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Directed by Steve De Jarnatt, Cherry 2000, which was shot in 1985 but not released until a few years later when it went straight to video, takes place in what was then the far flung future of 2017. In this dystopian world, romance is dead. No one bothers with anyone in the real world and instead, they either head to sex clubs and haggle for deals on encounters or they invest in a robot not only capable of taking care of one's carnal needs, but with the ability to clean and cook for you as well. No muss, no fuss! Enter Sam Treadwell (David Andrews), the proud owner of a top of the line sex robot called the Cherry 2000 (Pamela Gidley) model. Sam's life is good, he's got plenty of money and is quite successful but he just can't find a real woman. Cherry 2000 takes care of things for him quite effectively until he and his robot get involved and the presence of some soapy water shorts her out. With the Cherry 2000 no longer in production, Sam finds himself in the unenviable position of having to head out into the real world and deal with actual flesh and blood human beings.
Desperate for a new one, Sam hires a tracker named E. Johnson (Melanie Griffith) and asks that she heads into Sector 7 to try and find a Cherry 2000 body/mainframe. He's been able to salvage the personality chip from his bot, but that's not going to be enough. As he and she go about this quest, they find that in order to get where they'll need to go they have to get past Lester (Tim Thomerson), the man who is in charge of the areas outside the city, an area where there is seemingly no law and no order. Of course, the more Sam gets to know E., the more he starts to wonder if she might be the one for him after all… and it just gets weirder from there.
Cherry 2000 is a pretty interesting comedic puree of sci-fi movie clichés blended into an odd movie that's part satire and part… not satire. Maybe? The extras on the disc elaborate on that a bit but more on that later and it's pretty safe to say that people are going to come away from this one with varying opinions regardless of intent. But it is funny, often times quite so, as it proceeds to blend elements of android related movies like Blade Runner with post-apocalyptic pictures like the Mad Max films (sometimes very erratically and unexpectedly). For that reason, genre fans will definitely get more out of it than those without a pre-existing affinity for sci-fi pictures, so long as they don't need to take everything completely seriously (and don't mind the fact that in many ways it is structured more like a traditional western).
While the movie is a quirky one, the performances are pretty decent. David Andrews does just fine as the male lead here. Pamela Gidley as the titular sex robot is also fun here. She's pretty, sure, but she plays the robot in the sort of dim-witted style you'd expect a creation that caters specifically to a stereotypical male fantasy to be. Melanie Griffith's character is actually more cold and calculating than the robot character is, getting down to business and doing her thing. She subverts a role that would typically be played by a male in interesting ways (and she remains completely feminine while doing so) and she looks great doing it. She makes it her own and it works. The scene stealer here, however, is Tim Thomerson. His ‘lord of the wasteland' type of character is unusually well-mannered and polite and in an interesting change of pace for this type of movie, he stresses an unusual amount of importance on proper hygiene. Thomerson plays this role as if it were tailor made for him, and he's a real kick to watch in this movie, though he's underused and you wind up wishing he'd had more to do here. There are also some fun, albeit minor, supporting players here worth mentioning, including a young Laurence Fishburne as a pimp/lawyer. The instantly recognizable Brion James shows up here too, as do Ben Johnson and the late, great Robert Z'Dar.
Cherry 2000 also has a lot going for it in terms of visuals as well. This wasn't made with a huge budget but De Jarnatt and his team manages to do a lot with what they do have. The set design works well enough and the wardrobe on display is pretty cool. We get a pretty decent score courtesy of Basil Poledouris (who scored Robocop the same year) and Jacques Haitkin's cinematography ensures that it's all framed and lit properly. That said, the movie keeps things typically light. There are moments where you'll almost ask the movie to dig deeper, to say something about the society that it depicts, but it never really goes there... but then when it's as entertaining as it is you maybe don't need it to. Additionally, the film doesn't always abide by the rules of logic and it is sometimes a bit too erratic for its own good, but there's still a lot of fun to be had here even with those flaws having been noted.The Blu-ray:
Cherry 2000 arrives on Blu-ray in 1.85.1 widescreen in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer from Kino. This is a pretty sharp and colorful transfer showing really nice reproduction of primaries in particular. Black levels are nice and solid, skin tones look good, never too waxy or too pink but rather quite natural in appearance. Detail is very good here and there's very little in the way of print damage to note. Grain is there, but never overpowering and it just serves to remind us that this was shot on film. Really though, it's the colors here that draw you in, they look great. Texture is often impressive and there are no problems with any compression artifacts. Noise reduction isn't an issue here either, nor is edge enhancement. This is a very nice transfer taken from some elements that were obviously in very nice shape.Sound:
The only audio option on the disc is a DTS-HD 2.0 track in English, but it sounds fine. There's good range to both the score and the effects here while the dialogue stays easy to understand and to follow. Depth is reasonable and there's good range too, it never sounds flat or limited. Optional subtitles are provided in English only.Extras:
Extras on this release start off with a new audio commentary from director Steve De Jarnatt moderated by Walter Chow from Film Freak Central. They start this one off by talking about the different cast members as they are noted in the opening credits and then go on to talk about some of the film's appeal, that being not only the sexual aspect of it but also its statements on consumerism. He talks about how he came onboard to direct this film through some interesting circumstances, some of the locations used in the film (noting what was used that was left over from the silent film days!), the politics of the civilization portrayed in the movie and the recurring theme of shopping carts in this and other movies he's made. He also covers some of the things shown in the movie that we're actually getting close to attaining. They also talk up the locations, what makes different characters interesting in the movie, the portrayal of violence in the movie but how it was mainly intended to be a comedic film. The infamous hanging car scene is also talked about, as is some of the effects and stunt work featured here. They note a deleted scene here and there but none are included on the disc unfortunately. This is a pretty interesting track, there's very little dead air here and it relays a lot of interesting information.
Additionally we get a new interview with actor Tim Thomerson that runs thirteen minutes entitled Greetings From Sky Ranch. He talks about reading for the part, getting the role and his thoughts on sci-fi movies in general ("The only sci-fi movie I ever liked was The Thing"). From there he talks about his experiences shooting this movie, working with his co-stars, the fun that was involved in playing this part, his thoughts on the movie in general and more.
Rounding out the extras are the original theatrical trailer (containing footage not included in the film as presented on the disc), a trailer for Miracle Mile, static menus and chapter selection. The short five-minute EPK style featurettes, The Making Of Cherry 2000, that was included on the previous DVD release has also been ported over to this Blu-ray.Final Thoughts:
Cherry 2000 isn't a perfect film but it is a really fun film thanks to some interesting ideas, a great cast, strong direction and a lot of great visuals. Kino have done right by the film by presenting it in excellent shape with solid audio and some pretty cool extra features too. If you're a fan, this Blu-ray is a really nice upgrade over the previous DVD release. Recommended.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.