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A nerdy computer whiz and his best friend create the perfect woman. Like a computer-generated fairy godmother, the duo's out-of-this-world creation guides the pair through the pleasures and pitfalls of adolescence.
For more about Weird Science and the Weird Science Blu-ray release, see Weird Science Blu-ray Review published by Brian Orndorf on October 16, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 2.5 out of 5.
Director: John Hughes (I)
Writer: John Hughes (I)
Starring: Anthony Michael Hall, Kelly LeBrock, Ilan Mitchell-Smith, Bill Paxton, Robert Downey, Jr., Suzanne Snyder
» See full cast & crew
Weird Science Blu-ray Review
Hughes makes one for the boys.
Reviewed by Brian Orndorf, October 16, 2013
Inside the average 15-year-old boy is a furious mechanism of sexuality that's so demanding, it clouds rational thought. In "Weird Science," writer/director John Hughes harnesses that impetuous, erection-heavy urge and channels the tension into a full-fledged cartoon; he relaxes his career concentration on teen pathos with a screwball comedy that combines titillation, humiliation, and the awe-inspiring, traffic-stopping screen presence of Kelly LeBrock.
Two bullied high school students, Gary (Anthony Michael Hall) and Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) are sex-starved losers, wishing for a day when girls would notice them. Finding inspiration from "Bride of Frankenstein," the boys decide one lonely night to create a woman using the synthetic playing field of computer technology, soon upping the ante with bra headgear and voodoo chants. Out of the effort comes Lisa (Kelly LeBrock), a gorgeous older woman who offers Gary and Wyatt the chance to satisfy all their needs. The boys are in shock, but, under Lisa's care, they are instilled with newfound self-confidence, learning the value of honesty from their fantasy object, along with verbal defensive moves to repel bullies (Robert Downey Jr., Robert Rustler) and the torment of Wyatt's demented older brother, Chet (Bill Paxton).
"Weird Science" is perhaps the most controversial entry in the John Hughes filmography, surpassing even "Curly Sue" for sheer creative randomness. Coming after the sensitive sleeper hit, "The Breakfast Club," Hughes took his vision for a joyride, hoping time spent observing horny, clueless teenage boys would recharge some creative batteries.
I wouldn't defend "Weird Science" in the court of tasteful cinema, but it's a picture that has always managed to tickle me, generating huge laughs with appealing exhibitions of slapstick and painful teen mortification. Built on a foundation of "anything goes" fantasy filmmaking, "Science" gallops for the giggle gold, using everything Hughes has in his bag of tricks to keep an outlandish story worthy of audience investment and side-splitting reaction.
The actors mug brazenly for the camera and even break the fourth wall to prod the viewer, there's nudity and assorted bombs of shame zone excitement to push the PG-13 further than expected, and the film isn't afraid to drop storytelling altogether to simply stand back and watch improvisational sparks fly. "Science" isn't an efficient viewing experience that resembles other Hughes features; it's loose and daring, silly and harmless. While the other pictures have always harvested a methodical sense of humor, "Science" is a farce, and a willing one at that, taking full advantage of Hughes's crack timing and deliriously superlative editorial orchestration.
And then there's Kelly LeBrock. While already established as a top model blessed with ethereal beauty she once begged us not to hate, LeBrock is Hughes's secret weapon in "Science." There are few adjectives around to describe the actress's visual appeal; she's a flawless creature with miraculous aim to her sex appeal, wielding her billowy lips and disco hair like a goddess. She's rightly cast as the object of desire here, but even better, she's a credible, enchanting actress. LeBrock steals the movie, turning up her charm to impossible volumes of delight. Hughes isn't interested in creating dimensional female characterizations in "Science" (this is a tree house production, no ladies allowed), so LeBrock has to squeeze her way into the fun, and she's a joy to watch once locked in full comedienne mode, bettering the film with her blinding beauty and bighearted camera charisma.
You have to hand it to Hughes here. The script calls for the ultimate sexual weapon to exhaustively bewitch Gary and Wyatt and the rest of their graduating class, and LeBrock, circa 1985, is the definitive casting choice. The role is her glass slipper. It's a shame Steven Seagal karate-chopped her promising career short.
