short Circuit's remake stated:
“The thing that makes it so relevant is that we live in this age of
robots, particularly when it comes to war. We have drones that do our
fighting for us, do all these jobs men and women don’t want to do. And
that’s what makes this so interesting--things like this moment in the
story when Johnny realizes he’s going to be disassembled and
contemplates death, and whether it’s right to terminate someone else.
These are heavy themes for a family movie, but I think they can have
So far, this doesn't actually sound too different from the original, and
that's by design. Hill and a team or writers (never a good sign) are
still working on the script, but he insists elements of the Johnny 5
that audiences connected to 26 years ago will be integrated in
Dimension's re-imagining, including the robot's sense of wonder. What
will change is Johnny 5's look. Hill has been reading up on
technological innovations, and notes the new Johnny 5 will more closely
resemble modern machines than the '80s original. Speaking to the design
process, Hill divulged, "You’ve got to find the balance between
something fierce and something endearing. The original was cute. But no
one was threatened by it.”
This statement leads me to believe he has never watched the sequel, Short Circuit 2, where Johnny 5 gets a fierce makeover fit for the less-than-robot-friendly streets of New York. I mean, he had a metal Mohawk, guys!
Anyhow, Johnny 5 is not the only Short Circuit character getting a
major overhaul. Stephanie, his first human friend, played by Ally
Sheedy in the original, will no longer be a sassy, animal-loving
twenty-something. Instead, she'll be a teen, or maybe even a tween. Hill
hopes this will help the movie's family-friendly cred while also adding
"a wish-fulfillment dimension not present in the original." He goes on
to note that a younger protagonist could better reflect the contemporary
trend for people to bond with their devices, something to which he
thinks kids are especially susceptible.
Actually, I do agree on Hill's last insight, and can see where a story
of a robot coming to life could prove relevant today. Still, I can't see
why not make an original story with this premise? I find it hard to
imagine that Short Circuit has the kind of built-in audience that Alvin and the Chipmunks--another
Hill effort--did. Honestly, I'm kind of hoping for a miracle of the
life-imitating-art variety wherein Steve Guttenberg steps in and saves
his robot buddy from being disassembled one last time.
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