Brainstorm is a movie that has so many fantastic things happening in it that one can totally forgive that the final, oh, thirty minutes are complete garbage.
The premise, if you don’t know, is about a machine that can transmit (later record) experiences. EG, I eat fudge – you taste fudge. Later the device is able to record emotions and, ultimately, death.
This is the movie that made me fall in love with Christopher Walken. No one can space out in 70mm quite like him.
Special effects genius Trumbull did all kinds of radical things with the look of this movie – special lenses, special aspect ratios for different scenes. The newly released DVD (Jan of 2009) is the first time the correct aspect ratios have ever been shown outside of its initial theatrical run – and even that was a bit of a boondoggle. And, yes, it makes a difference.
The problem with Brainstorm is the same problem with Altered States – it is hard to film what discovering the secrets of the Universe looks like. There can only be one 2001: A Space Odyssey. Points for trying, though – and awesome use of 1980s EPCOT Center-esque architecture.
This movie knocks my socks off. I’m so glad this DVD came out. I want to watch it again and again – indeed, I want to splice a loop of the really good parts and play it all night in my basement until my synapses freeze over …