Weird Science is a 1985 comedy film written & directed by John Hughes (Planes, Trains & Automobiles, The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, & Uncle Buck). John Hughes wrote the movie in a two days. It was produced by Joel Silver (Lethal Weapon franchise, Die Hard franchise, The Matrix franchise, Predator franchise, Commando, Road House, & Tales from the Crypt). The title came from a pre-Comics Code Authority 1950s EC Comics magazine. The new wave band Oingo Boingo did the theme for the feature. They made a television show based off this, it lasted from 1994 to 1998 & it ran for 88 episodes. Both a remake & a sequel has been rumored since 2013. The budget was $7.5 million & it grossed $38.9 million worldwide at the box office!!!!
Nerdy social outcasts Gary Wallace (played by: Anthony Michael Hall from National Lampoon’s Vacation, Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, & The Dead Zone) & Wyatt Donnelly (played by: Ilan Mitchell-Smith from The Chocolate War, Superboy, Journey to the Center of the Earth, & Identity Crisis) are humiliated. The bullies are Ian (played by: Robert Downey Jr. from the Iron Man franchise, Avengers franchise, Sherlock Holmes franchise, & Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) & Max (played by: Robert Rusler from A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge, Amityville: A New Generation, Sometimes They Come Back, & Vamp) from school. They are being punished for swooning over their girlfriends Deb (played by: Suzanne Snyder from Return of the Living Dead II, Killer Klowns from Outer Space, Night of the Creeps, & Retribution) & Hilly (played by: Judie Aronson from Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, American Ninja, The Sleeping Car, & Desert Kickboxer). Gary convinces the uptight Wyatt that they need a boost of popularity in order to get their crushes away from Ian & Max. Alone for the weekend with Wyatt’s parents gone, Gary is inspired by the 1931 classic Frankenstein to create a virtual woman using Wyatt’s computer, infusing her with everything they can conceive to make the perfect dream woman. After hooking electrodes to a doll & hacking into a government computer system for more power, a power surge creates Lisa (played by: Kelly LeBrock from Hard to Kill, The Woman in Red, Hard Bounty, & Wrongfully Accused)!
She’s a beautiful & intelligent woman with unlimited magical powers. They come back from a night of fun running into the brutal Chet (played by: Bill Paxton from Near Dark, Aliens, Fraility, & Predator 2), Wyatt’s mean older brother. He extorts money from him to buy his silence. After a humiliating experience at the mall, Lisa tells the students about a party at Wyatt’s house. She goes to meet Gary’s parents Al (played by: Britt Leach from Silent Night, Deadly Night & The Great Outdoors) & Lucy (played by: Barbara Lang from Charlie’s Angels & Soap) which goes bad. She alters their memories so that Lucy forgets about the conflict but Al forgets that they had a son altogether. Later that night, the party gets a little crazy. They try to impress Ian & Max but it backfires on them. Lisa tries to help them out by sending a gang of mutant bikers (played by: Vernon Wells from Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, Michael Berryman from The Hills Have Eyes 1/2, Jeff Jensen from The Running Man, & Jennifer Balgobin from Repo Man) invade the party to make them look cool & confident in front of the whole school. This causes Deb & Hilly pay more attention to the two boys. They connect with them after all the chaos. Lisa teaches Chet a lesson. Gary Wallace & Wyatt Donnelly finally got what they want in life!!!!
Weird Science is the perfect blend of the teen film with lots of comedy & some science fiction thrown in for good measure. John Hughes is a cult icon & a few of his other features are a little more high regarded than this one but I personally think it’s his most entertaining piece of cinema. I was a huge fan of the TV show that was inspired by this movie when I was growing up. Don’t get me wrong, Weird Science gets it’s fair share of props but I still think it’s highly under-rated when it comes to the teen film sub genre & the John Hughes universe. Hopefully this brand new blu ray will resurrect some interest for this comedy classic. The script is top notch, you can see why it has such a great cast because of the high quality written material. Anthony Michael Hall & Ilan Mitchell-Smith shine as the two biggest dorks trying their best to be popular. Robert Downey Jr. & Robert Rusler were a great match for them when it came to being the villains.
