Pauly Shore (Encino Man) and Stephen Baldwin (The Usual Suspects) star as Bud “Squirrel” Macintosh and Doyle “Stubs” Johnson in the ultimate slacker comedy Bio-Dome. Mistaking an experimental site for a mall, Squirrel and Stubs enter in hopes of finding a bathroom and instead find themselves the unwitting participants in a biological research project and the antagonistic foils of the by-the-book lead scientist Dr. Faulkner (William Atherton, Die Hard, Day of the Locust). Joey Adams (Chasing Amy, Big Daddy) lends comic support in the Jason Bloom (Overnight Delivery, Viva Las Nowhere) directed comedy written by Kip Koenig and Scott Marcano.
"It took years to build this world, you geniuses took only one month to destroy it. God couldn't work at such a fast pace! I haven't seen devastation of this magnitude since the great chipmunk fire of 79!"
In my quest to relive my childhood I knew I would get to my preteen years where my questionable tastes in movies would come into stark contrast with my adult need for nostalgia. I didn't expect that day to arrive so quickly, but it has arrived with the one time MTV DJ Pauly Shore starring alongside Stephen Baldwin in 'Bio-Dome.' Prior to jumping into this movie again, I had vague memories of liking this movie way back when I was around 14 years old, but at the same time I remember becoming extremely annoyed with it. If there is one accomplishment I can claim in the following 18 years it is that I am no longer 14 and 'Bio-Dome' still annoys me.
Dimwit best friends Bud (Pauly Shore) and Doyle (Stephen Baldwin) are aimless do-nothings who would rather sit on their couches and smell each others' farts than help their extremely attractive ambitious girlfriends and their interests in environmental preservation. After their girlfriends get fed up with them, Bud and Doyle drive off to make amends. While en-route Doyle has to use the bathroom and the pair pull over and sneak into a mall opening ceremony to find a toilet. Only it isn't a new mall that is opening, it's Bio-Dome, a state-of-the-art scientific research facility that seals off a team of scientists from the rest of the world for an entire year as they conduct a number of environmental experiments. Bud and Doyle get locked in with the scientists without any way out. But that isn't so bad because they become instant celebrities commanding all of the media attention associated with the facility. Bud and Doyle run amok, hijinks ensue, and the brilliant scientists must endure their idiotic antics and the threat they pose to the sustained environment.
I'll admit that I was actually hopeful that my memories of 'Bio-Dome' being one of the single stupidest movies I'd ever seen were false assumptions brought on by intervening years of maturity and movie watching. 'Bio-Dome' is still one of the single stupidest movies I have ever seen, but I will begrudgingly admit that I let out a chuckle or two - only not at the expense of the lead actors. A brief Tenacious D cameo and the few scenes with dead-pan comedian Taylor Negron, the late great character actor Henry Gibson, and an Oliver Stone 'JFK' reference were actually pretty funny. Everything else was an endurance test.
'Bio-Dome' proved to be the bullet to Shore and Stephen Baldwin's cinematic careers, neither actor have rebounded in any meaningful way since this film's release. The rest of the cast seems to have survived well enough, William Atherton was able to move on, Denise Dowse can be seen in some good flicks like 'Ray' and Kylie Minogue got her pop career off the ground, so that's something.
Whether or not 'Bio-Dome' is actually a terrible movie is entirely up to you the viewer. If you have fond memories of seeing this way back in the day, it might be worth dipping a toe back into nostalgic waters, just keep your expectations in check. If you're new to this movie and the antics of Pauly Shore and Stephen Baldwin and are curious, ask yourself how badly do you want to see an entire three minute joke centered around Baldwin needing to scratch an itchy testicle? If that and numerous other jokes that are on the same par sound appealing then you might have a chance at enjoying this one.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
'Bio-Dome' makes its way to Blu-ray thanks to Olive Films pressed on a BD25 disc that opens to a static main menu.
Amazingly enough, 'Bio-Dome' actually makes a fairly pleasing HD debut with this 1.85:1 1080p transfer. Detail is strong throughout as a fine amount of film grain has been retained. Few if any compression artifacts are on display as black levels are nice and even through much of the film leading to a decent three dimensional feel in several scenes. Colors are about on par, if perhaps a bit muted. Flesh times skew a bit pink while primaries can appear a bit dull and lifeless for a film with this much color. Green plants in particular can look a bit off. That said, the print is in spectacular shape without any visible print damage to be seen.
If you love 90s pop music, you should enjoy this DTS-HD MA 2.0 track for 'Bio-Dome.' Not being saddled with a full 5.1 track lets this simple comedy actually enjoy some auditory life on Blu-ray. Sound effects - even the obnoxious ones - dialogue, and the music all keep to the midranges. Imaging is strong while not overly impressive, the track really only comes to life in the later half of the movie during the big party scene and when Bud and Doyle attempt to make things right via montage. Sound effects have a habit of booming out the stereo channels at times but this is by design. The track is free of any hisses, pops or damage of any kind. While the movie was tough to get through, the 90s tunes of my youth helped.
No supplemental material present.
I knew this was going to be a tough ride to roll though. 'Bio-Dome' is just one of those movies that for me did not age well at all and actually made me miss 'Jury Duty' and 'Encino Man' - only I fear those memories are being viewed through rose-colored glasses and they're in fact terrible movies too. If you're still a fan of 'Bio-Dome' you should be very pleased with this HD transfer and the accompanying audio track. If you're new to the venture, I would tread lightly and give this one a rent. Without any kind of extra features to speak of, it's tough to recommend for a straight purchase.