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An absent minded professor discovers a new type of rubber that can be
harnessed as an energy source. However his discovery causes him to miss his
wedding and lose his girlfriend. While trying to demonstrate his discovery
to Sara Jean to win her back, he gets the attention of mobster Hoenicker who
wants the discovery for himself.
The story here is unimportant - it's all a bit daft and if you look too closely at it, it all falls apart. For example - the professor has created a flying robot that has full intelligence and character but yet he hasn't made any money for himself or his college!, is the flubber alive or not? etc. But really it's all about the set pieces and the jokes. As such it falls down a little - it's good for kids but there's nothing in the crude slapstick for adults. Jokes include the usual "people getting hit in the head" style humour.
Williams character is not funny at all - a bit of a weakness in a comedy lead. In fact his forgetfulness is just stupid at times and doesn't have any charm to cover it. The funniest bits actually revolve around McDonald's Wilson - he doesn't get good lines but he has lots of incidental laughs. Ted Levine and Clancy Brown have both done better than this and are limited to comedy thugs - although both were probably glad to be in a big movie. Other well known faces include Raymond J. Barry and Wil Wheaton, although these are also underused. It's not really a movie about performances but I think it's still important.
The best characters are Weebo and the flubber. Weebo is quite funny and actually has a deep character - she's the secretary in love with her boss type - she also creates a strangely moving scene. The flubber is good - best in one big musical number halfway through and I wonder if they could have had more imaginative scenes with it as a character rather than just a bouncy ball.
Overall it's a kids film - don't expect anything more than that.
This was a fun remake of "The Absent-Minded Professor," with
special-effects the main show here. We see and hear the following
impossible things: inanimate objects become human (with feelings, no
less!) and a flying computer called "Weebo." Obviously, this is just a
far-off story designs only for laughs (I know one person who actually
took some of this stuff seriously.)
Despite a bowling bowl repeatedly hitting someone in the head, it's a fairly harmless movie with no language problems, which is a rarity in a Robin Williams film. Robin is the "absent- minded professor," in this "Dr. Philip Brainiard." You can call him, "Dr. Phil." There are one or two sneaky-vulgar lines but nothing much.
With the flubber-substance making balls bounce forever, into every object, you get a lot of slapstick scenes that are either stupid or laugh-out-loud funny. The story, geared a lot more for kids than adults, has a nice lighthearted feel to it. For adults, one viewing is plenty, but kids will enjoy it multiple times.
This movie had a lot of potential. While technically impressive and very enjoyable with some genuinely funny moments, for some reason it falls short. Of course there are redeeming qualities, such as the fun music score by Danny Elfman, one of my all time favourite film composers and an amusing turn from Robin Williams. Also the special effects are greatly improved from the effects in the Absent Minded Professor, and Flubber who is so cute steals the show. The performances from Clancy Brown, Ted Levine and Marcia Gay Horden are entertaining, and Jodi Benson (who voiced Ariel in the Little Mermaid)is a delight as the voice of Weebo, whose death is absolutely heart-rending. However the story is very predictable, and offers few surprises, and the physical comedy was better than the patchy script which in places felt uninspired. That saying some of the physical comedy has strong hints of deja vu, and is rather hit and miss. Of course kids will lap it up, but adults probably won't like it as much. The second half of the movie is more meandering in quality compared to the first half, very little of interest happens and some of the situations come across as ridiculous. All in all, somewhat forgettable, but for a kids movie it is pretty entertaining. 6/10 Bethany Cox
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
If you're looking for a great family film then this is it! The
characters are great. The professor was very funny and sweet so
whenever he feels sad you feel his pain. Webo the flying robot is also
funny and the close relationship between her and the professor really
brings a family feel to the movie. But when they experienced a great
loss later on in the film, their relationship began to make me feel a
little comfortable. When I was younger I remember feeling so sad but
eight years later as teenager that part of the film was simply weird. I
found the professor's wife was rude and annoying until the end and her
partner (when her and the professor break up) is just as funny as the
professor. Seeing the way they try and disguise their hate for one
another was a good laugh.
Overall the movie is truly unique. Flubber is a great character who young children will fall in love with immediately. You'll really enjoy Flubber's great dance number! Forget the bad reviews and give this film a chance. It's been eight years since I saw the film for the first time and I still smile whenever I think about it.
