George orr a man whose dreams can change waking reality tries to suppress this unpredictable gift with drugs. Dr. Haber an assigned psychiatrist discovers the gift to be real and hypnotically induces mr. Orr to change real... more »ity for the benefit of mankind --- with bizarre and frightening results. Studio: A&e Home Video Release Date: 12/31/2002 Starring: James Caan Lisa Bonet Run time: 90 minutes Rating: Nr Director: Philip Haas« less
"This is the amongst the worst adaptations I've ever witnessed. Watching it was a complete waste of time. Any resemblance to either Ursula K. LeGuin's novel or the superb first movie from PBS is coincidental.
The writer ignores the philosophical and religious undertones of the novel -- captured beautifully in the earlier PBS production -- and prefers a monolithic, one-dimensional telling of a completely different story with entirely different characters, motives and consequences.
The acting, if you can call it that, is likewise monolithic and uninspired. Particularly disappointing were Cann and Haas, the main protagonists. Lisa Bonet attempts to rescue some scenes, but the wooden acting by Haas spoils her efforts. The one inspired element of the production, the scenes with David Strathairn's Mannie, is left useless by a lack of reason or context for the character's apparent knowledge. It doesn't help that in the original book and movie this role was filled by one of the space aliens, dreamed up by main character. In the A&E production Mannie is left hanging on a vine unattached to any other of the story's branches. The whole effect is one of confusion instead of focussing on the thought provoking ideas presented in both the original novel and PBS's far superior production.
My advice is to ignore this turkey. Buy the book and read it, or if you must view a video production, go with the inspired 1980 PBS production. This A&E production is shallow, uninspired and totally without merit when compared with the other sources.
Reading the other reviews I get the feeling that those praising this turkey haven't read the book or seen the 1980 PBS version."
John Briginshaw | Huntington Beach, CA USA | 09/25/2002
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Comprehensively defanged version of the Ursula LeGuin Scifi classic (her 2nd best novel after the (as yet unfilmed) Left Hand of Darkness), this DVD omits so many plot elements it is barely possible to follow it without having read the book, and if you've read the book, you won't want to.Extra star because it *looks* good, especially the hot young leads, and James Caan and David Strathairn are always watchable. But the up to date special effects treatment of the aliens that many fans were waiting for is absent - in fact, there are no aliens! Plenty else missing, in particular a sense of pacing and excitement somehow got left on the cutting floor.Correctly described by pipingbear as the "Latte of Heaven", sweet as far as it goes, but insubstantial, unsatisfying - and produced by a vast evil conglomerate!"
Le Guin meets the Twilight Zone
Paul S. White | San Antonio, TX | 02/05/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The Arts and Entertainment channel decided to revisit Ursula K. Le Guin's science fiction classic, and their version premiered on television in 2002. The tendency is to want to compare this movie to the 1980 version or to the book, which ultimately casts it in an unfavorable light. Judged on its own merits, however, it is actually not too bad.This movie still contains the basic premise of George Orr attempting to find a cure for his dreams that effective reality. The first half of the A&E version actually follows the book fairly closely. However, this movie almost completely dispenses with Dr. Haber's attempts to use George's power to bring the greatest good to the greatest number. In fact, Dr. Haber manipulates Georges power mostly for his own gain. Several aspects of the book and the original movie are completely left out, such as the alien invasion and their subsequent interaction with the characters. Instead, this movie focuses more on the relationship with George Orr and Heather Lelache. George continues to dream new realities in which he meets Heather again and again in a seemingly never-ending unfulfilled romance.In this respect A&E's version of The Lathe of Heaven is like an extended episode of The Twilight Zone or The Outer Limits. And in this respect, it is a decent, though not spectacular, movie. It disappoints, however, when compared to the original movie and the book. Though James Caan does a good Dr. Haber, Lukas Haas adds nothing to the character of George Orr, and Lisa Bonet, as Heather Lelache, seems to fade into the background in most scenes. In addition, much of the original story's observation on the use and misuse of power is lost in what is essentially a quaint love story."
Why bother to use the name when the story ain't the same?
Former Rater | Nowhere | 10/31/2002
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Ms. LeGuin had the unique opportunity to have her novel become the first independent production by PBS. They worked on a shoe-string budget and shot the film in a few days - with unknowns as actors and something that this version of the film lacks: adherence to the book. I'd give this a NEGATIVE five stars if it were possible because the director Philip Haas has wasted the talents of Lukas Haas, Lisa Bonet and David Strathairn as well as a budget that is clearly far, far in excess of the original film. (The cost of shooting the opulent wood paneled offices with inlay work from heaven -- obviously from some Swiss Bank -- must have exceeded the entire budget of the 1980 movie! )This is more than a waste of time and money it is insipid! If only the producer and director had expended the money and effort on another of Ms. LeGuin's works -- and stayed on story -- this could have been a rave review. Whatever made these fools attempt a remake of an excellent movie adaptation of an excellent novel is beyond me - and beyond any reason to venture near this DVD. Watch the original and then send the director of this abomination out to do the same so he can find out how the job is done right!"
Words cannot express the stupidity!
Bob Quasit | Woonsocket, RI USA | 09/13/2002
(1 out of 5 stars)
"In 1980 PBS broadcast an adaptation of Ursula Le Guin's novel "The Lathe of Heaven", made with the close cooperation of Le Guin herself. The movie was an instant cult classic, and its subsequent 20-year disappearance from the airwaves only heightened its legend. In 2002 A&E broadcast a new version called "Lathe of Heaven". The director boasted that he hadn't read the book nor watched the movie. And Ms. Le Guin was not consulted at any time in the process of making the movie.The result? A brainless, gutless, pointless waste of time. So much of the plot from the book and PBS movie were discarded that no real plot remains. The aliens? Gone. The twisting effect of manipulated dreaming? Gone. The conflict between passive and active world-views, between Tao and technology? Gone. The tragedy of good intentions gone hopelessly awry? Gone. Well-written dialog, good acting, a coherent storyline? Gone, gone, and - yes, you guessed it - gone.The novel and original PBS film were brilliant reflections on the nature of reality and existence, with plot twists that packed an emotional as well as an intellectual wallop and with involving, three-dimensional characters that you could care about. The A&E version replaces all that with a bit of hot tongue action between Lisa Bonet and Lucas Haas. And it's not even GOOD hot tongue action.Look, if you're looking for hot tongue action, go buy or rent some honest-to-goodness p0rn. It'll have more integrity than this A&E abomination. And if you're looking for one of the greatest science fiction movies of all time, AND one of the best adaptations of a novel to film that was ever made, watch the PBS version of "The Lathe of Heaven". It's available on DVD once again, thank goodness. And will be watched with delight long after this filmed atrocity has been wiped from human memory."