Monday, June 30, 2014

'90s Trash?: The Lawnmower Man

Welcome to the future (of 22 years ago)!  This is The Lawnmower Man, the feature film adaptation of a Stephen King Story.  Well, that's not really true.  It is the feature film adaptation of THE TITLE OF a Stephen King Story.  The lesson learned: Stephen King will flat out sue you if you try to lie to people like that.  So is the film bad for this (pretty major) slight?  Well, yes and no.  The film is very memorable to alot of people, so that is one point for it.  It is also notable for its major use of CG imagery in a time where it was still in its infancy (or at least adolescence).  While 1993's Jurassic Park is most remembered for making Special Effects a spectacle, this film made use of fully-CG models and imagery a year earlier.  This is Brett Leonard's 'baby,' as he would prove his interest in this kind of thing by also making Virtuosity.  He would also later make Highlander: The Source, so bear that in mind too.  The film tells the tale of Jobe, a man with a less-than-high-IQ, and Pierce Brosnan, as a man with a VR Machine.  After experiments gone awry, Pierce does work on the titular character and gets results.  Can he control his experiment or are we all doomed?  To find out, read on...
A group of people are experimenting VR Training on a monkey,  They train him/her to kill targets and it shockingly backfires!  Say whaaaa?!?
We then meet Jobe, who works for some guy and mows lawns.  This is about the only thing that the film has to do with the Story.  More on that later this week...

Jobe proves to be pliable and willing to play games, so he becomes Pierce's new, private test subject.
Jobe and the neighbor boy play the VR Games, while Jobe also gets some crazy drugs and VR Stimulation to increase his intelligence.  Is that a good thing?
His persona changes and he proves to be smarter than even Pierce.  The power starts to go to his head.
On top of that, he ups the drugs and stimulation, giving him all sorts of powers that don't make a whole lot of sense.  He manages to blow his new girlfriend's mind- pretty much literally.

CG Sex?  Ew?
Now pretty much evil, he gets revenge on the people that previously were shown being mean to him.  That's why I'm nice to everyone- you never know!
With his inexplicable ability to alter reality going more to his head, he tries to reach transcendence online.  Brosnan goes in to stop him, but doesn't do to well.  Subtle imagery for the win!
They seemingly trap Jobe in the Internet and blow up the Lab, putting an end to that Model.
However, he actually escaped through a digital back-door and is now going to assault the world!

Well, until the actual end of the film, where this gets completely-ignored.  Doh!  The End.
Everything cool is just kind of silly now.  In defense of the film, the CG Effects don't really look bad.  They are giant, jagged pixels, but there is some clear work put into them.  This feels like the film that Brett Leonard- who previously made The Dead Pit- really wanted to make.  As such, it is hard to fault this 'labor of love' too much.  Having said that, it is still goofy and ridiculous at times.  Jobe goes all 'Flowers for Algernon' and suddenly becomes evil.  Does that mean that Stephen Hawking was planning to conquer the world before the disease affected him?  We lucked out, I guess.  The timing of this review is coincidental, but it does remind me a bit of the Trailers I have seen for that film Lucy coming out soon.  It is just as goofy.  As far as the Acting goes, I have no complaints.  Nobody necessarily delivers a standout performance, but they all worked for me.  Does the film live up to its reputation?  For all of the good and bad reasons, I would say 'yes.'  It isn't really 90s Trash- that's saved for the Sequel.  Keep an eye out for future Breaking Bad (and Stephen King TV Adaptation) Star Dean Norris...
Next up, the Sequel that tries to bigger, badder and crazier.  Unfortunately, it turns out to be goofier, stupider and Matt Frewer-ier.  Stay tuned...

1 comment:

  1. This movie gets difficult to watch as it progresses....starts out good but then it kind of degenerates into this crappy onslaught of bad hasn't aged well in my book. I do like that line "I am GOD here!"