Brainstorm

Brainstorm (Douglas Trumbull) - 1983

Unfortunately, this was the last movie for Natalie Wood (1938-1981) who died in a strange boating accident.  The movie was released two years after her death.  The actors, including Ms. Wood, Christopher Walken, Cliff Robertson and Louise Fletcher seem at times to just be going through the motions in a movie that is really not very good.  A group of scientists led by Walken & Fletcher are involved in a very expensive, long-term project to develop a virtual reality machine for who knows what reason.  The machine allows the wearer to experience another person's thoughts and travels but there are some really bad side effects.  Ms. Fletcher is a chain smoker who, guess what? has a heart attack in the middle of the story and somehow manages to record her own death so others can experience it.  There are a lot of blinking lights and special effects and an elaborate scientific building but the story does not seem to be going anywhere until the military guys decide to take over because they see a possible weapon here.  In no time at all, the military stooges convert the science lab into a robot-controlled factory to mass produce the bizarre video game.  Walken & Wood are married and they have a nerdy son (Jason Lively) who has a few strange scenes but then is completely forgotten.  They don't like the way things are going so they hack into the computer and etc. etc. etc. We have seen this ending before and it is usually done with better effects than they had in 1983.  They even tried to inject some robot slapstick humor but nothing can save this disaster. [JAM 11/4/2010]