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The Lawnmower Man: Collector's Edition (1992) - Blu-ray Review

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The Lawnmower Man (1992) - Blu-ray Review

3 beersOriginally planned to be a segment in a horror-themed film anthology and then later thought to be a b-movie budgeted serial killer who grinds women up with a lawnmower, The Lawnmower Man was always a tall order for any movie studio to tackle.  When it finally came to fruition, complete with full body suits that fluoresce when in black light, the film was damn near unrecognizable having strayed so far from its original conception.

But then again the story was always about – in some fashion – the role of evolution in our DNA. 

From Leonardo’s concept of man to the first big cyber sex scene, The Lawnmower Man is about an awakening.  It is a twisted nod to horror in spite of its science and its fiction.  Leave it then to the New Line Cinema to completely fuck it up with edits designed to amp up the stylized CGI and downplay the character development.  Cyber-horror is a difficult thing to sell, especially with a title that suggests something else entirely.  Perhaps audiences didn't know what to expect.  I suspect they weren't ready for the future, though.

It is now time for Scream Factory, with their blu-ray release of the flick and its extended Director’s Cut to try and save The Lawnmower Man from running out of gas and its own cinematic extinction.  Thank God then for character development.  The film – especially in this release – is finally given a chance to breathe freely with a new 141-minute director's cut that restores some sanity to the proceedings.  Plug in and tune out is definitely NOT the message here.  And it’s something pretty cool that holds up well and continues to turn heads. 

Concerning itself with giving power to the powerless at the point where the physical and the virtual worlds collide, The Lawnmower Man roars to life anew.  The movie – tackling virtual reality terms that were newish at the time of its release – winds up being about a severe Christ complex as Jeff Fahey, fresh off of Body Parts, battles wits and wills against Pierce Brosnan, finally free of his Remington Steele contract.  Fahey plays Jobe and Jobe – looking every bit like Jeff Daniels in Dumb and Dumber – is happy in his innocent existence as a simpleminded maintenance man.   What he becomes, thanks to Pierce Brosnan’s Dr. Lawrence Angelo and his VR experiments, is something many audiences could not imagine: a GOD. 

Director Brett Leonard surrounds himself with solid talent, including production designer Alex McDowell, and assembles a solid slice of science fiction cinema.  It’s a marvelous-looking film and the green lawns of Pasadena definitely pop under the guidance of the new 4K transfer, yet – due to far too many hands in the pot – the movie was whittled down to a confusing mess of horror and far-out computer concepts.  Oh, it worked - more or less - but most of the story was the ultimate cost for a bankable running time. 

Written by Brett Leonard and Gimel Everett and based loosely on a short story by Stephen King, the virtual reality component of the movie is definitely ahead of its time.  The CGI is not photo-realistic and one wonders if that is partly why the film crashed and burned at the box office.  The effects never could have been – even if the studio afforded it – and, thankfully, everyone on the production level knew it.  The film does not suffer because of the dated effects; the film remains interesting because of them.  Understand?  It was a wise move at the time and, in 2017, the film GREATLY BENEFITS from them.

The Lawnmower Man, whether because of its title or because of its subject matter, will probably forever be misunderstood due to its Stephen King connection.  Look beyond that and you will see a movie that was so far ahead of its time period that some of the VR devices are only just NOW being introduced.  Thanks to Scream Factory, we can appreciate both the theatrical AND the director’s cut of this forward-thinking horror film.

Stick with The Lawnmower Man and bare witness to miracles.  Even dead patches of ground can grow again.  This release is the proof.

The Lawnmower Man (1992) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R for language, sensuality and a scene of violence..
Runtime:
108 mins
Director
: Brett Leonard
Writer:
Brett Leonard
Cast:
Jeff Fahey, Pierce Brosnan, Jenny Wright
Genre
: Horror | Sci-fi
Tagline:
God made him simple. Science made him a god.
Memorable Movie Quote: "My birth cry will be the sound of every phone on this planet ringing in unison."
Theatrical Distributor:
New Line Cinema
Official Site:
Release Date:
March 6, 1992
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
June 20, 2017
Synopsis: 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.

The Lawnmower Man (1992) - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Shout Factory
Available on Blu-ray
- June 20, 2017
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:

Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set
Region Encoding: Region A

Scream Factory presents its 2-disc release of The Lawnmower Man on blu-ray courtesy of a newly printed HD widescreen transfer in 1.85:1.  Complete with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack, the film looks and sounds better than it has ever before.  The production design is so intelligently layered that it looks nothing like other films from 1992.  Colors are bold, skin tones are varied and precise, and the effects – always colorful – are detailed and crisp.  Nicely saturated, there are no dents in its shiny armor.  Colors are strong throughout and are particularly memorable with their inclusion of details and strong edges.  Black levels are clearly defined, too.  Important considering the film takes place during the evening hours.  Shadows are detailed.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  •  See Special Features for details, but there are TWO commentaries.

Special Features:

Scream Factory continues to spoil audiences with a set of supplemental material that encompasses almost every aspect of the movie and its release.  With two discs of material and two versions of the movie, we are truly blessed consumers.

DISC ONE: Theatrical Version (108 min)

  • 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 (141 min)

  • 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

The Lawnmower Man (1992) - Blu-ray Review

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