Thanks to the advent of search engines, the average kid can debunk myths, scary stories, and possible closet monster that will get them if they misbehave, thus making your best attempts at discipline go down the drain. When the electricity goes out those kids won’t compare to these five movie child geniuses, as their brains hold the knowledge, not their laptops–which sadly are so much better than yours.


Shogo Kawada, “Battle Royale”

Hunting humans might be the most dangerous game, but when those humans are your schoolmates and have spent their time noting your strengths and weaknesses throughout the year, then they are far more deadly opponents than the average stranger. Kawada balances cunning and compassion as he utilizes his intelligence to disable the collars of his friends, thus conning the overseers that run “Battle Royale.” His death might seem to belie his child geniusdom, but his perception that he dies knowing he protected his friends is an intelligence far beyond his years.


Russell, “Up”

Only true genius can elevate humankind and that is exactly what Russell did when he “accidentally” chose Carl’s house to show up at mere moments before Carl’s exodus from his current life. His drive to earn his “assisting the elderly” badge was a mere cover for his mission to keep Carl alive during their journey. What average child could end the life of a famous explorer, survive the attack of deranged super smart dogs, and manage to help pilot a freakin’ dirigible back home? Check out this boy wonder as he plays the fearful child and Muntz pursues him only to take the long fall to his death in “Up.”


Dade Murphy, “Hackers”

Kicking off with some child genius-style hacking, Dade punches the NYSE in its bathing suit area and gets banned from computers and telephones until he hits the ripe age of 18. Discontent with letting his intelligence stew in a world that doesn’t let him mess with electronics, Dade eventually goes to the defense of a hacker friend who has crossed the wrong people and a game of cat and mouse beings in “Hackers.” Showing that he’s not your average introverted child genius, Dade is able to nimbly interact with Norman the guard in gaining access to a television station’s modem, thus being that rarest of movie geniuses: one that doesn’t navel gaze.


Sylvester, “Baby Geniuses”

“Baby Geniuses” is the purest, unadulterated nightmare fuel to be created since nipples were put on the Batman suit in “Batman and Robin.” Mad and inept scientists wish to use baby geniuses to make them rich and continue their run of…theme parks. Sylvester’s genius doesn’t just lie in his telepathic abilities, nor his defeat of the scientists, but in making sure he will never be forgotten by doing a dance to “Staying Alive” that creates a scene that will scar your brain forever upon viewing.

Joshua Waitzkin, “Searching for Bobby Fischer”

Two different men mentor a genius at chess, Joshua Waitzkin, with vastly different approaches to the game. “Searching for Bobby Fischer” does not guide the protagonist to his end but rather lets him choose his own way to his goals, making for a touching story on what could be viewed as very dry subject matter. Joshua’s final battle for the championship is a scene that feels like lives are at stake and not game pieces.