Monday Movie Retrospective

March 6, 2017

the-lawnmower-man-original

Today’s serving of “crazy” comes to you in the guise of a simple man. A “Lawnmower Man“. Starring the underappreciated Jeff Fahey, as the title character, and the always-dashing Pierce Brosnan as the research scientist.

This movie is kind of fun, but was an early entry in the 1990s computer graphics movement. The story is interesting. Basically, a scientist is developing a method whereby a computer interface can be used along with drugs to stimulate brain development.

Government funding is stopped when an animal undergoing this therapy as an experiment murders a man. Fast forward to the scientist developing the project on his own time. That never goes too well. Instead of a relatively harmless animal, the scientist experiments on a relatively simple man. He makes some surprising progress, and madcap “crazy” and computer graphics (inserted awkwardly onto the screen) ensue.

Speaking of the computer graphics, they were pretty fun for the time, but aged badly. It’s really bad. As expected, a quarter-century later, most first-person video games hold superior video effects.

It’s an interesting story. If only the human brain could be further developed as simply as this story suggests. I did like the many scenes that tried to explain the progress, especially the advanced learning scene, where the Lawnmower man sits down in a chair and can learn by putting educational discs into a machine. He was able to learn all the material, even when he “fast-forwarded” the presentation, causing the information to be presented at about 4x or 10x speed. (I don’t remember; faster than a normal person can absorb the information, anyway.) Neat! I wish I had that in school.

The Lawnmower man gets a girlfriend, played by Jenny Wright, but she ends up catatonic. He’s a little bummed out about it, but moves on rather easily.

The ending of the movie is a satisfying countdown with a fun twist at the very end. There is some random shooting at bad computer graphics, that I guess are some sort of projected holograph? It’s hard to say. Since firearms don’t do anything but light up the “image”, it appears to be nothing more than a holograph. So you get your requisite Hollywood gunplay, but similar to the jungle gun scene in “Predator”…. They hit nothing.

And the requisite explosion. It’s funny how every Hollywood movie needs a large explosion. Even in times and situations that shouldn’t have explosions. They shoehorn it in there, like a contractual obligation. An unspoken contract with the moviegoing public.

 

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