The Absent-Minded Professor Reviews
I love the cast in this film. Fred MacMurray perfectly captures the scatterbrained professor, and in a way where I can see why he is so clueless about how he's losing his girl. However my favorite performance is from Keenan Wynn as the villainous business tycoon Alonzo Hawk. He is that kind of antagonist that works perfectly in a family film like this, because he has a gruffness that seems intimidating along with a fiery temper. But when his plans go wrong it is so easy to laugh at him as well. One of the odd things, that I think this movie is smart to avoid spending much time explaining, is how inconsistent the rules of Flubber seem to be. It's hard to know exactly why it does some of the things the Professor gets it to do, and why it seems out-of-control sometimes but very manageable at other times. But if you just forget the "science" of the movie there is a lot of fun to be had, particularly in the basketball scene (one of my absolute favorites.) And, considering the fact that this film was made more than 50 years ago, it's impressive how they were able to pull off some of the special effects (every time that car takes off into the air it is a flawless effect.) While I recognize The Absent-Minded Professor isn't as amazing as I remembered it, I still think it's a fun family film and one that I get some enjoyment out of even to this day.
The story is that Prof. Ned Brainard (Fred MacMurray) has invented a new type of energy that could change the world as we know it. He creates a substance that is he classifies as flying rubber, or flubber as he puts it. This ultimately costs Brainard his fiancee Betsy (Nancy Olsen) to break up with him after he misses their wedding for the third time. Brainard tries to explain flubber to Betsy, as well as the United States government, but they won't listen. So it's up to Brainard to demonstrate to the world and to Betsy, the positive effects of what flubber can do.
"The Absent-Minded Professor" is an entertaining movie for the whole family to enjoy. Fred MacMurray does a great job as our main character. Everyone else does a good job as well Even Keenan Wynn who plays the bad guy does a great job. The music fits the college setting fine, and and there's a lot of energy (no pun intended0 that this movie offers. Having the movie being filmed in black and white shows off some great cinematography; a much better choice than color. Yet out of all things considered, it's the special effects that are the most remembered. For the time, these effects were and still are pretty amazing. Take the basketball game where acrobatics are heavily used to pull off most of the stunts. Yeah, it may look cheesy by today's standards, but this was before the age of computers.
With that being said, there are some problems that downgrade the movie. The character of Betsy totally changes character near the end of the film. The reason for this is that throughout the picture, she hates Brainard, yet here she shows compassion towards him. The story is a little hokey, but it's enjoyable to say the least, and some of the jokes are hit and miss. And finally, the movie does have a slow start, but once it gets going, it's pretty fun.
"The Absent-Minded Professor" is a unique and original production, despite a few flaws that hinder the movie, yet it is still enjoyable enough from Walt Disney.
Remade as 'Flubber' in 1997 starring Robin Williams.