The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension: Wikis

  
  

Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Encyclopedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension

Theatrical poster
Directed by W. D. Richter
Produced by W. D. Richter
Neil Canton
Written by Earl Mac Rauch
Starring Peter Weller
John Lithgow
Ellen Barkin
Jeff Goldblum
Christopher Lloyd
Lewis Smith
Music by Michael Boddicker
Cinematography Fred J. Koenekamp
Editing by George Bowers
Richard Marks
Studio Sherwood Productions
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date(s) August 15, 1984
Running time 103 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $12,000,000
Gross revenue $3,665,306

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension! (often shortened to Buckaroo Banzai) is an American surreal science fiction film that has reached cult film status. It was released in 1984, directed and produced by W. D. Richter, and concerns the efforts of the multi-talented Dr. Buckaroo Banzai (Peter Weller), a physicist, neurosurgeon, Samurai, rock musician, Jet Car driver, and comic book hero, to save the world by defeating a band of inter-dimensional aliens called Red Lectroids from Planet 10. The film is a cross between the action/adventure and science-fiction movie genres, and also includes elements of comedy, satire, and romance. It is also made to feel like one in a series of movies, by the use of ongoing allusions to other characters, adventures and events.

Contents

Plot

Buckaroo Banzai spans roughly 50 years and begins in the middle of the story. It doesn't fill in some of the earliest parts of the story until the viewpoint characters themselves unravel the mystery — roughly halfway through the movie. Essentially, the plot concerns the efforts of the multi-talented Dr. Buckaroo Banzai to save the world by defeating a band of inter-dimensional aliens called Red Lectroids.

The theatrical release version of the film opens with Banzai performing a test-run of his Jet Car, a heavily modified pickup truck powered by a jet engine and capable of exceeding Mach 1. The car is also equipped with a secret device called an "oscillation overthruster", which Banzai and his associates hope will allow it to drive through solid matter. The test is a success; Banzai stuns onlookers by driving the Jet Car directly through a mountain. Emerging from the mountain, Banzai finds that an alien, pod-like organism has attached itself to the car during transit.

Hearing of Banzai's success, Italian physicist Dr. Emilio Lizardo (John Lithgow) breaks out of the Trenton Home for the Criminally Insane in New Jersey, where he's been imprisoned for 50 years. In a flashback sequence, we learn that Banzai's assistant and mentor, Dr. Hikita (Robert Ito), was present at a failed overthruster experiment of Lizardo's in 1938. Failing to transit through the target wall, Lizardo is briefly trapped in the 8th dimension where his mind is taken over by Lord John Whorfin, hence his current diagnosis of a delusional disorder.

Buckaroo Banzai (Peter Weller) salutes his Black Lectroid ally as he descends under parachute at the end of the movie.

Whorfin is the leader of the Red Lectroids, a race of alien reptiles whom he had led on an expansionist campaign on Planet 10. After being defeated by the peace-loving Black Lectroids, Whorfin and his band of followers were banished into the formless void of the 8th dimension. Lizardo's failed experiment accidentally released Whorfin, where despite being trapped in Lizardo's body, he maintains his leadership of the Red Lectroids. He soon brings over a thousand of them to Earth in an incident that was reported in 1938 by Orson Welles in his radio broadcast The War of the Worlds, only to have it retracted as fiction.

These Red Lectroids now pose as owners and employees of a defense contracting company named Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems. They have been working on building a large spacecraft under the cover of a US Air Force program, the "tri-wing bomber", and intend to rescue the remaining exiles in the 8th dimension, then travel on to Planet 10 and take over. The lack of a working overthruster was a problem until Banzai manages to produce one, and Whorfin hopes to steal it. Banzai's team, the Hong Kong Cavaliers, becomes aware of the Yoyodyne link, and hacks into their computer. They discover that everyone there has the first name John, with various last names such as Yaya, Smallberries, and Bigbooté. At first they think it's a joke, but then they also note that all the Yoyodyne employees applied for Social Security cards on November 1, 1938 (two days after the War of the Worlds broadcast) and all in the same town, Grover's Mill, New Jersey (the town where the spaceship in the War of the Worlds broadcast landed). They deduce the connection between Lizardo, Yoyodyne and the Lectroids, and inform Banzai.

In the meantime, a Black Lectroid spacecraft orbiting Earth contacts Banzai, giving him a cryptic nonverbal message that enables him to see through Lectroids' natural pheromonic camouflage. (To unassisted humans, Black Lectroids appear to be Rastafarian Jamaicans, while Red Lectroids appear as caucasians.) The ship also sends a "thermo-pod" to Earth, with a messenger who brings Banzai a holographic message from the Black Lectroids' leader, John Emdall, explaining Lord Whorfin's history and motives, and giving an ultimatum: stop Whorfin and his Red Lectroid army, or the Black Lectroids will protect themselves by staging a fake nuclear attack so letting the U.S. and USSR destroy the world in a burst of Cold War paranoia.

With help from the Black Lectroid messenger John Parker, Banzai's usual posse of helpers ("those hard-rockin' scientists, the Hong Kong Cavaliers"), a collection of civilian volunteers named "The Blue Blazer Irregulars" and a young woman named Penny Priddy (Ellen Barkin), who just happens to be the long-lost twin sister of Buckaroo's late wife, Buckaroo succeeds in his mission, destroying the Red Lectroids and saving Earth. During the end credits, there is a screen title proclaiming the upcoming sequel Buckaroo Banzai Against the World Crime League (see below).

Cast

Buckaroo Banzai

Peter Weller starred as Buckaroo Banzai; a renaissance man, a top neurosurgeon, particle physicist, race car driver, rock star and comic book hero. In the film, his latest experiments open the door to the 8th dimension and unwittingly start an interstellar battle for the world.

The Hong Kong Cavaliers

The Hong Kong Cavaliers are the assistants of Banzai in the movie, and are similar to Doc Savage's Fabulous Five. They reside at the Banzai Institute, a think-tank located in Holland Township, New Jersey. They are multidisciplinary scientific experts in a variety of fields, and also are his rock and roll band. They are referred to by code names or nicknames and, except for New Jersey, their real names are unknown.

  • Clancy Brown as Rawhide, arguably Buckaroo's lieutenant, and plays piano. He is killed by a Red Lectroid's poisoned barb.
  • Pepe Serna as Reno Nevada who plays saxophone. Reno is romantically involved with another of Buckaroo's teammates, a woman named Pecos, who appears in the novel, but not in the film.
  • Lewis Smith as Perfect Tommy who plays rhythm guitar, and is generally accepted to be perfect. He designed the Jet Car's suspension system, which allows it to hug the ground even at supersonic speeds.
  • Jeff Goldblum as New Jersey, whose real name is Dr. Sidney Zweibel. He is a neurosurgeon, a colleague of Dr. Banzai from Columbia. He sings a little, dances and plays piano.
  • Billy Vera as Pinky Carruthers, one of Buckaroo's Blue Blazer Irregulars. Plays bass guitar.

In addition to the Hong Kong Cavaliers, Buckaroo Banzai is assisted by a multi-talented network of supporters and fans. The Radar Rangers are an amateur radar enthusiast group that helps Buckaroo track major threats. The Blue Blazer Irregulars are people of all ages and from all walks of life and help in various ways. Their organization includes assault teams in its structure. The Rug Suckers are a team of armed civilians who operate a rug cleaning company, but are available to help Banzai when called on.