Judge for yourself. Watch it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Flubber came out during the mid/late nineties. This is the time where I
believe Disney began losing its magic in the movie industry. Disney
movies before always had the magical feeling and good stories. Flubber
does not not have either. The main good thing it has is the acting. The
acting is fairly good. This is not Robin Williams' best work, but he
does a good enough job.
The story revolves around a naive and eccentric inventor and college professor portrayed by Robin Williams. he creates a "living" specimen of goo that can shape-shift at will and is incredibly bouncy, but his dedication to it's creation causes him to forget his wedding. He ends up using the 'Flubber' to get his fiancé back and save his college from threats of closing down. I have no idea how the movie tries to make it work. I didn't really understand as a kid and I don't get it as an adult.
The plot is weird, the directing isn't very good, and many of the characters are wooden. Overall, this Disney flick can be skipped. You won't be missing much
Philip (Robin Williams) is a chemistry professor at a college with financial woes. On a side note, the school's president, talented Sara Jean (Marcia Gay Harden) is Philip's girlfriend and she is deeply disappointed that he has left her standing at the altar THREE times. Yet, Philip truly loves Sara. His problem is, of course, that once he is into an experiment, he loses touch with everything else in his life. The day Philip misses his third trip up the aisle of love, he discovers something big...that is, flying rubber or flubber. Knowing this could be the invention that turns the college's ledger into the black, he is eager to tell Sara of the news. Unfortunately, she won't talk to him and is receiving the attentions of a rival chemistry prof at a nearby university. It is this rival's intention, along with a host of others connected to the school, to steal the rubbery substance for their own purposes. Will they succeed? This is a mildly entertaining film, mostly due to Williams star power and the spectacular visual effects the movie offers. Flubber, indeed, takes on a green personality not unlike the Pillsbury doughboy and bounces all over the place, causing much fun and havoc. There is also a tiny robot-computer, living with Philip, that is very appealing. Add on the eye-treat of flying cars and basketball superduper jumpshots and you have a technically impressive film. Yet, somewhere along the way, a bit of the original film's soul and joyous freshness is lost. No, its not the fault of the talented Williams, Harden, Christopher McDonald or the other cast members. They are quite fine. There are also some laugh out loud scenes, such as the one where Professor Philip starts giving a lecture, not noticing that he is in a figure drawing class, or the ones where a neighboring boy, quite rightly fears, to his father's consternation, what is outside his window when flubber is out and about. In summary, the film's problem is probably a case of trying too hard in the special effects category and not enough in the remaining aspects of film making. Even so, it is not a stretch to say that most families will like Flubber, as everyone will be amazed by the stunning look of the movie.
When I saw the reviews for this film, I was expecting something very
poorly made and bad quality. True, for an adult without a kid it isn't
ideal, but why buy a film if it has a cover like this when you're not a
child any more? Everywhere online it says this is a great kids flick,
for families and more. If you're like me and read reviews before buying
or renting a film, then you'd know not to get it.
Getting to what the movie is like, these aren't the best graphics, but what do you expect in an 1997 film? The Flubber, Weebo etc. are already neatly done, which I find quite impressive for a film made at that time.
The humor in this may not be the jokes, but not all kids understand certain types of joke, so in the film they just went for the classic 'Bad Guys Whacked In The Face' type. There is no gore or extreme violence in this, everything has a light-hearted touch to it and the flubber truly seems fun to play with.
Robin does do a good job as the professor, making many wacky inventions and always forgetting. Weebo played by Jodi, continues to be the kind, thoughtful person - or in this case computer - that she is when she plays Ariel in the little mermaid.
Overrall it's a pretty good film, not ideal for adults but then why get a kids film?
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Tastes and times have changed drastically since 1961 when Fred
MacMurray originally introduced the super-elastic stuff called
'flubber' to film audiences in Walt Disney's "The Absent Minded
Professor." In the high-tech, 1990's Disney remake "Flubber" reinvents
itself as an animated, gooey-green, silly putty blob of flying rubber
that talks and dances. Actually, flubber resembles a combination of the
Pillsbury Doughboy crossed with the shape-shifting water creature in
James Cameron's 1989 fantasy thriller "The Abyss." Inventive,
excessive, but tolerably entertaining, director Les Mayfield's remake
of "The Absent Minded Professor" will captivate both young and
absent-minded audiences. Happily, "Flubber" succeeds as a resilient
special effects laden tour-de-farce. Sadly, the remake lacks the wit,
warmth, subtlety, and comedic irony that distinguished its black &
white predecessor. The spectacular morphing effects of George Lucas'
Industrial Light & Magic Company and the visual wizardry of Peter
Crosman, Tom Bertino, and Douglas Hans Smith cannot offset the film's
hopelessly befuddled plot.
