HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension
HTS Overall Score:78
Only in the 80s could a film like “The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai” be filmed. In fact I’m not sure exactly HOW this was allowed to get filmed as it is considering the star power and ludicrous plot line. The best way to describe the cult film is as a mix between a parody comedy and Buck Rogers blended together after taking a 3 day acid trip topped off with some LSD. Starring Peter Weller as a brilliant neurosurgeon/martial artist/musician/adventurer, it is a whacked out trip from beginning to end.
Weller himself has hand an interesting film career. Everyone knows the man as Robocop, but Weller himself is a highly educated man, gaining both a post graduate and Doctorate in Renaissance art, he has starred in roles that are about as wide and varied as you can get. From the titular Robocop character, to “Buckaroo Banzai”, to crazed Starfleet admiral in the recent “Star Trek” reboot series, he has managed to wrap a rather successful career together. I’m not sure what attracted him to “The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai”, but needless to say it certainly must have been an experience.
I’m not sure how to explain what really goes on in the movie. In fact I’m not sure if the producers and writers could do that without offering you some peyote or to help you on your trip. Basically Buckaroo Banzai (Peter Weller) is your average everyday bloke. Well except for the fact that he’s half Japanese and half American (thus the name “Banzai”), is a brilliant neurosurgeon, got bored with that and started touring the world learning multiple martial arts and becoming an accomplished musician. Then of course there’s the fact that he’s a worldwide hero for inventing a car that break through into the 8th dimension, which is where we meet up with him today. After blasting through the 8th dimension, Buckaroo and his gang (called the Cavaliers) has to fight off a horde of Aliens from the 8th dimension who are trying to get home to Planet 10, somewhere in the 8th dimension.
Not only does Buckaroo have to fight off the aliens who have invaded earth, a spaceship hovers over our planet that threatens to blow the planet up IF Buckaroo Banzai and his men can’t stop these rogue aliens that have taken over a propulsion jet lab. So what does that mean? Well it means that Buckaroo and his crew of men (along with the beautiful Penny Priddy (Ellen Barkin) have to blow up a spaceship before it can leave earth, mack out with the girl, shoot up aliens in disguise AND give the people of earth a wink and a smile as they do it.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=77137[/img]“The Adventures of Buackaroo Banzai: Across the 8th Dimension” is a walking, talking comic book in the most LITERAL meaning. There is nothing even remotely sane or typical about the film. It plays loose and fast with every genre on the planet, with Buckaroo carrying around a couple of six guns, Jeff Goldblum dressed like the cowboy out of the Village People, Clancy Brown hamming it up, and John Lithgow as the evil villain who has been invaded by one of the aliens (who hams it up in a way that only John Lithgow could do). Everything feels like you’re watching in slow motion, just simply stunned at what’s being show on screen. One moment we feel like we’re in the middle of a 1950’s science fiction flick, only to go full tilt into an action montage, and then have the secretary of state and the president making Leslie Nielsenesque jokes about starting a nuclear war with a short form, or having a kid hold the secretary hostage with a carbine rifle. And this is only just scratching the surface of what happens during the hour and forty two minutes.
“Buckaroo Banzai” (I’m shortening that stinking title) is a wild hodgepodge of material that frankly doesn’t ALWAYS make a lot of sense. We have the obligatory alien battles, invasions and a ton of different big name actors (or at least highly recognizable ones) pop across the screen at any one time. In fact that’s one of the major selling points of the movie is the people attached to it. We have a young Jeff Goldblum, Clancy Brown (a very young and skinny Clancy Brown), Christopher Lloyd, Peter Weller, John Lithgow, Matt Clark, and a dozen more people that will at least make you go “HE’S in that too?”. For those of you who are looking for a strictly cohesive plot with a standard 3 act story, then you might be a bit disappointed, but for those of you who like to go along with the flow with one of the most bizarre movies to come out of the 1980s, then the movie is a barrel of fun and full of hysterically bad laugh moments.
Rated PG, Parental Guidance suggested for children
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=77145[/img]Shot on Panflex film cameras, “Buckaroo Banzai” looks like it has gotten a fairly recent remastering process in comparison to others I’ve seen from them. There’s some speckles and flecks of dirt on the print, but whatever source used looks fairly clean and despite some grain that gets a bit thick during some scenes, the movie looks quite nice. Colors are vibrant and cleanly saturated, from the reds of Jeff Goldblum’s cowboy shirt, to the bright pinky of Penny’s dress, they all look fabulous. Fine detail is impressive and shows off quite a bit of detail (sometimes a bit TOO much detail in regards to the plastic practical effects). The film was released by Arrow in the UK last year and from what I can tell using screenshots and the like this is using the EXACT same master used for the Arrow release. Grain structure, color tone and even some of the print damage looks exactly the same. Optical effects can blur the screen just a little bit and give it a soft take, but the overall impression I get is that this is one impressive looking piece of 80’s history and looks about as good as it’s going to get.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=77153[/img]Once again Shout Factory gives us the option of choosing between a lossless 5.1 track as well as a 2.0 lossless track as well, for those of you who want some options. While the 2.0 track is quite good, I have to naturally give the 5.1 track a nod as the superior version, with a nicely nuanced synth score and a fairly immersive soundstage that tends to get a bit bumpy when the action kicks up. Gunshots and space craft make a powerful entry and dialog is above reproach. Vocals are crisp and clear with no audible distortions or crackles in the audio, and the LFE is mild but more than present for a few big action sequences.
• Into the 8th Dimension
• Audio Commentary with Director W.D. Richter and Writer Earl Mac Rauch
• Audio Commentary with Michael and Dennis Okuda
(On the DVD
• Buckaroo Banzai Declassified Featurette
• Alternate Opening
• Deleted Scenes
• New Jet Car Trailer
• Theatrical Trailer
“Buckaroo Banzai” is probably one of the most bizarre experiences that I’ve had reviewing lately. I vaguely remembered watching the old VHS years and years ago when I was in grade school, but it’s been literally a good decade and a half since I remember even catching it on TV. Needless to say I was MORE than entertained and slightly aghast that the film was actually as awfully fun as I remembered it being. Scream Factory is known for pulling out some of the more obscure titles in their lineup, and this one happens to be the first in their “Shout Select” lineup, which appears to be what they consider a premium collection in their various subgenres. With good video and audio and some very impressive extras, I’m more than pleased with the quality seen so for and look forward to their next releases in the Shout Select” collection. Definitely check it out.
Starring: Peter Weller, John Lithgow, Ellen Barken
Directed by: W.D. Richter
Written by: Earl Mac Rauch
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, English DTS-HD MA 2.0
Studio: Shout Factory
Runtime: 103 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: August 16th, 2016
Buy The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Give It A Watch
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