Development

In 1974, W. D. Richter's wife read a review of Dirty Pictures from the Prom, the debut novel from Dartmouth College graduate and writer Earl Mac Rauch. Richter, also an alumnus from the college, read the book, loved it and wrote Mac Rauch a letter.[1] The writer was flattered and agreed. The two men began corresponding and when the writer told him about his interest in becoming a screenwriter, Richter offered him an open-ended invitation to visit him in Los Angeles where he was attending the University of Southern California[2] and working as a script analyst for Warner Brothers.[3]

Screenplay

Years passed and Richter became a successful screenwriter. Mac Rauch took Richter up on his offer and arrived in L.A. Richter proceeded to introduce the writer to producer/director Irwin Winkler who gave Mac Rauch rent money for the next six months.[2] Over several dinners, Mac Rauch told Richter and his wife about a character named Buckaroo Bandy that he was thinking of writing a screenplay about. Richter and his wife liked the idea and paid Mac Rauch $1,500 to develop and write it. According to MacRauch, his script was inspired by "all those out-and-out, press-the-accelerator-to-the-floor, non-stop kung fu movies of the early '70s".[4] Richter remembers that Mac Rauch wrote several Banzai stories and that he "would get thirty or forty pages into a script, abandon its storyline and write a new one".[1] Mac Rauch recalled, "It's so easy to start something and then - since you're really not as serious about it as you should be - end up writing half of it ... You shove the hundred pages in a drawer and try to forget about it. Over the years, I started a dozen Buckaroo scripts that ended that way".[3]

Mac Rauch's original 30-page treatment was entitled, Find the Jetcar, Said the President - A Buckaroo Banzai Thriller.[3] Early on, one of the revisions Mac Rauch made was changing Buckaroo's surname from Bandy to Banzai but he wasn't crazy about it. However, Richter convinced him to keep the name.[2] The Hong Kong Cavaliers also appeared in these early drafts, but, according to Richter, "it never really went to a completed script. Mac wrote and wrote but never wrote the end".[2] Another early draft was entitled, The Strange Case of Mr. Cigars, about a huge robot and a box of Hitler's cigars.[3] Mac Rauch shelved his work for a few years while he wrote New York, New York for Martin Scorsese and other un-produced screenplays.[3]

In 1980, Richter talked with producers Frank Marshall and Neil Canton about filming one of his screenplays.[5] Out of this meeting, Canton and Richter formed their own production company and decided that Buckaroo Banzai would be the first film. Under their supervision, Mac Rauch wrote a 60-page treatment entitled, Lepers from Saturn.[3] They shopped Mac Rauch's treatment around to production executives who were their peers but no one wanted to take on such unusual subject matter by two first-time producers and a first-time director. Canton and Richter contacted veteran producer Sidney Beckerman at MGM/United Artists who Canton had worked with before.[5] Beckerman liked it and introduced Richter and Canton to studio chief David Begelmen. Within 24 hours they had a development deal with the studio.[3] It took Mac Rauch a year and a half to write the final screenplay and during this time, the Lepers from the treatment became Lizards and then Lectroids from Planet 10.[5] Much of the film's detailed character histories were taken from Mac Rauch's unfinished Banzai scripts.[6]

However, a Writers Guild of America strike forced the project to languish in development for more than a year. Begelmen left MGM because several of his projects had performed poorly at the box office. This put all of his future projects, Buckaroo Banzai included, in jeopardy.[3] Begelmen formed Sherwood Productions and exercised a buy-out option with MGM for the Banzai script. He took it to 20th Century Fox who agreed to make it with a $12 million budget.[7] Mac Rauch ended up writing three more drafts before they had a shooting script.[4]

Casting

To cast the role of Buckaroo Banzai, Richter wanted an actor that "could both look heroic with grease all over his face, and project the kind of intelligence you would associate with a neurosurgeon and inventor".[8] The studio wanted a recognizable movie star but Richter and Canton wanted to cast a relatively unknown actor.[3] Richter looked in New York City because he assumed that an actor with experience on stage and small films "would be able to completely interact with props".[8] He had been impressed by Peter Weller's performance in Shoot the Moon and met with him.[5] The actor was hesitant, at first, to take the role because he was unclear on the overall tone of the movie. "Would it be campy? Would it be a cartoon? Or would it be the sort of wacky, realistic film that would catch people sideways - and not be a cartoon", Weller remembers.[3] Richter told him Banzai's story and convinced Weller to do the film. The actor says that he based his character on Elia Kazan, Jacques Cousteau, Albert Einstein, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Adam Ant.[5]

For the role of Dr. Emilio Lizardo, the studio wanted to cast an unknown actor but Mac Rauch had written the role with John Lithgow in mind. Like Weller, he was not sure about the character but Richter convinced him by "claiming what a real feast for an actor this wonderful Jekyll and Hyde character was", the actor said.[3] For Lizardo's accent, Lithgow spent time with an Italian tailor at MGM and recorded his voice. He changed his walk to that of an "old crab, and because my alien metabolism is supposed to be messed up".[5] Lithgow said of his character, "playing Lizardo felt like playing the madman in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari".[5]

Ellen Barkin, who played the romantic interest "Penny Priddy", describes the film as "if Terry Southern had written Star Wars. None of the characters are quite what they should be - just my kind of thing."[5] Richter's only choice to play John Bigboote was Christopher Lloyd. Richter first met Jeff Goldblum on Invasion of the Body Snatchers and wanted him to play New Jersey. The actor admired his writing and was eager to work with the cast the director had assembled. Lewis Smith was asked to dye his hair blond and it took eight hours and he saw it go from red to orange to fluorescent yellow to white.[5]

Clancy Brown said that his character is "very common sensical. He's the everyman of the film".[5] Robert Ito was so determined to get the role of Dr. Hikita, that he disguised himself as an old man, designing his own makeup job to age himself 30 years.[5]

Pre-production

Production designer Michael Riva had worked with Richter before and spent two years working on the look for Banzai before pre-production.[5] He and Richter studied all kinds of art and literature for the film's look, including medical journals, African magazines, and Russian history. The inspiration for the look of the Lectroid masks came from Riva sporting a lobster on his nose. Richter based the Lectroids' alien form on a Canadian anthropologist's extrapolation of what dinosaur's might have evolved into if they had survived but modified the concept because it would have required prosthetics that would have immobilized the actors.[9] Their makeup consisted of 12 separate pieces of latex appliances per alien. Each actor's makeup was unique with casts taken of their faces.[9] Their outfits were influenced by contemporary Russian lifestyles and they went with greens, blues and yellows because, according to Riva, they are "sick and anemic."[5] Richter wanted the Red Lectroids to have a "warrior-like demeanor, but in an elegant, not fierce fashion".[9] Their costumes came from African tribal markings. For the Black Lectroids, Riva consulted Russian history to give them a "baggy-suited, Moscow bureaucrat sort of image".[9] For Buckaroo's look, the costume designer had him wear a Gianni Versace sports jacket and a Perry Ellis suit and tie. He also wears a recut Giorgio Armani fabric suit.[5]

Principal photography

By the time of filming, Richter had a 300-page book called The Essential Buckaroo[2] that consisted of notes and had every incomplete script Mac Rauch wrote over the years.[3] Principal photography began during the second week of September 1983 on locations in and around South Gate, an industrial suburb of L.A.[3] Buckaroo's neurosurgery scene with New Jersey was shot at the Lakeview Medical Center in the San Fernando Valley.[5] The jet car sequences were shot in October on a dry lake north of the San Bernardino Mountains. The vehicle was designed and built by Riva, art director Stephen Dane and Thrust Racing owners Jerry Segal and George Haddebeck. Segal started with a Ford F-350 truck, reinforced the frame assembly, added the front end from a Grand National stock car, borrowed air scoops from a DC-3, and a one-man cockpit modeled after a Messerschmitt fighter plane.[5] Under the hood, Segal modified the Ford engine with an oversized carburetor and nitrous oxide injectors. The Oscillation Overthruster was created by Riva and visual effects supervisor Michael Fink out of a gyroscope to which a metal frame, wires, circuits, and tiny strobe lights were added.[5] The prop itself would ultimately be reused a number of times on various Star Trek episodes.

