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MOVIE INFO

Director:
John Hughes
Cast:
Anthony Michael Hall, Ilan Mitchell-Smith, Kelly LeBrock
Writing Credits:
John Hughes

Synopsis:
Two high school nerds use a computer program to literally create the perfect woman, but she turns their lives upside down.

MPAA:
Rated PG-13.

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1 (Theatrical Only)
English LPCM 2.0
Subtitles:
English
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 94 min. (Theatrical)
97 min. (Extended)
Price: $39.95
Release Date: 7/23/2019

Bonus:
• Both Theatrical and Extended Versions
• Edited for TV Version
• Additional Scenes
• “Casting Weird Science” Featurette
• “Dino the Greek” Featurette
• “Chet Happens” Featurette
• “Fantasy and Microchips” Featurette
• “Ira Newborn Makes the Score” Featurette
• “Resurrecting Weird Science” Featurette
• Image Galleries
• Trailers, TV Spots and Radio Spots


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RELATED REVIEWS


Weird Science: Collector's Edition [Blu-Ray] (1985)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 9, 2019)

In 1985, John Hughes wrote and directed two films. The Breakfast Club went on to become viewed as iconic, a movie embraced as an archetypal depiction of teen life.

Weird Science did not.

Oh, Science enjoys an audience, but after the more impactful – albeit melodramatic - themes of Club, it feels awfully light. That’s probably because it is light, as Science never tries to give us anything more than a wacky comedy.

Nerds Gary Wallace (Anthony Michael Hall) and Wyatt Donnelly (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) find it impossible to gain acceptance from their high school classmates. Obviously this means they can’t get dates or any attention from females as well.

Desperate to alter this situation, the brainiacs use their computer skills to design their perfect woman. In a Frankenstein-style circumstance, this lovely creation comes to life.

Named Lisa (Kelly LeBrock), the boys develop an unusual relationship with their fantasy woman. While she helps them develop self-esteem and confidence, she also leads the boys on various problematic adventures.

Hughes started his film career in 1983 as the writer of Mr. Mom and Vacation but in 1984, he made the fateful choice to lean toward teen-oriented stories via Sixteen Candles. While Hughes would head back toward more adult-focused fare in the future, he nonetheless will always be most closely attached to the six teen flicks he wrote between 1984 and 1987.

Science stands as the exception to Hughes’ rule. As indicated at the start, it offers a light affair and largely pursues a comedic path. Sure, it digs into themes related to bullying and social ostracization, but it mainly remains a goofy fantasy divorced from the reality-based emphasis of its peers.

I hit 17 in 1984, which might seem like the right age for Hughes, but I think I was just a smidgen too old for his flicks. Not that I didn’t still see the movies and enjoy them to varying degrees, but in reality, 14 or 15 felt like better target ages for these movies. By the time Hughes wrapped his teen films in 1987, I was 20 and halfway through college.

However my age impacted my interpretation of Hughes’ teen movies, I always felt a somewhat mixed attitude toward them. As mentioned, I saw all these flicks, but I had up and down impressions of them and never became a major fan of his work.

This means I lack much sentimental attachment to these films. Oh, I look at them with fondness borne of the era of my life they represent, but that’s the extent of it. I didn’t attach to the movies in the 80s so I don’t interpret them through teenaged eyes.

That’s especially true for Science, which I’d not seen since 1985. It disappointed at the box office, likely because Back to the Future sucked up the same target audience.

Science opened a full month after Future, which may make it look like Marty and Doc wouldn’t have impacted it. However, in 1985 movies hung around much longer than they do in 2019.

Future opened July 3, 1985, and it remained number one or number two at the box office all the way through late September! That could never happen now, and poor Science couldn’t muster better than fourth place during its opening weekend. It then plummeted and fell out of the top 10 after two weeks.

Would Science have fared better without the Future juggernaut to demolish it? Probably, but I can’t claim it deserved a broader audience, as it becomes Hughes’ worst effort.

Science hit screens less than six months after Club, and it feels like a quickie rush job. Hughes probably wrote the script during lunch breaks during the Club shoot, as it shows no signs of a work that required actual thought or effort.

(Aside: during this release’s extras, Anthony Michael Hall discusses the project’s development. Based on his comments, “wrote the script during lunch breaks” isn’t all that far off base!)

Hughes barely attempts a plot or character delineation, and Gary and Wyatt essentially offer the same person. Sure, Gary presents the more assertive and extroverted of the two, but that’s a fine distinction, as both seem awfully similar.

Beyond the theme of growing self-confidence, we get no real story here. Science just collects a bunch of comedic situations connected without much logic or purpose.

If these amused, I might not mind, but I can’t find a laugh in this rambling stinker. We’re stuck with nonsense like Gary’s drunken “black talk”, and the attempted hilarity goes on well past the point of no return.

I won’t fault the movie’s lack of circa 2019 political correctness. Suffice it to say that Science comes with all sorts of scenes that couldn’t fly today, but it’s a product of its time. Parts of the flick may make us cringe now, but they were typical of its era.

However, I will fault Science for its complete lack of cleverness, wit or entertainment value. It’s fun to see Robert Downey Jr. in a pre-fame role, but otherwise, this movie comes with no value.

Footnote: at one point, Gary and Wyatt watch Frankenstein on TV – and it’s in color! This was done solely for Science, though, as even in the crazy Ted Turner 1980s, Frankenstein never received the colorization procedure.


The Disc Grades: Picture C+/ Audio B-/ Bonus B+

Weird Science appears in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The image showed its age.

Sharpness varied. While some shots presented pretty good definition, more than a few others suffered from lackluster delineation. The movie usually showed reasonable clarity, but it often looked vaguely soft.

