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Some Things Are Best Left Unrevisited
The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension
w/ Peter Weller, Jeff Goldblum
I enjoyed this film greatly when a gang of us went to see it on opening day back in -- what? 1984?.

I thought that it was clever and fast-moving and altogether a perfect Doc Savage analog for the Eighties.

I rewatched it for the first time in years over the weekend with my stepdaughter and a friend of hers (both of whom apparently enjoyed it on this first viewing as much as i did in '84) and discovered that while i may have been right about all of those qualities, there was a third quality that, as part of the group experience, i failed to notice the absence of -- and that was "Substance".

The pacing and the surface glitter serve to keep the mind from catching up with itself {or the film} on first viewing and asking plaintively of itself "But why...?" or going "Wait a minute -- how...?" (not unlike most Steven Spielberg films) or from examining the plot contrivances necessary to make the story "work".

Perfect Tommy's watermelon could be a metaphor for most of what happens in the film, in that respect -- "Why a watermelon?" "Why not?"

The villainous Red Lectroids never manage to do anything but look more or less vaguely ridiculous, and why must the Good Guy Black Lectroids have Rasta dreadlocks and accents? Do the spaceships remind anyone else of giant kidney stones?

Why are all Lectroids named "John (something)"? And why do some have comic-relief last names and some have perfectly ordinary last names?

Neatly nestled in the tissue-thin narrative, however, are a few goodies. "It's not my planet, monkey-boy!" and "Wherever you go, there you are" have, quite properly, become catchphrases, and it's worth watching the whole film just to see John Lithgow's totally deranged performance as Dr Lizardo.

But, even though we own the DVD, i doubt i'll be watching the film again -- some parts, maybe, but not the whole film.

Sad; i really liked it eighteen years ago...