A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension

March 31, 2010

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension

This is a strong contender for me for greatest movie ever made.  Certainly it is in my top ten favorite movies of all time.  There’s really nothing quite like it out there.  It’s an action/adventure/comedy – somewhat like Ghostbusters I suppose.  It has a cool adventure story with aliens and the threat of nuclear annihilation and spaceships and such, but it also is played very light.  There aren’t a lot of laugh-out-loud jokes, but the movie has a sly wit.  The actors and characters seem unaware that they’re in a comedy.  They’re surrounded by strangeness, but it’s perfectly natural and part of their world.

What I love most, however, is Buckaroo himself.  I’m perfectly serious when I say that I still to this day want to grow up to be Buckaroo Banzai.  He’s a scientist/neurosurgeon/rockstar.  He’s the ultimate new renaissance man, and he’s surrounded himself with a team of comparable adventurers.  His celebrity is apparent throughout the movie.  Within the world of this movie there’s the Buckaroo Banzai comic book, the arcade game, fans camped out like deadheads outside his compound.  He has a direct line to the President of the United States, who hangs on his every word.  His fanclub (the Blue Blazers) are also a sort of worldwide militia who can be called upon to help him at any time.  It’s a little clearer in the book, but the Hong Kong Cavaliers (Buckaroos bandmates/team of fellow scientists) are a crack team who train together to be prepared for any adversity.  (A word on the book – if you like the movie you should buy it!  Earl Mac Rauch wrote both the book and the movie, and the movie really does a fantastic job capturing all the best parts of the book.  I’d say that this and Princess Bride are the two most faithful book-to-movie adaptations I’ve ever seen.  Oh, and Sin City too.)

Another part of the movie’s charm is in the wonderful direction of D. W. Richter.  The movie is one of the most re-watchable ones in our collection because it is so packed with details.  Little things like one of the evil red Lectroids sucking on a battery as though it were a juice box which you’ll likely miss the first couple times through but pick up on in future viewings.  Also, the characters are constantly stepping on each other’s lines talking over and around each other in such a way that multiple viewings are almost a necessity to catch everything.

And the cast.  Oh, man, the cast!  Peter Weller, Jeff Goldblum, Christopher Lloyd, Clancy Brown… every single person in this movie is totally committed to their role.  John Lithgow will forever and always be John Whorfin (“W. H. O. R. F. I. N!  You got that, honey?  John – J. O. H. N!”) to me.

We’re watching the extended edition of the movie on DVD and let me say that it’s a treat.  For years and years I had an ancient VHS copy of this movie which had been watched near to death.  It was irritatingly pan and scan except for the opening and closing credits, when it was anamorphic so everybody was all elongated and tall.  So I would have accepted just a plain DVD version that had the movie in widescreen and wasn’t worn almost completely out, but instead we are treated to one of the best special edition DVDs out there.  It has a great feature where Pinkey Carruthers (Buckaroo’s biographer and a Blue Blazer regular) provides facts and trivia about the “real” Buckaroo upon who’s life this movie was based.  It has a commentary track with Earl Mac Rauch and D. W. Richter.  It has deleted scenes and a teaser for a never-produced television show based on the movie that they once shopped around.

As Amanda is extensively proving in her review this is also one of the most quotable movies of all time as well.  Practically every other line is something we quote out of context to each other all the time.

Man.  I do love this movie!

Finally: A note for tomorrow.  We’re going to stay up late tonight to watch our movie for Thursday early since our schedules are so very incompatible tomorrow.  We’ll try to have our review up in the morning before leaving for work.

March 31, 2010 - Posted by | daily reviews | , , , ,

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