DVDs in Collection: 2,288
Page # 92

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension
Director: W.D. Richter
Screenplay: Earl Mac Rauch
Producer: Sidney Beckerman, Neil Canton, Dennis E. Jones, W.D. Richter
Cast: Peter Weller, John Lithgow, Ellen Barkin, Jeff Goldblum, Christopher Lloyd
Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Romance, Sci Fi

Running Time: 103
Aspect Ratio:  2.35:1 (NTSC Widescreen 1080p)
Sound: DTS HD Master Audio
Subtitles: German, English
Studio:  Sherwood Productions DVD Region:  1
DVD Release:  Discs:  1 (Cloud) []
Reviews:  When the multi-talented explorer Buckaroo Banzai (Peter Weller, Naked Lunch) figures out how to open the secret door to the eighth dimension with his newly designed overthruster, the supposedly crazy Dr. Emilio Lizardo (John Lithgow, The World According to Garp) phones someone in a galaxy far, far away and announces that it is time to go home and finish what he started years ago. A spaceship then approaches the Earth and a visitor from Planet 10 warns Buckaroo Banzai that Lizardo, who is actually Lord John Whorfin, a vicious alien maniac with dangerous ambitions, needs to be stopped before he unleashes nuclear Armageddon. With time running out, Buckaroo Banzai and the members of his rock band, The Hong Kong Cavaliers, go to work.

This film probably makes a whole lot more sense if one sees it while one is under the influence of some powerful drugs. It just seems like it could work only if certain parts of the brain are temporarily disabled so that one is tricked to believe that there is in fact a logical way to deconstruct it.

The plot is a real mess. Right from the get-go the film heads in multiple directions at the same time and immediately creates the impression that Earl Mac Rauch, who scripted it, could not control his imagination. There is enough material here for six or seven different films that could have been good, but instead Rauch mixed everything together hoping that the end result would appeal to a large number of viewers with very different tastes. In other words, there are bits and pieces that are good on their own, but as part of something bigger simply do not work.

This wacky mish-mash of ideas, however, is precisely why the film has earned a small cult following. Not only it is very different, but it goes against conventional logic with such enthusiasm that it almost succeeds in proving that a good film does not need to tell a good story -- or in this case one that actually makes sense. So, as an experiment, one could potentially embrace it and admire its wackiness.

But the film digs so deep for so long that eventually forgets what it is that it wanted to accomplish in the first place. If the intention was to charm with silly plots and jokes, then why leave all the political jabs? And if the intention was to satirize a world divided by ideologies and run by brainwashed wackos, then why overload the story with stupid chatter? The whole thing feels like a big cocktail envisioned by an overly ambitious bartender who had some expensive leftovers and assumed that he can create something colorful and tasty with them. So he mixed them up, but created something no one would care to order again. (And you better believe that this is exactly the reason why the planned sequel never materialized).

The visuals, however, are quite good. In fact, plenty of the special effects in this film are much better than the ones seen in Robert Zemeckis' Back to the Future, while some of the unique masks and costumes easily can be compared to the ones seen in Richard Marquand's Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi. (This is hardly surprising, however, considering that costume designer Aggie Guerard Rodgers worked on both films).

The film's soundtrack was created and recorded by Michael Boddicker, who won a Grammy Award for his song "Imagination", which appeared in Adrian Lyne's film Flashdance. As a synthesizer performer, Boddicker also contributed to a number of Michael Jackson's albums, and worked with the likes of Al Jarreau, Quincy Jones, and Lionel Ritchie.

Click on Title for International Movie Database link, click on Cover for Amazon link!

Close window

Created using DVDpedia on MacOS X Panther