*batteries not included: A flawed but delightful tale of Magic Metal Space Munchkins

During the 80s and 90s the New Hollywood Renaissance had began reaching to its height with family films, notably revolving around science fiction, families, and either aliens or robots. The most well known of these kinds of films were ET and the Short Circuit Duology. But one under-appreciated film that combines both ideas in a story takes place in New York in a run-down apartment/diner, a group of its occupants, a sinister corporation and its leg breaking toadies, and a tiny family of saucer robots who fix things and eat electricity

This is the movie *batteries not included directed by Matthew Robins, this film was his debut as a screenwriter

Taking place in East Village in New York, the owner of the apartment/diner complex, Frank Riley(played by Hume Cronyn) struggles to keep the place from being torn down by property developers whose manager Lacey(played by Michael Greene) has hired a gang a thugs led by Carlos(played by Michael Carmine) to harass and loot the place to pressure the owner and his wife Faye(played by Hume’s wife Jessica Tandy) who unfortunately suffers dementia reliving the past. Also part of the apartment is a pregnant single mother Marisa Esteval(played by Elizabeth Peña), a struggling artist Mason Baylor(played by Dennis Boutsikaris) and quiet former boxing champion Harry Noble(played by Frank McRae). After Carlos tears up the diner and chases Franks friends out and the police are unable to act without Frank risking retribution, Frank quietly begs for someone to come and help them or face the possibility of him and Faye retreating to a retirement home.

The old couple are very sympathetic, especially Frank. He actually reminds me so much of my late grandfather on my Mother’s side. Frustrated and rightfully so with the despicable behavior of young people and the callous nature of those in charge while trying to make the best with his wife’s condition. As someone who has a grandmother on his father’s side suffering from mental deterioration, this hit me deep. Faye while suffering natural mental illness, she manages to retain cognitive thought to some degree, and her sympathy and never-ending compassion for her husband, the other occupants, and the Fix-Its. By being stuck in the past, she seems to produce some timeless wisdom that isn’t seen in this day and age.

Later that night, that plea Frank made was answered

Two small saucer-bots, who are later dubbed “The Fix-Its” fly into the home and the feminine one, exhausted and low on energy, plugs herself into the kitchen to recharge. Afterwards, they find one of the broken frames from the diner and fix it and find and fix the diner as well. Faye wakes up and is greeted by them, and she allows them to make a nest in the shack on the top of the building, which Frank and the others meet the morning after.

Mr. and Mrs. Fix-it are very cute, they seem to have a somewhat animal-like behavior, something I would compare to birds. They speak through whirring servos and bizarre sounds of beeps and various pitches of what sound like power-drills and buzzsaws

Later on its revealed that Mrs. Fix-It is “pregnant” as she is having cravings. So the folks of the apartment start feeding her all sorts of metal objects and a steady flow of electricity which results in her birthing three “baby” robots. Jetsom, Flotsom, and Wheems, the last seemingly stillborn, only to be resuscitated by Harry using parts of his TV set. The robot family helps fix the apartment and in turn the occupants provide them shelter and babysit the little ones which is provided by Mason, Marisa, and Harry.

The children are even cuter than their parents, and like they’re parents they have behavior akin to birds, chicks to be specific. They don’t do too much like their parents, but they don’t need to. The babies, Wheems to be precise, have a role to play later on. As Carlos damages the father and scares away the children and burns the apartment down, the former seemly drives the family away when they are reunited, but later revealed that Wheems returns to try to fix the apartment by himself, only to be joined by his family who were actually getting help as they return with an entire fleet of their kind to rebuild the ruins. The Development company concedes defeat and merely builds around the apartment

Now the plot, there isn’t much but it mostly revolves around the humans. It’s revealed later in the story that Faye and Frank’s son had died in a car crash some time ago and Frank had some very rough words with their son before. Faye seems to mistake Carlos for his son, but it’s never clear if this denial is deliberate or not, but I assume it partially to cling on to what cognitive function she has left and even by the end of the film we don’t know if there’s some resolution.

But I can’t help but feel the real issue I have with this story is Mason as his personality is rather inconsistent when interacting with the Fix-Its. At one point he is completely flabbergasted by their ability to reproduce, then he’s quick to dismiss a tragic stillbirth from the same little robots, and soon enough he’s the babysitter of the little tykes. I just cannot help but feel Mason’s character development wasn’t thought out in terms of chronological order. Meanwhile his love story with Marisa and his search of artistic inspiration while not bad in concept, doesn’t show too much in development, it just goes along a bit too quickly.

