Faced with not graduating unless he completes his science project, a high school gear-head sneaks into a nearby Air Force base, looking for some gizmo he can pass off as his own invention. What he finds is an alien energ... more »y device that rips holes in both time and space, infesting the school with everything from dinosaurs to the Viet Cong. Writer-director Jonathan Betuel tries to mine some of the same veins as Weird Science and Real Genius (all three films were released in 1985) but with less success--mostly due to a slapdash script. The film veers from being The Breakfast Club to WarGames to Rambo, leaping over plot holes all the way. As the hero, John Stockwell is too low-key for his own good, but Danielle Von Zerneck is appealing as his emerging love interest, and Fisher Stevens and Raphael Sbarge do their best to inject some life into the material. Dennis Hopper (as a hippie-dippie science teacher) chews the scenary with gusto--and at one point shows up wearing the costume he wore in Easy Rider. --Geof Miller« less
"I really enjoyed the VHS version of this film, which has become a cult classic, so as you would expect I was eagerly awaiting the DVD version of it. Well after purchasing it and receiving it the other day I have to say I was hugely disappointed! The DVD version of the film is lousy! No attempt was made at all from what I could see to restore the original version for transfer to DVD. In fact it seems from what we viewed that they must have simply copied a not to great film copy over to DVD. The images are fuzzy at times and depth and clarity, which we have come to expect from DVD versions, is simply not there at all. The full screen version even seems to have cut some stuff out of the screen view in some scenes which leaves you guessing at what the actors are looking at.If you have VHS version of this film, keep it instead and pass on this badly done DVD version! I am very unhappy with it. The only reason that I rated it a 3, instead of a 1, is that the film is not at fault, just the DVD treatment of it.
It's sad that Anchor Bay Entertainment and Touchstone Films chose not to not make any real effort to give this film the DVD treatment it so richly deserves. Two thumbs down on this DVD version!"
"Is this like when you told us we could smoke banana peels?"
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 01/05/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"If I recall correctly, the last science project I did in school involved using a potato, nails, and a couple of pennies to make a kind of battery... okay, so I never threatened to disrupt the space/time continuum with my potato battery, but it was still pretty cool...My Science Project (1985), written and directed by Jonathan Betuel, who had a seemingly very short career in Hollywood writing 1984's The Last Starfighter and then sort of falling off the face of the Earth after his 1995 flop Theodore Rex, starring Whoopi Goldberg (she really has the Midas touch, but instead of turning things into gold, they turn into cr@p). Starring in the film is John Stockwell (Losin' It, Christine), Danielle von Zerneck (La Bamba), and Fisher Stevens (Short Circuit, Super Mario Bros.). Also appearing is Raphael Sbarge (Vision Quest, Carnosaur), Richard Masur (Risky Business), Barry Corbin (Stir Crazy), Ann Wedgeworth (Love and a .45) and Dennis Hopper (Blue Velvet).
The film begins with scenes at a U.S. air force base, circa 1957, and the decision, of the highest authority, to cover up a mysterious UFO that was found crashed nearby. The story then moves to the present (1985 being the present), where we meet Mike Harlan, a high school student and motor head (that's someone who's really good with cars), eagerly awaiting to graduate, but finds himself in the predicament of having to come up with a science project, or else his science teacher, Bob Roberts (Hopper) won't pass him. He scavenges the local junkyard (which used to be the air force base in the 50's), and comes across a strange, glowing thingy (all that was left of the UFO) and decides to try and pass it off as his project. Only problem is the strange thingy begins feeding on various power sources (Hey, let's hotwire it into an electrical outlet!), and soon begins creating trans-dimensional rifts in time and space, causing different time periods (the past, present, and future) to co-exist, along with drawing his science teacher into the subsequent vortex (I wonder how that will effect his chances of graduating). Will Mike and his friends be able to stop the alien thing-a-ma-gig from tearing the very fabric of the space/time continuum a new one?