Bill Paxton is great at playing an asshole & he is hilarious in this. Kelly LeBrock at the time was one of the most beautiful women in the world. You can’t keep your eyes off her in Weird Science. I love her quirky performance as the bombshell with unlimited powers that teaches these kids how to make their lives better. Suzanne Snyder & Judie Aronson provide some execellent eye candy as the desired love interests for the two leads. One of my favorite parts of Weird Science is when the mutant bikers crash the party. The cameos are great here, Vernon Wells basically reprises his role from Mad Max 2 & Michael Berryman’s character looks like he is Pluto’s long lost twin brother from The Hills Have Eyes. It awesome to see them chew up the scenery real quick in this. Weird Science has more than a few memorable moments & the humor is on point. It actually has a nice message to it. The soundtrack is amazing & it gets stuck in your head for days after viewing this. It’s one of those features that I enjoy more & more with each experience. The replay value is crazy, it’s so much fun & beyond entertaining. I consider it one of my all time favorites, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!!!
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from Arrow Video! This brand 4K restoration (1080p 1.85:1) transfer from the original negative blows away the previous Universal catalog blu ray release! It’s one of the biggest upgrades that I’ve ever seen for a re-release in HD. It’s almost like seeing the film for the very first time, it’s a huge difference compared to that older disc. It has two different options for audio which includes English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 & English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 for the theatrical version. The extended version only includes a English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track. All the classic dialogue is crystal clear, that wild party scene is elevated, & the music sounds fantastic here with a nice boost to it. It also has English SDH subtitles. This is the definitive release for Weird Science, both picture & sound were major improvements from all the other home video releases!!!!
Let’s discuss the special features from Arrow Video. “Extended Version” of the film which features two addition scenes. “Edited for TV Version” of Weird Science. You get 3 different cuts of this feature for this release! “Split Screen Comparison” is a little over 18 minutes. It shows the differences between the theatrical & TV version with various scenes. “Additional Scenes” is almost 3 minutes, it has material that was re-inserted into the extended, So if you want to watch the original theatrical cut you can view these separate or maybe you were curious what was different in the extended version & this will point out those changes. “Casting Weird Science with Jackie Burch” is a little over 6 minute interview with the casting director. She chats about this being the third film that she did with John Hughes. She said Robin Wright was the original choice for Lisa & Kelly LeBrock beat Sharon Stone for the role. She brings up how she casts some of the important roles here & the actors who played them. She said she worked on Iron Man 3 & Robert Downey Jr. didn’t remember her from this. She mentions working with Joel Silver. She talks about some of the other projects she worked on over the years. “Dino the Greek with John Kapelos” is an almost 7 minute interview with the actor. He is hilarious here & he has lots of fun with this. He goes into how he got started. He chats about working director John Hughes on various films. He says he did things his way & that he wasn’t willing to play a puppet in hollywood like others. He talks about working on the Universal lot for this & a few other projects. “Chet Happens with Craig Reardon” is an almost 20 minute interview with the makeup effects creator. He talks about a few big films he worked on or was offered around the same time as this. He says his first meeting with John Hughes didn’t go great since the director never showed up so he just left because he didn’t have the time to wait. He chats about Hughes putting Jabba the Hutt as the description for the Chet monster. Hughes told him it was just for the studio because they had no imagination. He brings up that Hughes wasn’t that creative when it came to ideas for the monster. So he put his own spin to the character. He chats about meeting Bill Paxton & doing the effects for his role. He mentions a few nicknames for his work. He brings up some issues he had with the production. He shows his appreciation for John Hughes. “Fantasy and Microchips with Chris Lebenzon” is an almost 11 minute interview with the editor. He chats about how he got into editing. He talks about how he got Weird Science. He brings up the re-shoots. He talks about working with Joel Silver. He says he hung out with John Hughes & his wife during this. He mentions this film got so many other movies & big opportunities. “Ira Newborn Makes the Score” is an almost 14 minute interview with the composer. He says the title for this lead him in the right direction for what to use for the score. He chats about being caught in the middle of Joel Silver & John Hughes issues. He talks about creating specific music for certain scenes. He mentions Johm Hughes great taste for music & how he knew what the right for the film. He explains how music can help with humor. “It’s Alive! Resurrecting Weird Science” is an almost 17 minute archival featurette from the original release with interviews with the cast,crew, & admirers of the film. It has a few promotional extras that includes a “Teaser”, “Trailer”, “TV Spots”, & “Radio Spots” for Weird Science. “Image Galleries” that includes Shooting Script, Production Stills, & Poster and Video Art. It also includes a glossy high quality slipcover, reversible artwork, & a 43 page booklet. This is one of the best releases of 2019 so far! You need to add this to your collection. A limited edition steelbook was also released. It’s available everywhere right now, CHECK IT OUT!!!!