Short Circuit (1986)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Short Circuit</strong> (1986)

(Second viewing, In French, On Cable TV, September 2018) I try to see movies in their original languages (with subtitles) whenever possible, but it’s appropriate that I caught Short Circuit in French given that this is how I first saw the movie decades ago. Granted, it’s not an approach without its drawbacks: I hated the voice of the robot protagonist back then and it still grated today, and I could have done without the film reviving some irritating quotes and exclamations that I thought I had repressed over the decades. It doesn’t help that Short Circuit is a really dumb movie even by kids-movie standards. It sets up a halfway sophisticated premise about a military robot gaining sentience thanks to a freak accident, but that’s merely an excuse for the kind of stupid comedy film aimed at undiscerning younger audiences. The limitations of practical effects being what they are, the film often does not match from one shot to another, or reflect what the script is saying. The grating French dub only underscores the poor dialogue, and it’s not Steve Gutenberg (nor Fisher Stevens in brownface) who can elevate the material above the direction it ultimately went in. (Gutenberg is also all wrong for an introvert scientist role, but that’s not what ended up on-screen.) And yet, despite Short Circuit’s problems and hackneyed plotting, I still have a juvenile affection for it, obviously due to the fact that I first saw it when I was twelve or thirteen. Not a good movie, irritating dub and yet… I can’t be too mad at it.

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