Cyber Grass Cutting
Back in 1992 having just left school there were two things which dominated my life, movies and computers and as such "The Lawnmower Man" was right up my street. Here was a movie which gave us a look at virtual reality and played on the fear factor of people's lack of knowledge when not only predicting the future but the capabilities of computers. It fed the audiences these then wonderful computer effects of what virtual reality could be like which had me hooked and combined it with a horror story. Now over twenty years later and having re-watched "The Lawnmower Man" there is one word to describe it and that is "dated" both visually but also when it comes to the storyline.
Dr. Lawrence Angelo (Pierce Brosnan - I Don't Know How She Does It) is an expert in the world of virtual reality but he finds himself at odds with the company he works for when he disagrees with the way they want to use to his research. Forced to go it alone he persuades simpleton gardener Jobe Smith (Jeff Fahey - 100 Degrees Below Zero) to be his guinea pig, telling him he can make him clever and he does exactly that. But things get out of hand as not only does Jobe's intelligence exceed what Lawrence set out to achieve but his old firm interfere with his work causing Jobe to gain extraordinary powers and a deranged mind forcing Lawrence to try and bring things to an end before Jobe gets out of control.
Back in 1992 when I first watched "The Lawnmower Man" it would be fair to say that I was hooked by the visuality of the movie with all the virtual reality CGI and didn't really care that much for the story other than the fact it included sex scenes. And in fairness back in 1992 the special effects whilst not the best were good enough to capture mine and others imagination as we were presented with quasi visual reality. Now of course technology has changed massively since 1992 and it is one of the reasons why "The Lawnmower Man" now is incredibly dated and almost joke like in its representation of virtual reality especially when it comes to a virtual reality sex scene which to be honest is now laughable.
But "The Lawnmower Man" is not just visually dated because the storyline is also understandably dated as it plays on people's lack of knowledge over the power of computers. Right from the outset it sets about trying to play on an audiences fear as it prophesises the dominance of computers at the start of the next millennium then feeds us a typical 90s vision of the power of computers. It means that watching "The Lawnmower Man" now it becomes a bit of a joke, not just in what it prophesises but in also what it shows computers doing. And that means that "The Lawnmower Man" is very much a product of the 90s which to be honest should be left there because like other movies which played on the audiences naivety surrounding technology it all seems incredibly daft.
The one thing about "The Lawnmower Man" which still not so much impresses but doesn't end up too dated are the performances and both Jeff Fahey and Pierce Brosnan are good as Jobe and Lawrence. The trouble is that "The Lawnmower Man" was very much a movie which was about the look first, the fear second and the characters were an after thought, not given enough depth to make them real. But with an array of entertaining supporting characters from an abusive priest to a sex hungry woman and the always reliable Geoffrey Lewis as Jobe's friend they are less dated than the rest of the movie.
What this all boils down to is that "The Lawnmower Man" is very much a product of the early 90s which in truth deserves to stay there and not be seen again as it is now incredibly dated and what once made it good now makes it a bit of a joke.