Weird Science (1985)
Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
|Year Of Production||1985|
|Running Time||89:39 (Case: 87)|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (41:09)||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Language Select Then Ads Then Menu|
|Region Coding||2,4,5||Directed By||John Hughes|
Universal Pictures Home Video
Anthony Michael Hall
Robert Downey, Jr.
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Russian Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Weird Science sees writer/director John Hughes' favourite nerd Anthony Michael Hall star as Gary. With his equally geeky mate Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell Smith), the boys are like any normal young lads who pine for the affections of a real female. Unfortunately the boys have something of an image problem and have serious trouble attracting the attention of any female.
So what do the nerds with the computer skills do to solve their problem about getting a woman? Easy - they make their own (and in a era before they could simply download the instructions from the internet this is a fair challenge). After watching a Frankenstein movie one night, the two decide to use a similar method to create the perfect woman. Into their computer they feed Playboy centrefold pictures, a gaggle of female measurements and other criteria which will create the perfect woman. After a massive lightning strike gives them a power boost (and after they hack a powerful government computer), the result appears - Kelly LeBrock's stunning Lisa, complete with English accent and boofy 80s hair. Our heroes are aghast - could life get much better than this, especially when Lisa's first words are "What would you little maniacs like to do first".
But if our boys thought Lisa was the answer to all their slobbering male fantasies they are about to get a little more than they bargained for. Not just a sex-object, Lisa has a brain and some feelings. She sets about gaining our heroes some acceptance amongst their peers and with the aid of a big party and a few rampant bikers might just pull it off.
Weird Science is certainly not the strongest film written and/or directed by John Hughes and probably gave us a fair warning of the sort of material he would soon be pumping out (the Home Alone and Curly Sue years). It was a real lull after the likes of Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club, though he did manage to get it all together in 1986 with the release of the classic Ferris Bueller's Day Off. One thing that Weird Science does do well is invoke a few nostalgic memories of the mid 1980s when us geeks thought we could do ANYTHING with our home computers and a little Peeking and Poking of the BASIC language. Ah those pre-internet days were so blissful.
This video transfer is very similar to the ones found on the Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club discs, though it is probably a little more saturated in colour this time round.
The aspect ratio on offer here is 1.85:1, which is the same as the original theatrical aspect. It is also 16x9 enhanced.
Most scenes are sharp enough with no major edge enhancement issues. Thankfully there are no shadow detail problems and while grain is evident almost constantly, it seldom becomes an overly annoying problem. There is no low level noise.
Colours are adequate without being super vibrant, though compared to the other discs in the collection this one is the most colourful. Skin tones are natural and blacks are solid enough.
No compression problems are evident, while film-to-video artefacts are also absent. There are several film artefacts present, but thankfully most are of the smallish black-and-white-spot variety and can be easily overlooked.
There are plenty of subtitles available. The English for the Hearing Impaired variety were found to be mostly accurate.
This is a dual layered disc with the layer change occurring early at 41:09.
As expected the same audio soundtrack selection found on Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club is featured here. There are a grand total of seven soundtracks with two in English. First up is a Dolby Digital effort in English, followed by a similarly specified Russian 5.1 effort. The minor soundtracks include French, German, Italian and Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 tracks. Rounding out the selection is the highlight (at least from a marketing perspective) - a half bitrate English dts soundtrack.
The overall presentation of the soundtrack is very similar to that found on the other two discs in the set, which is to say this isn't the most dynamic of remastered efforts, with only a little separation across the front channels and virtually nothing being sent to the rear channels. Again we do get a reasonably solid effort whenever some of the catchy 80s songs get played. Dialogue is clear enough for the duration of the film and there are no audio sync problems apart from a few seconds at 6:57 where Anthony Michael Hall's character speaks but no dialogue can be heard. There are about three lines that are completely inaudible, though switching on the subtitles allows you to at least work out what is going on.
The songs are the usual collection of popular 80s artists. There's the title track, Weird Science by Oingo Boingo, Turn It On from Kim Wilde, 80s darlings OMD (Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark) with Tesla Girls and Van Halen's version of the Roy Orbison classic Oh, Pretty Woman.
Despite the promised delights of the dts soundtrack, there is surprisingly little surround channel use heard throughout. A few musical cues and during the end credits song is about all we get in the surround department.
There is also only a little subwoofer use.
|Surround Channel Use|
Running for 2:36 this is a very cheesy trailer that could only be for a film from the 80s. Like the trailer for The Breakfast Club the technical quality is again only average and a fair chunk of the wafer-thin plot is spoilt.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
Once again the differences between the Region 1 and Region 4 versions of Weird Science are virtually identical to those of Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club. It should once again be noted at this point that all three of those releases have been available in Region 1 for at least two years.
The Region 4 version of this DVD misses out on;
The Region 1 version of this DVD misses out on;
French Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack
German Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack
Russian Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack
Unless one of the above languages is something you need, the two versions are essentially similar. From all reports the video transfers are also similar so we'll call it a draw, but remember at present the Region 4 version can only be purchased as part of the three-disc John Hughes 80s Collection (it comes with the infinitely superior Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club), while the Region 1 disc can be bought individually or as part of the three-disc High School Reunion Collection.
Obviously the weakest title in the three-film John Hughes 80s Collection, Weird Science will be the one most people pick up as a bonus when they purchase the collection for the superior Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club. While nowhere near as insightful as those other two titles, it is still a good dose of 80s nostalgia and will invoke the odd laugh or two.
This disc features a very similar video transfer to that of the other discs in the collection and is not too bad considering the age of the source material.
Once again the soundtrack department sports seven soundtracks, including a dts effort. As with the other titles there is only a little for the surround or subwoofer channels to do.
Apart from a very average trailer there are no extras.
|DVD||Denon DVD-3910, using RGB output|
|Display||Loewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).|
|Speakers||Front - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10|