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Headscratchers: Short Circuit
  • If the SAINT robots in the first movie were supposed to be prototypes, and they were demonstrated to gain funding for mass-production, why does Nova Robotics have more than enough replacement parts to build at least a good half-dozen models per van?
    • It's a long way from Prototype to Production and in that time replacement parts would be needed for repairs after additional testing. The vans we saw were loaded with extra parts because if Number 5 was damaged in capture they could have it repaired and ready for more testing as soon as they got back.
      • That still doesn't quite explain why there are spares of the central memory module in the NOVA vans. The one part that is essentially irreplaceable, and yet there's at least one in the van, because Number Five was able to build a complete duplicate of himself—albeit admittedly, it was only programmed to run away while screaming incoherently.
      • because it's not irreplaceable. They have no idea Number Five is sentient and they would need that part to repair him if me memory was damaged (which is their assumptions as to why he went rogue in the first place) but his body is basically intact.

  • Oscar's diamond theft scheme is completely implausible; ignoring the obvious absurdity of actually digging your way into a bank vault and smuggling the gems in plastic dinosaurs, he's a bank teller, and he has a computer expert that once ran a fraud scam. Has neither of these guys ever heard of embezzlement?
    • By embezzlement, you mean stealing the money that the bank had on deposit? Yes, but they wanted the jewels for some reason. But considering that it was a well-known collection, they would have to get the gems out of the country, have them re-shaped by an illicit gemcutter (they couldn't be sold as-is, they were too famous), and filter them through multiple fences. It would have been easier to just steal cash or hold the jewels for ransom.
    • Embezzlement is actually easier to trace. And they may have had a buyer already lined up who wanted the gems for their private collection and didn't care they were stolen (or was even encouraging their theft).

  • Why doesn't Johnny 5 know that he's in a major metropolis until Frank told him? First, he's an input-hungry robot that has already read through the entirety of the encyclopedia and at least one map of the US, so he should be able to recognize if the city he's being sent to is a city. Second, the vast difference between being on a farm and being in a warehouse should've tipped him off that something wasn't right. Third, the sounds of city life coming in from just outside the warehouse should've been an obvious clue.
    • For all his data hunger, Johnny 5 has had relatively little time to become experienced in the world. He has never been to a city, so he wouldn't recognize the sounds of it (even if he watched TV, a lot of shows don't portray the sounds of the cities around homes). As for the warehouse, he probably thought he was in a building in the middle of nowhere; there aren't a lot of books explaining how warehouses are usually in cities for commercial purposes, so the only way to get that information is through inference of repeated examples, and he had never been in a city to see warehouses, so...

  • The S.A.I.N.T. robots are equipped with advanced energy weapons. Why not sell those separately? Even the specialized soldiers sent to take 5 out have standard rifles.
    • Maybe the S.A.I.N.T.s are actually about 90% power supply by volume, so any human toting one of those lasers would need a 50 lb bergen to hold the battery pack. Yes, I know it's weak.
      • No, you have a point there; SAINT stands for "Strategic Artificially-Intelligent Nuclear Transport", and I believe the second movie stated Johnny 5 replaced his unsafe nuclear battery for a more eco-friendly lithium-argon rechargeable battery, so it's possible that the nuclear battery was not just to power the robot, but its laser weapon.
      • And he removed his weapon in favor of of a less-than-lethal toolbox which drew no power from his battery, thus making the replacement even more plausible.
      • Actually, the S.A.I.N.T. robots were designed to transport nuclear weapons, hence "Nuclear Transport." It doesn't necessarily mean they're nuclear powered. It's possible that the laser weapons are either a) far too heavy for humans to carry around or b) too dangerous due to heat or contamination of some sort. Also in the second movie, Johnny 5 tells Ben that his new battery is an "improvement on your design. Cut the bugs out." meaning that his original battery was inefficient.

  • Speaking of the S.A.I.N.T. Robots and their weaponry, why the hell don't they have a remote failsafe shutoff, at least for the laser alone?
    • The military in movies, from the 60s on down, is almost proud of their nuclear deterrent force's lack of any such measure - which the Russkies might use to somehow thwart "Operation: Gotcha Last" - right up to the moment that The Unthinkable Happens and There's Nothing We Can Do To Stop It. The only difference between this and all the other times is that (they believe) the robot's off to laser some Americans rather than bomb Moscow and start WW 3.
    • Actually, if you watch, they try to have him do the shutdown command a few times when they remote link in. It doesn't work because #5 is working off his own programming now and doesn't want to shut down. They basically thought they had a working software failsafe and just didn't think a hardware one was necessary.