No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and I saw no edge enhancement. No print flaws marred the proceedings, but the image felt unusually grainy.

Colors were another lackluster element. Despite a broad palette, the tones tended to appear somewhat flat. They could come across as reasonably vivid at times but too often they were a little on the drab side.

Blacks were similarly decent but unexceptional, and shadows tended to come across as moderately thick. Although I never found this to be a bad transfer, it showed too many concerns to rate higher than a “C+”. It simply looked a bit too murky to satisfy.

The Blu-ray boasted a DTS-HD MA 5.1 remix. Don’t expect the latter to reinvent the wheel, however, as it lacked much ambition. A few decent examples of localized audio or movement occurred, but a lot of the track stayed either centered or spread to the sides in a general way.

The music worked best in this regard, as the score featured good stereo imaging. Effects showed less breadth and failed to deliver much involvement, though they added a little pizzazz at times.

Audio quality was dated but decent. Though speech could be reedy, the lines were acceptably natural most of the time, and they showed good intelligibility. Music became reasonably lively and full.

Effects were also fine given the movie’s age and budget, as these seemed fairly concise and didn’t cause problems. This turned into a workable multichannel remix for a low-budget flick from the 80s.

Note that the 5.1 mix showed some localization issues during its opening minutes. Until about the four-minute mark, the track leaned to the left in an odd manner. It “straightened up” and showed appropriate localization the rest of the way, but the beginning had issues.

Also note that the Blu-ray featured the movie’s original stereo mix as well. It didn’t show the same localization concern during the opening scenes.

This disc includes both the film’s theatrical (1:34:00) and extended (1:36:38) versions. The extra footage comes solely from two scenes: one in which the leads watch/discuss Frankenstein and foreshadow their own actions, and another that extends the big party scene.

Both deserved to belong to a deleted scenes compilation and they add nothing of use to the film. Fans will like the option to see them cut into the story, though.

Whereas the theatrical cut comes with both 5.1 and 2.0 audio, the extended version only arrives with the 2.0 track. I don’t think that’s the end of the world, as the 5.1 mix doesn’t add much to the sonic experience.

In addition to those cuts, we also get an edited-for-TV version. It runs one hour, 34 minutes, six seconds and presents the film in a 1.33:1 ratio.

This edition essentially mixes scenes altered to be “safe” for TV as well as the two extra scenes seen in the extended cut and some musical changes. It’s interesting as a curiosity but not satisfying on its own.

If you want to check out the differences between the theatrical and TV cuts but don’t want to watch the latter in full, go to the Split Screen Comparison. It lasts 18 minutes, 16 seconds and shows the “censored” versions of scenes as well as those that changed music.

it’s fun to view the cheesy ways they altered the film to be “TV safe”. To my surprise, apparently some shots of a topless woman still made it to broadcast!

If you don’t want to bother with the extended version, Additional Scenes brings us its two added segments in isolation. This domain lasts two minutes, 45 seconds and becomes a useful aspect of the disc, even if it’s a little disappointing we don’t get any unique material here.

Some featurettes follow, and we open with Casting Weird Science. In this six-minute, three-second reel, casting director Jackie Burch discusses how she and John Hughes assembled the actors. She adds good notes, especially when she touches on alternate actors considered for the roles.

With Dino the Greek, we find a six-minute, 55-second reel with actor John Kapelos. Probably better known as the custodian in Breakfast Club, he tells us a bit about his career and experiences during Science. This becomes a brief but engaging chat.

We learn about one specific creation during the 19-minute, 38-second Chet Happens. Here special makeup effects creator Craig Reardon relates details of the monstrous Chet seen late in the film and other memories. He seems blunt and engaging through this informative piece.

Editor Chris Lebenzon appears via Fantasy and Microchips. During this 10-minute, 46-second reel, Lebenzon examines his career and his work on Science. This becomes another enjoyable program.

Music comes to the fore in Ira Newborn Makes the Score. Through this 13-minute, 43-second reel, composer Newborn looks at his work for the film. He rambles a little at times but still brings us a smattering of worthwhile notes.

Originally found on a 2008 DVD, It’s Alive spans 16 minutes, 41 seconds and features Kapelos, Juno screenwriter Diablo Cody, Northwestern University Associate Professor in Screen Cultures Jeffrey Sconce, costume designer Marilyn Vance, critics Owen Gleiberman and Hank Stuever, Clueless director Amy Heckerling, Heathers director Michael Lehman, Sixteen Candles actor Justin Henry, Breakfast Club actor Ally Sheedy, and actor Anthony Michael Hall.

“Alive” covers various aspects of the production, though it tends to feel more like an appreciation. Some decent tidbits emerge, but the whole program seems fluffy and lackluster.

Also, it’s odd that Gleiberman thinks Oingo Boingo’s title tune helped movie Danny Elfman into his career as a film composer. Elfman debuted in that role with Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, a flick that came out at virtually the same time as Science, so clearly the song “Weird Science” had nothing to do with his shift.

A collection of ads appears. We get two trailers, two TV spots and nine radio spots.

Under Image Galleries, we find three domains: “Shooting Script” (132 screens), “Production Stills” (127) and “Poster & Video Art” (23). All offer good material, but the “Script” fares best, especially because it differs from the final film in many ways.

A wacky anomaly in the John Hughes filmography, Weird Science fails in almost all imaginable ways. Stupid, obnoxious and witless, the movie goes nowhere. The Blu-ray brings decent picture and audio as well as a fairly solid selection of supplements. Fans will like this release but I can’t endorse the movie itself.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main