My Science Project is one of those films from the 80's of which I had fond remembrances (much like Night of the Comet, which, as I write this, has still to make an appearance on DVD). While some of those films haven't held up as well watching them some 20 years later, for me, this one has...it's funny, engaging, and visually entertaining. Keep in mind this isn't a movie where the characters travel through time, but one where elements from different time periods appear in their reality. The casting is very well done, especially with Stockwell (who appeared earlier as Arnie's jock friend Dennis in John Carpenter's killer car film Christine) as the lead character of Mike, a seemingly single-minded fellow (he cares more for his red GTO muscle car than he does for relationships with people) finding there's more to life than carburetors and spark plugs (is it me, or does Stockwell seem to have just a really huge forehead, certainly more than the average person). Danielle von Zerneck (her most famous role probably as Ritchie Valens girlfriend Donna in 1987's La Bamba) also does well as Mike's would be girlfriend, a nerdy, bookish character who learns there's something to be said for living life outside her books. And Hopper as the hippy-ish science teacher seems a no brainer, obviously utilizing his past experiences to our benefit. The only character I didn't care much for was that of Vince Latello (Stevens), the stereotypical greasy Italian friend of Mike's. He was obviously the comic relief, and you will either love him or hate him, but I thought Stevens' performance a little too over the top for my tastes, and ultimately distracting. In case you're not familiar with Stevens, his sort of ambiguous ethnicity allows him to play many different kinds of characters, including his role as the Indian inventor in the 1986 Steve Guttenberg/Ally Sheedy film Short Circuit. The direction was strong, as Betuel manages to juggle a decent story with a few subplots well, keeping my interest throughout, and also throws in a couple of references, one to Stockwell's earlier film Christine, and one with Hopper's character showing up wearing the same outfit he wore in Easy Rider. He also develops the characters enough to get some of them (the important ones, at least) past the realm of being two-dimensional. I thought it kind of strange that he should have so little in the way of other credits to his name, as he shows here he can not only direct a film well, write a decent story. The special effects looked really good for the time it was released, and even hold up well to today's standards. I especially liked the Tyrannosaurus Rex in the school gymnasium, although it's no match for Spielberg's creation in Jurassic Park, it was still done well. They did tend to use the swirling vortex above the school a bit much for my tastes, but that's a relatively minor point.
The widescreen (2.35:1) picture, released by Touchstone, on this DVD looks pretty good, but there are a few, minor flaws, and I thought the audio a bit soft. There was an earlier release by Anchor Bay that featured both widescreen and full screen formats, but no full screen here. There are no special features available, not even a trailer, so given the lack of effort in the release, I have to go with three stars.
Excellent 80s Nostalgia
cookieman108 | 05/28/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"As some others have said, "My Science Project" is pure 80s absurdity - but that doesn't make it a bad thing. With surprisingly high production values and a premise that was every misfit's high school dream (as in saving the day, getting the girl, and winning the respect of your peers), it's hard for an 80s-born nerd such as myself NOT to enjoy it. Since I was a kid I've always had a soft spot for this cheesy flick, and it hasn't changed with time. It may be too campy for much of today's audience, but it's jam-packed with that nostalgic 80s flavor and some really fun moments."
Good Clean Fun
tagoode3 | WV | 08/14/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I liked this movie when it first came out, I like it now
and my kids who are Star Wars , Lord of the Rings fans,
like it too.
Yes it's geeky and very 80's. But that was the audience, it was made for. Just take that into account because your not going to get Jurrassic Park and Fhantom Menace,special effects in this time frame. If they did this movie now with the effects of today it would knock your socks off. It's just fun escapism."
Einstein said that life was a spectacle.
cookieman108 | 02/07/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"And this movie prooves that. I have this on Laserdisc.. and there was no way my collection could be without it. Definitely a comedy of all sorts- dark, light- romantic. You have to love Fisher Stevens catchphrases- I'd watch the movie just for his one-liners. I wish I could turn my high school into a timewarp- From dinosaurs to future invaders- this flick solves conflicts among all time periods. Ever see a dinosaur invade the gym before? If the team of Zucker and Abrahms ever got ahold of this movie watch out. I love this movie because it always makes me laugh- at the world around me- at scifi- or is it laugh with scifi- another classic 80's flick. And this fantastic exploit of adventure are enough to bring out the child in all of us."