The Banzai Institute exteriors were shot in Rustic Canyon with the interiors filmed in an Art Deco house designed in 1931 by MGM art director Cedric Gibbons for his wife, Dolores del Río.[5] Deserted rooms at Brentwood's V.A. hospital were used for Dr. Lizardo's room at the Trenton Home for the Criminally Insane. Lizardo's 1938 laboratory was filmed at a deserted industrial site, Alpha Tubing. The set decorators rented a collection of 1930s electrical props originally used in the original Boris Karloff Frankenstein films.[5] The interiors of Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems were shot in the abandoned Firestone Tire Factory. The production rented warhead nosecones from Modern Props and had televisions going all the time on the set. Wilmington's Department of Water and Power provided the location for Dr. Lizardo's shock tower and served as the Yoyodyne exterior.[5] Weller remembers that during the scene where his character is tortured by Dr. Lizardo, "I never laughed so hard in my life! They had to stop takes over and over on that segment because I was laughing at the banter between [Christopher] Lloyd and [John] Lithgow."[10] The Armco Steel Plant in Torrance housed the Lectroid launch hanger. Finally, 12-weeks of filming were done on the backlot and soundstages at MGM.[5]

Richter and Riva did not want metal spaceships and opted for a more organic look like a deep sea oyster shell.[5] Gregory Jein, Inc. and Stetson Visual Concepts built the spaceship models and worked off sketches by production illustrator Tom Cranham and used seashells as guides.[5] Richter purposely gave the film an unpolished look because the "real world appears ramshackle - because people constantly repair whatever's around them".[11]

Soundtrack

The film's music coordinator and sound designer Bones Howe worked with musician Michael Boddicker, who wrote and performed the score, on the theme music and sound effects.[5] Howe selected the source music for the club scene and put together a special arrangement of "Since I Don't Have You" that Buckaroo sings to Penny Priddy. Weller, an accomplished musician, played the guitar, trumpet, did his own vocals, and learned to mime piano playing. Howe and the filmmakers decided not to go with a rock music score and opted for an electronic one instead. He wanted to "integrate music and sound effects so that everything would merge on the soundtrack with no distinction between music and sound".[5] Boddicker was Howe's first choice for composer. They had worked together on the soundtrack for Get Crazy. Boddicker had just won a Grammy for his song, "Imagination", on the Flashdance soundtrack. In addition to composing the score, he also produced alien sound effects while Alan Howarth was hired to create the sounds of the 8th Dimension.[5]

Reaction

Fox hired Terry Erdmann and a team of publicists to promote the film at Star Trek conventions with a few film clips and free Banzai headbands which have now become highly sought after collector's items by fans of the film.[3] The studio made no attempts to sell the film to a mainstream audience with traditional promotion, although there was some magazine advertising (primarily in Marvel Comics) and related licensing which served as viral advertising in limited venues. Studio publicist Rosemary LaSalmandra said, "Nobody knew what to do with Buckaroo Banzai. There was no simple way to tell anyone what it was about - I'm not sure anybody knew".[3]

Buckaroo Banzai was originally scheduled to be released on June 8, 1984 but was pushed back to August 15. It opened on 236 screens and faced stiff competition against the likes of Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Ghostbusters. It made USD $620,279 on its opening weekend before finally grossing $6.2 million in North America.[12]

Critical reception

The film was given mixed reviews and currently has a 71% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Dave Kehr, in the Chicago Reader, wrote, "Richter seems to have invented an elaborate mythology for his hero ... but he never bothers to explicate it; the film gives you the mildly annoying sensation of being left out of a not very good private joke".[13] In his review for the New York Times, Vincent Canby wrote that Buckaroo Banzai "may well turn out to be a pilot film for other theatrical features, though this one would be hard to top for pure, nutty fun".[14] Richard Corliss, in his review for Time, wrote, "its creators, Earl Mac Rauch and W.D. Richter, propel their film with such pace and farfetched style that anyone without Ph.D.s in astrophysics and pop culture is likely to get lost in the ganglion of story strands. One wonders if the movie is too ambitious, facetious and hip for its own box-office good".[15] Film critic Pauline Kael wrote, "I didn't find it hard to accept the uninflected, deadpan tone, and to enjoy Buckaroo Banzai for its inventiveness and the gags that bounce off other adventure movies, other comedies. The picture's sense of fun carried me along".[16]

DVD

Buckaroo Banzai was released on DVD on January 4, 2002. Entertainment Weekly gave the release a "B+" rating and wrote, "Fans will drool over the extras, including some illuminating deleted scenes (of particular note is an alternate opening detailing Buckaroo's tragic childhood, featuring Jamie Lee Curtis as Banzai's mother) and director W.D. Richter's commentary, which reveals some colorful behind-the-scenes battles with studio execs".[17] IGN gave the DVD their highest rating and was "thrilled by the special edition treatment that this landmark cult film has received at the hands of MGM. The video is great, the sound is great, there are tons of extras ... Bottom line, if you're a Buckaroo fan, this is the home video version you have been waiting for".[18]

Legacy

Buckaroo Banzai has since attracted a loyal cult following and has been quite popular on home video.[19] Richter said, "It has had the most dramatic reactions of anything I've worked on. Some loathe it and others are willing to die for it".[19] The director feels that the film failed commercially because the narrative was too complex, he would have liked to have had more coverage for certain scenes, he could have edited the film better and there were too many master shots and two-shots that left little for the editor to work with.[19] Entertainment Weekly ranked Buckaroo Banzai as #43 in their Top 50 Cult Movies.[20] The film was also ranked #21 on the magazine's "The Cult 25: The Essential Left-Field Movie Hits Since '83" list.[21] The Guardian has also cited Buckaroo Banzai as one of their "1,000 films to see before you die".[22]

Other versions of the movie

A substantially longer print was shown in test screening in Texas and in Washington State before general release, but the "restored" DVD print is still missing much of the test print material.

The DVD of the film restores a deleted opening scene consisting of a "home movie" from Buckaroo Banzai's childhood, narrated by Clancy Brown, who plays the character Rawhide. The scene depicts an early test of a precursor to the Jet Car, built by Buckaroo's parents and Dr. Hikita. The test ends in disaster, as the Jet Car has been sabotaged by the evil Hanoi Xan, leader of the World Crime League. The "home movie" ends, and dissolves to the present-day opening scene of the film depicting Buckaroo's test run of the latter-day Jet Car. Jamie Lee Curtis plays Buckaroo Banzai's mother, Sandra Banzai.

The novelization by Mac Rauch is told through fake documents written and compiled by Reno Nevada, and further expands on the backstory of the film, including the murder of Peggy Banzai (her twin sister Penny plays a role in the movie) by the minions of Asian crime lord Hanoi Xan, the deaths of Buckaroo's parents in an early Jet Car accident, and at least two other fictitious novels.

The 103 minute version released on DVD in January 2002 has a subtitle track that has director's commentary-style information that also has a fake documents feature. The entire packaging and literature with the DVD maintain a mythos that Buckaroo Banzai is a real person, the Banzai Institute exists, and that the movie is in fact a docu-drama of the real adventures of Buckaroo Banzai. The producers make claims such as they had brief tours of the Banzai Institute, and had met and interviewed several members of the Hong Kong Cavaliers, and that the script needed approval from the Institute.

Failed sequels

Buckaroo Banzai Against the World Crime League

The credits mention a sequel, Buckaroo Banzai Against the World Crime League, which was never made; the film reportedly would have focused on the League and its leader, Hanoi Xan.

TV series

In late 1998, the Fox Network tried to develop a Buckaroo Banzai TV series, entitled Buckaroo Banzai: Ancient Secrets and New Mysteries, but nothing ever came of it.[23] The special edition DVD of the original movie contains a short computer animated sequence that was made as a test for the series. The clip depicts a Space Shuttle trying to land with broken landing gear. Dr. Banzai maneuvers his Jet Car under the Shuttle and uses it to take the place of the broken gear.

Other media

Buckaroo Banzai books

The novelization of the first movie was reprinted to coincide with the release of the movie on DVD. In the foreword, Mac Rauch mentions that the Buckaroo Banzai series would be continued in a series of novels. The first of these novels, Buckaroo Banzai: Return of the Screw, was published on September 15, 2007.

