The Lawnmower Man appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie generally looked fine but could show its age.
Sharpness appeared positive most of the time. Interiors showed some softness, but not to a substantial degree. Instead, the majority of the flick provided pretty good clarity and accuracy.
I saw no issues with jaggies or shimmering, and edge haloes remained absent. In terms of print flaws, I saw a couple of small specks, but these remained very infrequent and virtually negligible.
Circa 1992 film stocks didn’t boast the greatest colors, and the hues seen here could be a little heavy at times – especially in terms of blue lighting. Still, they usually appeared fairly well-rendered. Blacks seemed dark and tight, and shadows presented good delineation. Overall, this was a satisfactory transfer for a 25-year-old movie.
As for the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it worked fine give its age. Though much of the soundscape remained restrained and focused on music and environmental domains, the mix came to life during the virtual reality sequences.
Those action-oriented segments became the most immersive of the movie, but I can’t claim they became great. While they brought out a bit of pizzazz, they didn’t do a ton to impress. Still, the soundfield appeared more than acceptable in general.
Audio quality was also positive. Music showed fairly good range and pep, and effects boasted reasonable accuracy and clarity. Speech became natural and concise. Though I couldn’t call this a great mix, it suited the film well enough.
The package includes a good array of extras, and we find two editions of the film. In addition to the theatrical version (1:48:03) on Disc One, we get a Director’s Cut (2:20:53) on Disc Two. My movie comments in the body of the review address the theatrical edition – how does the Director’s Cut differ?
The longer version expands on characters, and the longest sequence introduces Jobe earlier than in the theatrical cut. He meets one of Dr. Lorenzo’s simian test subjects and see aspects of the chimp’s abilities. Other aspects simply flesh out matters a little bit.
Does any of this material make the Lawnmower Man Director’s Cut superior to the theatrical version? Yes, as the longer take manages to create a better developed experience.
Unfortunately, the added footage can’t turn Man into a good movie. While the longer edition manages to feel more complete, it’s still silly, unconvincing and dull.;
Alongside both versions of the film, we get an audio commentary from writer/director Brett Leonard and writer/producer Gimel Everett. Note that the same track appears for both cuts but the shorter version of the film simply edits the commentary.
Both Leonard and Evertt sit together for this running, screen-specific discussion. Originally recorded for a 1990s laserdisc, they look at the roots of the project and its development, cast and performances, visual effects, sets and locations, budgetary issues, changes for the Director’s Cut, production design, and related topics.
Overall, this turns into an informative chat. Although Leonard and Everett can turn too self-congratulatory about the movie’s “pioneering” effects, they still touch on a lot of noteworthy subjects and create a solid chat that’s held up well since the 1990s.
Note that neither here nor anywhere else on the Blu-ray will you hear “Stephen King” uttered. Clearly this results from legal issues – Leonard and Everett refer to the short story’s “famous writer” but never say his name. The documentary doesn’t even allude to King in that oblique manner.
While Leonard/Everett do discuss the short story, they never mention the controversies and law suits, and the documentary avoids the subject as well. Again, I assume this stems from legal settlements, as everyone seems so careful to avoid the topic that it must be due to those ramifications.
Disc One brings us Cyber God – Creating The Lawnmower Man. In this 50-minute, 40-second show, we hear from Leonard, Beyond Fear author Joseph Maddrey, editor Alan Baumgarten, makeup effects Michael Deak, special effects coordinator Frank Ceglia, and actor Jeff Fahey. “God” examines the source and its adaptation, story/character areas, cast and performances, cinematography and production design, sets and locations, editing, various effects, music/audio, the Director’s Cut and the film’s release.
Despite the semi-limited roster of participants, “God” offers a fairly good look at the time. While we get too many stories repeated from the commentary, a fair amount of new material arrives, and all that makes “God” a worthwhile documentary.
12 Deleted Scenes fill a total of 27 minutes 30 seconds. These offer the same clips found in the Director’s Cut – I don’t think any unique footage appears in this compilation. I’m glad we can check out this material on its own, but it’s redundant if you’ve already watched the Director’s Cut.
With the Original Electronic Press Kit, we find a four-minute, 43-second reel and involves Fahey, Leonard, and actor Pierce Brosnan. They mull over the future of virtual reality as well as the movie’s effects. Other than a few shots from the set, this becomes a forgettable promotional effort.
Next we get Edited Animated Sequences. This section lasts four minutes, 15 seconds and shows a reel of CG elements displayed separate from their movie context. This doesn’t add up to much.
We also locate a theatrical trailer and a TV spot. I have the feeling these clips got Stephen King’s name clumsily excised from them, as some odd gaps in narration occur. For instance, the TV spot starts with “comes another shock to the system”, a line that makes more sense if prefaced with “from Stephen King”.
Disc One finishes with an Easter Egg. Click to the right of “Setup” on the main menu and an icon activates. This lets you view a 33-second promo for a Lawnmower Man videogame.
With that, we head to Disc Two, which focuses on stillframe materials. We find Conceptual Art and Design Sketches (32 screens) and Behind the Scenes/Production Stills
(84). Both offer some decent images.
The set ends with a Storyboard Comparison. It runs one-minute, 54-seconds and shows one VR sequence. The presentation makes it less than engaging, as it uses a 1.33:1 ratio that makes both the movie scene and the boards awfully small and fuzzy.
Stephen King sued to get his name taken off of The Lawnmower Man, and I can’t blame him. I wouldn’t want to be attached to such an idiotic, incompetent movie, either. The Blu-ray provides mostly positive picture and audio as well as a nice set of supplements. I like this package but the movie itself remains terrible.