Weird Science (1985) 4k Re-Release Limited Edition from Arrow 

High school is rough for a pair of nerds who have no luck with the ladies and not many friends. One evening, as they hang out, they have the genius idea to create their ideal woman using a powerful (for the time) computer and a doll. The result gives them Lisa, a stunning flesh and blood woman who helps them find themselves, love, and friendship.  

This mid-1980s classic sci-fi-fantasy-comedy comes from the minds of writers John Hughes, Al Felstein, and William M. Gaines with Hughes directing. This is exactly what is expected here at this point, meaning that it is a John Hughes high school movie done within the science-fiction realm based in fantasy, both in the story itself and in how things play out for the 2 lead teenagers. Of course, this is a comedy, of course there’s some coming-of-age stuff here, and of course some of the jokes have not aged well. That being said, watching the film with the fact that it’s close to 40 years old, it is more than watchable, it’s enjoyable for most of the runtime. Of course, a few of the jokes that don’t land will make current audiences cringe, but that is how art and film are preserved, as they were upon original release. Overall, the comedy is good, the lines work, and the typical John Hughes storytelling style is very much here. The science-fiction makes no sense, and the film knows this, making it work throughout. Yeah, it’s dumb to think they could make a woman out of a doll and some computer coding, but hey why not. The film sells this quite well along with all the rest of the suspension of disbelief bits here and there throughout the film.  

The cast here is so 80s, it’s special. Kelly LeBrock plays Lisa, and she was clearly chosen for her body, but the way she plays along here makes the part hers and makes her performances completely on point. Anthony Michael Hall and Ilan Mitchell-Smith give their best teens-wanting-to-be-grown-ups, making their characters both relatable and annoying at the same time. Showing up seemingly out of nowhere is Robert Downey Jr who is paired up with Robert Rusler here, both of them giving wanna-be cool dudes in high school, giving their interpretation something that works here, something that very much feels like it’s in the right movie. Working around these five are a bunch of other people including Bill Paxton as the violence-minded big brother to Mitchell-Smith’s Wyatt, chewing some scenery and making the most of his few scenes. The cast overall works here with some cheesy bits of performance here and there, some exaggerated reactions, and some right on the money sequences. The work here is solid even if some scenery gets chewed up something fierce (to today’s standards). 

The film’s special effects have aged decently well, something that can be attributed to the practical effects of course. There are a few sequences of cgi, a bit of laser, something that was big back in the day, and even those work pretty good here. The film’s 4k release will show the age on these sequences, but overall, the practical effects show well on the new restoration to 4k from the original negatives.  

Which leads up to the reason for this re-release from Arrow. Here we get a 4k restoration from the original negatives, something that is quite well-done, showing up well on screens and in sound, giving the film a bit of an upgrade. While the question of if this film needed it or not, it doesn’t really matter here. The film looks great, sounds great, and has some fun new extras which is why many fans will want to get this release. The new release is packed with features and the best ones are the archive documentary “It’s Alive Resurrecting Weird Science” which consists of interviews with cast and crew of the film as well as the newer interviews with score composer Ira Newborn, editor Chris Lebenzon, and, in particular, the interview with special makeup effects creator Craig Reardon, what can I say, I love a good special effects interview. The new disc also has a bunch more extras, plenty for fans of the film to spend hours on.