Marvel Comics

Marvel Comics adapted the film into comic book form in Marvel Super Special #33. The adaptation was also released as a two-part limited series.

Moonstone Books

In 2006, Moonstone Books began publishing comic books depicting earlier and further adventures of Buckaroo Banzai and the Hong Kong Cavaliers.

The first story, Return of the Screw, was written by Buckaroo Banzai's creator, Earl Mac Rauch. The black-and-white preview edition of the comic was released in February 2006, featuring a behind-the-scenes article by Dan Berger regarding the transformation of the rejected Buckaroo Banzai television pilot script Supersize those Fries into the present comic book miniseries. The three issues of this comic have been collected into a trade paperback.[24]

In December 2007, Moonstone released a new Banzai comic story A Christmas Corrall in the Moonstone Holiday Super Spectacular compilation, also written by Earl Mac Rauch and drawn by Ken Wolak.[24]

A two-issue prequel to the movie was released in early 2008 called Of Hunan Bondage. It was written by Earl Mac Rauch with art by Superman Returns storyboard artist Chewie.[24]

In early 2009, Moonstone released Big Size, a special oversize one-shot comic, written by Earl Mac Rauch with art by Paul Hanley.[24]

Computer game

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai is a text based language parser videogame based on the franchise. It was written by Scott Adams and published by Adventure International.

Notes

  1. ^ a b Burns 1984, p. 56.
  2. ^ a b c d e Berger, Dan (2004). "The Saga of a Hollywood Orphan: An Interview with W. D. Richter". World Watch One: Newsletter of Team Banzai. http://www.worldwatchonline.com/ww120th.pdf. Retrieved 2007-07-20. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Flynn, John L (1995). "Across the Eighth Dimension: Remembering the First Adventure of Buckaroo Banzai". Sci-Fi Universe. http://pages.towson.edu/flynn/banzai.html. Retrieved 2007-07-20. 
  4. ^ a b Goldberg, Lee (July 1984). "Earl MacRauch: Living with the Lepers of Saturn". Starlog. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Production Notes". 20th Century Fox Press Kit. 1984. 
  6. ^ Burns 1984, p. 60.
  7. ^ Burns 1984, p. 55.
  8. ^ a b Burns 1984, p. 61.
  9. ^ a b c d Burns 1984, p. 54.
  10. ^ Niderost, Eric (August 1987). "Peter Weller: Code Name: Robocop". Starlog. 
  11. ^ Burns 1984, p. 53.
  12. ^ "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai". Box Office Mojo. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=buckaroobanzai.htm. Retrieved 2008-01-18. 
  13. ^ Kehr, Dave. "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension". Chicago Reader. http://onfilm.chicagoreader.com/movies/capsules/69_ADVENTURES_OF_BUCKAROO_BANZAI. Retrieved 2008-01-18. 
  14. ^ Canby, Vincent (October 5, 1984). "Sci-Fi Farce". New York Times. http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?_r=1&res=9B07E2D8123BF936A35753C1A962948260&oref=slogin. Retrieved 2008-01-18. 
  15. ^ Corliss, Richard (August 13, 1984). "It Came from Beyond Bananas". Time. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,926794,00.html. Retrieved 2008-08-20. 
  16. ^ Kael, Pauline (August 20, 1984). "The Charismatic Half-and-Halfs". The New Yorker. 
  17. ^ Kim, Albert (December 25, 2001). "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension: Special Edition". Entertainment Weekly. http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,189698~21~~,00.html. Retrieved 2008-12-18. 
  18. ^ Sanchez, Rick (January 10, 2002). "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension: Special Edition". IGN. http://dvd.ign.com/articles/317/317353p1.html. Retrieved 2008-12-18. 
  19. ^ a b c Goldberg, Lee (June 1986). "W.D. Richter Writes Again". Starlog. 
  20. ^ "EW's Top Cult Movies". Entertainment Weekly. May 23, 2003. http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,452193_7,00.html. Retrieved 2008-01-18. 
  21. ^ "The Cult 25: The Essential Left-Field Movie Hits Since '83". Entertainment Weekly. September 3, 2008. http://www.ew.com/ew/gallery/0,,20221982_4,00.html. Retrieved 2008-09-04. 
  22. ^ "1,000 films to see before you die". The Guardian. http://film.guardian.co.uk/1000films/0%2C%2C2108487%2C00.html. Retrieved 2008-12-18. 
  23. ^ Wolk, Josh (December 16, 1998). "Role On". Entertainment Weekly. http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,84009,00.html. Retrieved 2008-01-18. 
  24. ^ a b c d Buckaroo Banzai. Moonstone Books. Retrieved 9 March 2008.

References

  • Burns, James. "An Interview with the Director of Buckaroo Banzai W.D. Richter." Marvel Super Special #33: Buckaroo Banzai. New York: Marvel Comics, 1984.

External links


The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension
Directed by W. D. Richter
Produced by W. D. Richter
Neil Canton
Written by Earl Mac Rauch
Starring Peter Weller
John Lithgow
Ellen Barkin
Jeff Goldblum
Christopher Lloyd
Lewis Smith
Music by Michael Boddicker
Cinematography Fred J. Koenekamp
Editing by George Bowers
Richard Marks
Studio Sherwood Productions
Distributed by 20th Century Fox (theatrical)
MGM (DVD,2002)
Release date(s) August 15, 1984
Running time 103 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $12,000,000
Gross revenue $3,665,306

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension!, often shortened to Buckaroo Banzai, is an American science fiction film that was released in 1984. It was directed and produced by W. D. Richter, and concerns the efforts of the multi-talented Dr. Buckaroo Banzai (Peter Weller), a physicist, neurosurgeon and rock musician to save the world by defeating a band of inter-dimensional aliens called Red Lectroids from Planet 10. The film is a cross between the action/adventure and science-fiction movie genres, and also includes elements of comedy, satire, and romance. It is also made to feel like one in a series of movies, by the use of ongoing allusions to other characters, adventures and events.

Contents

Plot

The theatrical release version of the film opens with Banzai performing a test-run of his Jet Car, a heavily modified Ford E-Series van powered by a jet engine, and capable of exceeding Mach 1. The car is also equipped with a secret device called an "oscillation overthruster", which Banzai and his associates hope will allow it to drive through solid matter. The test is a success; Banzai stuns onlookers by driving the Jet Car directly through a mountain. Emerging from the mountain, Banzai finds that an alien, pod-like organism has attached itself to the car during transit.

Hearing of Banzai's success, Italian physicist Dr. Emilio Lizardo (John Lithgow) breaks out of the Trenton Home for the Criminally Insane in New Jersey, where he has been imprisoned for 50 years. A flashback sequence shows that Banzai's assistant and mentor, Dr. Hikita (Robert Ito), was present at a failed overthruster experiment of Lizardo's in 1938. Failing to transit through the target wall, Lizardo is briefly trapped in the 8th dimension where his mind is taken over by Lord John Whorfin.

Whorfin is the leader of the Red Lectroids, a race of alien reptiles whom he had led on an expansionist campaign on Planet 10. After being defeated by the peace-loving Black Lectroids, Whorfin and his band of followers were banished into the formless void of the 8th dimension. Lizardo's failed experiment accidentally released Whorfin, and he soon brings over a thousand Red Lectroids to Earth in an incident that was reported in 1938 by Orson Welles in his radio broadcast The War of the Worlds, only to have it retracted as fiction.