  • Why does Ben's name change between movies (from Jabituya in 1 to Jahrvi which is pronounced "Javeri" in 2)? It can't be marriage: no ring. It can't be witness protection unless it's a very bad one: he talks openly about Nova Robotics in the second movie.
    • Maybe "Javeri" is an adopted name because it's easier to pronounce and understand than "Jabituya" and he was trying to sell his robot toys to a larger distributer.
    • If I'm not mistaken, when he was given a larger role in the second movie, the decision was made to change his name from the patently ridiculous "Jabituya" (say it out loud) for the more realistic—and more importantly, less racist—"Jahrvi." Considering that Ben is already played by a white guy in makeup, which is really no better than a white guy wearing blackface, it was probably a wise choice.

  • Johnny 5 is NOT alive. Johnny 5 is SENTIENT.
    • Technically, if a robot is sentient, it's alive, at least from a philosophical standpoint. He doesn't fit the definition of organic life, but it does fulfill the three requirements for sentience (intelligence, consciousness, self-awareness), it does consider its disassembly and memory erasure as "death", he does seem to understand the concept of a soul and seems to believe he has one, and - most importantly - it seems to understand the fundamental value of life and the tragic injustice of taking it away from a living being. It fulfills quite a few philosophical classifications for being a living being.
    • Our definitions of life are mostly based around what we have seen; organic beings made of cells. It isn't impossible that, upon considering a sentient robot, that definition might be expanded a little. Anyways, he is at least alive in the figurative sense, so maybe he uses the word for emotional value rather than strict literalness.
    • Because "Sentience is not a malfunction" is not as catchy a tagline.
    • This same argument is brought up in Star Trek: The Next Generation about Data. Data prefers to be called an "artificial life form".
    • Thousands of years of philosophical, scientific and religious debate still hasn't given us a definition of life that can be universally applied. Single-celled organisms, for example, are obviously alive, but they don't learn, they have no intelligence, could never be sentient and can only react to stimulus by reflex actions built into them. They are considered alive because they can reproduce on their own. But mules, a donkey-horse cross-breed, are incapable of reproduction as they are sterile. As they can't reproduce does that mean that they are not alive? And what of virii? There is still fierce debate raging as to whether they constitute a life-form or non-living masses of genetic material. Clearly we have a way to go before we have a definition of life that is entirely satisfactory.
    • He metabolizes resources to stay functional (electricity), responds to external stimuli, and he can reproduce another entity similar to himself that could be subject to some sort of selection (i.e., there's a hereditable instruction set for his anatomy). Pretty much all the qualifications for 'life' right there. The real question is why he doesn't create a duplicate that he keeps powered down but backs up his memory to every night. If the one out in the field were to 'disassemble', the backup could be woken up and Johnny wouldn't lose more than a few hours of his life.
      • Probably because if he managed to create a robot fully capable of replacing him, than it would be sentient robot just like him; I kinda doubt that Johnny would be capable of condemning one of his own kind to being locked in a closet it's whole life, being endlessly fed someone's else's memories, just for an pseudo-immortality scheme.
      • Would you do such a thing if it were possible to back up your mind? If you died there'd be another you around with most of your memories, behaving just like yourself and looking to everyone else as you - but with another mind entirely; you would still be dead.
    • As brought up in the movie proper (and in an episode of Star Trek: TNG, as noted above) humans an robots are both machines, simply of different contructions, therefore sentience is "life."
  • Does anyone else think that there are hints of a Robosexual plot being set up between Stephanie and Johnny 5, but the writers chickened out? That whole dancing scene, and the bit with the tub... "Attractive! Nice software." Yeah...
    • I was thinking that every time Johnny eagerly demanded "Input".
    • I would have the same thought if it wasn't obvious from the beginning that Newton and Stephanie were going to end up together. I think the robosexual stuff was just for laughs.
    • No. I'm sure no writer ever thought of that story and then "chickened out"; they added those scenes to build up affection and closeness between the two, not to suggest any sort of actual sexual interest. This is a family movie, not a scifi porn flick.
  • If the SAINT robots are military androids, wouldn't they be constructed out of heavy-duty materials capable of withstanding high caliber battle conditions? Then why is it that Oscar's henchmen are able to take down Johnny 5 with just an axe and a crowbar in the second movie?
    • Aside from the fact that most of the damage done by the jewel thieves involved hitting J5's weak spots, in the first film we did in fact see standard rounds damage him. Remember, SAINT was designed to bring a nuke right to Insert Commie Here's front door in 30 minutes or less or your money back; the things already cost eleven million apiece. Adding excessive armor to their standard steel and titanium "skin" would be an even bigger waste of taxpayer money. Not that this has ever stopped the Pentagon in the past, but...at least it kind of makes sense. (There's also the possibility that the production model of SAINT would have had more durable exterior armor.)
    • As their powerful, accurate, narrowly-directed weapon and opening scene of the first movie indicate, the SAINT robots are expected to rumble with enemy vehicles rather than infantry. Presumably, a tank round would take down a SAINT no matter how much armor it had anyways, so they decided to make them glass cannons with little defense, both because it is cheaper and because less armor makes them faster and more agile, improving their chances of survival.
    • My reading of the situation was that the SAINT models being displayed were technology demonstrators and prototypes, not intended for actual deployment. The demonstration being given was to show off what their technology demonstrators could do and secure government funding for a ruggedised weaponised version that would be of actual use on the front line.
      • Absolutely this. They have exposed wiring and gears, for Pete's sake - a production model would at **least** have those tucked away somewhere or shielded in a metal conduit, if nothing else to avoid mud and dust getting into them. The SAINT prototypes were never even meant to leave the Nova-owned areas.

