Short Circuit (1986)
Like I said, I’m trying to include some variety here, so by no means am I claiming that Short Circuit is as good a movie as The Day the Earth Stood Still or Forbidden Planet. It’s not likely to make many people’s “best sci-fi movies,” unless it’s being made by an ’80s kid such as myself and the list is driven by pure nostalgia. It’s probably been 25 years or so since I’ve actually seen the original Short Circuit, and it’s one of those fond memories from my childhood that I’m intentionally waiting to revisit until my kids are old enough to enjoy it — I figure even if it doesn’t hold up to my jaded eyes, watching it filtered through their excitement will be a treat. And while I’m guessing this flick is dated as hell when viewed in 2014, the core subject matter is even more timely than it was in 1986, as military drones and robots not too different from Number 5 are being used on real-life battlefields, and the more advanced they become, the more ethical and moral quandaries they present. And that’s without any of them accidentally gaining sentience after being struck by lightning. Plus, the story of a being trying to become more than what it was “designed for” is something that still resonates. Watch it before they remake it (because they’re totally going to).
Fun Robot Fact
Number 5’s full name was “SAINT Number 5,” which was short for “Strategic Artificially Intelligent Nuclear Transport.”
Where Can I See It?
You can buy a digital copy from iTunes.