The Adventures Of Buckaroo Banzai
Understanding the plot is brain surgery
Release Date: OUT NOW!
1984 | 12 | Blu- ray Director: WD Richter Cast: Peter Weller, John Lithgow, Ellen Barkin, Jeff Goldblum, Christopher Lloyd, Lewis Smith
No genre film is possessed of more swagger, verve and sheer joi de vivre than The Adventures Of Buckaroo Banzai Across The 8th Dimension!
A glacially cool Peter Weller is the titular renaissance man, who when not conducting brain surgery or breaking the sound barrier in a jet- car sings in a rock ’ n’ roll band.
It’s a film that confidently establishes a richly detailed and distinctive world – a stylish, acid- rinsed riff on ’ 40s matinee serials – populated by likeable characters. The script crackles with quotable one- liners, and John Lithgow’s outrageously- accented Dr Lizardo is one of the big screen’s most bracingly barmy bad guys.
Only problem? The plot. Successful movies can usually be summarised in a line; it feels like a sheet of A4 is required to do justice to Banzai’s, which involves two factions of alien “Lectroids” and a dimension that exists in the spaces between matter – even though much of what happens boils down to a run- around for a McGuffin. The script dumps you in at the deep end and leaves you to sink or swim.
For mega- fans like Kevin Smith, this is a laudable approach that places Banzai in the arthouse category. Well, maybe. But it looks an awful lot like simple incompetence.
A director/ writer commentary and a featurette ( 23 minutes) incorporating vintage promo interviews both ( annoyingly) pretend the film’s a docu- drama. An alternate opening with home- movie footage of the young Banzai is interesting but inessential, as are 14 trims from the work print. There are decent new interviews with Weller ( who’s amusingly pretentious) and Lithgow ( 31 minutes). But the highlight is a 2011 Q& A with the duo ( 43 minutes), hosted by Kevin Smith. Plus: an astute “visual essay” ( 28 minutes); audio interview with the unit publicist ( 10 minutes); TV pitch promo video; text- free credits sequence; extensive gallery; trailer; booklet. Ian Berriman
When would the 3.17 to Little Hallingbury turn up?