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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension [Blu-ray]

 

(W.D. Richter, 1984)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Video: Arrow Video

 

Disc:

Region: 'B' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:44:35.852 

Disc Size: 48,183,967,240 bytes

Feature Size: 33,926,479,488 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.91 Mbps

Chapters: 13

Case: Transparent Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: June 1st, 2015

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
DTS-HD Master Audio English 3601 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3601 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), none

 

Extras:

Audio commentary with writer-director W.D. Richter and Reno (writer Earl Mac Rauch)
Q&A with stars Peter Weller and John Lithgow moderated by filmmaker Kevin Smith, filmed at Lincoln Center, New York (43:27)

The Tau of Buckaroo- Interview with Peter Weller (16:36)

Lord John - John Lithgow interview (13:40)
Buckaroo Banzai Declassified - An original featurette on the making of the film featuring W.D. Richter, stars Peter Weller, Ellen Barkin, John Lithgow and more! (22:51)
Visual essay by critic and author Matt Zoller Seitz (8:08)
Alternate opening featuring Jamie Lee Curtis (7:14)
Closing sequence (4:03)
• 14 Deleted scenes, featuring fourteen scenes from the workprint (14:17)
New Jet Car Trailer (2:26) and Teaser Trailer (1:17)
Gallery (2:46)

Bonza Radio (10:02)
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Matthew Griffin
Booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic James Oliver, illustrated with original stills

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: From the writer of Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Big Trouble in Little China comes a pop-sci-fi adventure that defies convention and went on to become one of the cult hits of the 80s.

Peter Weller is Buckaroo Banzai, a physicist-neurosurgeon-martial arts master-secret agent-rock star who has just made history with his invention, the Oscillation Overthruster. The Overthruster allows him to travel to the 8th Dimension, but this feat draws the attention of the Red Lectroids, an alien race (led by Christopher Lloyd) who have teamed up with Banzai s nemesis, the deranged Dr Lizardo (John Lithgow). Lizardo and the Red Lectroids are seeking the Overthruster to take over the world and Banzai, with his team of agents/band musicians, The Hong Kong Cavaliers, must stop them before it s too late!

With strong references to sci-fi and pop culture that span Thomas Pynchon and Orson Welles, Buckaroo Banzai is a film made by fans for fans and counts filmmakers including Wes Anderson and Kevin Smith among its admirers.

 

 

The Film:

Despite mixed reviews and a disastrous initial release that dumped the film into theaters for a week in the midst of the 1984 Summer Olympics, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eight Dimension went on to become one of the major cult films of the 1980s, developing a rabid following after its release on videotape. Drifting between satire and improbable sci-fi adventure, the film stars Peter Weller as Buckaroo Banzai, the son of an American mother and Japanese father who is a combination physicist, neurosurgeon, martial arts master, secret agent, and rock star who travels with his band of assistants/backing musicians, The Hong Kong Cavaliers. As the story opens, Buckaroo is driving his car through a mountain to test his new invention, the Oscillation Overthruster. However, a race of boorish aliens called the Red Lectroids have been waiting for such an item to become a reality, as they need it to return to the distant planet they call home. One of Buckaroo's arch-enemies, Dr. Emilio Lizardo (John Lithgow), who has been possessed by the Red Lectroids, attempted to created a similar device decades before; now escaped from an insane asylum, he is back at work with the Lectroids on a plan to control the world.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

 

Banzai - comic-book superhero, neurosurgeon, pop star, mystic, nuclear physicist and teenage heartthrob - is testing a new jet-propelled Ford Fiesta when he crashes into one side of a mountain to exit miraculously unharmed from the other. Evil Black Lectoids from Planet 10 have been exiled within the rock, and Buck accidentally releases a few, leaving him the only one who can save the Earth from destruction. His allies include a New Jersey cowboy-brain-surgeon (Goldblum) and a six-foot extra-terrestrial rasta; their chief enemy, evil Dr Lizardo (Lithgow). Richter's comic genre hybrid comes complete with its own mythology, and team of established superheroes, and is curiously appealing.

Excerpt from Timeout located HERE

 

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

The loyal fan-base for The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension should be thrilled that Arrow films are releasing this stellar mid 80's adventure yarn to Blu-ray.  It is dual-layered with a max'ed-out bitrate for the 1 3/4 hour feature. The transfer exports that 80's thick film appearance with the less-than stellar stock used back then. Colors show depth and there is no noise in the, many, darker sequences. The 1080P supports a textured, film-like, presentation in the original 2.35:1 frame.  It's only minor flaw are a few unnoticeable speckles. This Blu-ray looks excellent in-motion with impressive detail producing the best presentation I have ever seen of the film.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Arrow give you the option of a linear PCM 2.0 channel at 2304 kbps or a robust DTS-HD Master in 5.1 surround at 3601 kbps. The latter does export some new depth and a few less-subtle separations. I think it works wonderfully well with the film. Suiting the energetic film is an electronic score by Michael Boddicker sounding appropriately off-kilter at times and quite metronomic, rhythmic and pleasant in others. Also we must include the performance by Peter Weller singing Since I Don't Have You which also sounds better than I have ever heard before. There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.

 

Extras :

Arrow include the amusing tongue-in-cheek audio commentary with writer-director W.D. Richter and Reno (writer Earl Mac Rauch) from the OOP 2002 MGM DVD. There is a 3/4 of an hour Q&A with stars Peter Weller and John Lithgow moderated by filmmaker, Buckaroo Banzai fan, Kevin Smith, filmed at Lincoln Center, New York as part of the 2011 NY Film Festival (part of Smith's SMoviola Series). Newly recorded by Arrow is The Tau of Buckaroo - a 1/4 hour interview with Peter Weller discussing his role as Buckaroo Banzai. Similarly a supplement entitled Lord John gives actor John Lithgow 14-minutes to discuss his enjoyment of his role and being in the film. Buckaroo Banzai Declassified is the original 22-minute featurette on the making of the film featuring W.D. Richter, stars Peter Weller, Ellen Barkin, John Lithgow and others. I got a lot out of the visual essay by critic and author Matt Zoller Seitz (The B List: The National Society of Film Critics on the Low-Budget Beauties, Genre-Bending Mavericks, and Cult Classics We Love)- it runs 8-minutes and is also produced by Arrow. Some of the rest of the extras were also found on that initial DVD - the 7-minutes of alternate opening featuring Jamie Lee Curtis, the 4-minutes of closing sequence, the Deleted scenes, featuring fourteen scenes from the workprint, trailers, a gallery etc. The Arrow package offers a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Matthew Griffin and a new booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic James Oliver, illustrated with original stills.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Most fans of The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension were always hoping for a sequel. It has elements of Doc Savage and I am frequently reminded of the fun of Big Trouble in Little China.  The Arrow Blu-ray is superb package with impressively transferred a/v and extensive supplements. Fans will relish this new home theatre experience and delving into the new extras. Our highest recommendation! 

Gary Tooze

July 1st, 2015


 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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