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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  1. JimJIm Pixar pays well don’t they…I’m pretty sure Sonny in the movie I, Robot is a robot too but there is absolutely no resemblence to Johnny 5..Now what about your arguement that most robots have all the same similarities…The Sentinels is the Matrix films were robots too but they look nothing like Johnny 5, I can go on and on here…Wall-E is Johnny 5 with a few small modifications…To say they are not the same is like saying coke and pepsi are radically different…they both are pretty much the same thing but one was a rip off of the other…Wall-E is a rip off of Johnny Five…And a Kia will get you from point A to point B just as well as a BMW….To say people with an opinion are blind and ignorant only shows that you yourself are the same…And I saw the movie and I won’t see it again as it wasn’t that good…Actually Johnny 5 garnered more emotion from me that Wall-E did…

  2. WALL-E remind’s me more of E.T. than Johnny-5.

  3. OK GreenKnight,

    While you are talking about Fiction and Movies, I was talking about
    Real Robot technology and design. but if that’s what you understand,
    What about the Tanks in the Terminator movies? Again similar because of the tracks
    nothing else. WallE looks more like those then Johnny 5. Now let look at Webster’s definition
    of similar, 1 : having characteristics in common : strictly comparable ; 2 : alike in substance or essentials.
    Nothing there about being Identical or look a like. You kids need to go back to school and learn English
    words and there meaning.

    WallE is similar, NOT the SAME
    Webster’s SAME: 1: resembling in every relevant respect 2: conforming in every respect.

    It’s a movie, enjoy it for what it is and wait for the NEW Short Circuit Movie coming soon.

  4. Having seen Wall-E I can say that except for the binocular eyes (Hey! Short Circuit ripped off BINOCULARS!) I didn’t find much similarity between the two. Wall-E is a short, squat box on treads while Short Circuit was tall and gangly.


  5. JimJim thanks for the english lesson grandpa…I’m probably older than you…They are SIMILAR then and this is about Andrew Stanton not owning up to the fact that consciously or subconsciously he got his idea for this from Johnny 5…THe tanks in Terminator look like Terminators with tracks for legs,,not like Wall-E or Johnny Five. So their locomotive apparatus are SIMILAR or you can call them the SAME..pic whichever definition you like most…

    It’s nice to see that you know how to use a dictionary though …How did someone your age figure out how to use the copy and paste feature? Just wondering? By-the-way JJ I prefer the Oxford definitions for your future reference..B’bye and “HAve A Nice Day :)

  6. Well Mr Greeenknight,
    Where, how and why A. Stanton got his ideas is between the owner of Short Circuit rights(Sony TriStar), Pixar and the courts.
    And they have not filed any law suits so far. But with your own logic, the only thing SIMILAR with J-5 and WallE are the tracks and the binocular eyes. WallE is animated, has a small box for a body with no shoulders, no neck, no lasers guns over his shoulders and no eye lids. WallE does not get his LIFE or PERSONALITY from an electrical shock. So by YOUR LOGIC, they are not the same character. The only thing violated is yours and others sensibilities because you fell in love with a fictional Robot who came to “Life”. And you got your feels hurt because this is NOT a J-5 movie. Like I said in my previous email there is a new Short Circuit movie coming out in 2010. You can wait and enjoy it and this new wonderful WallE movie or you can continue to BEAT WallE with a Bone like the MONKEYS at the beginning of the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. “Nice monkey….. put the bone down now…. BONZO is on the late movie!” HA HA HA!

  7. JJ I saw Wall-E and it didn’t impress and as I stated earlier I was more moved by SHort Cicuit than by Wall-E..Pixar is resting on their laurels…And I did not “fall in love with a fictional robot” although that appears to be what you have done as evidenced by your vehement enthusiasm for defending Pixar’s rather unoriginal design.I have never seen 2001 but since you seem to be so enamoured with people playing with their bones or beating their monkeys I may have to pass on that one. Sounds like you are enamoured with something else to me….And the only Space Odyssey…I mean Space Oddity here is that gap between your ears…Please a response is not needed as I am bored with this “discussion.” Again “Have a nice day JJ…”

  8. I admit, I am disappointed that Wall-E wasn’t “original”, but it didn’t change my opinion of the movie. I loved it because of the plot, actually. That’s just my opinion. You can try to say its crap but that won’t make a difference to me. It’s only useful to argue how well someone supports their opinions, not with the opinion itself. (That will get you nowhere)

    However, the article is about how similar Wall-E and J-5 are, NOT about which character is better. That last post ^^^ was completely useless. If you’re going to make it personal and insult someone with your smart *ss remarks do it somewhere else. (That goes for the both of you)

    Yes JimJim please don’t respond. It’s not worth your time. Disagree? Email me but don’t post it here unless it’s ABOUT THE ORIGINAL TOPIC.