The Red Lectroids now pose as owners and employees of a defense contracting company named Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems. They have been working on building a large spacecraft under the cover of a US Air Force program, the "tri-wing bomber", and intend to rescue the remaining exiles in the 8th dimension, then travel on to Planet 10 and take over. The lack of a working overthruster was a problem until Banzai manages to produce one, and Whorfin hopes to steal it. Banzai's team, the Hong Kong Cavaliers, becomes aware of the Yoyodyne link, and hacks into their computer. They discover that everyone there has the first name John, with various last names such as Yaya, Smallberries, and Bigbooté. At first they believe this is a joke, but then they also note that all the Yoyodyne employees applied for Social Security cards on November 1, 1938 (two days after the War of the Worlds broadcast) and all in the same town, Grover's Mill, New Jersey (the town where the spaceship in the War of the Worlds broadcast landed). They deduce the connection between Lizardo, Yoyodyne and the Lectroids, and inform Banzai.

In the meantime, a Black Lectroid spacecraft orbiting Earth contacts Banzai, giving him a cryptic nonverbal message that enables him to see through Lectroids' natural pheromonic camouflage. (To unassisted humans, Black Lectroids appear to be Rastafarian Jamaicans, while Red Lectroids appear as caucasians.) The ship also sends a "thermo-pod" to Earth, with a messenger who brings Banzai a holographic message from the Black Lectroids' leader, John Emdall, explaining Lord Whorfin's history and motives, and giving an ultimatum: stop Whorfin and his Red Lectroid army, or the Black Lectroids will protect themselves by staging a fake nuclear attack, causing the U.S. and USSR destroy the world in a burst of Cold War paranoia.

With help from the Black Lectroid messenger John Parker, Banzai and the Hong Kong Cavaliers, a collection of civilian volunteers named "The Blue Blaze Irregulars" and a young woman named Penny Priddy (Ellen Barkin), who just happens to be the long-lost twin sister of Buckaroo's late wife, Buckaroo succeeds in his mission, destroying the Red Lectroids and saving Earth. During the end credits, a screen title announces the upcoming sequel Buckaroo Banzai Against the World Crime League (see below).

Cast

Buckaroo Banzai

Peter Weller starred as Buckaroo Banzai; a renaissance man, a top neurosurgeon, particle physicist, race car driver, rock star and comic book hero. In the film, he is seen as a mild-mannered hero and his latest experiments open the door to the 8th dimension and unwittingly start an interstellar battle for the world.

The Hong Kong Cavaliers

The Hong Kong Cavaliers are the assistants of Banzai in the movie, and are similar to Doc Savage's Fabulous Five. They reside at the Banzai Institute, a think-tank located in Holland Township, New Jersey. They are multidisciplinary scientific experts in a variety of fields, and also are his rock and roll band. They are referred to by code names or nicknames and, except for New Jersey, their real names are unknown.

  • Clancy Brown as Rawhide, arguably Buckaroo's lieutenant, and plays piano. He is killed by a Red Lectroid's poisoned barb.
  • Pepe Serna as Reno Nevada, who plays saxophone. Reno is romantically involved with another of Buckaroo's teammates, a woman named Pecos, who appears in the novel, but not in the film.
  • Lewis Smith as Perfect Tommy who plays rhythm guitar, and is generally accepted to be perfect. He designed the Jet Car's suspension system, which allows it to hug the ground even at supersonic speeds.
  • Jeff Goldblum as New Jersey, whose real name is Dr. Sidney Zweibel. He is a neurosurgeon, a colleague of Dr. Banzai from Columbia. He sings a little, dances and plays piano.
  • Billy Vera as Pinky Carruthers, one of Buckaroo's Blue Blaze Irregulars. Plays bass guitar.

In addition to the Hong Kong Cavaliers, Buckaroo Banzai is assisted by a multi-talented network of supporters and fans. The Radar Rangers are an amateur radar enthusiast group that helps Buckaroo track major threats. The Blue Blaze Irregulars are people of all ages and from all walks of life and help in various ways. Their organization includes assault teams in its structure. The Rug Suckers are a team of armed civilians who operate a rug cleaning company, but are available to help Banzai when called on.

Development

In 1974, W. D. Richter's wife read a review of Dirty Pictures from the Prom, the debut novel from Dartmouth College graduate and writer Earl Mac Rauch. Richter, also an alumnus from the college, read the book, loved it and wrote Mac Rauch a letter.[1] The two men began corresponding and when the writer told him about his interest in becoming a screenwriter, Richter offered him an open-ended invitation to visit him in Los Angeles where he was attending the University of Southern California[2] and working as a script analyst for Warner Brothers.[3]

Screenplay

Years passed and Richter became a successful screenwriter. Mac Rauch took Richter up on his offer and arrived in L.A. Richter proceeded to introduce the writer to producer/director Irwin Winkler who gave Mac Rauch rent money for the next six months.[2] Over several dinners, Mac Rauch told Richter and his wife about a character named Buckaroo Bandy that he was thinking of writing a screenplay about. Richter and his wife liked the idea and paid Mac Rauch $1,500 to develop and write it. According to MacRauch, his script was inspired by "all those out-and-out, press-the-accelerator-to-the-floor, non-stop kung fu movies of the early '70s".[4] Richter remembers that Mac Rauch wrote several Banzai stories and that he "would get thirty or forty pages into a script, abandon its storyline and write a new one".[1] Mac Rauch recalled, "It's so easy to start something and then - since you're really not as serious about it as you should be - end up writing half of it ... You shove the hundred pages in a drawer and try to forget about it. Over the years, I started a dozen Buckaroo scripts that ended that way".[3]

Mac Rauch's original 30-page treatment was entitled, Find the Jetcar, Said the President - A Buckaroo Banzai Thriller.[3] Early on, one of the revisions Mac Rauch made was changing Buckaroo's surname from Bandy to Banzai but he wasn't crazy about it. However, Richter convinced him to keep the name.[2] The Hong Kong Cavaliers also appeared in these early drafts, but, according to Richter, "it never really went to a completed script. Mac wrote and wrote but never wrote the end".[2] Another early draft was entitled, The Strange Case of Mr. Cigars, about a huge robot and a box of Hitler's cigars.[3] Mac Rauch shelved his work for a few years while he wrote New York, New York for Martin Scorsese and other un-produced screenplays.[3]

In 1980, Richter talked with producers Frank Marshall and Neil Canton about filming one of his screenplays.[5] Out of this meeting, Canton and Richter formed their own production company and decided that Buckaroo Banzai would be the first film. Under their supervision, Mac Rauch wrote a 60-page treatment entitled, Lepers from Saturn.[3] They shopped Mac Rauch's treatment around to production executives who were their peers but no one wanted to take on such unusual subject matter by two first-time producers and a first-time director. Canton and Richter contacted veteran producer Sidney Beckerman at MGM/United Artists who Canton had worked with before.[5] Beckerman liked it and introduced Richter and Canton to studio chief David Begelmen. Within 24 hours they had a development deal with the studio.[3] It took Mac Rauch a year and a half to write the final screenplay and during this time, the Lepers from the treatment became Lizards and then Lectroids from Planet 10.[5] Much of the film's detailed character histories were taken from Mac Rauch's unfinished Banzai scripts.[6]

However, a Writers Guild of America strike forced the project to languish in development for more than a year. Begelmen left MGM because several of his projects had performed poorly at the box office. This put all of his future projects, Buckaroo Banzai included, in jeopardy.[3] Begelmen formed Sherwood Productions and exercised a buy-out option with MGM for the Banzai script. He took it to 20th Century Fox who agreed to make it with a $12 million budget.[7] Mac Rauch ended up writing three more drafts before they had a shooting script.[4]

Casting

To cast the role of Buckaroo Banzai, Richter wanted an actor that "could both look heroic with grease all over his face, and project the kind of intelligence you would associate with a neurosurgeon and inventor".[8] The studio wanted a recognizable movie star but Richter and Canton wanted to cast a relatively unknown actor.[3] Richter looked in New York City because he assumed that an actor with experience on stage and small films "would be able to completely interact with props".[8] He had been impressed by Peter Weller's performance in Shoot the Moon and met with him.[5] The actor was hesitant, at first, to take the role because he was unclear on the overall tone of the movie. "Would it be campy? Would it be a cartoon? Or would it be the sort of wacky, realistic film that would catch people sideways - and not be a cartoon", Weller remembers.[3] Richter told him Banzai's story and convinced Weller to do the film. The actor says that he based his character on Elia Kazan, Jacques Cousteau, Albert Einstein, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Adam Ant.[5]

