Blu-ray Review: The Adventures Of Buckaroo Banzai (Steel Book Edition)



There are movies you own and there are movies that own you. The ones that own you deserve a certain amount of prominence in you home video collection. You put them in the perfect spot on the shelf so you can grab them without looking. You want a certain dazzle to them so when people come over, they will gravity to them and ask if you’ll play it for them. The best to achieve this goal is with a Steel Book with the artwork directly applied to the metal cover instead of photocopied and under plastic. A steel book says that you have a special relationship with that film. The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension is a movie that deserves this special treatment.

Buckaroo Banzai (Robocop‘s Peter Weller) is the ultimate person. He’s a leading neurosurgeon. He pushes physics with outlandish theories that just might be true. He’s a rock star willing to play clubs any night he’s not saving the world. Plus he’s pretty cool guy who has put together the Hong Kong Cavaliers which can hang with him on his many pursuits and provide firepower when things get nasty. In a single day, he performs revolutionary surgery with New Jersey (The Fly‘s Jeff Goldblum) and drive through a mountain with his oscillation overthruster. This entering another dimension triggers a series of events that leads to a spaceship crash, a genius escaping from an insane asylum and the realization that Orson Welles was onto something with his famous radio scare.

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension is everything you want out of a cult film. A bizarre plot that keeps you guessing where it is going next. A cast that is nearly peerless. Along with Weller and Goldblum, the good guys include Clancy Brown (The Highlander), Pepe Serna (Scarface), Lewis Smith (Django Unchained) and Billy Vera (Family Ties). And the crew going against them are John Lithgow (Raising Cain) with out of this world henchmen played by Christopher Lloyd (Taxi), Vincent Schiavelli (Fast Times At Ridgemont High) and Dan Hedaya (Cheers). Not to mention Ellen Barkin (Sea of Love) as a love interest that might be out to kill Buckaroo. How great is the casting? Yakov Smirnov is in the film and doesn’t make you squirm. And Jonathan Banks pops up as a hospital worker who isn’t recognizable as Mike from Breaking Bad.

Since Buckaroo‘s release in the summer of 1984, the film has grown in cult following. It was that movie pals would rent at college on Beta. Later it was a great rejoicing when it came out on laserdisc and DVD with the original opening. Now you can upgrade beyond the initial Blu-ray to a Steel Book that brings together the march sequence from the end of the film. You can’t judge a book by its cover, but some time you want a cover that reflects the greatness of what’s inside.

The video is 2.35:1 anamorphic. The transfer brings out the weirdness of the sets and wardrobe. The audio is DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 to wrap around the effect when Buckaroo goes into the mountain. There’s also a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 of the original mix. The movie is subtitled.

Into The 8th Dimension (128:16) is a feature length documentary with the key cast and crew. The film contains the stunning note that the original actor they wanted for Buckaroo was Tom Hanks. His casting was nixed by a producer who thought he was just a TV actor. Oh well, Peter Weller owned the role. Clancy Brown thinks he was Buckaroo. Among the people Weller based the character on Eli Kazan, Jacques Cousteau and Adam Ant.

Audio Commentaries include one with Director W.D. Richter And Writer Earl Mac Rauch. They get deep into what was happening. A second track includes with Michael And Denise Okuda.

Buckaroo Banzai Declassified Featurette (22:41) is a video produced by Banzai Institute. There’s plenty of behind the scenes footage and interviews with cast on the set. This was made for the 2002 DVD release.

Alternate Opening Sequence (7:12) deals with the original test of the jet car. Jamie Lee Curtis plays Buckaroo’s mother. It cuts into the opening.

Deleted Scenes includes 14 scenes that were snipped.

Jet Car Trailer (2:25) is a CGI action of the Jet Car fighting spaceships.

Theatrical Trailer (1:17) give a hint to the weirdness.

Shout! Factory presents The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension. Directed by: W.D. Richter. Screenplay by: Earl Mac Rauch. Starring: Peter Weller, Jeff Goldblum, John Lithgow and Ellen Barkin. Rated: PG. Running Time: 102 minutes. Released: May 15, 2018.

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