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The Terminal Man
The Terminal Man
Actors: George Segal, Jill Clayburgh, Joan Hackett, Richard Dysart
Director: Mike Hodges
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy
2009     1hr 47min

Mind Control. Advances of modern science have removed it from the realm of the mystical into the all-too-probable. What happens when science loses control is the subject of The Terminal Man, based on a novel by Michael Cri...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: George Segal, Jill Clayburgh, Joan Hackett, Richard Dysart
Director: Mike Hodges
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy
Sub-Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy
Studio: Warner Bros.
Format: DVD
DVD Release Date: 11/11/2009
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 1hr 47min
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 15

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Movie Reviews

Much better than given credit for
Teresa E. Tutt | Houston, TX United States | 04/26/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is an excellent movie which deserves to be on DVD, with commentary by Crichton, Hodges and/or Segal. They are all still with us as of 4/2008 (Sadly Ms. Hackett is not).

This is a superior film with brilliant set design and costuming. From the sterility of the Hospital (known only as "Babel" from the subtly placed and nearly nearly invisible emblems), to the mind-numbing anonymity of the staff uniforms, few films are as well dressed as this. Only the dissenting staff, Dr's Ross and Manon, show any hint of individuality in their work apparel. Ironically it is Benson the patient, supposedly insane, who displays the most humanity of all, with the possible exception of Dr Ross. Segal was brilliant, and severely under-utilized in the film. Perhaps the filmmakers thought that necessary, in order to emphasize the dehumanization of the hospital and its staff. But a bit more contrast could have been provided IMO. Still, the film is excellent nonetheless.

Today's society however, with its short attention span, will likely be permanently disappointed. To those who complain that this film is "slow" (and they are legion); I would say to either learn some patience, or simply avoid the film and go back to your action/adventure.

While made in the early 1970's, it is highly relevant to today's world as well. Replace the "wires in the brain" with today's over-prescribed Ritalin, SSRI's, and other similar drugs, and you will see the point.

Please, please, release this underrated gem on DVD with all the extras. There are many like myself who will buy it. Thank you!"
How to ruin a good premise
Brian Hulett | Oinklahoma | 08/31/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)

"Of all the popular authors of recent years, Michael Crichton has to be the one with the most uneven track record of film adaptation. Success with material like "The Andromeda Strain" and "Jurassic Park," and even TV's "ER," is tempered by sludge like "Congo" and this near disaster. Should only be viewed by film students who want to learn how NOT to make a film.

The premise is that a man named Harry Benson (George Segal) has suffered a brain injury that causes seizures resulting in uncontrollable violent behavior. He volunteers to undergo implantation of a "limbic pacer," which is kind of like a pacemaker but it's in the brain, controlling the seizures. Naturally the procedure (first ever in a human) doesn't work, and we see the disastrous results of said failure.

Yes, the entire plot is really as simple as that. It is a situation fraught with opportunity for psychological drama that would draw us in, involving the subject's mental anguish on a personal and interpersonal level. Instead Segal practically sleep-walks through the whole thing, apparently bored to death with his psychotic life.

Adding to the boredom is the bizarre directorial decision to use practically no musical soundtrack. Perhaps the belief was that it would heighten the otherworldliness and detachment of the characters from their situation, as much of the other direction goes to great lengths to dehumanize almost everyone in this film, taking its cue from Benson's belief that the computers of his day (1974) were competing with humans and would eventually take over the world. Any resemblance to "The Matrix" abruptly ends there, as the director chooses to use that belief as a backdrop that only makes the film dull to the point of somnolence.

I could nitpick about the technical errors regarding the OR, such as (1) having virtually no conversation among OR personnel, (2) horrendous sound editing, and (3) postoperative dictation in which the surgeon feels he has to carefully spell the inanely common term "limbic." There are even two embarrassing moments early in the film when two different characters voice their opposition to the surgery, one who states "I'm against it" at a moment when a more thorough explanation would be appropriate, and another who inappropriately rambles on and on with a veritable sermon on hell fire and brimstone. Laughably bad.

The story is interesting enough and most of the supporting actors are credible, but overall this turkey should be left as a monument to bad ideas in filmmaking of the early 1970s. Those were the days, my bud, but this stinker is a dud."
Sci-Fi For Adults
Tom S. | New York City | 10/04/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"A computer scientist (George Segal) is in a car accident, and the resulting brain injury causes him to have sudden, violent seizures. When he assaults his wife, he is imprisoned. Now, he's a volunteer in an experimental new medical procedure that might end his rampages, with electrodes planted in his cerebral cortex that are supposed to control and ease his bad impulses. The operation seems to be a success at first, but--as in FRANKENSTEIN--there's a downside to playing God. The electrodes malfunction, and he escapes from his hospital room. He's at large in a big city, and it's a matter of time before he becomes uncontrollably violent again....

Michael Crichton's first novel, THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN, was filmed in 1971 by master director Robert Wise (THE HAUNTING, THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, etc.). Crichton's second book, THE TERMINAL MAN, was filmed in 1974 by Mike Hodges, a then-unknown British director who would go on to an interesting career (FLASH GORDON, CROUPIER, etc.). Hodges was obviously influenced by Wise's unusual approach to the scientific material--both directors have soft-spoken experts working in cold, sterile, white-on-white environments. Lots of metal surfaces: machines and gadgets and mirrors. Huge chunks of technical jargon are presented as dialogue. The actors in both movies (with the exception of Segal) are non-stars, mostly from the Broadway stage, and their unfamiliarity makes them seem even more authentic in their roles. In both films, one long, detailed scientific procedure takes up the first half, followed by quiet panic and genteel racing against time after everything goes horribly wrong. But even with the running around and guns and shouting, there's a detached, laid-back, dreamlike quality to both films.

If you want fast pace and lots of action and romance in your sci-fi thrillers, you won't appreciate THE TERMINAL MAN. But if you want a fascinating modern interpretation of FRANKENSTEIN and DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE, this is an unusually sophisticated film, and food for thought. (Also check out The Andromeda Strain.) Highly recommended."
Release this movie on DVD
Daniel Sj÷berg | Sweden | 02/23/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Please Warner Brothers release this great movie on DVD. It's nice to see that it's available as a download but there are a great number of movie lovers out there that want this movie in their collection."