There's no doubt that the screen favors LeBrock, but the guys make their own special impression as well. Hall and Mitchell-Smith are capable Laurel and Hardy types who accurately sell the teen unease vibe Hughes is searching for. Hall reaches for the brass ring here with his constant bug-eyed expressions and drunken improvised rants, but Mitchell-Smith (who was 15 years-old during production and frankly looks it), makes for a snappy, high-pitched straight man, dutifully following idiosyncratic instruction from the director to sly comedic peaks that occasionally require the wearing a panties and the aforementioned bras. Hall and Mitchell-Smith are a fluid, believable comedic team, adding the perfect pimply, gawky verisimilitude to a film that frequently ignores its story time and again in the pursuit of horseplay.
Of course, no discussion of the picture could pass without mentioning Bill Paxton as Chet. A hard-ass big brother who enjoys blackmailing his sibling, tight military crew cuts, and greasy pork sandwiches served in dirty ash trays, Chet is the ideal, animated villain. Paxton dives in with everything he's got here, and his performance brings to "Science" an even larger sensation of inspired anarchic energy. It plops an immediate smile on my face to consider that, in one year, Paxton went from this berserk performance to Hudson in "Aliens." The man could do no wrong.
I certainly fault Hughes for the final act, where "Science" tries to bus in a heart for a film that doesn't require a drip of sentimentality. Going from Gary and Wyatt challenged by a motorcycle gang of "Road Warrior" types at their whirlwind nerd-blossoming party to softly expressed pearls of girlfriend adoration feels a little stillborn to me no matter how many times I consume this movie. Everything is nicely performed, just clumsily laid in by Hughes, who, after riding this train into the dense forest of screwball liturgy, suddenly wants to locate the rails again for maximum structural articulation. It always rang false to me. Gary and Wyatt deserve love, but it doesn't have to slam the brakes on the runaway shenanigans.
Weird Science Blu-ray, Video Quality
The VC-1 encoded image (1.85:1 aspect ratio) presentation emerges from an ancient Universal master, resulting in a muddy, unpleasant viewing experience. Filtered to the extreme long ago, the BD exposes the limitations of the transfer with a slight HD upgrade in sharpness. Ringing, motion blur, macroblocking, and slight banding are present, while noisy backgrounds are persistent. Fine detail is almost non-existent in certain shots, with faces looking waxy and inexpressive, making a few long shots nearly impossible to discern. Design particulars are also robbed of texture. Color is flat with some bleeding, a tad faded as well, while blacks are largely solidified. Skintones are drab, losing LeBrock's inherent lustfulness. Print is clean. In dire need of a fresh scan, "Weird Science" disappoints immensely on BD.
Weird Science Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The 5.1 DTS-HD MA sound mix for "Weird Science" is straightforward, preserving the cartoon shenanigans with a satisfactory energy that emphasizes dialogue exchanges. Voices are crisp but rarely full, separated adequately from scoring efforts, which support without overwhelming the listening experience. Soundtrack cuts aren't nearly as powerful as desired, but they retain a pleasing circular quality (the title track being a highlight), reaching into the surrounds, while crowd antics and computer exploration also provide depth and mild directional movement. Low-end is sparse at best, rarely employed.
Weird Science Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Weird Science Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
"Weird Science" is a riotous production, blending sci-fi and technological conceits with an age-old exhibition of inexperienced teenage lust (the boys are faced with Lisa, and all they want to do is shower with her). Surely it's the least profound film Hughes ever made, yet, for sheer laughs, it's one of his strongest efforts. Throw in an infectious Oingo Boingo title tune, LeBrock in the finest fashions the Reagan-era could offer, and intoxicated tales of large-chested, knee-happy ex-girlfriends, and you have yourself one delectable adolescent comedy.
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Weird Science Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Weird Science Blu-ray - July 26, 2013
Universal Studios Home Entertainment has announced the Blu-ray release of John Hughes' Weird Science, starring Anthony Michael Hall, Kelly LeBrock, Ilan Mitchell-Smith, Bill Paxton and Robert Downey Jr. The '80s cult classic makes its Blu-ray debut on October ...
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