One of the biggest questions tech-heavy movies fail to answer is “why?” Why is virtual reality needlessly shoehorned into computer programs? Of course, there’s no good answer beyond “It looks cool, and it’s the early 90’s, so everyone wants to see it,” but that was apparently reason enough for the producers.
The Lawnmower Man follows a scientist/doctor-dude, played by Pierce Brosnan, who uses virtual reality to make a developmentally disabled man smart. However, the blessing comes with a curse, and pure evil is UPLOADED DIRECTLY TO THE MAN’S BRAIN!
The VR sequences are so clunky it’s laughable, as is the thought that virtual reality would change the world. It might yet one day, but for right now, as The Lawnmower Man demonstrates, it’s merely a tech innovation that moviemakers and tech-geeks seemed way too eager to jump on.
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It’s impossible to discuss unnecessary virtual reality segments and not include Disclosure, a film in which Michael Douglas is wrongfully accused of sexual harassment by his new boss and former girlfriend, played by Demi Moore. His journey to produce the truth leads to him being “locked out” of the system, forcing him to hack his way into a very convoluted and wildly unnecessary virtual reality filing system that works just like Finder or My Computer, but requires a helmet and a lot of walking. Again, the film refuses to examine the “why?” of the existence of such a silly system, but it looked cool in the 90’s, so people ran with it. Now it just looks ridiculous.
I could have just said that the name of the firm in the film is called “DigiCom,” and that would have gotten my point across just fine. The coolness of DigiCom’s Seattle office (before the tech boom made awesome rehabbed offices cool), shows that the production team was a lot more prescient when it comes to interior architecture than to technology. Unfortunately, Disclosure isn’t a movie about interior architecture, it’s a movie about technology.