The story by John Hughes and the late Bill Walsh follows the zany efforts of a scatterbrained university chemistry professor. Dr. Philip Brainard (Robin Williams of "Popeye") accidentally cooks up a gravity defying concoction called 'flubber.' Generating its own perpetual motion, 'flubber' has uses limited only by the imagination. Unlike the limp lump of 'flubber' in "The Absent-Minded Professor," the 'flubber' "Flubber" radiates a mischievous personality, but the filmmakers never solidify its amorphous character. Not only will Brainard 'flubber' rescue Medfield College from bankruptcy and closure, but 'flubber' will also redeem him in the eyes of the long-suffering sweetheart that he wants to wed: Medfield College President Sara Jean Reynolds (Marcia Gay Harden.) Brainard heads up Sara Jean's you-know-what list. Three times in a row he has left her stranded at the altar! If things aren't bad enough, Brainard's old academic nemesis Wilson Croft (Christopher MacDonald of "Thelma & Louise") lurks in the background. Oil and conniving, Croft plans to pilfer Brainard's fiancée as well as take credit for his 'flubber' formula and the millions of dollars that it is sure to reap. The professor's next bigger enemy is perhaps his worst: corrupt businessman Chester Hoenicker (Raymond J. Barry of "Mad City"). Hoenicker's bratty son Bennett (Will Wheaton of TV's "Star Trek: The Next Generation") flunked Brainard's class. Consequently, Bennett got suspended from the basketball team. Initially, all that Hoenicker sought was a simple change of grade so Bennett, the top hoopster on the Medfield basketball team, could resume playing. When Hoenicker senior learns more about 'flubber,' he joins forces with the equally avaricious Croft to rip-off Braniard's discovery.
Women have come a long way since the 1961 original. Disney has promoted the fiancée from being the college president's secretary to the college president! Although Sara Jean presides over Medfield, she cannot keep it out of the red without the help of a good man. "Flubber" implies that women indeed have come a long way, but not far enough to get by on their own wits. Moreover, Sara Jean's romance with Brainard appears to occupy her every waking minute instead of the financial crisis that threatens her small, private college. Her priorities appear demeaningly misplaced. WEEBO, Brainard's flying female computer, serves as a sort of bad girl here who gets her just comeuppance for tampering with Brainard's social life. At one point, WEEBO creates a cyber-Siren image for herself to detract Brainard from Sara Jean.
"Flubber" sounds like a can't-miss-hit from this description. If anything, "Flubber" proves that absent-minded audiences appreciate movies with an absence of drama. The original movie contained a richer plot with a variety of nuances that heightened its hilarity. "Flubber" smears on obvious slapstick to churn up laughs. John Hughes' script relies on his tried and true "Home Alone" routines. Hughes deserves the blame for this half-baked farce. For example, Hoenicker's henchman, Smith (Clancy Brown of "Starship Troopers") and Wesson (Ted Levine of "Silence of the Lambs") are clearly stand-ins for the Joe Pesci & Daniel Stern duo from the "Home Alone" comedies. Brainard's flubber clobbers them literally in the form of a golf ball and a bowling ball. Smith gets nailed by a non-stop golf ball, while a hard flying bowling ball wallops Wesson. When either object strikes them, these goons hit the deck like pole-axed ten pins.
Director Les Mayfield of "Encino Man" and "Miracle on 34th Street") and scenarist John Hughes cannot make up their own minds about flubber. Flubber has endless possibilities, and its embryonic personality can be playful but occasionally snappish, too. WEEBO accuses Brainard of giving flubber "too much free will." Flubber never seems to live up to its potential unless it is exploding, flying through rooms, and cronking noggins. Most of the humor comes from how flubber reacts to different situations more than how Brainard applies it. Because they never define the nature of flubber, its wide open character lacks dramatic clarity. For example, the filmmakers don't set any limits to what flubber can do. Perhaps Mayfield and company chose green as flubber's lime-green color because the special effects were so expensive.
