Friday, February 17, 2017

Rare Flix: Brainstorm

As long as it is better than Brainscan, we're good.  Today's Film is Brainstorm, a 1983 Film that is more famous for its late Star.  So, if you don't know, here's the basic Story.  Back in 1981, this thing was being Filmed when its 2 Stars- Christopher Walken and Natalie Wood- went out on a Boat with her then-Husband.  Wood disappeared over night and was later found dead in the water.  All sorts of speculations and rumors about this death have run rampant for the last few Decades and it is generally though to be an accident.  As far as this Film goes, it put a stop to the whole, you know, making it thing.  The Studio tried to back out, but the Director got Lloyd's of London to fund the final parts of Filming and it came out...2 years later.  I should also note that this was the last Film for a while by George Trumbull, most known to nerds like myself as a Special Effects Man who worked on 2001: A Space Odyssey and Star Trek: The Motion Picture.  Less known- he went on to Direct 'Immersive Features' for Hotels like the Luxor and, wait for it, Back to the Future: The Ride!  I miss that thing- stupid Simpsons Ride!  Is this a case where the Film is worth all of the drama?  The Plot involves Scientists that make a machine that can link brains to pre-recorded memories.  They're like watching 3-D Films on your VR Device- only they also trick your other senses too.  When they lose control of it, you can count on Nerds to get it back!  Is this one good or just a weird anomaly that mostly exists for POV Effects?  To find out, read on...
In a Lab, a group of Scientists are working on a device that can link brains.  You can feel what someone else felt- even if it is a pre-recorded event!
After much work, they impress their benefactor (aka Future Uncle Ben)!
As their Careers prosper, the marriage of Walken and Woods is on shaky ground.  Can they reunite?
Using the device, they can see their past moments and realize the problems they face.  It is love!
Unfortunately, there is also loss as one of the other Scientists dies.  She puts on the device while she is dying, however, making a very unique recording.
Walken experiences the recording, but it actually kills another man (since it makes you feel what happened to the recorder)!

When it injures him, it is locked away...but he has to finish it!
With the help of his Wife and other people from the Lab, they manage to hack their way into the system to play the recording.
On top of that, they wreck all of the prototypes made for mass consumption when the Military plans to use them for freaky stuff (like making people go insane).
In the end, Walken plays the recording to completion- which shows Angels going to Heaven!- and nearly dies, but keeps his promise to stay with Wood.

That is both super-schmaltzy and super-awkward if you think about it.  The End.
Good stuff, even if the technical marvels constantly threaten to overshadow the Story.  Brainstorm is a good Story about people using advanced technology to learn about themselves.  In case you didn't noticed, the Aspect Ratio here is a bit wonky as it goes between the immersive bits (like above and below) and the normal Scenes.  The Effects are great- what else would you expect from Trumbull?  Like Tree of Life taught us, however, that is not always enough. In this case, the Story is good, but doesn't quite elevate itself to be truly special.  It makes good use of its gimmick to push the ideas that it wants to.  Not bad- just not great.  The Acting is good, but what did you expect with the people involved?  It is pretty engaging, looks nice and tells a good (if silly at times) Story.  Brainstorm isn't touted as much as it should be- so let's fix that.  Now it is time to see what life is like as Louie Andersen...
Next up, a crap Film that I've put up for far too long.  If you were yearning for an annoying, no-Budget Remake of Dracula, you're in luck!  Stay tuned...

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