Articles/Movie Reviews/Other/Real Genius (1985)
Real Genius is one of the classic movies produced in the 1980s. "Geeks" have particularly identified with the characters since it is really all about geeks. The story was originally developed by Neal Israel and adopted into film by Martha Coolidge.
In the movie, young genius Mitch Taylor is recruited by Pacific Tech (a loosely veiled copy of California Tech). Although he is only fifteen years old, he is placed on Professor Jerry Hathaway's team of researchers that are studying lasers. Their goal is to produce a laser that can output megawatts of energy.
While at the university, Mitch is taken under the wing of Chris Knight, another laser researcher who seems to enjoy partying more than studying. Chris immediately starts working on getting Mitch to enjoy himself more by taking him to parties and other crazy campus events. Professor Hathaway isn't too happy about his new prodigy being corrupted, however, and begins to threaten John in order to get him to finish the laser.
Although the viewers are shown that Hathaway wants the laser for military purposes immediately, the characters don't learn until after the project is completed. The laser is eventually finished, but Chris and Mitch eventually find out about its real purpose and plot revenge. Along the way, they must watch out for Kent, who is obsessed with helping Hathaway and jealous of their intelligence.
Chris Knight is played by Val Kilmer, in one of his first roles in film. Mitch Taylor, the main character, is played by Gabriel (Gabe) Jarret, also in one of his first roles. Other primary characters include William Atherton as Professor Jerry Hathaway, Robert Prescott as Kent Torokvei, Michelle Meyrink as Jordan Cochran, and Jon Gries as Lazlo Hollyfield.
The acting in this movie is not dramatic or impressive, but since the film is a comedy, that can be forgiven. Instead of a serious film about laser research, this one was intended to be humorous and it succeeds. From Chris Knight's bunny slippers to the many hilarious quotes, this movie is really funny.
It was interesting to see how mysterious lasers were during the 1980s, compared to modern times where they are an everyday item. You can buy a laser pointer for a few dollars today, but back then most lasers were far too expensive for most people to own. The movie is loosely based on actual events, where a student team was unknowingly designing lasers for the military.
Overall, I found this movie to be very enjoyable. I had never watched it when it originally came out, but was able to find it on DVD without a problem. If you get a chance to watch it, it is worth a few laughs.