When I was a kid I remember watching this movie that had a rocket car going through a mountain, aliens invading and everyone wore wild (to a kid) looking customs. Later on, in life, I found out those “wild” looking customs were all thanks to something called the 80’s tend. Unfortunately, at that age, I didn’t remember the name of the movie so I couldn’t watch it again later on it life, but so many images from the movie stuck with me over time. After years of wondering, my mystery was finally solved. I flipped on the television one day and it was playing. I sat watched as all the weird scenes that had made a permanent home in my brain were put into context with the movie and I found I still enjoyed it as much that time as I did the first I watched it. What was that movie? The Adventures Of Buckaroo Banzai Across The 8th Dimension. Yeah, the title is a bit of a mouth full, but it fits the flow of the movie to perfection.
Back in August 1984 The Adventures Of Buckaroo Banzai Across The 8th Dimension was released but had trouble finding its audience. The film had a budget of $17 million and only brought in $6.3 million. Even though it bombed at the box office, over time it has grown a cult following and has been pretty popular on home video. In August 2016 a two-disc Blu-ray collector’s edition was released with a couple of new bonus features added to the content.
Now, if you’ve seen The Adventures Of Buckaroo Banzai Across The 8th Dimension, then you know it’s a special kind of movie. For those of you who haven’t seen it, well, here you go… For a hundred and two minutes, W.D. Richter (director) and Earl Mac Rauch (writer) take you on a comedy/romance/adventure. The story follows a guy named Buckaroo Banzai, who happens to be a brain surgeon/rock musician/all-around genius. Buckaroo is about to make scientific history by traveling through the eighth dimension, all thanks to the Oscillation Overthruster that Professor Hikita and Banzai perfected. Unfortunately, this achievement has caught the attention of Dr. Emilio Lizardo, who previously tried to cross the eighth dimension and not only failed but brought something back “in” him. Emilio wants the Oscillation Overthruster so he can get back home and an alien race called the Black Lectroids what to stop that from happening. To make sure Emilio doesn’t succeed, the Black Letroids are willing to blow up the Earth. So, it’s up to Buckaroo Banzai and the Hong Kong Cavaliers to save the day, which they’ll do, but not before playing some tunes and solving the mystery of a woman named Penny Priddy. Yeah, you’re in for an odd ride.
The story is so odd it’s fun and if you’re a fan, like me, it never gets old even after all the times I’ve rewatched it. From oddball characters to crazy looking sets, the film resembles something made out of mosaic art. When you look at all the pieces individually, you can’t see how they would fit together or what they would make, but once everything is in place… it just fits. Yeah, the film has rough spots in the story, hard transitions, characters that make no sense, but all those jagged pieces find a way to fit together and tell an interesting story.
The playthrough is so entertaining. It keeps a pretty steady pace all the way through and there’s always something going on to grab your attention. This is one of those films that you will either love or not finish watching. For me, it’s a fun flick that I can throw on every few years when I start to forget bits and get some laughs.
The Adventures Of Buckaroo Banzai has a huge cast of faces you’ll recognize, like Peter Weller (RoboCop), John Lithgow (Interstellar), Ellen Barkin (Sea of Love), Robert Ito (Rollerball), Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future), Carl Lumbly (Men of Honor), Vincent Schiavelli (Ghost), Dan Hedaya (The Addams Family), Ronald Lacey (Firefox), Clancy Brown (Highlander), Pepe Serna (Scarface), Lewis Smith (The Heavenly Kid), Jeff Goldblum (Independence Day) and Billy Vera (Blind Date). After watching a lot of these stars over time, then going back and seeing them in this one was kind of fun and a bit of a learning experience. For instance, after all these years, Goldblum’s acting style, as entertaining as it is, really hasn’t changed. I knew Lithgow was talented, but come to find out, he always has been. Like Goldblum, Peter Weller made a career out of being… well, Peter Weller and it worked for him. Now, I’ll warn you, the acting is a bit hokey, but all across the board, the cast does a great job at selling their characters and scenes.
The special effects are eighties awesome. So, don’t expect big flashy things to happen on screen. However, for the time period, the effects were really good. The alien makeup looked good, but all the faces looked the same so if it wasn’t for the wardrobe you wouldn’t know who was who.
The Adventures Of Buckaroo Banzai Across The 8th Dimension is rated PG, but it does have language and violence. Both the language and violence are pretty low-key, no F-bombs and they did the shootouts old school in the sense that when someone was shot they reacted then fell down.
Sidenote: At the end of the movie the credits show the name of the sequel, Buckaroo Banzai Against the World Crime League, but unfortunately the sequel never came to be. Fast forward to May 2016, Kevin Smith was going to be adapting the film to television. Then in November of that same year, Smith stated that he’d be walking away from the project. Apparently, MGM (who holds the rights) filed suit against the original creators. So, it looks like we will not be seeing any new adventures of Buckaroo Banzai anytime soon…
Here’s what you’re getting with the two-disc Blu-ray collector’s edition.
— Disc 1 (Blu-ray) —
NEW Into The 8th Dimension – A Two-Hour Retrospective Documentary Including Brand-New Interviews With The Cast And Crew
NEW Audio Commentary With Michael And Denise Okuda
Audio Commentary With Director W.D. Richter And Writer Earl Mac Rauch
— Disc 2 (DVD) —
Buckaroo Banzai Declassified Featurette
Alternate Opening Sequence (with Jamie Lee Curtis)
Jet Car Trailer
Overall, is this the greatest movie ever? No way, but it’s definitely worth checking out if you haven’t seen it.