• My Science Project



    Released by: Mill Creek Entertainment
    Released on: February 16th, 2016.
    Director: Jonathan R. Betuel
    Cast: John Stockwell, Denis Hopper, Danielle von Zerneck, Fisher Stevens, Raphael Sbarge
    Year: 1985
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    The Movie:

    Directed by Jonathan R. Betuel in 1985, My Science Project is centered around a high school where the science teacher, Bob Roberts (Dennis Hopper) is grooming his class to be the best that they can be. Things get…. odd when two of his students, Michael Harlan (John Stockwell) and his lady friend Ellie Sawyer (Danielle von Zerneck), wind up breaking into a military scrap yard where they find a bizarre glowing orb that would seem to matter – just exactly how or why they don’t know yet, but when you see the thing, you get it.

    They figure that this is just what they need, the perfect subject for the science project coming due soon in Michael's class, taught by Roberts of course, but what to do with it? They start tinkering around with the thing and soon realize that it has the ability to absorb electricity but when it does that, it takes on the ability to bring the past, the present and the future all into the same era. If you think about the ramifications of that, you’ll understand that it’s not a good thing, not at all. Before you know it, Michael and Ellie, with some help from Roberts and a few of their friends – chief amongst them a guy named Vince Latello (Fisher Stevens) -find themselves in a race against time to… um, save time? Something like that. It gets a bit complex.

    The special effects in My Science Project are definitely a product of their time but then, that’s half the fun of a movie like this and not so much a criticism as it is an observation. Expect lots of optical effects while weird laser style electricity abounds. And hey, we get a dinosaur, some sixties counter culture stuff, roman gladiators, futuristic mutants, a sweet Ford GTO and a fun supporting turn from the great Dennis Hopper (it is interesting to note that when Roberts is transported back to the sixties and then comes back to the eighties, he’s wearing an outfit that should look familiar to Dennis Hopper fans – his outfit from Easy Rider)!

    Although it seems clear in hindsight that the picture was made fast and cheap to cash in on the success of pictures like Back To The Future made that same year, the movie also blends in some high school dramedy elements from films like those that John Hughes was making around the same period. If it feels more like a goofy episode of The Twilight Zone than anything else, you can’t really discount the high school romance aspect of the film. Science comedy was a ‘thing’ in the mid-eighties and this clearly fits into that niche nicely but the script offers up enough unique elements that, even if it occasionally feels like a ‘me too’ movie, My Science Project is entertaining enough.

    The performances are fun. Fisher Stevens and Dennis Hopper steal every scene that they’re in but Stockwell and the super cute Danielle von Zerneck hold their own without issue. No one here was striving for an Oscar but the material never calls for it. This is a fun popcorn movie, no more and no less. Affection for the decade it was made in will only add to your enjoyment of the film but even if you’re not a child of the eighties, you can still have a good time with this reasonably family friendly mix of science fiction, teen romance and goofy comedy.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    My Science Project debuts on Blu-ray from Mill Creek in an AVC encoded 1080p transfer framed that looks good if never amazing. The 25GB disc has plenty of breathing room given that this is a barebones release with lossy audio, so there are no obvious compression issues. There are some shots where detail looks quite strong and others, often heavy with effects (indicating that this may just be how the movie looks, period) where things are soft. Minor print damage shows up here and there but there’s nothing too heavy here to get bent out of shape over. Colors look good if slightly faded in a few spots. This won’t blow you away with startling HD clarity but it looks decent considering the asking price.

    Audio chores are handled by a Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track, there’s no lossless option here, that sounds fine. It doesn’t sound amazing, mind you, but it’s workable if a bit flat and occasionally a little muddy. A lossless option is always ideal on Blu-ray and this hardly takes full advantage of the format but it works.

    There are no extras on the disc, just a static menu offering chapter selection.

    The Final Word:

    My Science Project is no comedic masterpiece but it has its moments and those with an affinity for eighties nostalgia and all the goody quirks that it entails will definitely get a kick out of it. Mill Creek’s Blu-ray is barebones and comes up short in the audio department but it looks okay, at times quite nice. Given the low MSRP of the disc, this is a decent upgrade in the video department for fans of the film.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!




















    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      I watched this recently, having not seen it since the heyday of First Choice Superchannel. I LOVE this film. It is sooo much fun. Fisher Stevens rules.