Weird Science is one of my all-time favourite ’80s comedies, and one of many times when the late-great writer/direcor John Hughes hit all the right notes, even though I didn’t realised until now that this was based on a comic book (like every other film made today!), most likely because the comic book’s writers were uncredited, and there was no internet for a while yet.
I was on my way to being around the same age as Gary (Anthony Michael Hall) and Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) by the time I saw this, as it always took a year or two for films to filter through to the home video market in the UK, but as you’re a young lad and get to that age, you’ll be doing as they do, as they fantasise about falling in love with the two hottest girls in the school, but they’ll never get with them, right? Of course they will, but it’ll take just over 90 minutes to achieve that. In reality, it’s rather different.
As with Sixteen Candles, Hall is again on top form, while Mitchell-Smith always looks one step from giggling his head off, so not the greatest actor, but IMDB confirms he only acted for a few more years after this, and then went on to be a University Professor in both History and English!
At the time, the latter would’ve been around 15 when Kelly Le Brock, as Lisa, the woman they created, is grabbing his backside. In 2019, this would have certain sections of society shouting, “The children! Won’t someone think of the children!?”, but had I been in the same situation, then I’d also have jump at the chance.
Aside from the two lads, model Kelly LeBrock never reached the dizzying acting heights again as she did as the computer-creation Lisa, leaving another late, great collaborator on the project, Bill Paxton, to continue to shine in his career as he did here, as Wyatt’s hateful brother Chet. Will he get his comeuppance? Oh yes, and in such a brilliant way, too.
There’s also a smaller role as a high-school ‘jock’ for one of today’s biggest stars, Robert Downey Jr, who appears alongside Vamp‘s Robert Rusler, and Sixteen Candles & Breakfast Club‘s John Kapelos also shows up here as the Kandy Bar Owner, early on.
Jokes come thick and fast, with quoteable one-liners aplenty, such as “Anything bigger than handful, you’re risking a sprained tongue”, and as with Sixteen Candles, there are knowing looks to the camera, not only from Hall, but also his compatriot.
Oh, and if you remember this film as a 15-certificate, then like Sixteen Candles, it’s been reclassified a 12, and still uncut. Certificates are sometimes lowered over time, as society changes, and I think that’s right in the case of both films, especially as they’re NOT peppered with f-words like too many modern films.
If there’s any downside, then it’s that Paxton features early on, and towards the end, but is missing for the majority of the film, but then it’s mostly about the two geeks.
Now, how about a nice, greasy pork sandwich served in a dirty ashtray?
Compared to Sixteen Candles, the picture for this a fair bit better, even though they were both shot with the same equipment. Still, when the day comes that I can explain life, I’ll be a rich man.
And there is a DTS 5.1 soundtrack on this disc, but only in the theatrical version. However, since these films were never made in any more than stereo at the time, you’re missing nothing by just hearing stereo, and that’s what I heard whilst watching the extended version.
The extras are as follows, and I’ll go into these in more detail soon:
- High Definition (1080p) Blu-rayTM presentation of the original Theatrical Version of the film (94 mins), plus seamlessly-branched exclusive Extended Version (97 mins), featuring two additional scenes newly remastered in high-definition
- Original lossless stereo audio, plus 5.1 DTS-HD MA surround option (theatrical version only)
- Original English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
- Edited-for-TV version of the film (SD only, 94 mins), plus comparison featurette highlighting the alternate dubs and edits
- Option to watch additional scenes from the Extended Version separately
- Casting Weird Science , an all-new interview with casting director Jackie Burch
- Dino The Greek, a newly-filmed interview with supporting actor John Kapelos
- Chet Happens, a newly filmed interview with special makeup creator Craig Reardon
- Fantasy and Microchips, a newly filmed interview with editor Chris Lebenzon
- Ira Newborn Makes The Score, a newly filmed interview with the composer
- It’s Alive! Resurrecting Weird Science, an archive documentary featuring interviews with cast, crew and admirers, including star Anthony Michael Hall
- Theatrical trailers, TV spots and radio spots
- Image galleries
- BD-ROM: PDF of the original shooting script
- Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Tracie Ching
- FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collectors booklet featuring new writing on the film by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas and Amanda Reyes
The menu features a piece of the Oingo Boingo main theme mixed with clips from the film, there are subtitles in English and the bog-standard 12 chapters.
Running time: 97 minutes
Distributor: Arrow Films
Released: July 22nd 2019
Sound: DTS 5.1 HD Master Audio, DTS 2.0 HD Master Audio (Stereo)
Widescreen: 1.85:1 (35mmn)
Disc Format: BD50
Director: John Hughes
Producer: Joel Silver
Writer: John Hughes
Comic Book: Al Feldstein, William M Gaines
Music: Ira Newborn
Gary Wallace: Anthony Michael Hall
Lisa: Kelly LeBrock
Wyatt Donnelly: Ilan Mitchell-Smith
Chet Donnelly: Bill Paxton
Deb: Suzanne Snyder
Hilly: Judie Aronson
Ian: Robert Downey Jr
Max: Robert Rusler
Lord General: Vernon Wells
Al Wallace: Britt Leach
Lucy Wallace: Barbara Lang
Mutant Biker: Michael Berryman
Henry Donnelly: Ivor Barry
Carmen Donnelly: Ann Coyle
Gymnast: Suzy J Kellems
Dino: John Kapelos
Wyatt’s Father: Doug MacHugh
Wyatt’s Mother: Pamela Gordon
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.