Credit goes to director Les Mayfield for the get-up-and-goo pace of dizzy Disney film. He does a find job of seamlessly integrating the over-the-top special effects with live action, too. "Flubber" is aimless but predictable fun. The villains seem less villainous this time around, and Christopher MacDonald's bad guy appears simply to give flubber something through which to fly. The bowel humor here and there adds little to the humor and seems out of place in a juvenile movie. Parents may find themselves in a curious moral dilemma trying to explain to their kids why Brainard's cheating tactics should be condoned. He applies flubber to the basketball team's sneakers to help them beat their tall, merciless opponents on the court. Danny Elfman's lively music emphasizes the fast, bouncy pace of "Flubber" and helps the film scoot right along to its inevitable happy ending.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
You can be disappointed even when you are not expecting much. There was
no fault in wishing to share "The AbsentMinded Professor" with a later
generation, but it had to be remade. With Robin Williams replacing Fred
MacMurray, the professor could be more boisterous and physical. With
1997 replacing 1961, the special effects could be much more
sophisticated. So it's win-win, right? No, but a few things did go
right. Two things, actually. Robin Williams had one good scene. In the
opening, Dr. Brainard is introduced as a man who is so out of touch
with his surroundings that he could step into the wrong lecture hall
and deliver an elementary physics lecture to an art class. Other than
that, the role and the actor were forgettable. Also, the Danny Elfman
soundtrack was very lively, particularly the Flubber Rumba.
This time around, the flubber has anthropomorphic properties. That change was simply an excuse to have the computer-animated dance scene, which was fun in a Scrubbing Bubbles kind of way. Other than that (and color), the special effects fell considerably short of the 1961 version. When people fly, they look like they are hanging on wires. When they fall, they look like they are hanging on wires. When they bounce -- well, you get the pattern.
These days, movie makers are free to do quite a few things that were not allowed in 1961. Unfortunately, many of them feel a need to remind us by including a gratuitously vulgar scene in everything they release. This time we get a man blowing flubber out his rectum. It was as if to say, "Take that! We've already got your money!"
This movie really feels like a wasted opportunity. With so many talent
involved, how could this movie turn out to be so disappointing? It
probably is due to the messy script that uses too many plot lines that
never get fully developed or that work out completely the way as they
were suppose to. You can say that the movie feels incomplete. I don't
know, were they in a hurry or something to complete this movie? I have
a feeling that a month or two more work on the movie- and perhaps its
script, would had made this movie a better one.
It's still somewhat decent entertainment for the kids. The characters should be enjoyable for them and some of the comical situations are good enough to make them laugh.
Robin Williams is always fun to watch in a comedy but however in this case it feels like he's holding back to not completely play a nutty professor. It's perhaps a bit of a disappointing to most. When you know Robin Williams plays the lead role in a comedy you would expect some more fireworks and hilarious situations from him. His talent is wasted, a real missed opportunity for the movie to become a great one. Christopher McDonald plays a typical 'villainoush' Christopher McDonald role and he does it once more really great. Other well known actors in the movie are Marcia Gay Harden, Raymond J. Barry (boy, he's beginning to look really old now), Ted Levine and Clancy Brown. But none of the characters feel really developed well enough in the movie, with the exception of the robotic character Weebo. Of course it's not a very good sign when the best developed- and featured character of the movie is not even an human...
Also the use of 'Flubber' is highly below par. From a movie named "Flubber" I expected something more from the green slimy stuff. It however doesn't play a that significant role in the movie and the things that are done with the Flubber are far from original or interesting. The Flubber itself however looks fantastic through some early computer effects. Remember that this movie was released in 1997 when the special effects were of course not as advanced as present day is the case. The effects from this movie look great and really fully convincing. Too bad that it isn't featured very well in the movie.
The story is of course predictable from A to Z and the movie has absolutely no surprises in it. It makes "Flubber" a very easily forgettable movie that is far from great. The movie had far more potential really. If only that had made some better choices with its story and perhaps picked a different director...
The movie is good and professional looking, so from a technical point of view the movie does really not disappoint. Also the fun musical score by Danny Elfman makes the movie a watchable one
The kids will probably still enjoy it but still the movie feels like a big waste of some far more and greater potential, which the movie really had.
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