  9. scarlettestr,

    My comments have been on topic. Although the 2001 comment, which was not understood, was about the GN’s trying to change the topic to his berating others for not having his opinion. I have not insulted or attacked anyone. And I had no intention to responde to GN last comment.

  10. The harsh light of reality states that andone who sees an image of Wall-E that has seen the movie short circuit this, “Wow, that really looks like Johnny-5″. Anyone who tries to deny this very simple and obvious fact is either a)delusional b)simply being argumentative for the sake of being argumentative c)some other bizarre agenda that prohibits them from admitting the simplest, most obvious truths. It’s actually pretty amusing.

  11. Well I’m glad that you were amused after insulting me, “Captain.”

    There have been actual robots designed with the “binocular look” to give them stereoscopic vision, and I’m pretty sure the military has been using treads to navigate rough terrain for more than a couple of years.

    Function determines form and that’s how they arrived at Wall-E’s design, much like how the designers of Johnny 5 must have arrived at theirs.


  12. Hey all,

    I posted a while back. First, I still haven’t changed my mind: There’s nothing new under the sun. Next, I promise I’m just about the biggest Short Circuit fan there is – I saw it at 7:05 pm on Saturday May 24th 1986 at the Hardy Court Cinema in Gulfport Mississippi. The trailer before the movie was “Ruthless People” starring Danny DeVito. I met the producer of Short Circuit in 1990 and the creator of Number Five as well as Tim Blaney (his voice) in 1991. I also met Number Five in there somewhere. (He’s bigger than he looks on screen)

    I saw WALL-E on opening night and it’s brilliant! There were even some details in it that made it like Short Circuit and for me that made it even more fun. Any Short Circuit fan who dislikes WALL-E for being similar is doing themselves a disservice. It would be like refusing to see I, Robot because Sonny looked too much like C-3P0. And how many robots have there been that reminded us all of R2-D2?

    The plot of WALL-E is decidedly different than that of Short Circuit. The point of SC is “What if a robot came to life and had a soul?” In WALL-E that’s a given. WALL-E’s problem is not that he’s alive; it’s that he’s alone. And one of the most wonderful things about this character is that he remains nothing but character. He has almost no dialogue, he remains delightful the way Number five was before he learned to talk and then became more of a one-robot show.

    I think WALL-E is born of the same mindset as Number Five – we want this robot to be practical yet somewhat attractive to the audience. He has to look cute but be completely functional. In fact WALL-E accomplished this more effectively in my opinoin. Of course Number Five had a much more complicated role, so it was more difficult to make him practical as a super-versatile mechanical soldier and still make him lovable (he seems more lovable than practical to me), but he was probably the first real success at doing this for a movie. And the Pixar guys did’t have to build their root, so they could get it to do whatever they needed and still remain 100% practical as a trash compactor. In fact, building a robot as powerful, agile and versatile as WALL-E would be difficult even now – 22 years after Short Citcuit.

    I just want to go on record that my undying love for Number Five is what make me appreciate WALL-E. I’m glad a big giant company like Disney is able to produce something so magical and make sure peopel see it. I think interest in Short Circuit has increased becasue of it and maybe one day Number FIve will get his due. Also – contrary to somethign written earlier in this threasd, Short Circuit was very successful in it’s time. It ran the entire summer fo 1986 and was the number one video rental of 1987. That having been said, I think it was dreadfully mismarketed and could have been a phenonmenon. I know nothign that stupid will happen to WALL-E.

  13. I agree with Virginia, wall-e and number five in SC, are both two great characters in two fantastic movies. They are both classics of their times. Just watch them with an open mind and enjoy what they have to offer. Sure wall-e looks like number 5 only because number 5 came out 22 years earlier it could be switched, but either way the 2nd will always be a “rip-off” of the 1st. Just ask yourself “how would i make a fun lovable robot that has tracks for feet, and it not resemble past movies”. All in all they’re both great characters in equally great movies. Watch and enjoy and if you are one who is upset with the resemblance just keep to yourself and don’t watch wall-e its really quite easy.

  14. Vic,

    not that I disagree with you, but its not the treads that make it similar, its the triangular treads that are identical on the two robots.

    Alot of the probe bots, demo bots and others used by military and SWAT don’t have these triangle treads.

    Anyways, Wall-E does look extremely similar in my opinion. But it doesn’t bother me much however, I think I enjoyed Short Circuit more as well. I think Wall-E is living on artificial hype, because of the name ‘pixar’. I bet if we watched it again, it wouldn’t be special.

