“Weird Science” is the film from John Hughes that’s managed to age the worst from his repertoire. Even “Dutch” can be considered somewhat more accessible than what “Weird Science” doles out. While it’s not a bad movie at all, “Weird Science” has gradually become an eighties comedy that has to be taken in the context of its decade. This is still a very strong air of misogyny and chauvinism within “Weird Science,” but it still works as a fun eighties romp with banner performances by its collective cast.
Teen misfits Gary (Anthony Michael Hall) and Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) design their ideal woman on a computer, and a freak electrical accident brings her to life in the form of the lovely, superhuman Lisa (Kelly LeBrock). She outfits Gary and Wyatt in cool clothes, surprises them with a Porsche and helps them stand up to bullies like Ian (Robert Downey Jr.) and Max (Robert Rusler). But, all the while, the boys must hide Lisa’s existence from Chet (Bill Paxton), Wyatt’s crude, disgusting big brother. As Lisa takes them on an adventure, they learn to take risks and learn something about themselves.
While John Hughes always devoted his fiction to more down to Earth teen drama and comedy, “Weird Science” is mainly a fantasy. It’s the very essence of a teen boy’s wet dream in where two geeks manage to build the perfect woman. As Lisa, she takes them on the adventure of their lives where in they find actually great women. “Weird Science” devotes itself to being ridiculous, which undercuts a lot of the inherent misogyny, and embraces so much silly devices. There’s the idea that computers can do anything if you know enough about the technology. There is also the wish fulfillment that occurs with Kelly LeBrock emerging from this experiment.
Even for the eighties, Kelly LeBrock is a bombshell, and she’s one of the most iconic of the decade. Along the way she continues the idea of wish fulfillment by taking down a lot of the characters biggest obstacles, including obnoxious older brother Chet a military nut who she turns in to an ugly turd monster as a form of punishment. There’s also their confrontation with mutant bikers that crash a big party in the climax that works surprisingly well within the film’s outlandish circumstances. The cast is top notch with folks like Paxton, and Robert Downey Jr., as well as Anthony Michael Hall, and Ilan Mitchell-Smith working well together.
“Weird Science” has its detractors, but it skirts the edges of adult entertainment and sure it objectifies women, but within the context of the decade it’s a fun and unique offering. Hughes was working outside his norm here, and he manages to concoct some fun and original elements of fantasy using them as spring boards for the coming of age of his often heroic protagonists that learn to grow up and out of their childish idea of the ideal women by the time the credits roll.
The new release from Arrow Video includes the original theatrical version of the film, as well as the Extended Version which features two additional scenes seamlessly injected in to the film. There’s also the Edited for TV version of the film that includes a comparison featurettes highlighting the alternate dubs and takes for normal television. There’s even an option to watch the additional scenes from the extended version separately. There are new interviews with five members of the film’s crew, including a six minute sit down with Jackie Burch who handled casting, a nearly twenty minute sit down with Craig Reardo who handled the film’s signature effects, a ten minute sit down with Chris Lebazan who discusses the editing, a thirteen minute sit down with Ira Newborn who composed the score, and a seven minute sit down with actor John Kapelo who discusses playing the biker Dino.
The sixteen minutes 2008 segment “It s Alive: Resurrecting Weird Science” is a great retrospective featuring interviews with the cast and crew, the legions of fans for the film, a discussion with Anthony Michael Hall, the slew of critics, and celebrity fans like Diablo Cody. There are the original theatrical trailers, the original TV Spots, and an extensive full color image gallery. Among the collectible inclusions there’s the reversible sleeve with original art from Tracie Ching. The First Pressing of the Blu-Ray includes an illustrated collector’s booklet that features new writing on the film by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas and Amanda Reyes, and whole new full color stills from the film.