For the role of Dr. Emilio Lizardo, the studio wanted to cast an unknown actor but Mac Rauch had written the role with John Lithgow in mind. Like Weller, he was not sure about the character but Richter convinced him by "claiming what a real feast for an actor this wonderful Jekyll and Hyde character was", the actor said.[3] For Lizardo's accent, Lithgow spent time with an Italian tailor at MGM and recorded his voice. He changed his walk to that of an "old crab, and because my alien metabolism is supposed to be messed up".[5] Lithgow said of his character, "playing Lizardo felt like playing the madman in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari".[5]

Ellen Barkin, who played the romantic interest "Penny Priddy", describes the film as "if Terry Southern had written Star Wars. None of the characters are quite what they should be - just my kind of thing."[5] Richter's only choice to play John Bigboote was Christopher Lloyd. Richter first met Jeff Goldblum on Invasion of the Body Snatchers and wanted him to play New Jersey. The actor admired his writing and was eager to work with the cast the director had assembled. Lewis Smith was asked to dye his hair blond and it took eight hours and he saw it go from red to orange to fluorescent yellow to white.[5]

Clancy Brown said that his character is "very common sensical. He's the everyman of the film".[5] Robert Ito was so determined to get the role of Dr. Hikita, that he disguised himself as an old man, designing his own makeup job to age himself 30 years.[5]

Pre-production

Production designer Michael Riva had worked with Richter before and spent two years working on the look for Banzai before pre-production.[5] He and Richter studied all kinds of art and literature for the film's look, including medical journals, African magazines, and Russian history. The inspiration for the look of the Lectroid masks came from Riva sporting a lobster on his nose. Richter based the Lectroids' alien form on a Canadian anthropologist's extrapolation of what dinosaurs might have evolved into if they had survived but modified the concept because it would have required prosthetics that would have immobilized the actors.[9] Their makeup consisted of 12 separate pieces of latex appliances per alien. Each actor's makeup was unique with casts taken of their faces.[9] Their outfits were influenced by contemporary Russian lifestyles and they went with greens, blues and yellows because, according to Riva, they are "sick and anemic."[5] Richter wanted the Red Lectroids to have a "warrior-like demeanor, but in an elegant, not fierce fashion".[9] Their costumes came from African tribal markings. For the Black Lectroids, Riva consulted Russian history to give them a "baggy-suited, Moscow bureaucrat sort of image".[9] For Buckaroo's look, the costume designer had him wear a Gianni Versace sports jacket and a Perry Ellis suit and tie. He also wears a recut Giorgio Armani fabric suit.[5]

Principal photography

By the time of filming, Richter had a 300-page book called The Essential Buckaroo[2] that consisted of notes and had every incomplete script Mac Rauch wrote over the years.[3] Principal photography began during the second week of September 1983 on locations in and around South Gate, an industrial suburb of L.A.[3] Buckaroo's neurosurgery scene with New Jersey was shot at the Lakeview Medical Center in the San Fernando Valley.[5] The jet car sequences were shot in October on a dry lake north of the San Bernardino Mountains. The vehicle was designed and built by Riva, art director Stephen Dane and Thrust Racing owners Jerry Segal and George Haddebeck. Segal started with a Ford F-350 truck, reinforced the frame assembly, added the front end from a Grand National stock car, borrowed air scoops from a DC-3, and a one-man cockpit modeled after a Messerschmitt fighter plane.[5] Under the hood, Segal modified the Ford engine with an oversized carburetor and nitrous oxide injectors. The Oscillation Overthruster was created by Riva and visual effects supervisor Michael Fink out of a gyroscope to which a metal frame, wires, circuits, and tiny strobe lights were added.[5] The prop itself would ultimately be reused a number of times on various Star Trek episodes.

The Banzai Institute exteriors were shot in Rustic Canyon with the interiors filmed in an Art Deco house designed in 1931 by MGM art director Cedric Gibbons for his wife, Dolores del Río.[5] Deserted rooms at Brentwood's V.A. hospital were used for Dr. Lizardo's room at the Trenton Home for the Criminally Insane. Lizardo's 1938 laboratory was filmed at a deserted industrial site, Alpha Tubing. The set decorators rented a collection of 1930s electrical props originally used in the original Boris Karloff Frankenstein films.[5] The interiors of Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems were shot in the abandoned Firestone Tire Factory. The production rented warhead nosecones from Modern Props and had televisions going all the time on the set. Wilmington's Department of Water and Power provided the location for Dr. Lizardo's shock tower and served as the Yoyodyne exterior.[5] Weller remembers that during the scene where his character is tortured by Dr. Lizardo, "I never laughed so hard in my life! They had to stop takes over and over on that segment because I was laughing at the banter between [Christopher] Lloyd and [John] Lithgow."[10] The Armco Steel Plant in Torrance housed the Lectroid launch hanger. Finally, 12-weeks of filming were done on the backlot and soundstages at MGM.[5]

Richter and Riva did not want metal spaceships and opted for a more organic look like a deep sea oyster shell.[5] Gregory Jein, Inc. and Stetson Visual Concepts built the spaceship models and worked off sketches by production illustrator Tom Cranham and used seashells as guides.[5] Richter purposely gave the film an unpolished look because the "real world appears ramshackle - because people constantly repair whatever's around them".[11]

Soundtrack

The film's music coordinator and sound designer Bones Howe worked with musician Michael Boddicker, who wrote and performed the score, on the theme music and sound effects.[5] Howe selected the source music for the club scene and put together a special arrangement of "Since I Don't Have You" that Buckaroo sings to Penny Priddy. Weller, an accomplished musician, played the guitar, trumpet, did his own vocals, and learned to mime piano playing. Howe and the filmmakers decided not to go with a rock music score and opted for an electronic one instead. He wanted to "integrate music and sound effects so that everything would merge on the soundtrack with no distinction between music and sound".[5] Boddicker was Howe's first choice for composer. They had worked together on the soundtrack for Get Crazy. Boddicker had just won a Grammy for his song, "Imagination", on the Flashdance soundtrack. In addition to composing the score, he also produced alien sound effects while Alan Howarth was hired to create the sounds of the 8th Dimension.[5]

Reaction

Fox hired Terry Erdmann and a team of publicists to promote the film at Star Trek conventions with a few film clips and free Banzai headbands, which have since become highly-sought-after collector's items by fans of the film.[3] The studio made no attempts to sell the film to a mainstream audience with traditional promotion, although there was some magazine advertising (primarily in Marvel Comics) and related licensing which served as viral advertising in limited venues. Studio publicist Rosemary LaSalmandra said, "Nobody knew what to do with Buckaroo Banzai. There was no simple way to tell anyone what it was about - I'm not sure anybody knew".[3]

Buckaroo Banzai was originally scheduled to be released on June 8, 1984 but was pushed back to August 15. It opened on 236 screens and faced stiff competition against the likes of Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (also featuring Banzai co-star Christopher Lloyd), Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Ghostbusters. It made USD $620,279 on its opening weekend before finally grossing $6.2 million in North America.[12]

Critical reception

The film was given mixed reviews and currently has a 71% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Dave Kehr, in the Chicago Reader, wrote, "Richter seems to have invented an elaborate mythology for his hero ... but he never bothers to explicate it; the film gives you the mildly annoying sensation of being left out of a not very good private joke".[13] In his review for the New York Times, Vincent Canby wrote that Buckaroo Banzai "may well turn out to be a pilot film for other theatrical features, though this one would be hard to top for pure, nutty fun".[14] Richard Corliss, in his review for Time, wrote, "its creators, Earl Mac Rauch and W.D. Richter, propel their film with such pace and farfetched style that anyone without Ph.D.s in astrophysics and pop culture is likely to get lost in the ganglion of story strands. One wonders if the movie is too ambitious, facetious and hip for its own box-office good".[15] Film critic Pauline Kael wrote, "I didn't find it hard to accept the uninflected, deadpan tone, and to enjoy Buckaroo Banzai for its inventiveness and the gags that bounce off other adventure movies, other comedies. The picture's sense of fun carried me along".[16]

