Micro Men movie review
Micro Men is a movie about two rival men and their companies, taking place between about 1978 to 1985 (in the course of the film). The two main characters are Clive Sinclair, played by Alexander Armstrong, and Chris Curry, played by Martin Freeman, which I recognized from the UK version of The Office and the latest movie version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
The movie starts out with Sinclair running his electronics company, for which whom he lost a controlling interest in (the British Government bought into in). His company is researching and building different products which are having problems with design flaws and quality control and the government is tightening up the finances of the companies, making it harder for him to operate it according to his vision.
One of his top engineers is Chris Curry, which is like a close friend of his at the beginning. Curry convinces Sinclair that they should start manufacturing personal computer kits because it would encourage enthusiasts and hobbyists, as well as electronics buffs to start learning more electronics, the inner workings of computers, as well as learning to program computers. Basically, Curry tries to offer him some feedback, Sinclair gets very mad at him, and Curry quits to go make his own computer company, Acorn Computers with his Austrian friend (as shown in the movie). Sinclair’s company gets shut down, he sells some assets, and starts up a straight up computer company, Sinclair Research Ltd.
The movie chronicles the war that happens between the companies and other companies as well as the rivalry between the heads of Sinclair and Acorn, in England during the early days of what we now define as a personal computer.
The trailer for the movie is the following:
I recommend watching this movie if you are interested in retro computing, everything 8-bit, computer history, computer businesses, business rivalries, emerging and collapsing markets, business strategies as applied in the real world, business development, and so on. Chances are, if you are reading my site, you will enjoy this kind of film. It reminded me at parts of Pirates of Silicon Valley.
The movie shows what happens when two similar companies take different strategies as how to attack an emerging market. Initially, pretty much Sinclair was selling lower end, cheap computers, and Acorn selling a more high end, faster and more powerful but more expensive machine. We have seen these kind of approaches happen many times in the technology fields. The movie shows the battle of the BBC Micro (Acorn) vs ZX Spectrum (Sinclair), as well as their older and later systems. On that topic, you can even compare within the US the market of the Commodore Amiga vs the Apple Macintosh (during the 80s), two similar machines. Not saying that the Amiga was inferior (I prefer it in fact and was my first 16-bit computer) but it was certainly much more inexpensive.
You can view clips of the movie here.
You can view the first part of the movie here on youtube:
You can watch the whole movie on youtube actually if you follow this link and scroll down.
The movie has a very good 80s feel, especially with some of the music they picked for it.
The movie shows the rise of video games, the flooding of the computer market, the rise and fall of that market.
I don’t want to describe the entire movie in detail because I would rather have you watch it and interpret it for yourself. Parts of the movie have been exaggerated simply for entertainment value. The movie is done in good taste and even has a couple of comical parts.
Overall, Micro Men paints a great picture of those days and reminds me as well a lot of stories similar to the ones found in the book Hackers by Steven Levy (my favorite book about the early computing days).
Don’t waste a minute and go watch it! Leave your comments below, on the Obsolete Gamer forums, or on our social sites. Enjoy!