Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Lawnmower Man Review

Before I get started, I wanted to point out that Stephen King sued the makers of this movie because they completely wrecked his story. I don’t know which is better, but I am willing to bet that Stephen King had a good reason for his lawsuit, since he won, and the makers had to essentially remove any reference to the original story. So if you hear someone say that this is a Stephen King movie, tell them to go to hell and punch them in the face, because their stupid and not worth your time. (Do not do any of that, jerks)

The Lawnmower Man came out in 1992, and it was met with somewhat positive reviews at the time, and it holds up well for those that are really into cyberpunk. Pierce Brosnan stars in this story of a scientist that is just about to break through with virtual reality. The cyberpunk influences are huge here folks, as we get a little bit of planet of the apes and modern man thrown into one convoluted story. When the monkey (a monkey rather) subjects start to get extremely smart, they snap, and go on a rampage. We see this rampage with a clever POV camera style that is often times seen in pornography rather than cinema. The first person aspects lend credibility to the beginning as we get the conflict fairly early. With the monkey killing spree shutting down the research, Dr. Lawrence (Brosnan) thinks his work is ruined, and well, his life is over…until he sees a mentally ill lawnmower helper named Jobe. He figures that human testing is the way to go and he of course does what any self respecting man of science does, he does it without the consent or watchful eye of his lab or government grant funders.

The story continues with Jobe getting into the virtual reality machine and getting fed knowledge, which is not too unlike the later plot for “Batman Forever” in which The Riddler goes from super smart to insane and in an asylum. That is the story line we are given here, that the stability of a person’s mind is a fragile thing and when you introduce too much information too swiftly, the ego and alter ego go nuts.

The movie is a fast paced rundown of cool graphics for 1992. The visuals aren’t going to win awards today, however, back in the 90s this thing had legs and made everyone clamor for a new 3D video game system to arrive, even though nothing that came out in the 90s really made for a great example of what could be. Remember Virtual Boy? Yeah, that sucked. The visuals here are definitely what’s going to take you back into a mind melt, but the God complex syndrome that is always attached to science is disturbing. Furthermore, it’s odd to see a sex scene where the nerdy guy gets the girl…that never happens, trust me, I know.

Pierce Brosnan really does a good job playing an uptight scientist, even if he seems out of his element towards the end of the film, but he manages well enough. Jobe gets creepier and creepier, and by the time you realize that he’s neither villain nor protagonist, you almost feel sorry for the dude, except when he essentially wants to conquer the world. The ending leaves an opening for a sequel, which was in fact made, and the story isn’t half bad.

I want to also stress that the visuals aside from the 3D renderings are great. The way the camera moves in and out, side to side, and so much more really is high quality. The director of photography really did a good job setting up a lot of the shots here and you can tell there's more to the movie than just a cyberpunk story mixed with elements of "Planet of the Apes".

But wait, there’s more!

Is it me, or does Jobe look like Joe Rogan here?

In the 90s it seemed like the Super Nintendo system was destined to overtake all over systems, and for a while it did. Not only did it have quality games, it also had movie franchises left and right coming to the console. That’s what happened with this and if you really want to relive it, you can buy Lawnmower Man for SNES HERE. You can get into the virtual reality world and play in all 16-bit glory, which is kind of cool, if you want to relive the glory days of minor league video games.

Bottom line, The Lawnmower Man is a cool cyberpunk flick. Those that want to relive some of that 90s horror mixed with science fiction will love it. I don’t personally want to see it over and over again, but if you do, by all means get this one alongside the sequel, and throw a viewing party at your house.

Remember to leave a comment, to be entered to win Total Recall on Blu Ray. Winners will be announced at the end of the month.

1 comment:

  1. Lawnmower Man was definately in the right place at the right time, since it came out shortly after the groundbreaking CGI inspiration of Terminator 2 the previous year.

    On a $10 million budget, it was a small hit, making $32 million at the box office, continuing to do well on video, including a 140-minute director's cut.

    It also ushered in a subgenre of cyberpunk movies in the mid 1990's, often using Virtual Reality, including Virtuosity, Johnny Mnemonic, and Disclosure.

    Given Lawnmower Man's success, it's no surprise New Line Cinema wanted a sequel, but given it was four years since the original self-contained flick came out, who cared anymore? Maybe that's why they decided this follow-up to an R-rated movie would be a PG-13 flick aimed at teenagers who likely never saw the first one, with an eye on making a third movie centered on teens with superpowers, which clearly never happened.


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A writer first, cat lover second, and some other stuff too. Human, with lots of faults, and terrible communication.
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