  • I'm still not sure how the SAINT robots would be a viable weapon. Were they supposed to replace conventional human soldiers? I can't really think of a military role that they could fill better than what we have now. The lasers are pretty cool, but you could mount them on a vehicle just as easily. And $11 million is a pretty hefty price tag, comparable to an A-10 Thunderbolt, which could easily destroy dozens of robots.
    • The robots were designed to be thrown in behind enemy lines and have the ability to carry a nuke right into the heart of enemy territory. This does of course mean you would loose the robot in the process but it's easy enough to sacrifice a few hunks of medal that can deliver a crippling blow to an enemy even if they are 11 grand a pop.
    • Which then leads to the question of: If you can airdrop a robot, why not cut out the middleman and airdrop a bomb? Or deliver it via missile like we already could? What were the gaps in our nuclear delivery capability that the SAINT robots would fill?
      • Well, off 'top of my head.. they never said they were supposed to be dropped on cities, only behind enemy lines. So you could drop them in the boonies, then have them trundle in under air defences that would stop a normal nuclear strike. This is further supported by their pointing out that they have much better resistance to the rigors of survival than soldiers. Another use suggested was they could be dropped behind lines and then left alone for extended periods, then stealthily deploy nukes in the event of the US being invaded or losing a war. IE: 'Gotcha Last'.
      • Also, the $11 million price tag was for a prototype. The SAINT series would probably be a good deal cheaper to build come the production model and possible mass production.
    • Also remember that they're basically just spinjobbing potential applications for the robots, since it's in prototype phase. The original SAINT robots were probably largely proof-of-concept, "Well, here's some various applications you could use them for." If the government was interested, it meant that lots of different versions could likely be put forth. The advanced AI is almost as much the major draw as anything else. "Robot, guard the unit while we take a rest." "Robot, check the road ahead." "Robot, toss me a reload!" Even as they were, they'd make amazing support units, armor one up and it's like mobile cover that can warn you of incoming and provide its own cover fire.
    • For this and the next entry, remember that a) the original designer was against the military application, and b) they weren't actually purchased.
  • The SAINT robots are supposed to be autonomous means of transport for nuclear warheads. You'd expect them to be heavily armored turrets on treads, with enough storage room to keep at least a nuke. Why were they so thin? What did they need eyebrows for? And where were they supposed to keep the nukes they would deliver?
    • Crosby is very clear about the fact that he didn't design them for military purposes originally, and Marner is very quick to insist to the Senator at the beginning of the first movie that NOVA has plenty of peacetime roles envisaged for the SAINT project (whether they did or not is never stated outright). My wild-assed guess says that Crosby stuck with his original design, but bolted on various bits to make the robots appear more militaristic (lip-light guards etc) - being something of a pacifist himself I'm sure he'd have had no problem spending more of the Pentagon's money than strictly necessary. Of course, Number Five spends the first fifteen minutes of the movie bumping into and falling off things, which remove the additions and reveal Crosby's original design.
    • As for "eyebrows", in the original movie you see the other robots (plus a pre-lightning Number Five) perform a demonstration in which they destroy military vehicles with their lasers. Before firing they half-close the "eyebrows" either to aid target acquisition or in preparation to close them in case of blast damage.
  • So...what happened to Number Four? Numbers One through Three were stoogified, Number Five is running around free, but Four just vanishes from the movie after the first sequence. Presumably he was scrapped along with the other SAINT prototypes at the end of the first movie, but still...
    • His battery ran flat? I dunno, there could be any number of reasons why it's not out in the field. The obvious one is, of course, that you can't really turn the Three Stooges gag into a Four Stooges one for the sake of displaying another robot...
    • The real question is, if they had the Three Stooges gag planned from the start, why not make the whole SAINT series consist of just four prototypes?
      • Because "four" doesn't rhyme with "alive."

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