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Cute But Absentmindedly Twisted
on April 22, 2004
Recently I went to a theater showing the Disney remake, Flubber, starring Robin Williams. Although I still prefer the original The Absent Minded Professor, Flubber was a whole lot of fun.
Robin Williams plays a science professor looking for a new form of energy. As the film opens, Williams is already in danger of missing his own wedding for the third time. But while guests wait patiently Williams discovers the semi-intelligent Flubber. Much of the rest of the film is spent trying to win back the heart of his fiance and subsequently save the collage from bankruptcy and closure. Williams is aided in his endeavors by two robots. The first is an exceptionally capable housekeeping robot. The second is a levitating, self-aware intelligence with full emotions. While fun companions movie-wise, the technical aspects of these robots would be more than enough for Williams to save the college. In the End Williams wins back his fiancé, defeats the bad guys trying to close the college and finds a future for Flubber.
While Flubber is very enjoyable it seems like the writers added details for the sake of cuteness without thinking about the implications. Williams is looking for a new energy source yet he has a robot that can defy gravity and powered by simple electricity. He needs a discovery worth money yet he has two very successful and useful robots, one of them alive. Flubber itself has been made into some kind of life form. This may be good for merchandising but one can only wonder about the source of powdered Flubber or the implications of flight resulting from intentionally causing the organism's decay. Selling the rights to flying cars to Ford made for a funny scene but now there can potentially be millions of semi-responsible drivers flying through the country's airlanes while carrying radioactive materials. Additionally, a few scenes were changed from the original and are now less plausible. For instance, in the original, the fiancé calls the professor when he is late for the wedding again.
So if you are looking for fun then this is your movie. However, if you tend to rebel at inconsistencies and like your plots to make sense, then you might want to avoid this one. It's up to you.