*batteries not included (1987)

Matthew Robbins directs Jessica Tandy, Hume Cronyn and Dennis Boutsikaris in this sci-fi parable about the residents of a derelict apartment building saved from eviction by tiny living flying saucer robots.

How did this ever get greenlit? The leads of this kid’s movie are Alzheimer’s ridden wrinklies (Cocoon had been a sleeper hit.) The alien robots are off screen for almost two thirds of the meandering plot (it was originally an Amazing Story for TV that Spielberg liked so much they expanded it to feature length.) The Amblin brand and the Drew Struzan drawn poster misled us into the cinema. I definitely went to see this on release. There’s not enough fun here for kids, it is too saccharine for adults. Yet it conned money out of my mum’s purse 30 years ago and again stole two hours of time out of my nostalgically curious adulthood this week. Well crafted but redundant.

5

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