Enough Already With The Wall-E / Short Circuit Comparisons

Published 7 years ago by , Updated February 24th, 2009 at 1:19 pm,
wall e short circuit1 Enough Already With The Wall E / Short Circuit Comparisons

Ok, I’m done. I’m hereby declaring that there should be a moratorium on any more Short Circuit/Johnny 5 comparisons to Wall-E.


At the WonderCon panel, someone brought the question up to Andrew Stanton, who wrote the script for the new Pixar movie, won and Academy Award for his work on Finding Nemo, and has been involved with writing pretty much ever Pixar movie that’s come out.

His demeanor indicated that he’d already heard the question ad nauseum, and here’s what he had to say:

The inspiration for the character came from two places:

1. The original Pixar Luxo Lamp used in their logo.

No, Wall-E doesn’t look anything like the lamp, what Stanton went on to say is that he wanted the character to be a machine first and a character second, much like the famous lamp. The lamp doesn’t look even remotely human or animal yet its personality comes across brilliantly:

“I wanted to believe that a robot is really there. I wanted to believe he is really a robot and not just a human in a robot shell.”

The initial design concept was that of a robot that was low to the ground so it would have a low center of gravity, a method of locomotion that could get it over any terrain or obstacle, and a way to compact trash efficiently, hence the cube shape.

2. A pair of binoculars at a baseball game.

Yes, folks: binoculars. He said he was at a stadium watching a game when he asked someone to pass their binoculars to him. He started playing with them and seeing how they could be used to express emotion.

wall e short circuit2 Enough Already With The Wall E / Short Circuit Comparisons

He did go on to say that he’d only seen the movie Short Circuit once, and he supposes it could have influenced him on some subconscious level. Really, I thought that statement was just throwing a bone to those who claim he ripped off the design, which is a ludicrous idea IMHO.

terminator hk tank Enough Already With The Wall E / Short Circuit ComparisonsThe Johnny 5 robot is tall and slender with a thin body elevated high above the treads, with long arms coming off the “shoulders.” While Wall-E is short and stubby, with a cube-shaped body which squats directly on the treads and short little arms that come off the body itself. Maybe while folks are at it they can accuse James Cameron of ripping off Short Circuit for the design of the HK Tank from Terminator 2 (shown here).

Anyway… that’s enough of a rant. To end on a happy note, here’s the latest poster for Wall-E. icon smile Enough Already With The Wall E / Short Circuit Comparisons

wall e poster3 Enough Already With The Wall E / Short Circuit Comparisons

Wall-E opens on June 27, 2008.

TAGS: Wall-e
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94 Comments - Comments are closed.

  1. Here’s a rip-off:

    “From the creators of ‘Scary Movie’ and ‘Superhero Movie’ comes ‘Cute Animated Robot Movie’… “So cute you wish you could pinch it’s cheeks!”‘

    Coming to a theater near you 6 months after they have the idea…

    I bet Wall-E is a better movie than Short Circuit, although Short Circuit did have Steve Gutenberg… I’ll have to think about that one

  2. I really don’t care what the director says, it’s similar enough for me to think that it’s Johnny 5 miniaturized and animated. The treads, hands and head are very similar to each other. I wouldn’t say it’s a BLATANT rip-off, but it is very very similar.

  3. It’s a chibi Johnny Five. The comparisons continue…

  4. I agree with Andy,

    the Robot is the same thing without the height.

    Some hands, same neck, same bottom/treads, and eyes/head.

    I can take a robot and take away its long joints and say its not a ripoff too, lol

  5. There’s a video game called “Metal Arms’ Glitch in the system.
    That droid also looks like Jonnny5.
    They decided to make a cute robot and well this seems to be a popular angle. I don’t think it will hurt this film but the comparisons will only grow as more images come out.

  6. You know Vic, I just think some people have a strange definition of “rip off”.

    They have similar shapes for some of their parts, but that’s about the extent of the similarities.

    To me, when someone rips off a design it’s usually in an attempt to cause confusion with the original in an attempt to leech off of its success. Now Short Circuit wasn’t a horrible move, but nobody in their right mind would think it was so successful that it would be worth trying to ride its limited coattails (22 years late, I might add).

    That said, there’s about as much resemblance between these two robots as there is between Arnold’s Terminator, Bicentennial Man’s Andrew, and the androids in “I Robot” (especially the first two).

    “Look! They all have humanoid form, two eyes, legs and arms! Fraud! Rip Off!”

  7. Smitty,

    Wall-E’s head does look very binocular like especially in the movement we’ve seen of it from trailers and previews. Johnny 5′s head always reminded me of the shape of a VCR player.

    The only things they have in common are lenses for eyes and tracks for feet.

  8. It dosnt matter if pixar lifted the concept from Short Circut. They will still make gabillions of dollars. Kids don’t care.

  9. Johnny 5, that has-been that shoulda-neva-been. Lay off Wall-E, pick on someone your own size.

    Don’t worry Wall-E, R2′s got yer back and that robot from Lost In Space is gonna give Johnny 5 some trouble when he gets back to Earth, yo.


  10. Panda what’s happened to you?

    Steve Gutenberg involved in any way?