  15. RIPPPPP OFFF!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. Okay.. maybe they wearnt trying to copy Johnny five. but they do look VERY similar..

    BUT this is what i don’t get.. they would have had drawing and designs before they started filming.. you can’t tell me out of the 100s of people working on that movie not one of them came up and said ‘you know this looks alittle to similar.. maybe we should change it not to fool people’

    I don’t believe it was done on purpose it was just sloppy film making. and once they saw it they should have changed it.. but i do believe they are playing on it.. i wouldn’t have giving this film the time of day i saw the poster and thought.. hang on..short circuit. so i guess there plain kind of worked as now i want to see it..lol.

  17. It is such a rip-off.

    You see that at first glance.

    And there’s no denying that, whatever the designer says. Words are not important, the outcome is.

  18. Whats next for Hollywood?

    A new movie about an Italian kid who most over to the west coast from the east coast who gets picked on in school who later befriends an Asian apartment complex handyman who teaches the Italian kid lessons about life along with the martial arts?

    I really hate this decade.

    2000-2009 is the lamest most UNORIGINAL decade ever.

    I really cannot wait until 11:59PM December 31st 2009.

    Wall-E Sucks

    The entire 2000′s decade sucks.

    I am going to the store right now to buy me both of the Short Circuit dvd’s.

    I will never waste my money on any Wall-E dvds or related merchandise.

  19. Karate Kid remake is in the pipes BBDC and if it weren’t for technology and the comics medium there would not have been anything blockbuster in Hollywood for the last ten years!! But I don’t hate the decade dude…met married my wife and have some beautiful children…oh you meant movies…sorry… :)

  20. Yo, Bullets – don’t hold back, bud. Tell us how you REALLY feel. :-)


  21. HMMM, A asian man teaches a boy martial arts. WOW I’d love to see that one and maybe 2 sequals too. haa haa … ha… you people are no fun.

  22. hmmmm… i noticed this but thats only from the eye movements and catepillar tracks. the two personalities are quite different and the movies they come from are intirely different if you watch most robot movies theyre all a bit simmilar but there are definatley differences.

  23. This is a total rip off and for anyone else who grew up in the 80′s we all thought this was the cartoon version of the same thing. Spielberg and Dreamworks should take these guys to the cleaners. It is nice though to see the short circuit guy back on the big screen.

  24. sorry not Spielberg, John Badham

  25. ONE MORE TIME GUYS its Short Circuit was owned by SONY-TriStar but TriStar is now Columbia-TriStar.
    Here’s the Kicker Sony OWNS all of them:

    Sony Corporation of America (SCA)
    Outline of Principal Operations
    Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE)
    Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group
    – Columbia Pictures
    – Sony Pictures Classics
    – Screen Gems
    – TriStar Pictures
    Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
    Sony Pictures Television Group
    – Sony Pictures Television
    – Sony Pictures Television International
    Sony Pictures Consumer Products
    Sony Pictures Digital Production
    – Sony Pictures Imageworks
    – Sony Pictures Animation
    – SonyPictures.com
    Sony Pictures Mobile
    Sony Pictures Studios
    – Sony Pictures Studios Post Production Facilities
    – DVD Authoring Center
    – Worldwide Product Fulfillment
    Game Show Network
    Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios

    Now we know why SONY won the DVD format WAR!! Can’t wait to see WallE on BluRay in my living Room!



  27. Who really cares? The differance is, Wall-E is a fantastic movie, and Short Circuit sucks. And another plus to Wall-E…no Steve Guttenberg! Are they really going to make a SC3? After 20 years? There’s truly no God

  28. I would only go so far as to call each robot what they are and what their purpose was intended for.

    To ENTERTAIN us! Movies are made for this purpose alone.

    I do like the similarities of both and like Virginia said She’s very familiar with Johnny 5. I too am familiar with Johnny 5 as I make the Model of him, although it’s very much like the one from the movie it has slight differences but still looks like it’s from the movie.

    As for Wall-e, I liked the movie and I really like the Toy Line from it! I myself and many others around the world only wished that some toy company would have made a toy version of Johnny 5 before Wall-e even came out, Then there wouldn’t be all of this hype. Then again it all only helps promote both movies in the long run. Which isn’t a bad thing!

    This is what a toy version of Johnny 5 should have been done 20 years ago.



    Model Maker, milwaukeemachineman

  29. Hooolaaa!!!

    Wall•E es una muy buena película.

    Muy cretiva.

    Wall•E es muy lindo y se ve muy tierno.