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I really love these old fashioned, deliberately slower, type of sci-fi movies, that puts its emphasis on the science and takes a realistic approach with its story, no matter how ridicules it all often can get. These type of movies mostly got done successfully in the '70's and this movie actually also has '70's style written all over it. Yet it is as if this movie is holding back, which really prevents this movie from being a classic within its genre, even though all of the right ingredients and potential seemed to be there.

So you could call "Brainstorm" a bit of a disappointment but by doing so you are not doing the movie enough justice and you are not giving it the credit it still deserves. I really still liked it, despite all of its flaws, though some of those flaws can also be brought back to the difficulties of production at the time.

Biggest 'inconvinience' for this movie of course was the sudden and tragic death of key actress Natalie Wood. It almost caused this movie to be stopped down completely but with some changes and rewrites the movie still got finished and released, just not in the way it originally got intended. It must be the reason why the movie ends so abruptly and the story leaves far more questions than answers.

The movie does really have a great concept of the invention of a device that can recored people's experiences and feelings and that can be played back by a different person that will feel the exact same feelings, smells and tastes. A sort of virtual reality, with the exception of that there is actually nothing virtual about the reality. The possibilities with this device are endless and sort of a shame that now almost 30 years later we don't have anything remotely close yet. I said that the possibilities are endless, yet the movie is doing far too little with it. It deliberately restrains itself it seems.

The movie just never reaches full potential, though it is obvious that somewhere deep down everything there is still a great movie to be found. But it remains a fact that the movie never reaches its full potential with its story. The story fails to intrigue and also fails with other things, such as its tension. Quite frankly I had no idea what was all happening toward the end and what the big 'conflict' that needed to be resolved was and how it got done exactly. There is a 'villainoush' plot in the movie that just never seemed that evil- or got explained good enough.

The movie got directed by special effect expert Douglas Trumbull. So visually this movie really doesn't disappoint and to be frank I think that it are still mostly the visuals and its effects that safe this movie and still make it a more than good watch.

But you also have to give credit to Christopher Walken of course, who basically never fails to put down a great performance and character. I really liked most of the acting in this movie and it seemed to be a very well cast one, with some truly great characters in it, that all interact really great and convincingly together.

The movie also features an early James Horner musical score. Funny thing about Horner musical scores is that basically it doesn't matter if it's anything from the '80's, 90's, 2000's or this decade, the all have the same sound and feature the same motifs. It's not big secret Horner often recycles his most early scores and the score of this movie also got heavily recycled by himself in many later movies. Still I'm sure his fans can appreciate his score for this movie and I'm also really not hateful toward it.

Really not as great as this movie potentially could and perhaps also should had been but nevertheless it remains still a good 'realistic' science-fiction movie to watch.

7/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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