  11. This really is Pixar’s new clothes.

    Let’s all say to King pixar , no you don’t look anything like Johnny 5.

    Lest he strike us wafes down.

  12. What is it with you people? What’s the big deal if they somewhat copied some robot that is from a 20+ year old movie…heck you either weren’t even born by then or were a baby or a kid. So who gives a damn. I mean seriously, do you actually remember that OLD robot.

    Infact, i dont care if they copied anything as long as the movie is great which it will be for sure.

  13. This is defiantly a rip off of johnny 5. the only difference is the body. The hands are the same. The head is very similar. The track is the exact same shape. I don’t know how anyone can ignore how similar it is.

  14. My sons were so crazy about the short circuit movies and they were watched ovver and over and over. On that note, the very first thing I thought when I saw the trailer was “is this some sort of short circuit movie knock-off”. Regardless of whether it was intentional or not, there are just too much of a similarity to overlook.

  15. All I have to say is that the first and only thought that came into my mind when I saw this little guy is “wow, they’re trying to make him look like Johnny 5″. I’m not knocking them for it, saying thats a bad thing, or anything. But he absolutely looks like a stylized, “cute” if you will, version of Johnny 5 and there is absolutely no changing that in my mind. I won’t see the movie because it is a kiddie movie and does not appeal to me, but I agree this is a ridiculous argument and people should get a life and stop spending so much time arguing things online. Arguing on the internet is like running in the special olympics: even if you win, you are still retarded.

  16. WALL-E, also resembles the Revised version of Robbie the Robot in , Lost in Space-the Movie.

  17. What we are failing to note here is that human beings have an amazing capacity to generalize and if I were flipping through a website and saw an image of Wall-E not knowing what he was, I’d swear up and down that it was Johnny Five until I looked real close.

    Now when I see the clips of the movie what really blows me away is how similar his personality is to Johnny Five, especially when compared to the early parts of Short Circuit where Five was all inquisitive and non-verbal and obsessed with things like insects – butterflies and grasshoppers. His vocalizations are even similar.

    But I have to admit to having drawn and written things and then a long while later realized how much they are like something else I have already seen without realizing it at the time I created them. I don’t think it makes me guilty of rip-off as much as homage or – even more likely – subconscious recall of something that made an impression on me.

    I’ll just finish by quoting Ecclesiastes: “There is nothing new under the Sun.”

  18. No its a ripoff of Johnny 5.
    You were right the first time you saw it. ;-)

  19. After Wall-E, they’re gonna make Short Circuit 3. Hey, you never know.

    Despite the similar appearance between those two droids, I will still enjoy the Wall-E movie! For now, I’m gonna buy Short Circuit 1 and 2 to watch before Wall-E comes out.

  20. Years ago I sat in front of the screen as Johnny 5 declared that he was still alive. And, yes, I wanted to cry.

    Flash forward twenty some odd years. As I’m waiting for Juno to start, I watch this tiny robot named Wall E appear on the screen and immediately think “That’s Johnny 5!”

    Are they different? Of course! Wall E is definitely cuter. But the point is they are similar enough so that just a glimpse of Wall E conjured up the memory of a movie I haven’t watched in over 20 years. I didn’t even have to think about it! Of course this comparison won’t matter in the long run because, as others pointed out, Short Circuit wasn’t really all that successful to begin with. The similarity will have no impact on the plot behind Wall E either. Unless the plot behind the two movies are similar. Then I’ll be really mad. Still, I just wish Stanton would come right out and aknowledge that there is a striking similarity between the two and admit he got the idea from Short Circuit. Its called acknowledging your sources and if the creator of Wall E would only do that, then maybe we could all just stop with the Johnny 5/Wall E comparisons.

  21. I think theres a reason that when i first saw this ad i was like “sweet! a short circuit animated remake !!” .. until the name came up.

    hmm.. really makes you think doesm’t it

  22. If the creator of Wall-E would just admit it, it wouldn’t be a big deal. I agree, if he would just give credit where credit is due. It doesn’t seem the original Johnny creators had a problem with it. Anyone heard anything about that? They probably got bought out anyway. There problem solved.

  23. Ok, I stumbled upon this website because *gasp* I saw a picture of Wall-E and got really excited thinking, “Cool, a Short Circuit Remake!” only to find out that it wasn’t. lol So, I did a search on the Internet thinking, “well, surely I’m not the only one”, and I’m not. lol

    So, that’s all I have to say really. Well, I’d also like to say that I can’t believe the creator is flat out denying the similarities. ha

  24. You people are blind and ignorant. Most o what you are seeing are robotic technologies based on the real science with a little personality straits thrown in (eyes). Most robots have all the same similarities. WHAT WOULD YOU RATHER WALLE HAVE LOOKED LIKE? To say these robots are the same is to say a KIA and a BMW are the SAME. Well you say it but that does not make it true. If you don;t want to see this film then don’t. You don;t have to make up an excuse.

  25. All I know is that a group of 9 of us saw it and 7 out of the 9 came out with the same thought. Johnny 5. The other 2 say “oh my God, you’re right.” Make all the excuses you want but when that many people are thinking the same thing it is what it is.