Director: Phil Alden Robinson
Cast: Robert Redford, Dan Aykroyd, Ben Kingsley, Mary McDonnell
Have I Seen It Before: No (sort of)
Did I Like It? Not really.
The movie comes from a very high pedigree. The cast sells itself. Honestly, if Redford is in a movie, isn't there a certain benefit of the doubt written into the picture? Phil Alden Robinson had just come off Field of Dreams (1989), the one movie featuring Kevin Costner that everybody seems to like. It's only now that we no longer have James Horner around that every time one of his scores echo forth, does it seem like discovering a lost treasure. Walter F. Parkes and Lawrence Lasker had already brought their skills to similar subject matter in WarGames (1982).
And that's where things don't quite work out. Where WarGames had a sense of fun to it, even when flirting with the end of Western Civilization and the fundamental futility therein. This movie plays dour and aloof. I'm not even an automatic naysayer of dour and aloof, but this one failed to bring me in. I'm even vaguely certain that I had tried to watch this movie at some point in the past, but neglected to get through the process. Had I not happened to be tempted to start these writings with this viewing, I may not have made it through here. The cast is fine, but not great. It is only a desire not to speak ill of the dead that keeps me from wondering what the big deal was about some people in the 80s and 90s. I'll leave you to contemplate that. Even that much feels pretty catty.
Also, and this may be just a nitpick, but I just don't understand how a movie post-1985 can get away with shooting so obviously in the Universal backlot. I know that's the Hill Valley Clock Tower. Everyone knows it is the Hill Valley Clock Tower. You're not fooling anyone.