Every now and then, you will come across one of those movies where you hear a lot of people talk about it, but you have never seen it. Today’s movie was one such movie for me. I had heard about it for years but never got around to renting it. Then when it first came out on DVD (you know, back when it was a big deal when movies got released on DVD) there was a whole lot of buzz regarding this movie. So I finally rented it, thought it was ridiculously awesome, and would later on buy it. So let’s get to today’s movie, The Adventures Of Buckaroo Banzai Across The 8th Dimension (or Buckaroo Banzai for short).
The plot: Buckaroo Banzai is using his Jet Car to test his oscillation overthruster, a device that will allow him to travel through solid matter.He successfully manages to drive through a mountain but discovers some alien material underneath his car. Banzai’s experiment was witnessed by Dr. Emilio Lizardo, a physicist who had attempted his own experiments with an overthruster but with only partial success. The result had left him partially trapped in the 8th dimension where he winds up being possessed by Lord John Whorfin, the leader of an alien race that had been banished to the 8th dimension. Breaking out of the Trenton Home for the Criminally Insane, where he had been held for the past 50 years, and reconnects with other members of his race, called the Red Lectroids. Disquised as employees of Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems, the Red Lectroids have secretly been building a large spaceship which they plan to use to rescue the rest of their race stuck in the 8th Dimension, and then attack Planet 10, home of the Black Lectroids. To accomplish this, the Red Lectroids break into Banzai’s house and steal his overthruster to use in their ship. A messengar from the Black Lectroids, John Parker, arrives and warns Banzai that if he doesn’t find a way to stop John Whorfin, then his people will fake a nuclear attack that will trigger World War III. Banzai and his crew, The Hong Kong Cavaliers, accompany John Parker to Yoyodyne where they manage to stop the Red Lectroids and save the Earth.
Buckaroo Banzai was generally met with positive praise from the critics, earning a 71% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Many critics felt that the movie was ahead of it’s time; a movie that was “for, of, and by geeks and nerds before geek/nerd culture was mainstreamed.” For whatever reason, Buckaroo Banzai did not receive much in the way of marketing and would open against some fairly stiff competition against blockbuster titles such as Star Trek III: The Search For Spock, Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom, and Ghostbusters. This is probably why it only made a little over $6 million at the box office.
This movie is totally entertaining to watch, but I will admit that it may take more than one viewing to get understand everything. The cast was pretty incredible and all did a great job with their various roles. When I first watched it, I kept going “Hey, it’s that guy” with several people in the movie. The story was somewhat convoluted….ok, let me be honest. It kind of bounced around all over the damn place, but that actually added to it’s charm. The effects were pretty good considering the lack of CGI used in the movie, and at a time when CGI was starting to gain in popularity. So while it can be a little confusing to watch, this movie is definitely worth watching.
Rating: 4 out of 5