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Lathe Of Heaven
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Special Offers and Product Promotions
- Exclusive international version featuring footage not seen during the U.S. broadcast
- Behind-the-scenes featurette (25 min.)
- Biographies/filmographies of James Caan, Lukas Haas, Lisa Bonet, David Strathairn, and Ursula K. LeGuin
Top Customer Reviews
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!
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.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Dare I say it? This movie is unfairly maligned by Le Guin purists like myself.
Yes, the dialogue and script are considerably dumbed-down from the source material, and... Read more
This is a remake of the original TV production made in the 70's. The cast is better, and a bigger budget makes for better effects. The story is slightly different but just as good. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Gawaine Caldwater Ross
A friend of mine told me about this movie. I remember watching it. I did remember some of it, however seeing it again is always a treat.Published 19 months ago by the libertarian
Wow - I'm really surprised at all the negative reviews so I thought I should write my own. I LOVE this movie. I have read the book and it's different, but not totally. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Laura Jinn
I can only assume that most reviewers are so emotionally attached to the original work of fiction that they are clouded by their own imaginations. Read morePublished on April 26, 2014 by Lamb and Martyr
I saw this great movie years ago and have been wanting to get a copy of it for my library!Published on August 23, 2013 by JESSE L. PITTMAN
I am a fan of the original 1980 version and also read the book. I knew this was going to be different, which meant I went into this with an open mind. Read morePublished on May 23, 2013 by J. C. M. Bannerman