The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984)

Rates: * * * 1/2

Why did I watch it? From the classic film watch list I drew up with fatiekitz

Cast, crew, etc.

Physicist, neurosurgeon, rock star, hero: Bucakroo Banzai can do it all. Having just invented an inter-dimensional vehicle, and travelled to a parallel universe, BB celebrates by playing an 80’s pop set in a neon lit warehouse, wooing Ellen Barkin (and saving her from suicide), and addressing the world media to announce his discoveries. Meanwhile, sinister aliens shadow his every move, determined to steal his ‘overthruster’.

This goofy, and extremely fun, low budget cult favourite revels in a thousand silly details. Our hero dresses like a member of ‘Huey Lewis and the News’; his team (purpose never explained: they don’t seem to do anything) are known as the ‘Hong Kong Caveliers’; Jeff Goldblum wears a candy coloured cowboy outift (also never explained); the alien enemies come from a world known as ‘Planet 10’, and all of them have ridiculous names like John Big Bootee; John Lithgow plays his villain like a campy nazi from ‘Allo Allo’; there are many super elaborate devices that look like they were assembled from the home hardware section at Kmart.

And this is just the beginning; every scene is STUFFED with DIY loopiness. Not to mention a bit of proto Rick and Morty-ness.

What the film loses in comprehensibleness, I was not following every element of the plot I don’t think, it makes up for with enthusiasm. There is an irrisistable energy to this movie; clearly the creative team love old B pictures and sci fi serials. And an amazingly stacked cast, many of whom were just about to become big stars; Goldblum, Lithgow, Barkin, Peter Weller, Christopher Lloyd.

A notorious money losing flop on first release, this has found a small, dedicated, and deserved audience in the decades since. I feel like the ‘making of’ is going to be great.

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