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Customer Review

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Number Five may be alive, but this blu-ray sure isn't., July 4, 2010
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This review is from: Short Circuit [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I'll save any potential blu-ray customers the hassle and tell you right now that if you already have the special edition of Short Circuit on dvd, you might as well keep it, because this blu-ray isn't much of an upgrade at all. But for those who still haven't bought the movie, is this version worth buying on the superior format? Again, no. In fact, if you just plain want the movie and don't have to have all your movies on blu-ray, I recommend going with the dvd instead.

For those who didn't see it in the 80s, Short Circuit was a pretty big movie for its time. It's the story of Number Five, aka Johnny Five, a robot who was originally part of a line of military weapons, meant to turn the tide of war in our favor. But he was struck by lightning one day, and as a result, began to think for himself rather than follow orders to kill and destroy. He eventually meets a woman named Stephanie who helps Number Five develop a personality and shows him how people live. Number Five just wants input (any information available, be it in a book, on tv, etc.) and to live his life, but the military wants him back, as do his developers.

There isn't a whole lot to the movie itself, especially when you watch it now and don't let nostalgia blind you. While it is a pretty fun and cute comedy, it's hard to look past some things as being lame or borderline offensive. Fisher Stevens caked on the brown makeup and plays an Indian man here, and eventhough he did go to a dialect coach to learn how to 'speak Indian', I can see his role irking a lot of people. I thought he was funny as a kid, but now, why didn't they just go with a real Indian guy? And sadly, most of the scenes that don't have Number 5 are fairly boring. But when he's on-screen, it's impressive to see how much work was put into him, and seeing all the parts in his face and arms move, seeing that each item has a function. The message of the movie still holds up, like trying to teach a robot about life and death, and why things in the world are the way they are, even if there's no set reason for it. There's not much more to say about the movie other than if you've never seen it, and don't like movies from the 80s, you should pass. But for people looking to enjoy a robot comedy movie or are just nostalgic, give Short Circuit a shot, and definitely check out the sequel, since it did everything better.

Now here's the problem- the visual quality on the blu-ray is a mixed bag. Certain scenes look great while others are a mess. Just when a scene would look beautiful, everything would suddenly become grainy and dull, almost like it was taken from the vhs version. Don't expect much from the transfer here, and you should be fine. The audio though, is much better thanks to the DTS HD Master Audio 5.1. It's nothing that'll show off your home entertainment system, since the movie doesn't have a whole lot of explosions or gunfire, save for a few scenes, but it got much better treatment than the picture quality did.

Special features are fortunately back, after mysteriously vanishing from the second dvd release. The commentary track with the director and writers is here, and the guys do a good job of using their time to talk about technical details and fun stories on how they got the actors for their roles and why they went with some things, like having Stevens play an Indian man. They also talk about the trouble working with Number Five and the budget problems too. 'good commentary track here. Next is nearly an hour's worth of interviews with the cast and crew, though most of the time is spent talking about Number Five's development. Oddly enough, there's a featurette dedicated to the creation of Number 5 that runs under 10 minutes, and is hilarious to watch if only because of how 80s it is. An isolated music/sound effects track is on here as well, though I don't know why. This isn't exactly a movie that's known for either the music or sound effects, but I guess someone out there's been waiting for this. Finally are the Behind the Scenes (very short footage of people on the set/behind the cameras) and the press kit, which is just the trailer, photo gallery and bios and production notes. Overall the extras are good, but only for the die-hard fans of Short Circuit.

Once more, if you already have the special edition dvd, there's no reason to get Short Circuit on blu-ray unless you absolutely need all your movies on the format, or if you don't already have it and for some reason don't want the dvd. It's worth watching once if you haven't seen it, but the people who'll get the most out of it are those who still get something out of the more fun, zany movies from the 80s. You could do a lot worse than Short Circuit, that's for sure.
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