The Lawnmower Man – Review (Scream Factory Blu-ray)

Horror Sci-Fi Scream Factory
7.5

Good

After spending 2 hours and 20 minutes with the director’s cut of The Lawnmower Man, I find myself struggling to write anything. I’ve already spent enough time with this movie; the exhaustion has kicked in.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying The Lawnmower Man is a terrible film, as there are far worse flicks out there. The problem with the film, though, is that is way too long, which is more evident in the extended cut, which adds 39 minutes of footage. The director’s cut does fare a bit better between the two cuts, with a better opening setting up future events, but the film drags on during the third act. A bit of trimming of other scenes, while still using the much better opening, would have improved The Lawnmower Man immensely.

PLOT SUMMARY

Dr. Lawrence Angelo (Pierce Brosnan) is a brilliant scientist obsessed with perfecting virtual reality software. When his experiments on animals fail, he finds the ideal substitute – Jobe Smith (Jeff Fahey), a slow-witted gardener. Dr. Angelo’s goal is to benefit his human guinea pig and ultimately mankind itself, but evil lurks the guise of “the Shop,” a shadowy group that seeks to use the technology to create an invincible war machine. When the experiments change the simple Jobe into a superhuman being, the stage is set for a Jekyll-and-Hyde struggle for the control of Jobe’s mind and the future of the world.

REVIEW

The most interesting thing about The Lawnmower Man is probably the backstory on how it was made. Stephen King wrote a short story titled ‘The Lawnmower Man’, which is admittedly a terrible story. It features a magic lawnmower, a naked man eating grass clippings and ends with a severed penis in a bird bath. The rights to the short story where picked up by Brett Leonard and the idea was to market a movie about some far out virtual reality, sci-fi stuff and just slap Stephen King’s name on the film to help sell it. Of course, King, being his usual bi-polar self, praises the movie one minute and sues the makers the next as he doesn’t want his name associated with this property. King won by the way, as evident by looking at theatrical posters compared to VHS posters.

Funny enough, though, is that King’s story partially shows up in the movie, where a telekinetic powered lawnmower chases a man through the house, resulting in bits of him ending up in the bird bath. It’s just everything else that is different.

The gist of The Lawnmower Man is about how virtual reality is going to rule the world come to the turn of the millennium. After you finish laughing your ass off at that quote, you are treated to a story featuring Pierce Brosnan as a scientist, using virtual reality to make his lawn mowing man smarter. Said lawn mower is played by Jeff Fahey, who does an okay job at playing a dolt.

The idea behind the movie is to invoke a feeling of sadness as Jobe the lovable lawnmower goes from being a sweet innocent man-child to a magical, telekinetic power trip god out to rule the cyberspace world. I’ll admit, I do feel a bit of sadness, but mostly I feel boredom as the movie slowly plods along.

There are only three things in this movie that really interested me. First was seeing Jenny Wright’s boobs. The second was the virtual reality scenes can be fun, albeit heavily dated. Lastly, I find it interesting that the bad government guys go by the name of The Shop, which is the same evil group of men in Firestarter, another King story. At least the movie has that connection going for it.

Mmmm… Jenny Wright’s boobs.

Now, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say there probably wasn’t too many people clamouring for a big Collector’s Edition of The Lawnmower Man, but Scream Factory said screw it and produced one anyway. I’ve got to hand it to them; they did a great job delivering an all around solid Blu-ray package. You have the two different cuts of the film, a 50-minute making which goes to great lengths to not mention Stephen King’s name, some older features, trailers and a kickass hidden bonus feature that advertises a chance to win a virtual reality set, $20K or a Mazda! You’ll also get a chance at winning a walk on a role in The Lawnmower Man 2! Yeah, I’m pretty sure that walk on role never came to be seeing how the sequel came out five years later.

Mmm… Pierce Brosnan’s hairy chest.

If you’re wondering what exactly is different when comparing the two cuts, you only need to pop in the first disc and watch the included deleted scenes, which pretty much show you everything cut. As previously mentioned, the biggest change is the opening.

Scream Factory was kind enough to throw up a warning telling you that the director’s cut might not be as pristine as you might think a Blu-ray should be, but besides a few noticeable frame jumps and a bit of colour difference, the overall appearance is damn fine looking. Same goes for the audio.

VERDICT

Maybe The Lawnmower Man was too far ahead of its time. It’s entirely possible the movie would have done far better coming out today, as we are know finally getting around to having virtual reality be a bit more common. It’s also possible the film would have done even better if they scrapped the idea of trying to use Stephen King’s name to help sell the film and opted for a name that would more closely reflect the actual story. Honestly, the biggest contribution to the movie would have been taking the scenes that worked better in the director’s cut and trimming out the fat, making a solid hour and 20-minute movie instead. Of course, it’s way too late for that and the movie we got, is the movie you get. Scream Factory does the best they can do with this release, and if you are a fan, well, you’re going to be very happy after you pick it up.

SPECIAL FEATURES

  • — DISC ONE – Theatrical Cut —
  • NEW 4K Scan Of The Interpositive
  • NEW Cybergod: Creating The Lawnmower Man – Featuring Interviews With Co-Writer/Director Brett Leonard, Actor Jeff Fahey, Editor Alan Baumgarten, Make-up Effects Artist Michael Deak And Special Effects Coordinator Frank Ceglia
  • Audio Commentary With Writer/Director Brett Leonard And Writer/Producer Gimel Everett
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Original Electronic Press Kit With Cast Interviews And Behind-The-Scenes Footage
  • Edited Animated Sequences
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • TV Spot
  • — DISC TWO – Director’s Cut —
  • NEW 4K Scan Of The Interpositive With Additional “Director’s Cut” Footage From The Original Camera Negative
  • Audio Commentary With Writer/Director Brett Leonard And Writer/Producer Gimel Everett
  • Conceptual Art And Design Sketches
  • Behind-The-Scenes And Production Stills
  • Storyboard Comparison

PRODUCT INFORMATION

DISCS: 2 (2 Blu-ray)
RUN-TIME: 108/141 min
ASPECT RATIO: 1.85:1
RESOLUTION: 1080p
AUDIO: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
LANGUAGE: English
SUBTITLES: English
REGION: A
RATING: R
PRODUCTION DATE: 1992

Good

  • Boobs
  • Fun virtual reality stuff
  • Awesome Blu-ray package

Bad

  • So damn long!

Summary

Scream Factory does the best they can do with this release, and if you are a fan, well, you’re going to be very happy after you pick it up.
7.5

Good

Movie - 6
Blu-ray - 9

I’ve been watching horror movies since I was three. In hindsight, it probably wasn’t a good idea.

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