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GREEN SIDEKICK FITS MOVIE-STAR MOLD.



Byline: Valerie Kuklenski Daily News Staff Writer

It co-stars with Robin Williams, it looks like snot snot
n.
Nasal mucus; phlegm.
, and it is featured prominently in a juvenile bowel-movement joke.

It can't miss.

Disney has dusted off the story behind its 1961 comedy ``The Absent Minded Professor'' and spiced it up with the finest in 1997 computer-generated special effects special effects, in motion pictures, cinematographic techniques that create illusions in the audience's minds as well as the illusions created using these techniques.  to make ``Flubber,'' which opened Wednesday, to the delight of school-age kids and their parents who fondly recall the Fred MacMurray version.

But this time the green goo, whose name is shorthand for flying rubber, has a personality all its own.

Even Williams, accustomed to being the scene stealer, steps aside from time to time to let the computer-animated green stuff hold the spotlight.

``I end up literally playing straight man to the goo,'' Williams says. ``I was the stimulus for the flubber. The flubber gets the laughs. It does all this stuff that normally I would be doing.''

Williams may be giving away too much of the credit. After all, the flubber wasn't even in the scenes yet when Williams filmed them, holding his empty hand out, making ``eye contact'' with a green glob to be added later, then ducking, jumping, bobbing and weaving as the unseen blob careens around the room like a Super Ball on speed. In that sense, it was Williams who set the tone and pace of the scene.

Amazing a·maze  
v. a·mazed, a·maz·ing, a·maz·es

v.tr.
1. To affect with great wonder; astonish. See Synonyms at surprise.

2. Obsolete To bewilder; perplex.

v.intr.
 discovery

He plays Phillip Brainard, a chemistry professor at a small college who has a makeshift lab in his home basement. In his spare time, he tinkers with very volatile elements in his quest to develop a miraculous polymer that, when applied to inanimate objects Inanimate Objects

abiology

the study of inanimate things.

animatism

the assignment to inanimate objects, forces, and plants of personalities and wills, but not souls. — animatistic, adj.
, can make them fly through the air at great speed.

When he finally gets the formula just right, it's such a momentous accomplishment that Brainard forgets he should be marrying Medfield College president Sara Jean Reynolds (Marcia Gay Harden Marcia Gay Harden (born August 14, 1959) is an Academy Award-winning American actress. Biography
Early life
Harden, one of five children, was born in La Jolla, California, daughter of Beverly (née Bushfield), a housewife, and Thaddeus Harold Harden, a Texas
). While he is celebrating his discovery, she is waiting at the altar - for the third and what seems to be last time.

There's the boy-loses-girl, boy-gets-girl-back love story, and bad guy elements in the form of an opportunistic fellow scientist (Christopher McDonald) who is not above stealing a colleague's work, or even his girl, and two thugs who figure in many of the sight gags.

But the focus is on the special effects - flubber that in one scene multiplies into several dollops to perform a mambo A popular open source content management system (CMS) that is used to create and manage Web sites. Written in PHP and using the MySQL database, Mambo was released in 2001 by Peter Lamont of Miro Construct Pty Ltd., Melbourne, Australia.  number that would do Busby Berkeley proud; a hovering, talking computer sidekick named Weebo; and a vintage Thunderbird thunderbird

In North American Indian mythology, a powerful spirit in the form of a bird that watered the earth and made vegetation grow. Lightning was believed to flash from its eyes or beak, and the beating of its wings was thought to represent rolling thunder.
 that, when fueled by flubber, has great pickup and up and up and up.

There is plenty in ``Flubber'' to appeal to kids, including the memorable scene when McDonald's character, Wilson Croft, accidentally ingests the bouncing glob and then fires what Williams calls ``the true rectal rocket.''

But Williams points out that the movie does not talk down to its audience.

``Children today are so sophisticated, besides having access to the Web and logging on as 25-year-old bisexuals,'' he says. ``There is this kind of amazing intelligence that they have that you've got to try and put in. It's playful, but I'm also trying to put in a level of intelligence, I hope.''

Keeping it real

There were two technical consultants on the set, one of them a postdoctoral post·doc·tor·al   also post·doc·tor·ate
adj.
Of, relating to, or engaged in academic study beyond the level of a doctoral degree.

Noun 1.
 chemistry whiz who stressed the accuracy of scientific details such as the scripted terms and the convoluted connection of beakers, flasks and tubes from whence flubber sprang. The other was TV's Bill Nye the Science Guy Bill Nye the Science Guy is an Emmy Award-winning educational television program, hosted by Bill Nye. It was originally broadcast on PBS from September 10, 1993 until October 3, 1997. Then after cancellation, aired reruns until February 5,1999. , who helped Williams and director Les Mayfield remember how to make science fun.

Williams says back in his school days he was ``good in biology, mediocre in chemistry and physics,'' so he welcomed the technical coaching.

``It really helps give you a little bit of a base,'' he says. ``It's not just technobabble tech·no·bab·ble  
n.
Technical jargon: "The playwright can send up the garbled technobabble of modern bureaucracy as expertly as anyone" Peter Marks.

Noun 1.
, not to try and go, `Look over here, boys, you're carbon-based,' but to really try and see if there's anything there when he gets fixated fix·ate  
v. fix·at·ed, fix·at·ing, fix·ates

v.tr.
1. To make fixed, stable, or stationary.

2. To focus one's eyes or attention on: fixate a faint object.
 on an idea.''

Co-star Harden said when she began working with Williams, she learned that he lives up to his wild reputation.

``He's completely unpredictable and completely professional, so it's a dichotomy to say that in a way,'' Harden says. ``I also thought that when I first met Robin it would be wild, wild, wild all the time, and I'm really happy to report that there's plenty of room for him talking to Noun 1. talking to - a lengthy rebuke; "a good lecture was my father's idea of discipline"; "the teacher gave him a talking to"
lecture, speech

rebuke, reprehension, reprimand, reproof, reproval - an act or expression of criticism and censure; "he had to
 people one on one and from the heart. So I didn't have to be the audience laughing hysterically unless I wanted to - which I did most of the time.''

Williams is good at keeping everyone else on the set in stitches, prompting a few retakes because of the crew's unstifled guffaws or chuckles. What makes him laugh?

Mayfield says it was a simple piece of business, a moment when the thug played by Ted Levine Ted Levine (born May 29, 1957) is an American actor perhaps best known for playing the serial killer Buffalo Bill in the 1991 blockbuster thriller The Silence of the Lambs, and for his role as Leland Stottlemeyer on the hit show Monk.  repeatedly spritzes Williams in the face with the professor's water pistol.

``It's the only time Robin would laugh,'' the director says. ``He doesn't laugh at anything, but if you watch it he barely keeps a straight face. For some reason, it just tickled him so much that we did countless takes.''

CAPTION(S):

2 Photos

Photo: (1--Cover--Color) `FLUBBER' MAN

Robin Williams checks in as an absent-minded professor absent-minded professor

personification of one too contemplative to execute practical tasks. [Pop. Culture: Misc.]

See : Forgetfulness
 

(2) Professor Phillip Brainard (Robin Williams) plays the straight man to the hyper green goo he invents in ``Flubber.''
COPYRIGHT 1997 Daily News
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1997, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Article Details
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Title Annotation:L.A. LIFE
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Nov 28, 1997
Words:895
Previous Article:WHAT'S HAPPENING : DINING.
Next Article:HOW TO MAKE `FLUBBER' FLY IN TODAY'S WORLD.



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