Speaking of Marisa, the biological father of her children happens to be a musician who’s part of something I would call a modern caravan, but sadly her story in regards of her pregnancy or her quasi-deadbeat boyfriend even gets less attention than Mason and Mr. and Mrs. Riley

Carols seems like a stereotypical hooligan, but it seems more like he’s a desperate man trying to get his own decent lifestyle as he lives in the Ghettos of New York, unfortunately they only explore this once with his interaction with Faye but once again the audience seems to be left guessing on what exactly his deal is, but we at least see he has regrets as he desperately tries to save Faye from the fire that engulfs the complex.

The whole film seems enjoyable in terms of the major overarching plot and the moments with the Fix-It family, but sadly the subplots seem to me a bit sub-par. I believe the reason this is due to the overarching plot taking up too much space for the sub-plots to have the proper pacing they need.

The Fix-It family was designed by Star Wars designer Ralph Mcquarrie and The legendary Industrial Light and Magic

The Music composed by James Horner

Would I recommend this film, yes. I really do love this movie in regards to overarching plot and the adorable robots, but I would request that you don’t put too much thought into the sub-plots. For me at least they don’t seem to do get much developed and left either resolved too quickly, or left with a rather nebulous conclusion.

I give *batteries not included Seven Comedy Masks out of Ten

The Loreverse: Introduction to the Creati

“Lo and behold, you are the holy embodiment of the elements, paragons of virtue and patron lords and ladies of my worlds, as I used you to create them. As you and your servants, The Inspiri, guide the mortals bellow, they shall ascend to glory and wield powers you give unto them, made from the power which I had given unto you”-Omnibus

The Creati(Individually Creatus) are the “Top Brass” so to speak, they are the holy personifications of the elements of the Loreverse as well as the sub-creators of this multiverse. Most inspiration of them come from Tolkien’s Valar but also like them, they are not gods. Like the Valar, they can create constructs, but they lack the ability to truly create something outside the assistance of Omnibus who can breathe life into them. They are basically living instruments Omnibus uses to create and govern the Loreverse.

The realm Avalia is also a lot like Valinor, an afterlife for the souls departed and a dwelling place for both the Creati and Inspiri which they overlook the progress of the mortal realms of Lore and only intervene as subtly as possible in order not to harm the free will and autonomy of the worlds and the souls that inhabit them. This is why they were sent the Inspiri down to establish holy orders, to connect and guide these worlds in a way that is not forced or contrived. “Good things come from within not without” Omnibus had decreed “This is the way of Lore”

Now there are Eight Creati, the king and queen sharing the role of seven, “For Seven shall be the number of Luck and Balance” Omnibus had decreed “Three on one side, Three on another, and One in the middle to hold both in place, this is the way of Lore.”

Now among the Creati there is The Lore-King, Aetherius and his wife The Lore-Queen, Comparia both serve as the leaders of the Creati and ambassadors of Omnibus, they personally ascends to Paradiso to recieve word from the mouth of Omnibus and delivers it to their peers, as well as serving as a regulator of the six other elements of the Loreverse, Fire, Water, Air, Thunder, Forest, and Shadow, with their own, Aether. As as the Monarchs of Avalia, they are blessed with Six Wings.

Now the six other Creati are Lore-Lords and Lore-Ladies, they are the Aristocracy of Avalia and each serves a unique purpose, and the seven major worlds were created in a way that is uniquely theirs along with their leader, thus the element and characteristics each world may be predominant over depending on the Creatus that world is overseen by. The Lore-Lords and Lore-Ladies are blessed with wings of four.

Now the Creati are paragons of virtue, the highest aspirational beings next to Omnibus himself, as such they are the epitome of the Four Loves, they all are equal in amount, but each aspect is unique than the others

Storge(affection)-The Creati adore all of the Loreverse, every world, with unrelenting love. The type of love that parents have for their children, or siblings have for each other, or the love animals in a pack feel for each other. They helped Omnibus will these worlds into existence, and and grateful that Omnibus created each world in the likeness of each specific Creati, and are also admiring of each other’s worlds. And they have endless compassion for each soul upon these worlds, just as Omnibus has, and have endless affection for the Inspiri who look up to them and serve them.

Philia(Friendship)-The kinship that the Creati have with each other is the ideal friendship that is not bound by many restraints that mortal races might have, and they endless enjoy each others company and the company of others, it is this fellowship the Deo Electi are modeled after

Eros(Romance)-Now the married lives of the Creati are ones that are also ideal, they absolutely love each other selflessly, always putting their significant other before themselves, supportive in each other, as well infinite in affection in what I call the Five Types of Romance which I will go into another post. They are grateful that Omnibus created this bond between them and they celebrate it in any form possible.

Agape(Unconditional)-Collectively they are embodiment of love for every effort they make is in the intent of helping the souls living and dead find salvation and salvation for their civilizations, for they know every soul has the right to dignity and every world has the right to their full potential