That’s right; the childhood classic of robot films is getting another shot at the big screen. Short Circuit was the best that the 80s had to offer in the way of renegade, friendly ex-killing machines and, despite the presence of Steve Guttenberg, managed to quickly become a classic and leave an entire generation screaming “No disassemble!” at each other in public (or maybe that was just me).
Still, it was one of the first experiences that kids in the 80s had with artificial intelligence, and though it will not likely carry that distinction in the 2010s, it certainly has the potential to be a decent revisiting of the much-beloved Johnny 5 robot.
Dimension Films has been sitting on the rights to this for nearly five years and finally signed on Tim Hill (Alvin and the Chipmunks) to act as director and help co-write the new script. Considering the quality of Hill’s previous films, fans of the original may want to skip this one unless their local theater serves liquor.
From what Hill has said, the new flick is supposed to follow much along the same lines as the first, though with a few changes in order to update it to modern times and make it more accessible. There will be no more cold war theme (yes, the cold war is over), Johnny’s chassis will see an overhaul and the female lead will be aged back a bit to her teen years.
Hill had the following comments to volunteer about his new project:
“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.”
Almost sounds existential in a way – a family-friendly sort of way, that is. Gods, it could even turn out to be a smart film that caters to kids, if done right! Oh wait, Alvin and the Chipmunks… never mind.
Hill further said that the female lead has been changed to a teenager in order to appeal to a younger crowd. Of course, it’s a reboot so people expect these sorts of minor changes. Unless you’re a Mutant Turtle fan, in which case you riot.
And if making Short Circuit into more of a kid’s film isn’t enough to cause a riot over continuity, then the modern-design Johnny 5 may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Instead of the goofy robot that everyone remembers, Hill plans on updating him to be more of a proper killing machine.
On that note, he had this to say:
“I’m tempted to go back and grab the original. But I think it has to be closer to what modern design actually is. There are computer models and labs developing real machines like this. We want to do something like that. You’ve got to find the balance between something fierce and something endearing. The original was cute. But no one was threatened by it.”
Well, I can’t say I have much faith in this one, but you never know. If someone holds their hand and helps with the script, Hill and Dimension Films have the potential to make something unique and interesting out of this.
New Johnny 5 concept (in my head that is):
Thanks to slashfilm once again for the info.