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|“||This universe is mine. I am God here!||„|
|~ Jobe Smith|
Jobe Smith is the main antagonist of the Lawnmower Man franchise.
Jobe was originally a gardener with a severe mental handicap, who was apparently abandoned to the care of an abusive, hypocritical priest at an early age. The priest's brother was more sympathetic, and employed him in his gardening business. As an adult, Jobe's only real friend was a young boy named Peter Parkette, the son of a family whose garden he tended. One of Peter's neighbors was Dr. Lawrence Angelo, a researcher with virtual reality pioneer Virtual Space Industries. Angelo saw potential in Jobe, realizing that the technology he was working on could help Jobe achieve (and perhaps even exceed) a normal level of intellect. Jobe responded well to the treatment, and before long his intellect had even exceeded Angelo's own, giving him the ability to rapidly create and manipulate virtual worlds in the blink of an eye. He also gained much-improved social skills and subsequently began a relationship with a rich woman named Marnie.
Unbeknownst to Jobe or Angelo however, the director of VSI was in the employ of a shadowy organization known as The Shop, and illicitly began giving Jobe experimental drugs which caused him to develop a series of powers in the real world, starting off with telepathy and telekinesis. Jobe then tried to give Marnie an experience of virtual reality, but it went badly wrong and destroyed her mind. After this, Jobe's sanity began to sharply deteriorate and his powers further increased, leading to him to murder Peter's abusive father with a telekinetically-controlled lawnmower, mentally lobotomized a gas station owner who had frequently mocked him, and then used pyrokinesis to kill the priest who raised him. When he next encountered Angelo, Jobe explained that his full plan was to upload his mind into the main computer at VSI, then from there take control of every computer network across the planet, promising that his "birth cry" would be the sound of all the world's telephones ringing at once.
Jobe then restrained Angelo, before two agents from The Shop arrived to take Jobe into custody; Jobe killed them by ripping apart and dispersing their bodies at the molecular level. He then returned to the VSI building and killed the project director, before successfully uploading his mind into the mainframe, reducing his original body to a dessicated husk. However, Angelo followed him, disconnected the mainframe's network connections and set a series of explosive charges to level the building. He then entered the virtual reality world inside the mainframe in an effort to keep Jobe distracted, but this backfired as Jobe found out about the charges and redoubled his efforts to escape. Fortunately for Angelo, Peter was inside the building, and Jobe released Angelo so that he could help Peter get out before the explosives went off.
The VSI building was subsequently destroyed, and Angelo believed Jobe dead. Just as Angelo was about to leave his house and go underground to escape The Shop however, his house phone began to ring, quickly followed by his neighbor's, and then every other phone on the planet...
The second film retconned its predecessor's ending, having Jobe escape from the mainframe back into his original body rather than the worldwide network. Somehow his body was restored from its husk-like form, only to be badly damaged again in the explosion that Angelo set off. His barely-living body was subsequently retrieved by employees of Jonathan Walker, a major stakeholder in the now-defunct VSI and one of their major equipment suppliers. Between the transition in and out of the computer and the effects of the explosion, Jobe had suffered major neural damage and lost the use of his legs and his various psychic abilities, though retained his genius-level intellect and was every bit as much of a megalomaniac as before.
Walker subsequently put Jobe to work perfecting the Chiron Chip, a device intended to create even more realistic virtual reality environments than ever before. Jobe, however, decided to use the chip for his own purposes, creating his own world in "Cyberspace" (which in the film is depicted as being a worldwide virtual reality network), then intending to take control of essential services in the real world and cause so much chaos that people would be forced to go into a perpetual existence in virtual reality, where he would serve as a messiah figure.
The now-teenaged Peter managed to track down Dr. Benjamin Trace, the original designer of the Chiron Chip, and they worked together with Peter's friends to stop Jobe. Eventually, Jobe and Trace had a final battle in Cyberspace, where Trace destroyed Jobe's virtual copy of the Chiron Chip just as Trace's ex-wife destroyed the real-world chip. Jobe then foolishly tried to take control of Cyberspace with the power of his intellect alone, but this failed disastrously and led to his Cyberspace world violently disintegrating. The overload of information also managed to undo the treatments that Angelo gave Jobe several years previously, reverting him to the harmless, mentally handicapped state he was in at the start of the first movie, with Peter and Trace promising to take care of him for the rest of his days.
At the start of the first film, Jobe's personality was very childlike, which was likely the reason that his only friend was Peter. As he underwent Dr. Angelo's treatments, he evolved to having a much more normal personality, which then gave way to megalomania and a messiah complex as his powers further developed. Despite this, Jobe did seem to retain some form of morality, and did not kill indiscriminately, instead only killing those who had directly threatened or wronged Jobe or his friends; notably, he restrained Angelo rather than killing him, and when faced with a unit of guards outside VSI he distracted them with a cloud of illusory insects rather than using any of his powers to directly harm them. In all, Jobe's actions in the first film seemed borne mostly out of his belief that virtual reality would bring a new age to mankind, and saw himself as the person to lead the human race through that evolution.
In the second film, Jobe displayed a far more manic and ruthless personality, and was shown to have no problem killing anyone who proved even a minor inconvenience to him. His aims remained broadly the same however, though this time without the added step of achieving transcendence.
- Though often credited as the creation of Stephen King, in reality Jobe was created by screenwriters Brett Leonard and Gimel Everett, and has no relation to any of King's works, which subsequently resulted in a lawsuit between King and the film's producers. The only thing that the first film has in common with King's story is the use of a lawnmower to kill someone (The Shop is also taken from a different King story, Firestarter).
- A deleted scene from the first film had Jobe indirectly murdering Dr. Angelo's wife Caroline by forcing her to shoot at a gang of heavily armed agents from The Shop, who quickly kill her. The studio removed this scene from the theatrical cut, likely because it would have made Jobe seem irredeemably evil since Caroline had not wronged him in any way, unlike the other people he kills. The scene is restored in the director's cut, though hints of it remain in the original cut, as Angelo abruptly goes from still being sympathetic toward Jobe despite the murders, to outright hating Jobe and being willing to commit suicide to destroy him.
- As indicated above, there were major errors in continuity between the first and second films, particularly the fact that Jobe's husk body disintegrated into dust when touched by Dr. Angelo, yet was seen to be relatively intact at the start of the second film, with the only damage being a direct result of the explosion. His "birth cry" is also ignored by the second film, though could perhaps be explained away as Jobe attempting to throw Angelo (who is not mentioned or seen in the second film) off the fact that he had returned to corporeal form. The time frame of the second film is also rather unclear, since it appears to be set several decades after the first, yet neither Jobe nor Peter has aged more than a few years.
- In the footage that the second film re-uses from the first, Jobe's virtual avatar is re-voiced by a different actor. Jeff Fahey's voice was presumably not used due to rights issues, though Jobe's voice in these scenes does not seem to be that of Matt Frewer either.
- The SNES game based on the first film implies that Jobe was unknowingly working under the control of a person known as "The Doomplayer," who is established as being the head of The Shop and becomes the main antagonist of the game after Jobe's defeat, in a section that extends the storyline past the film's ending. While actually more consistent with the first film's storyline than the second film was, it is not considered canon.