*Batteries Not Included

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*Batteries Not Included

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Do your kids enjoy the animated film WALL-E? Maybe that’s like asking if they enjoy candy – it’s Disney/Pixar. Then again, it’s arguable that WALL-E is more sophisticated than other kid movies, featuring performances that recall silent films and messages that resonate better with generations more concerned about (and responsible for) things like consumerism and the depletion of Earth’s natural resources. That is, some kids might find it boring.

Allow me to briefly, shamelessly brag that my own little movie-goers are enthralled with WALL-E, even if it’s not the first disc they think to place in the player. Mere seconds in, they’re captivated by the cute robots’ childlike mannerisms and heartbreaking human emotions. Well if you’re saying, “My kids love WALL-E, too!” then there’s another cute robot movie they need to see.

*Batteries Not Included is a 1987 Spielberg-produced family sci-fi film co-written by Brad Bird, himself responsible for several Pixar titles (The Incredibles, Ratatouille) and the beautiful Iron Giant. It tells the story of two tiny flying saucers (think WALL-E and EVE on their honeymoon) who accidentally intrude on the lives of Frank and Faye Riley (Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy), who, with all their tenants, are threatened with eviction (a little like Up, come to think of it). Like WALL-E, these robotic aliens have a knack for fixing things by recycling old parts, and soon prove the perfect solution to the Riley’s broken home. They are affectionately dubbed “The Fix-Its” for mending not just the apartment building and the Riley’s diner, but also the tenant’s various heartaches – and they even give birth to tinier, cuter baby Fix-Its! Questions like where these beings came from or why they chose the Rileys are quickly forgotten amidst much more important character drama, not to mention plenty of conflict as consumerism, again, threatens their livelihood.

And my kids? Yes, they love *Batteries Not Included, as evidenced by their occasional request for “that one with the funny little robot family!”

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