BRAINSTORM (BLU RAY)
Reviewed by: Andre Manseau
What's it about
Zany scientists Michael and Lillian just figured out how to essentially body-jump (or at least live vicariously through footage) with some kind of crazy contraption you strap to your head. Of course, they want to use it for good, but the military wants to turn their gadget into a weapon. Can Michael and Lillian overcome the oppressive Army? More importantly, can Michael learn to work with his ex-wife, played by Natalie Wood?
Is it good movie?
I don't really know much about Natalie Wood, but apparantly she passed
away during the filming of this flick, which made it her last. The
studio wanted to scrap it, but director Doug Trumbull used effects
shots and and body doubles to try to finish it.
The movie does present some complex and interesting ideas. It's super
interesting when something happens to one of the main characters that
results in their death (and of course, they record it), and another
character becomes obsessed with watching (and experiencing) the death
tape. Other neat ideas for the technology of course include improving
communication and the natural sex implications.
Unfortunately though, the flick is just all over the place and proves
to be pretty uneven as it lacks confidence. The movie seems to be a
wacky sci-fi plot to begin with, then sort of shifts to the
anti-establishment deal, then shifts once again to the crazy obsession
of watching and experiencing a characters death. It just doesn't hold
onto any one idea for long enough.
Ultimately though, the movie is just too scattered to be of any
substance. This flick was designed around the director's strengths in
SFX (but this was his swan song as he was blackballed shortly after),
which does make for some super cool imagery, but there just isn't
enough meat to enjoy. The whole thing starts off light and airy as they
begin to explore the technology but once things start getting dark the
movie gets lost.
The characters are laughably pretty wooden and one dimensional, even
the great character actor Cliff Robertson can't get anything going with
his lame corporate character. As always, the most fun comes from
watching a younger Chris Walken run the emotional gamut as scientist
Michael Brace. The guy has a lot of heavy lifting to do and is quite
capable. As for Natalie Wood, I don't really know much about her but
her performance is pretty blah in this one.
If you're really into cool imagery and the beginning of what could have
been a pretty great idea, Brainstorm might be for you. Sadly enough
though, it's not a lot of fun to watch and winds up being pretty messy.
Video / Audio
Most of Brainstorm's video comes in 1.66:1
widescreen (aside from some Brainstorm sequences), and looks muddy and
off somehow, like the ratio just isn't right.
Audio sounds great though, with
an impressive, clear and well-balanced 5.1 DTS-HD track rounding things
One thing: a theatrical trailer!
This Blu-Ray has been cleaned up pretty well and as a result looks
pretty great during some of the neat special effects scenes. Still
though, I can't think of any great reason why you should run out and
pick this up unless you're a Walken completist or a sci-fi die hard.