22nd Jul2015

‘The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai’ Blu-ray Review

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Peter Weller, John Lithgow, Christopher Lloyd, Jeff Goldblum, Ellen Barkin, Lewis Smith, Rosalind Cash, Robert Ito, Pepe Serna, Ronald Lacey, Matt Clark, Clancy Brown, William Traylor, Carl Lumbly, Vincent Schiavelli | Written by Earl Mac Rauch | Directed by W.D. Richter

BUCKAROO_BANZAI_2D_BD

Arrow Video know their cult movies, you just have to look at the ones they’ve released to see that. If you were to ask the question, how crazy can a cult movie be? I think you just have to look at their latest release for that. The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension is probably one of the strangest (yet still good) Eighties movies you’ll ever see.

When Buckaroo Banzai (Peter Weller), the brilliant physicist-neurosurgeon-martial arts master-secret-rock star manages to use the Oscillation Overthruster to travel to the 8th dimension he draws the attention of the Red Lectroids (an alien race obviously.) Working with Banzai’s nemesis Dr Lizardo (John Lithgow) they seek to capture the Overthruster so they can set their comrades imprisoned in the 8th dimension free.

It is interesting that out of the chaos that is The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension the story is actually something you can follow…kind of. Nothing really makes sense in the world created in the film, but it gets one thing right, and that is to keep things fun. Peter Weller is perfect as Banzai, Lithgow steals every scene he is in as Dr Lizardo, and the amount of recognisable eighties cult movie stars make this feel like something of an event movie for film geeks who love this kind of thing.

To give you an idea of how strange it is, it’s not often you see Christopher Lloyd, Peter Weller and Jeff Goldblum together in the same move, and that is before we even get into why Goldblum spends most of the movie dressed as a Rodeo Cowboy. Add to that Lloyd’s character is called John Bigboote, and I’m sure I’ve already caught your interest. Did I mention Clancy Brown is also in this? As I’ve already insinuated this is almost a perfect storm of 80s strangeness.

In celebration of the craziness Arrow Video have stuffed this release with special features. This includes interviews with Paul Weller and John Lithgow filmed in 2015. It’s obvious they still love the movie and are proud of the work they did in it. A commentary track is included, as is a Q&A session, an alternative opening to the film, which includes Jamie Lee Curtis and even more things hidden away on the disc. If anything, the amount of extras on the release and material available show how well-respected a cult movie The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension is.

When it comes down to the quality of the film itself, Arrow Video have done a very impressive job with the picture quality as well as audio. It is fair to say that Buckaroo Banzai is a film that epitomises everything that is truly crazy about the cult genre, it’s colourful, more than a little crazy, and it, for reasons nobody can truly understand actually works. Though at the time of its release it’s fair to say it didn’t do as well as hoped. Though listen to the commentary and watch the interviews to pick up why, the film studio obviously weren’t happy with what they had been delivered. Its fair to say that movies that turned into cult hits were the ones the big film studios never really understood.

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension may be a little too crazy for some people’s taste, but for those who “get” what a true cult classic is ,they will love it. In a decade that gave us movies like Big Trouble in Little China and Blade Runner, this is a movie that strangely fits between the two. It could have been a Howard the Duck, yet hits the heights of Superman the Movie. If you’ve seen it you’ll understand what I mean. If you’ve not then this excellent release is the perfect excuse to fix that.

***** 5/5

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension is available Blu-ray now from Arrow Video.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek
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