The Lawnmower Man-Platinum Series

January 28, 2012 8 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Lawrence Angelo (Pierce Brosnan) has been working on some very interesting scientific projects, including one that has him in a state of almost obsession. Angelo has been running experiments and tests to create an intelligence enhancer, which does what it’s name says, it makes the subject smarter. His tests on animals have been somewhat successful, but his work has been targeted for something he never intended, military use. After one his newest subjects, a chimp, goes into a violent rage after taking some chemicals, Angelo decides the time has come to withdraw his services from the project, wanting no part of a military implementation of his work. While he is at his home, he makes an important choice, he decides to continue his experiments on his own time, right in his basement. In order to make the results of this new work valid, he needs a subject, and local simpleton Jobe Smith (Jeff Fahey) seems perfect for the part. Angelo’s research really produces results with Jobe, and soon the subject is even more intelligent that the doctor himself. The military is not out of contention yet however, and manage to force a drug switch, unknown to Angelo, which increases Jobe’s violent side, much like what happened to the chimp. With Jobe becoming smarter and more aggressive each day, Angelo’s experiment gone awry has put the fate of the world in jeopardy.

Ah yes, I do love to review science fiction. Even though it seems like a few come out every year, there just aren’t that many good ones that get released, at least ones worth watching more than once. This is one of the good ones, with all the elements sci/fi needs to be good. The storyline is classic sci/fi, with a potentially helpful experiment gone bad endangering mankind, and the effects/visuals are excellent as well. I am especially fond of the virtual reality sequences, which are a real treat for the eyes, and a great choice to show off your home theater’s power. The visuals are truly impressive, not just with the computer animation, but also with color use, lighting schemes, placement/arrangement, and camera angles. While this isn’t the best example of sci/fi, this is a fun jaunt through the classic elements of the genre, and worth a look for fans of thrillers, action, and of course, sci/fi. Suffice to say that I recommend the movie highly, and while the movie is not widely regarded in high esteem, there is a large cult fanbase behind the movie. I give my highest recommendation for the disc as well, as it gives a wonderful treatment to the film, and gives the viewer excellent audio and video, as well as a plethora of supplements.

Unlike many science fiction movies, The Lawnmower Man features a very solid cast, including talented leads and a decent supporting cast. Pierce Brosnan takes a break from playing swashbuckling spies and tough guys here, and he brings a nice, controlled performance to the movie. Brosnan (Taffin, The World Is Not Enough) is convincing, which makes me wonder when he will expand his resume a bit with some varied roles. Playing the role of village idiot is Jeff Fahey (Extramarital, Eye of the Wolf), who turns in a powerful performance. While his hair does look ridiculous, Fahey’s acting is very good here, never taking the character too deeply into absurdity. The supporting cast includes performances by Jeremy Slate (Girls! Girls! Girls!, Dream Machine), Mark Bringelson (Dead Man), Jenny Wright (A Shock To The System, Twister), Geoffrey Lewis (Maverick, Heaven’s Gate), and Dean Norris (Without Limits, Starship Troopers). The director of The Lawnmower Man is Brett Leonard, who went on to direct science fiction fare such as Virtuosity and Hideaway.

Video: How does it look?

The Lawnmower Man is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. Since this movie features both live action scenes and computer animation sequences, the transfer had to work double time to pull of a knock out visual image, and it succeeds. The animation looks superb, with no errors at all in the conversion, and colors and contrast appear correct, especially the rich and full colors. The live action scenes are just as impressive, with a sharp overall image and no compression errors. The colors look bright, with no bleeding, and flesh tones appear natural. Contrast levels are sharp and correct, with high visible detail level and accurate shadow depth.

Audio: How does it sound?

The audio is presented through an extremely active Dolby Digital 5.1 track, which will turn every speaker in the house into a powerhouse of audio. While the surrounds will be pounding the most during the cyberspace scenes, even during the low key segments the audio is alive and well. This is one disc that does a wonderful job of pushing your system, both visual and audial, to the maximum. The one fault I can find with this mix is the overall lack of bass in the audio driven sequences. Aside from that, this is one powerful track!

Supplements: What are the extras?

New Line has issued The Lawnmower Man as part it’s outstanding Platinum Series, and it deserves the right, since it is loaded with bonus features. The usual talent files and theatrical trailer are included, but that’s just the beginning. The disc includes twelve deleted scenes, which contain the material that was cut from the film, but restored in a later extended cut. This material is nice to browse, but I am glad New Line and the director opted to include the shorter version of the film, with these scenes removed. A storyboard to film comparison gives a look at how the cybersex scene evolved from it’s original state to the finished product, and proves to be a very interesting addition. a featurette, titled “On the Set” contains some interviews with the cast and crew, but seems to short to be more than a promotional tool. The final, and I think the best supplement is a running commentary with director Brett Leonard and producer Gimel Everett, which gives some insight into the picture. There are no serious gaps, and plenty of information is to be found, a must listen for fans of the flick.

Disc Scores