DVD Talk
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Reviews & Columns
Reviews
DVD
TV on DVD
HD DVD / Blu-ray
International DVDs
Theatrical
Video Games

Features
Collector Series DVDs
Easter Egg Database
Interviews
DVD Talk Radio
Feature Articles

Columns
Anime Talk
DVD Stalk
DVD Savant
High-Def Revolution
Silent DVD

discussion forum
DVD Talk Forum
Resources
DVD Price Search
Customer Service #'s
RCE Info
Links

DVDTalk Info
Review Staff
About DVD Talk
Advertise
Newsletter Subscribe
Join DVD Talk Forum
DVD Talk Feeds


Sponsored Links
Search: For:
Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (Collector's Edition Steelbook) (Blu-ray)
The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (Collector's Edition Steelbook) (Blu-ray)
Shout Factory // PG // May 15, 2018 // Region A
List Price: $26.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by William Harrison | posted May 19, 2018 | E-mail the Author
Buy from Amazon.com
C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Recommended
E - M A I L
this review to a friend
P R I N T
Printer Friendly

THE FILM:

This wildly disjointed but considerably entertaining concoction of science fiction, action and humor notoriously flopped at the box office in 1984, and was shunned by critics for being unintelligible and frenetic. Over the next three-plus decades, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension earned a cult following, and even scored a direct reference in Steven Spielberg's latest film, Ready Player One. It is pretty bizarre, but this gleefully ‘80s crowd-pleaser offers enough action, romance, humor and oddities to entertain for 102 minutes. Buckaroo Banzai never spawned the franchise its creators dreamed of, but W. D. Richter's film did fly off of video-store shelves as more and more genre fans began discovering it. This Steelbook release is identical to Shout! Factory's recent Collector's Edition Blu-ray set, save the packaging, and is highly recommended.

The plot? Well, let's see: Buckaroo Banzai (Robocop's Peter Weller) is a scientist, neurosurgeon and test pilot who works with Professor Hikita (Robert Ito) on an "oscillation overthruster" meant to allow his jet-powered car to travel through solid objects. During the test, Banzai's car seemingly travels through a mountain, but when he finds a strange alien organism on the undercarriage afterward, he realizes he actually traveled to the 8th Dimension. Meanwhile, Hikita's rival Dr. Emilio Lizardo (John Lithgow), who worked on the overthruster before being possessed by an alien mind and ending up in an insane asylum, breaks out after learning of the successful test. There are also two groups of aliens: The Red Lectroids, led by John Whorfin, who possessed Lizardo; and the Black Lectroids, who are at war with the vengeful Red Lectroids. To avoid nuclear holocaust, Banzai and his crew, the Hong Kong Cavaliers, must stop Lizardo and the Red Lectroids from invading earth.

There is a whole bunch of crazy action in Buckaroo Banzai, and I found it more entertaining to enjoy the ride instead of trying to decipher the plot. Weller deadpans throughout the film, offering some witty one-liners and ice-cold delivery. How this enigma stays calm as the world falls apart around him is part of the movie's charm. The screenplay, by Earl Mac Rauch, was re-written a number of times and saw numerous additions and deletions throughout the filmmaking process. There are elements of traditional science fiction, sure, but Rauch offers Mel Brooks-esque dick jokes and gags, like a character named John Bigbooté who is referred to as "Big Booty." The romance element comes courtesy of Penny Priddy's (Ellen Barkin) running mascara. Banzai spots her in a club one night as he and the Hong Kong Cavaliers are performing. He stops the show to playfully prod the suicidal woman, who turns out to be very important in the human vs. alien war.

Buckaroo Banzai is the kind of movie I watched on repeat growing up. I'd probably have loved this film then, too, had I seen it before I reached adulthood. I can imagine it running on loop at Video Hut or a local VHS outlet. That is, of course, why Shout! Factory released a Collector's Edition in 2016, and the title is among the first in its "Shout Select" line that includes releases like Road House and Mr. Mom. My buddy and I joke that we live in miraculous times when movies like this receive extensive special editions with gorgeous transfers and HD audio. May physical media continue to prosper! Buckaroo Banzai is a fun movie, and likely will be appreciated by genre fans. If you already own the Collector's Edition and are not a packaging whore (and I'm not judging), the Steelbook won't have much value. If you haven't picked it up yet, this is a nice way to bring it home.

THE BLU-RAY:

PICTURE:

Shout! offers a cinematic 2.35:1/1080p/AVC-encoded transfer for Buckaroo Banzai that impresses throughout. Fine-object detail is abundant, and the transfer reveals all the dirty details of the actors' make-up and costumes, the low-budget production design, and the outdoor landscapes. Skin tones are natural, and colors are nicely saturated, without bleeding. Black levels are solid, and shadow detail is prevalent. The grain structure is pleasing and lacks digital manipulation. Other than some minor print damage and flicker, this is a solid image.

SOUND:

The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix offers effective sound panning, aggressive LFE response and solid directional dialogue. Free from hiss and distortion, the track offers good balance and range. Michael Boddicker's synth tones are faithfully rendered and layered appropriately. A 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio mix is also included, as are English subtitles.

PACKAGING AND EXTRAS:

This two-disc Steelbook package is glossy and attractive, with a simple but effective image on the front. The original Collector's Edition release offered two-sided artwork and a slipcover. The first disc is a Blu-ray that includes the movie and the following extras: an Audio Commentary by Director W. D. Richter and Writer Earl Mac Rauch; an Audio Commentary by Production Designers Michael and Dennis Okuda; and Into the 8th Dimension (2:08:16/HD), an excellent, feature-length documentary sliced into eight parts. It offers newly produced interviews, stock footage and behind-the-scenes footage. The second disc is a DVD and includes the following: Buckaroo Banzai Declassified (22:41/SD), a vintage making-of; an Alternate Opening (7:12/SD); Deleted Scenes (14:11/SD); a New Jet Car Trailer (2:25/SD); and the Theatrical Trailer (1:17/SD).

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Shout! Factory continues to release its Collector's Editions in Steelbook form. The already-excellent release of The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension is now available for Steelbook fans, and it offers the same excellent content of the original release. The movie is bizarre and entertaining, and offers a mash-up of science fiction, goofy humor and romance. This release is solidly Recommended.

William lives in Burlington, North Carolina, and looks forward to a Friday-afternoon matinee.

Find the lowest price for 'The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (Collector's Edition Steelbook) (Blu-ray)'
Popular Reviews
1. Billy Budd
2. The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez
3. In the Mouth of Madness
4. Smithereens
5. I, Jane Doe
6. Dietrich and von Sternberg in Hollywood - The Criterion Collection
7. Tully
8. Genghis Khan
9. Tiger by the Tail
10. First Reformed


Sponsored Links
DVD Blowouts
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Alien [Blu-ray]
Buy: $19.99 $9.99
8.
9.
10.
Sponsored Links
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved. Legal Info, Privacy Policy, Terms of Use