Science Gone Mad Part 1 (My Science Project, 1985)
1985 was a big year for Teen Science Nerd films. I will be reviewing the three films over the next three days. Today, we start with director John Betuel’s My Science Project. Betuel wrote the classic Sci-Fi film the Last Starfighter and he wrote this film, which would give one real hope.
The cast is a combination of well known (Dennis Hopper, Richard Masur and Barry Corbin) combined with “up and Comers” (Danielle Von Zerneck, John Stockwell and Fisher Stevens). The plot is simple. The film opens a few decades before the film actually takes place. An alien ship is shot down. The military opts to have everything destroyed. Jump ahead to 1985 and we meet high school student Michael Harlan (who has gone on to direct films such as Blue Crush, Into the Blue and Turistas) and his buddy Vince (Played by Fake Indian Fisher Stevens). His science teacher Bob, an aging hippie pining for the 60’s played appropriately by Dennis Hopper, is after him about his science project. He needs to pass science class. He is not scientifically inclined, rather more mechanical. He is a car guy. After his girlfriend and he break up over an article in Cosmo, he is asked out by nerd Ellie (Danielle von Zerneck). Begged, really.
Michael takes her on a date, but it is really a cover so he can go through a military junkyard for a makeshift science project. He finds a glowing orb that he takes with him. Long story short, it is a battery that bends time and space. It starts to suck power, reaching out for more and more powerful sources.
John, Ellie, Vince and additional nerd Sherman (Raphael Sbarge) try and stop the orb from ultimately destroying space and time as we know it. The film is pretty messy, and it does not make a whole lot of sense. Unlike the tightly scripted The Last Starfighter, My Science Project seems to be wandering around trying to figure out where it is going. Dennis Hopper’s Bob is fairly entertaining, but he gets removed from the story about a third of the way in and does not reappear until the end of the story.
The film has big ideas, but nothing solid really materializes, making the film largely average and forgettable.