This 1987 movie directed by Matthew Robins is a retro blast that packs a solid emotional punch while delivering a good story that resonates well with adults as well as children. It's all about small visitors from the stars of course, little flying saucers who go round fixing things, plugging into electricity sockets to recharge and generally look very cute.
There are the normal pantomime villains of course, though local thug Carlos (Michael Carmine) does have a bit of a redemption scene towards the end (however the implication is definitely that it's too late). Frank and Faye Riley (Hume Cronyn [Cocoon] and Jessica Tandy) are an aging couple struggling to hang on to what little they have left, while corporate business and the young thugs try to force them out - all the while dealing with Faye's Alzheimer's disease. In the same block - last one standing in their community - are quiet retired boxer Harry Noble (Frank McRae), pregnant Marisa Esteval (Elizabeth Pena) and tsruggling artist Mason Baylor (Dennis Boutsikaris).
Though the opening scene seems a bit longer than necessary and perhaps a little too brutal for younger ones, once the little aliens come onto the scene, Batteries Not Included is a movie that has the ability to awaken the child in all of us. It's very sweet but displays a hard edge every so often; the special effects still look great and there are several scenes that are likely to have you laughing out loud. The characters all have just that bit more to them than first meets the eye, too.
With Steven Spielburg as Executive Producer and Brad Bird (of PIXAR fame) among the writers, Batteries Not Included has plenty of star talent behind it, and James Horner provides a lovely musical score. Great stuff.
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