DVD

Buckaroo Banzai was released on DVD on January 4, 2002. Entertainment Weekly gave the release a "B+" rating and wrote, "Fans will drool over the extras, including some illuminating deleted scenes (of particular note is an alternate opening detailing Buckaroo's tragic childhood, featuring Jamie Lee Curtis as Banzai's mother) and director W.D. Richter's commentary, which reveals some colorful behind-the-scenes battles with studio execs".[17] IGN gave the DVD their highest rating and was "thrilled by the special edition treatment that this landmark cult film has received at the hands of MGM. The video is great, the sound is great, there are tons of extras ... Bottom line, if you're a Buckaroo fan, this is the home video version you have been waiting for".[18]

Legacy

Buckaroo Banzai has since attracted a loyal cult following and has been quite popular on home video.[19] Richter said, "It has had the most dramatic reactions of anything I've worked on. Some loathe it and others are willing to die for it".[19] The director feels that the film failed commercially because the narrative was too complex, he would have liked to have had more coverage for certain scenes, he could have edited the film better and there were too many master shots and two-shots that left little for the editor to work with.[19] Entertainment Weekly ranked Buckaroo Banzai as #43 in their Top 50 Cult Movies.[20] The film was also ranked #21 on the magazine's "The Cult 25: The Essential Left-Field Movie Hits Since '83" list.[21] The Guardian has also cited Buckaroo Banzai as one of their "1,000 films to see before you die".[22]

Other versions of the movie

A substantially longer print was shown in test screening in Texas and in Washington State before general release, but the "restored" DVD print is still missing much of the test print material.

The DVD of the film restores a deleted opening scene consisting of a "home movie" from Buckaroo Banzai's childhood, narrated by Clancy Brown, who plays the character Rawhide. The scene depicts an early test of a precursor to the Jet Car, built by Buckaroo's parents and Dr. Hikita. The test ends in disaster, as the Jet Car has been sabotaged by the evil Hanoi Xan, leader of the World Crime League. The "home movie" ends, and dissolves to the present-day opening scene of the film depicting Buckaroo's test run of the latter-day Jet Car. Jamie Lee Curtis plays Buckaroo Banzai's mother, Sandra Banzai.

The novelization by Mac Rauch is told through fake documents written and compiled by Reno Nevada, and further expands on the backstory of the film, including the murder of Peggy Banzai (her twin sister Penny plays a role in the movie) by the minions of Asian crime lord Hanoi Xan, the deaths of Buckaroo's parents in an early Jet Car accident, and at least two other fictitious novels.

The 103 minute version released on DVD in January 2002 has a subtitle track that has director's commentary-style information that also has a fake documents feature. The entire packaging and literature with the DVD maintain a mythos that Buckaroo Banzai is a real person, the Banzai Institute exists, and that the movie is in fact a docu-drama of the real adventures of Buckaroo Banzai. The producers make claims such as they had brief tours of the Banzai Institute, and had met and interviewed several members of the Hong Kong Cavaliers, and that the script needed approval from the Institute.

Failed sequels

Buckaroo Banzai Against the World Crime League

The credits mention a sequel, Buckaroo Banzai Against the World Crime League, which was never made; the film reportedly would have focused on the League and its leader, Hanoi Xan.

TV series

In late 1998, the Fox Network tried to develop a Buckaroo Banzai TV series, entitled Buckaroo Banzai: Ancient Secrets and New Mysteries, but nothing ever came of it.[23] The special edition DVD of the original movie contains a short computer animated sequence that was made as a test for the series. The clip depicts a Space Shuttle trying to land with broken landing gear. Dr. Banzai maneuvers his Jet Car under the Shuttle and uses it to take the place of the broken gear.

Other media

Buckaroo Banzai books

The novelization of the first movie was reprinted to coincide with the release of the movie on DVD. In the foreword, Mac Rauch mentions that the Buckaroo Banzai series would be continued in a series of novels. The first of these graphic novels, Buckaroo Banzai: Return of the Screw, was published on September 15, 2007.

Marvel Comics

Marvel Comics adapted the film into comic book form in Marvel Super Special #33. The adaptation was also released as a two-part limited series.

Moonstone Books

In 2006, Moonstone Books began publishing comic books depicting earlier and further adventures of Buckaroo Banzai and the Hong Kong Cavaliers.

The first story, Return of the Screw, was written by Buckaroo Banzai's creator, Earl Mac Rauch. The black-and-white preview edition of the comic was released in February 2006, featuring a behind-the-scenes article by Dan Berger regarding the transformation of the rejected Buckaroo Banzai television pilot script Supersize those Fries into the present comic book miniseries. The three issues of this comic have been collected into a trade paperback.[24]

In December 2007, Moonstone released a new Banzai comic story A Christmas Corrall in the Moonstone Holiday Super Spectacular compilation, also written by Earl Mac Rauch and drawn by Ken Wolak.[24]

A two-issue prequel to the movie was released in early 2008 called Of Hunan Bondage. It was written by Earl Mac Rauch with art by Superman Returns storyboard artist Chewie.[24]

In early 2009, Moonstone released Big Size, a special oversize one-shot comic, written by Earl Mac Rauch with art by Paul Hanley.[24]

Computer game

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai is a text based language parser videogame based on the franchise. It was written by Scott Adams and published by Adventure International.

References

Notes
  1. ^ a b Burns 1984, p. 56.
  2. ^ a b c d e Berger, Dan (2004). "The Saga of a Hollywood Orphan: An Interview with W. D. Richter". World Watch One: Newsletter of Team Banzai. http://www.worldwatchonline.com/ww120th.pdf. Retrieved 2007-07-20. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Flynn, John L (1995). "Across the Eighth Dimension: Remembering the First Adventure of Buckaroo Banzai". Sci-Fi Universe. http://pages.towson.edu/flynn/banzai.html. Retrieved 2007-07-20. 
  4. ^ a b Goldberg, Lee (July 1984). "Earl MacRauch: Living with the Lepers of Saturn". Starlog. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Production Notes". 20th Century Fox Press Kit. 1984. 
  6. ^ Burns 1984, p. 60.
  7. ^ Burns 1984, p. 55.
  8. ^ a b Burns 1984, p. 61.
  9. ^ a b c d Burns 1984, p. 54.
  10. ^ Niderost, Eric (August 1987). "Peter Weller: Code Name: Robocop". Starlog. 
  11. ^ Burns 1984, p. 53.
  12. ^ "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai". Box Office Mojo. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=buckaroobanzai.htm. Retrieved 2008-01-18. 
  13. ^ Kehr, Dave. "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension". Chicago Reader. http://onfilm.chicagoreader.com/movies/capsules/69_ADVENTURES_OF_BUCKAROO_BANZAI. Retrieved 2008-01-18. 
  14. ^ Canby, Vincent (October 5, 1984). "Sci-Fi Farce". New York Times. http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?_r=1&res=9B07E2D8123BF936A35753C1A962948260&oref=slogin. Retrieved 2008-01-18. 
  15. ^ Corliss, Richard (August 13, 1984). "It Came from Beyond Bananas". Time. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,926794,00.html. Retrieved 2008-08-20. 
  16. ^ Kael, Pauline (August 20, 1984). "The Charismatic Half-and-Halfs". The New Yorker. 
  17. ^ Kim, Albert (December 25, 2001). "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension: Special Edition". Entertainment Weekly. http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,189698~21~~,00.html. Retrieved 2008-12-18. 
  18. ^ Sanchez, Rick (January 10, 2002). "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension: Special Edition". IGN. http://dvd.ign.com/articles/317/317353p1.html. Retrieved 2008-12-18. 
  19. ^ a b c Goldberg, Lee (June 1986). "W.D. Richter Writes Again". Starlog. 
  20. ^ "EW's Top Cult Movies". Entertainment Weekly. May 23, 2003. http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,452193_7,00.html. Retrieved 2008-01-18. 
  21. ^ "The Cult 25: The Essential Left-Field Movie Hits Since '83". Entertainment Weekly. September 3, 2008. http://www.ew.com/ew/gallery/0,,20221982_5,00.html. Retrieved 2008-09-04. 
  22. ^ "1,000 films to see before you die". The Guardian. http://film.guardian.co.uk/1000films/0%2C%2C2108487%2C00.html. Retrieved 2008-12-18. 
  23. ^ Wolk, Josh (December 16, 1998). "Role On". Entertainment Weekly. http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,84009,00.html. Retrieved 2008-01-18. 
  24. ^ a b c d Buckaroo Banzai. Moonstone Books. Retrieved 9 March 2008.
Bibliography
  • Burns, James. "An Interview with the Director of Buckaroo Banzai W.D. Richter." Marvel Super Special #33: Buckaroo Banzai. New York: Marvel Comics, 1984.

