Briandrainer (1998)


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Briandrainer (1998)

Because Braindrainer is the second feature on Sub Rosa's Honey Glaze DVD, I left it to review for later. This turns out to be giving me a problem with reviewing methodology. The two movies are very similar in theme and execution, and the natural inclination is to reference all of those commonalities, but since I reviewed the later movie (the best movie review and film essays in our essay writing company) first without such references, I'm now backed into the corner of mentioning all of the ways in which the earlier movie is like the later one, which is at the very least counterintuitive to the normal chronological manner in which such things are done.

The second part of the problem is that the movies are so similar, not just in individual story elements but in strengths and weaknesses, that I could probably reduce this entire review to "It's really, really a lot like Honey Glaze." But of course you know I'm not going to do that. We've got quotas to fill around here, people!

    Braindrainer is a movie about a rock. Specifically, a meteorite, though of course everyone throughout the movie refers to it as a "meteor." (Pedantic little educational aside: "Meteor" refers to a rock while it's coming in through the atmosphere, whereas "meteorite" refers to any solid chunk that makes it to the surface without burning up. It's a distinction sort of on a level with that between "magma" and "lava.") This particular meteor (yes, I'm just going to follow the movie's usage for simplicity's sake) streaks through a CGI solar system toward a CGI Earth, and into a non-CGI rural field. There, a crazy old guy who's spent the last twenty years searching for a lost contact hears the rock speaking in his head, enticing him; and when he picks it up, he's rendered paralyzed and catatonic.

 After the rock similarly claims two local cops, it becomes a cause celebre, with newscasters and press conferences all around. It seems that the rock can actually suck an individual's intelligence right out through casual contact. Could it be alive? Sentient? Dr. Garland (Sydelle Pittas) doesn't know, but intends to find out. After all, the mineral has been tagged "Garlandite" in her honor, so she'd better at least get a good research paper out of the deal.

    Enter Senator Vapid (Bob Eiland), who volunteers as a reelection stunt to be Dr. Garland's human guinea pig, testing her experimental brain-protecting antidote. Alas, it backfires, and the meteor physically gets absorbed into Vapid's otherwise-empty skull.

But the (pretty paltry) epidemic of braindrained individuals is only the least of the world's problems. For two-bit hypnotist The Amazing Jacques (director Michael Legge), seeing a news item on the meteor's properties, realizes that this might be his ticket -- to control the world! He recruits international-though-suburban criminal mastermind The Spider Woman (Michelle Leibowitz) and her grunting lackey The Creeper (Ed Eck) to assist him in acquiring the stone, Dr. Garland, and whatever else might be necessary to make his dream a reality. (Including the only surgeon in the world who cold remove the stone from the senatorial skull, and the RoboDoc that he constructed to make up for his own blindness.)

I think we're far enough in that we can start listing the clear similarities with Honey Glaze, to wit:

- Both plots, despite very different springboards, end up revolving around insidious schemes of world conquest.


- In both, director Legge stars as the would-be world conqueror.


- Legge's French accent in this movie sounds uncannily like his pseudo-Oriental accent in Honey Glaze.


- There are even plenty of the same locations. (Either that, or that deep wood-grained basement wallpaneling is really getting popular.)

Of course, criticizing a goofball spoof comedy made for peanuts is like beating up an old lady in a walker: Not only is it not sportsmanlike, but it's really not that much fun. (Or. so I've heard.) So let's just say that my major complaint strikes right at the conceptual heart of the movie: If you're going to make a movie about an intelligence-sucking rock from outer space, I expect to see legions of zombie morons wandering the streets, not a single braindead senator and a plot that essentially treats the rock as a McGuffin -- especially if you're going to reuse all of the world-conquering mastermind jokes again in another movie.

    I dunno. There are enough enjoyably silly sequences which elicited a smile that they probably make up for the fact that I never actually laughed out loud. Your mileage may vary.

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