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Short Circuit [UK] Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English LPCM 2.0 Stereo (48kHz/16-bit), English DTS 5.1
  • Subtitles: English SDH
  • Subtitles Color: White
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Certification: PG
  • Run Time: 99 Mins.
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: Second Sight
  • Blu-ray Release Date: November 19, 2012
  • RRP: £17.99

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:2.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:2.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:3.5/5]

Director John Badham’s (War Games) 1986 adventure/sci-fi film Short Circuit falls in line with the many films of the era that took their cue from E.T. and/or Badham’s own War Games in combining the the light, warmhearted adventure and technology-driven themes into a family friendly package. Ally Sheedy, who also starred in War Games, returns under his direction to help infuse the film with a subtle charm and humanity as the somewhat eccentric but affable Stephanie who comes across the experimental robot No. 5 from military contractor NOVA robotics and takes it into her home. Struck by lightning, No. 5 has become self-aware, alive, and with Stephanie’s help fills “his” memory banks with all sorts of superfluous information – The Three Stooges, Campbell’s Soup commercials, and so forth. Meanwhile, NOVA scientist Newton Crosby (Steve Guttenberg) and his oddball Indian assistant Ben Jabituya (Fisher Stevens) have been tasked with finding No. 5. But under Stephanie’s protection, No. 5 is on the run, afraid to return to NOVA lest he be “disassembled” for good. Beyond the obvious techie story, Short Circuit offers a big-hearted story of friendship and romance, one that offers hope for the future and the potential of mankind embodied in the pie-eyed spirit of No. 5. The robot himself is believably anthropomorphic and inspires us to root for him from the very beginning. The film offers a reasonable amount of laughs and is genuinely fine family entertainment.

Video Quality

[Rating:2.5/5]

The transfer of Short Circuit to Blu-ray is underwhelming, to say the least. It seems that it has just been unearthed and slapped onto disc with the minimal amount of effort. As a consequence, there are variances in black levels, where shadows tend to look washed out in one scene, then a bit burnt-in in another, but still full of noise and elevated grain levels. There is various source damage that can be seen throughout and, unlike the companion release reviewed here, Flight of the Navigator, even the daylight scenes don’t offer much of an advantage in clarity or detail. Everything suffers from softness, grittiness, and some noise.

Audio Quality

[Rating:2.5/5]

I feel like I’ve returned to the DVD era with the audio options offered on this disc. A LPCM 2.0 (48kHz/16-bit) stereo track is offered alongside a lossy DTS 5.1 surround mix. Why? I really don’t know, but there you have it. The stereo mix is serviceable, even if the dialogue sounds just a tad on the veiled side. It has a decent amount of stereo panning and dynamics. The DTS 5.1 does open the soundstage up a bit, but it is hardly reference. The balance isn’t the best you’ll hear. It has occasional blasts of low frequency “bumps” and some noticeable crackle in the dialogue.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2.5/5]

It seems all the video extras here are just old standard definition port-overs from the 80’s no less.

The supplements:

  • Commentary by director John Badham and writers S.S. Wilson and Brent Maddock
  • Archival promo interviews with the cast and crew:
    • Ally Sheedy Interview (1.33:1; SD; 00:02:17)
    • Steve Guttenberg Interview (1.33:1; SD; 00:02:23)
    • John Badham Interview (1.33:1; SD; 00:02:06)
    • Syd Mead Interview (1.33:1; SD; 00:17:34)
    • Eric Allard Interview (1.33:1; SD; 00:35:01)
  • Creation of No. 5 (1.33:1; SD; 00:06:46)
  • Behind the Scenes (1.33:1; SD; 00:03:51) – B-roll footage.
  • Trailer (1.33:1; SD)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3/5]

Short Circuit will probably never end up on any lists for the best films of all time, but it is still an enjoyable hour-and-a-half of adventure and sci-fi from the 1980s that families can sit back and relax together with. No. 5 is a memorable sci-fi character, probably more memorable than the film itself, and kids on the whole will love the film even with all of its flaws.

Additional Screen Captures

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Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.co.uk

[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B0097A2LRY[/amazon-product]

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.co.uk

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:2.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:2.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]


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