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension or just Buckaroo Banzai is a cult film released in 1984, starring Peter Weller, John Lithgow, Ellen Barkin, Christopher Lloyd, and Jeff Goldblum.

Contents

Buckaroo Banzai

  • Hey, hey, hey — don't be mean. No need to be mean. 'Cause, remember: no matter where you go... [pause] there you are.
  • The missing circuit's in your head, Whorfin.
  • [To New Jersey, as they are performing brain surgery] You can check your anatomy all you want, and even though there may be normal variation, when it comes right down to it, this far inside the head it all looks the same. No, no, no, don't tug on that, you never know what it might be attached to.
  • EVIL, PURE AND SIMPLE, FROM THE 8TH DIMENSION! GET 'EM!

Rawhide

  • I tell ya, if it ain't one thing, it's somethin' else.

Lord John Whorfin

  • Sealed with a curse as sharp as a knife. Doomed is your soul and damned is your life.
  • Laugh'a while you can, monkeyboy!
  • History is'a made at night! Character is what you are in the dark!
  • It'a makes the ganglia TWITCH!
  • Home! Home is where you hang your hat! I feel so broke up... I want to go HOME!
  • [To an operator on the telephone] You tell him it's John Whorfin calling. Whorfin...W-H-O-R-F-I-N. You got that honey?! John...J-O-H-N!
  • May I pass along my congratulations for your great interdimensional breakthrough. I am sure, in the miserable annals of the Earth, you will be duly enshrined.
  • BANZAI! I'LL SEE YOU IN HELL!!!

John Bigboote

  • [repeated line] BigbooTAY!
  • Let's go back up to my office and talk about this like two reasonable beings.
  • Damn John Whorfin and the horse he rode in on!
  • Put the snot on the track, John O'Connor.
  • It's not my goddamn planet, Understand, monkeyboy?

President Widmark

  • [Reading off of a printed sheet] "Declaration of War...The Short Form."
  • Buckaroo, I don't know what to say. Lectroids? Planet 10? Nuclear extortion? A girl named "John"?
  • What are you talking about, man; some kind of race war in New Jersey ?

John Parker

  • Excuse me, Mr. President. Time is short. In order to prevent John Whorfin's escape, my comrades are at this moment takin' up a geostationary position over New Jersey. De situation is explosive!
  • There is little time! You better come quickly, if your planet is still important to you!

Penny Priddy

  • [Penny is hysterical after discovering a photo of Buckaroo with someone who looks exactly like her] I think I'm going crazy... Who's that girl, Buckaroo? What's going on around here? You drag me out of jail, you're... you're like Jerry Lewis, you give me hope to carry on, but... then you leave me in the lurch while you strap on your six-guns! What do you want from me, Buckaroo? Who am I?

Other

  • Chase One Helicopter Pilot: This is Chase One. We got his tracks, they go right up to a wall of rock! Holy shit!
  • Announcement over Hospital PA system: Lithium is no longer available on credit.
  • Announcement over Yoyodyne PA system: The only joy is the joy of duty. Work... work...work...
  • Announcement over Red Lectroid Spaceship PA system': We are not in the Eighth dimension, we are over New Jersey. Hope is not lost.

Dialogue

  • Rawhide: [to a doctor witnessing Dr. Banzai performing brain surgery] Dr. Banzai is using a laser to vaporize the pineal tumor without damaging the quadrigeminal plate. Subcutaneous microphones are gonna allow the patient to transmit verbal instructions to his own brain.
    Doctor: Like, "Raise my right arm"?
    Rawhide: ...Or, "Throw the harpoon". People are gonna come from all over. This boy's an Eskimo.
  • Buckaroo Banzai: You ever thought about joining me full-time?
    New Jersey: [Excitedly] Do you have an opening?
    Buckaroo Banzai: Uh huh. Can you sing?
    New Jersey: A little. Yeah. I can dance...
  • Artie Duncan: I don't care if you walked through a mountain in Texas. This is New Jersey, and when you play my... [distracted by someone walking past him] ...when you play my joint, you're just another act. I want some music out'a you characters!
    Reno Nevada: You want it, Artie? You got it.
  • Penny Priddy: Uh, Dr. Banzai, you... you forgot your thruster.
    Buckaroo Banzai: [smiles] Why don't you hold onto it for a while?
    Penny Priddy: [looks at him suggestively as he leaves the room] Anytime...
  • Scooter Lindley: Dad! Dad! Buckaroo's in trouble!
    Casper Lindley: Say what?!
  • Perfect Tommy: Don't embarrass us.
    Buckaroo Banzai: Have I ever?
  • [about the thermo-pod] Buckaroo Banzai: It flies like a truck.
    John Parker: Good. [pause] What is a truck?
  • [as the thermo-pod is in free-fall] Buckaroo Banzai:: Can't you fly this thing?
    John Parker: I'm a diplomat! I failed flight school!
  • General Catburd: Mr. President, I am a soldier. And I'm a damn good one. I've got enough decorations to snap a Christmas tree. All I'm trying to say is, and I hope I speak for everyone in this room, is that I am scared. I'm barely holding my... fudge, right now.
    Senator Cunningham: [A Woman] Stop acting like a goddamn schoolgirl, General, and pull yourself together!
    President Widmark: I'm glad someone has the balls to face facts!
  • New Jersey: Where are we?
    Buckaroo Banzai: I'd hate to tell you.
  • [New Jersey and Reno are sneaking through the lab when New Jersey notices a watermelon held in a pneumatic compression device]
    New Jersey: Why is there a watermelon there ?
    Reno Nevada: ...I'll tell you later.
  • Scooter Lindley: [holding a Ruger Mini-14 semi-automatic rifle] Get away from that car, or I'll drink your blood!
    Secretary of Defense: [nervously] Whatcha got there, son? That's not... real, is it?
    [Scooter Lindley fires a round at the ceiling. The Secretary of Defense jumps back.]
    Scooter Lindley: Get 'em up!
  • Lord John Whorfin: Full speed ahead! And may I remind you, to fasten your-a seat belts, and esstinguish all smoking material.
    John Bigboote: We haven't a CHANCE! Your overthruster's for SHIT! We'll lose...
    Lord John Whorfin: One more WORD out of you, Bigbooty...
    John Bigboote: [screaming] BIG-BOO-TAY! TAY! TAY!
    [Lord John Whorfin shoots him]
  • Mission Control Operator: Buckaroo, the White House wants to know is everything OK with the alien space craft from Planet 10 or should we just go ahead and destroy Russia?
    Buckaroo Banzai: Tell him yes on one and no on two.
    Mission Control Operator: Which one was yes, go ahead and destroy Russia... or number 2?

External links








Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message