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.