Review for Weird Science
Weird Science is a classic John Hughes’ Brat Pack film from the 1980s coming off his success from Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club it seemed that everything Hughes touched turned to gold. This film is generally regarded as a classic of 1980s Comedy/ Science Fiction and over thirty years on it still hits all the points that made John Hughes the epitome of school angst and comedy from that time.
Gary and Wyatt are nerd outcasts who after being bullied, rejected and generally derided decide that if they can’t get the girl then maybe they should make one. Inspired by watching Frankenstein they use a doll, their computer (which they manage to use to hack into the government systems) and a plethora of skin magazines to create the perfect women. This is in the form of Lisa. She is an amazingly beautiful women who has been created to obey the two and also endowed with magical powers.
This leads to the two showing off with their new ‘toy’ who they pass off as their girlfriend, but even this can’t stop the bullies, including Wyatt’s psychotic older brother Chet dumping all over them. The three plan to rectify this using all the powers that Lisa has to make sure that Gary and Wyatt come out on top.
I am so in two minds about this film. It is clearly a product of its time and (despite rumours of a remake) it could never be made in this way again. The fact they openly say these are two 15/16 year olds who are having a 'relationship' with clearly a 23-year old is a little disturbing. That being said, I do have fond memories of this film, not least because Kelly LeBrock was the most perfect choice for the ‘Perfect Woman’. Upon watching this time I would say that it isn’t as entertaining as I remember and though there are some perfect moments it doesn’t have as many as John Hughes’ other films and is one of the weaker films he has made.
Anthony Michael Hall and Ilan Mitchell-Smith are perfect nerd friends and it cannot be expressed just how amazing Bill Paxton is as Chet. You could almost imagine him going from this to Aliens as the same character. The rest of the ensemble are fantastic including a very young Robert Downey Jr who could easily be wearing a beard and exactly like he does now.
The effects are great throughout and the film is paced well to not outstay its welcome. If you view it as a 'fantasy' then you can overlook most of the questionable issues that the film has, but I still think it is a very enjoyable film that still holds up. However, in comparison to Breakfast Club or Ferris Bueller, the film does feel a little weaker.
This set is filled to the brim with extras and if you are a fan of the film you love just how much you can watch after the film has ended. If you are curious, there is an edited for TV version. What is great is they also include a split-screen comparison of the scenes so you can see all the ways it was edited which was usually due to language. This is a great way to be able to show the film to your children (though it is very tame by today's standards). Around three minutes of additional scenes are included in an 'Extended Cut', these scenes can be viewed separately and so none of the scenes are amazing and I can understand why they were cut. Nothing was lost by the scenes being deleted.
Casting Weird Science is a talk with Casting Director Jackie Birch who talks about how she found the cast. It was interesting to see that the Lisa (Kelly LeBrock) character could have been played by Sharon Stone or Robin Wright.
Dino The Greek is a talk with John Kapelos which was nice, but the role was so small I'm not sure why he was being interviewed. However, it was still nice to hear him talk about working with John Hughes and on the film.
Chet Happens is a talk with Craig Reardon who was the creator of the special make-up effects and responsible for the infamous 'Chet-Blob'. This is a longer interview and fairly interesting about his career and how he created certain parts of the film.
Fantasy and Microchips is an interview with Chris Lebenzon who was one of the Editors of the film about how he cut the film together. This is not as interesting as the others unless you want to know about editing techniques, but he was easy to listen to about his experience. Ira Newborn Makes The Score is the composer talking about creating the music for the film. I was surprised that this wasn't more interesting and though he had some good stories it really didn't do anything for me.
It's Alive! Resurrecting Weird Science is a Making of Featurette which was on the 2008 release. It is a shame that there is no up to date version of this, however I understand why they didn't with the death of Hughes. This was a great look at the film and how it was created by those who made it and those who it influenced.
Two Trailers, TV Spots, Radio Spots and Image Galleries finish everything off.
Weird Science is one of the films that was aimed at boys aged 8-15 and if you are that demographic you will love the film. If you watched it when it was first released you will either have a love for the nostalgia of it all and the film does feel like a time capsule of the 1980s with the music and fashion, or you will cringe at some of the moments and question why you loved it so much. It is a film that is fine and the effects and the conept have aged well, just leave all your morals at the door and you will be happy with this classic dose of John Hughes' filmmaking.