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Short Circuit remake changes Johnny 5

JohnnyFive.jpgThere are a number of things that are changing in the remake of Short Circuit, some of them expected and some of them perhaps not. The biggest change comes to the robot himself, Johnny 5, after all robotics has transformed somewhat from when we first saw him, but does that really matter?

The director has been talking about what his plans are for the character and for the film and addresses some of these changes, most of which sound superficial more than about the story and the real message of it all.

While the director of the new version of Short Circuit, Tim Hill, commented on his version of the film and the original he was clear that he did think of returning to the original but that the world has progressed and things need to change.

"I think it has to be closer to what modern design actually is. There are computer models and labs developing real machines like this... You've got to find the balance between something fierce and something endearing. The original was cute. But no one was threatened by it...

...The thing that makes it so relevant is that we live in this age of robots, particularly when it comes to war," Hill continues. "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."

There's part of this that reads really interestingly, imagine a drone designed for dropping bombs, firing guns or even blowing up explosives on the battlefield with a real danger of it being destroyed, suddenly gains the understanding of what death is and what it could mean to it. That's an interesting thought and it does make for a great origin, but what then?

Calm down though Richard, although my thoughts are starting to go wild with the possibilities I have to take a realistic look at Hill's comments and remembering the pedigree of films behind director and writer. Hill previously directed Garfield 2, Alvin and the Chipmunks and Hop, while the writers of Matt Lieberman and Dan Milano have Dr. Dolittle: Tail to the Chief and Robot Chicken to their names.

Add to that the fact that Hill reiterates this Short Circuit be a family film, so much so that the character that Ally Sheedy once played will be recast as a teenager because, obviously, that makes it a more family friendly film. Instant, just add teenager.

Despite that he talks about his desire for the robot to be a bit more intimidating and in the L.A. Times piece through Coming Soon he goes on to say:

"You've got to find the balance between something fierce and something endearing," Hill. said. "The original was cute. But no one was threatened by it."

Yes, but it still has to be a friendly film. He does also say that despite looking threatening the robot will retain the charm and child-like qualities of the original robot Johnny 5.

Still, I'm not sold. So far it sounds like recasting the female lead as a teenager, making the robot look a bit more modern and delivering a far more templated modern family film. I'm still not sold.




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Movable Type 3.34

Some of the worst films of all time have been made by people who think too much.
- Steven Soderbergh