What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that C.H.O.M.P.S. is a cheesy comedy from the 1970s full of slapstick, injury-free violence galore, but with a few potentially frightening scenes: In one, a dog robot appears to be blown up by a bomb, and is shown laying lifeless with burned fur and internal wires exposed, but it survives. In another, a man removes the head of what appears to be a live dog, only to reveal the dog is a robot. A few kisses between adults and one instance of "smart ass" is the only other iffy content.
What's the story?
To address an increase in home burglaries, a security systems expert Brian Foster (Wesley Eure) devises a "revolutionary new security system" in the form of a robot dog -- C.H.O.M.P.S., short for "canine home protection system" -- to fight crime. He hopes to win back the approval of his boss, Mr. Norton (Conrad Bain), with his new invention, and ask for Norton's daughter Casey's (Valerie Bertinelli) hand in marriage. But when company executive (Jim Backus) at a rival security system company catches wind of the new invention and tries to steal it, chaos ensues for dog C.H.O.M.P.S., and everyone else.
Is it any good?
Part Charlie's Angels, part Wonder Woman, part Six Million Dollar Man, with a suspiciously obvious dose of Benji thrown in, C.H.O.M.P.S. is a relic of late 1970's comedy cheese, complete with grab-bag bionic/sci-fi sound effects, wacky hijinks, and high-speed car chases. It's a short-lived Hanna Barbera foray into live action, for good reason: The movie shows all its cards in the first half hour, but bafflingly goes on for another 60 minutes anyway. By film's end, you've seen more than enough slow-mo dog gallops, busted robberies, and plots to kidnap this high-tech home security wonder dog to last a lifetime.
That said, kids will enjoy the crime-fighting dog and his improbable repertoire of intimidating sounds, which include a lion's growl, the sound of firing gunshots, and his own built-in police siren. He also pulls a van by a chain with his teeth. Parents -- especially those old enough to remember the 1970s -- will love the leisure suits, feathered hair, and sideburns. Plus, there's the nostalgia of a slew of staple actors of the decade all joined together: the dad from Diff'rent Strokes, Valerie Bertinelli, that guy from Land of the Lost, and the rich guy from Gilligan's Island -- all on dog-sitting detail. If you can handle the repetitiveness of the romp, you might be entertained long enough to realize you can teach a dog new tricks, but not if that dog is a robot.
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Families can talk about some of the subtle messages in the movie. How are corporations and businesses usually portrayed in movies and on TV? Can you think of any companies known for doing good things in their communities?
C.H.O.M.P.S. is a robotic dog. Go online to learn about new developments in robotics to aid in helping people.