Saturday, February 28, 2004

Flashback Friday: Heartbeeps

This week, we venture beyond the world of television to the world of movies. I feel this is an important story to tell, the forgotten story of Heartbeeps.

The year was 1981. I think my first encounter with Heartbeeps was an article in a kid's magazine that profiled the robots in the movie. The article focused on the fact that the movie used "real robots." In retrospect, this was technically true, since two of the main characters were mechanical. But at the time I thought it meant (and I think was intended to think) that the movie used living, breathing robots. I mean, technically the Muppet Show used "real robots," but nobody would call that an innovation. Whatever.

I remember being absolutely in love with this movie, even though I never actually saw it when it came out. I watched the commercials with rapture. I even cut out an advertisement in the newspaper that had photos of the robotic characters, taped it to my wall, and just stared at it for ages. Don't ask me why Mom never actually took me to see the movie in the theaters. I'll have to ask her.

Eventually, the movie came on WHT and I actually saw it. I'll be the first to admit it was not a great movie. For those who haven't seen it, it was basically Romeo and Juliet with robots. In the future, two robots fall in love and run away from their owners, chased by a robotic cop which was more like a tank that talked. The ending was way too depressing for a kids' movie, which is probably why it failed in theaters. I think the only reason I liked it is that I like robots.

I think it's an important movie, though. Andy Kaufman played the male robot and with all the newfound interest in him, I was surprised that nobody mentioned it. Of course, it was a flop, but it was also out-of-character for him. The bold, vulgar, in-your-face comedian played a sweet and loveable robot in a kids' movie. I'd like to know why he did it and how it fit into his life.

The movie is mostly forgotten, except for a webpage dedicated to it and this X-Entertainment review. I need to see if it's at videostores yet. I really did love that evil tank. Cool makeup, too.
Categories: entertainment, flashback

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