Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Sci Fi Top 100, #90: "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension" (1984)

Movie Stats:
Released 1984 (USA)
American, in English
Director - W.D. Richter
Stars - Peter Weller, Lewis Smith, Jeff Goldblum, John Lithgow, and many others

Plot Summary:
After crossing over into the eighth dimension, surgeon/rock star/modern-day superhero Buckaroo Banzai (Weller) and his crew face an alien invasion. Smith co-stars as Buckaroo’s right-hand man, Perfect Tommy; Goldblum as fellow surgeon/crew member, New Jersey; and Lithgow as their antagonist, Doctor Emilio Lizardo.

Violence; very minor gore; minor blue language.

Bad Stuff:
It’s one of those movies that acts like there’s backstory that the viewer already knows, perhaps a previous film, or maybe a book or comic book series. So I spent the whole film feeling like I was missing out on something. I hate that. It made it very difficult to concentrate on what was going on; I kept wondering if I should hit pause and do a quick internet search to sate my curiosity. (Note: It’s a standalone story.)

It’s not exactly coherent.

It suffers terribly from 1980s soundtrack syndrome.

Good Stuff:
I like that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s supposed to be weird and chaotic and light-hearted. It’s almost, but not quite, a satire.

I liked Buckaroo’s crew members, specifically Perfect Tommy, New Jersey, and Rawhide (Clancy Brown). Whenever something needed to be done, they got to business, cool as cucumbers.

It’s certainly not lacking inventive ideas.

The Verdict:
I really thought I was going to hate this one. Like, begrudgingly giving it any stars levels of hate. In the end, that’s not how I felt. While I wouldn’t say that I’m a fan, I admire its good qualities. It’s not selling a message or trying to break new ground. It’s just trying to entertain you. I don’t think I would recommend it to anyone - unless I knew the person liked super whacky comedies - but if someone told me they were going to watch it, I wouldn’t try to dissuade them, I’d probably say, “Let me know what you think.” So make of that what you will. Not a movie to loathe, but not one to love; what you feel about it would be entirely dependent upon your sense of humor.

I give it 2.75 stars.


Patricia said...

I think it has the best name on this list.

I haven't seen it myself. It might be fun to see all those guys a lot younger than they are now. :-)

balyien said...

The name is definitely pretty fun! Seeing a younger Lithgow (he's been 2 of these movies so far) is interesting. I'd only ever seen him in his older roles before.