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Jack Brown Genius (1996)

PG-13  |   |  Sci-Fi  |  1994 (New Zealand)
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Ratings: 5.3/10 from 181 users  
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A thousand years ago, in England, the crazy monk Elmer wears a pair of wings and tries to fly from a high tower. He dies, and his soul is doomed to the eternity in hell for committing ... See full summary »


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Title: Jack Brown Genius (1996)

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Cast overview:
Timothy Balme ...
Jack Brown
Nicola Murphy ...
Stuart Devenie ...
Eddie Campbell ...
Boss (as Edward Campbell)
Lisa Chappell ...


A thousand years ago, in England, the crazy monk Elmer wears a pair of wings and tries to fly from a high tower. He dies, and his soul is doomed to the eternity in hell for committing suicide. In the present days, in New Zeland, Elmer has the last chance to prove that men can fly and save his soul: his spirit enters in the brain of a very intelligent inventor, Jack Brown, and forces him to try to fly. Jack uses his last creation, an amplifier in a tape record, to succeed in the journey, but his invention is strongly desired by his former boss and his lover, who want to sell it to a Chinese investor. Jack's girlfriend helps him to accomplish his intent. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for language, sexual content, partial nudity and some violence | See all certifications »




Release Date:

1994 (New Zealand)  »

Also Known As:

Der Überflieger  »

Filming Locations:

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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User Reviews

14 July 2002 | by (Wellington, New Zealand) – See all my reviews

This movie reunites Peter Jackson (not as director, but as co scriptwriter, and also credited as 2nd unit director) with Lionel from `Braindead' (Timothy Balme in the title role here), and has Jackson's special effects company Weta providing the effects here. Can't be bad, huh?

Well, not so fast..

One critic actually suggested that this might be the worst New Zealand movie ever made. In doing so, he exposed his lack of familiarity with many early '80s NZ movies, in the era when if a NZ movie was too good, it risked making a profit, thus destroying the tax losses its investors hoped to gain. But this is not a movie for film critics. In fact, critical faculties of any kind are best checked at the door when approaching it.

The story involves the spirit of a 10th century monk named Elmer who died in a failed attempt to fly, and who now stands to be damned eternally for suicide unless he can prove within 1000 years that unpowered manned flight is possible (his is a God who believes in results rather than intentions). He inhabits the `brain-pan' of the title character, who has invented a `power amplifier' that amplifies any force input to it. They realise that this might allow a man to fly.

But can Jack accomplish this and save Elmer's soul before his invention is taken from him by his employer who sees only the financial gain of a quick sale of the device, or by the campy villainess, who also quite likes finance?

It is certainly possible to enjoy this movie. But you do have to be in the right mood, and to work with it, rather than sitting back and waiting for it to entertain you.

I'm not sure of the nature of Peter Jackson's involvement with this movie. I don't know whether Jackson and partner Frances Walsh essentially wrote it intending Jackson to direct it, but passed it on to friend Tony Hiles to direct when Jackson became too involved in other projects. Or whether Jackson just lent his friend a helping hand on a film that was always largely Hiles's own. The film does have something of the humour and amateur enthusiasm of the early Peter Jackson movies (but -one scene excepted - without the gore). It would have been interesting to see what Jackson might have made of it if he had directed.

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