“God made him simple. Science made him a God”.
Government scientist Lawrence Angelo (Pierce Brosnan) discovers that he can enhance the intelligence of chimpanzees using drugs and computer technology.
Troubled by the moral implications of his work – conducted under the careful watch of an organisation known as ‘The Shop’ – Angelo resigns but continues his research privately by experimenting on amiable but simple-minded gardener Jobe Smith (Jeff Fahey).
Jobe is rewarded with powers beyond Angelo’s control, making him more intelligent and dangerous than any other man alive.
The once eye-popping special effects are the real attraction of this science-fiction tale. Otherwise, it’s notable only for its attempt to combine a variation on the Frankenstein theme with the cinematic opportunities offered by Virtual Reality.
While the SFX remain fun – if a little dated by today’s standards – the film’s illustration of mental illness and domestic and child abuse must have been seen as irresponsible even back in 1992.
The producers and studio faced a lawsuit from Stephen King as a result of putting his name above the movie’s title and trying to sell it as an adaptation of one of his stories.
While the studio did own the rights to a couple of King’s works – one with themes very similar to those in the film – the two stories had almost nothing in common (despite a hasty effort from the studio to try and incorporate tiny aspects of the author’s story into theirs) and King walked away victorious.
Dr Lawrence Angelo