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Weird Science [Limited Edition] (4K UHD Review)


The Film
The Video (Overall)
HDR Effect
The Audio
The Supplements


Two high school nerds who can't make friends or get girlfriends use a PC create the perfect woman, but she ends up disrupting their lives, teaching them about themselves, and bringing them out of their shells.

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

Weird Science was an anomaly in John Hughes’ output. Up to that point he had directed two films exploring the awkward teen years, relationships, and the pressures of high school, Sixteen Candles and the thoughtful The Breakfast Club. Both were rather well grounded in reality, but for this third film he took a bit of a turn into the absurd. He remained with the teen genre, but decided to make it a little crazier, just a bit edgier, and bring in elements of sci-fi and the then innovative computer technology into the story.

Two nerdy high school friends Gary (Anthony Michael Hall) and Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) who cannot make friends or get a girlfriend decide to use their PC to create the perfect woman to their exact specifications. Out steps the gorgeous Lisa (Kelly Lebrock), who then takes them on a wild journey outside of their shells to find themselves, including to a smoky adult bar, and throwing a crazy party at Wyatt’s house where Mad Max characters show up.

Weird Science goes from the crazy to the insane and makes no excuses about it. There is much that takes place in this 1985 film that probably would never get made today. The idea of two guys just making a woman to be their sex doll sounds creepy enough, but then you also have the scene with Anthony Michael Hall talking “black” in the dive bar. Was it funny? Yes. Would it get past the PC police today? Probably not. We also have to look at the film in a broader context. Kelly Lebrock’s role was as a ‘sex goddess’ created by two creepy nerds – who also happened to be underage and she was meant to be in her twenties at the time. Also, Lisa encourages the boys to expand their horizons, so the strange premise that draws us into the film is really a misdirection. She ends up being their mentor rather than their sex slave.

Hughes’ film is action packed from beginning to end and filled with memorable moments and classic one-liners. Who can forget Wyatt and Gary with the bras on their heads? Or the classic “gimme da’ keys” line? The cast is perfect as well. The late Bill Paxton as the terrifying older brother Chet has to be one of the most memorable characters from the 1980s. Robert Downey, Jr. also appears and plays a marvelously hateable high school in-crowd cool guy.

The extended cut of the film included with this release from Arrow has some brief nudity not present in the theatrical cut.

  • Anthony Michael Hall and Ilan Mitchell-Smith in Weird Science (1985)
  • Anthony Michael Hall and Kelly LeBrock in Weird Science (1985)
  • Anthony Michael Hall and Ilan Mitchell-Smith in Weird Science (1985)
  • Kelly LeBrock in Weird Science (1985)
  • Kelly LeBrock in Weird Science (1985)
  • Anthony Michael Hall and Chino 'Fats' Williams in Weird Science (1985)
  • Bill Paxton in Weird Science (1985)
  • Robert Downey Jr., Anthony Michael Hall, Ilan Mitchell-Smith, and Robert Rusler in Weird Science (1985)
  • Michael Berryman in Weird Science (1985)
  • Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Rusler in Weird Science (1985)
  • D'Mitch Davis and John Kapelos in Weird Science (1985)
  • Weird Science (1985)
  • Weird Science (Arrow Video_AV521)
  • Weird Science (Arrow Video_AV521)
  • Weird Science (Arrow Video_AV521)

The Video

Arrow Video lists this as a new restoration by Arrow Films from a 4K scan of the original negative with a 4K (2160p) UHD Blu-ray presentation in Dolby Vision (HDR10 compatible) of the original Theatrical Version of the film (94 mins), plus seamlessly-branched Extended Version (97 mins), featuring two additional scenes. This is a step up over their already fantastic Blu-ray release from 2019. The granularity is now even more refined and textured with an organic appearance that before, a finer amount of details can be seen, and the Dolby Vision HDR brings a lot of ‘pop’ to the colors, like the neon lights of the bar in the city or the flashes of lighting during the wild creation scenes.

The Audio

Arrow provides two options for Weird Science – a stereo mix in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 and a 5.1 remix in DTS-HD Master Audio that is only available with the original Theatrical Version of the film. The 5.1 mix is surprisingly good, with sound balanced well through the channels, lush atmospherics and good solid effects that make their way into the surround channels. Low end and midrange are nicely punchy and dialogue comes through clearly. The stereo audio is also good with a good spread of sound and dynamics. When I last listened to this stereo mix on Arrow’s 2019 Blu-ray release I thought the high frequencies were a bit grating and fatiguing, but I did not find them as such on this new 4K release. I am not sure if the audio has been remastered.

The Supplements

Everything that was included with Arrow’s 2019 Blu-ray release is included with this 4K release outside of the separate two additional scenes from the extended cut of the film.

Limited Edition Features:

  • Illustrated collectors’ booklet featuring writing on the film by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas and Amanda Reyes
  • Double-sided fold-out poster featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Tracie Ching
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Tracie Ching

Bonus Features:

  • Edited-for-TV Version (1080p; Dolby Vision)
    • Split Screen Comparison 1080p; Dolby Vision; 00:18:16)
  • Casting Weird Science with Jackie Burch (1080p; 00:06:01) – An interview with casting director Jackie Burch, explaining how the film’s ensemble cast was assembled.
  • Dino the Greek with John Kapelos (1080p; 00:06:55) – An interview with actor John Kapelos on his experience playing Dino.
  • Chet Happens with Craig Reardon (1080p; 00:19:38) – An interview with special makeup effects creator Craig Reardon on how the infamous ‘Chet-blob’ effects were achieved.
  • Fantasy and Microchips with Chris Lebenzon (1080p; 00:10:44) – An interview with editor Chris Lebenzon on his experience cutting the film together.
  • Ira Newborn Makes the Score (1080p; 00:13:43) – An interview with composer Ira Newborn on his experience working with director John Hughes and producer Joel Silver.
  • It’s Alive! Resurrecting Weird Science (1080p; 00:16:38) – An archive featurette produced for the film’s 2008 DVD release, featuring interviews with cast, crew, and admirers, including star Anthony Michael Hall.
  • Theatrical Teaser (1080p; 00:02:37)
  • Theatrical Trailer (1080p; 00:01:34)
  • TV Spots (1080p; 00:01:01)
  • Radio Spots (1080p; 00:04:50)
  • Image Galleries (1080p):
    • Shooting Script
    • Production Stills
    • Poster & Video Art

The Final Assessment

This is one of the classic teen films from the 1980s. People love it or hate it – put me in the former category. It is not one of Hughes’ more thoughtful films, but it wasn’t meant to be. Arrow’s new 4K release is in line with their fantastic releases on the format, looking natural and free from any issues. This limited edition is loaded with all the bonus features and collectibles from before, and they are still worth it, especially if you have not purchased the 2019 release.

Weird Science [Limited Edition] is out on 4K Ultra HD August 22, 2023 from Arrow Video.

  • Rating Certificate: PG-13
  • Studios & Distributors: Universal Pictures | Arrow Video
  • Director: John Hughes
  • Written By: John Hughes
  • Run Time: 94 Mins. (Theatrical Edition) | 97 Mins. (Extended Edition)
  • Street Date: 22 August 2023
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Video Format: HEVC 2160p (4K UHD)
  • HDR Format: Dolby Vision (HDR10 Compatible)
  • Primary Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1 (Theatrical Edition only) | English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Stereo
  • Subtitles: English SDH

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Two high school nerds who can't make friends or get girlfriends use a PC create the perfect woman, but she ends up disrupting their lives, teaching them about themselves, and bringing them out of their shells.Weird Science [Limited Edition] (4K UHD Review)