In 2176, the world is a grey, sterile place. All history has been lost. Four scientists (led by David Cassidy of Partridge Family infamy) travel back in time to recover the American Constitution, and revive history. Unfortunately, their time machine malfunctions, and they windup in 1976. Cue the stupidity. Unfortunately, the laughs are very few and far between. We already know that this period had many risible qualities. Just showing them to us isn’t enough.
If you’re into the 70s groove, then the audio should please (though it is limited to a 2.0 mix).The music sounds better than it ever would have on 8-track equipment, and the sound effects are pretty solid too. The sense of environment is quite effective (see, for instance, the hollow wind sound that nicely emphasizes the grim setting of the future).
The box claims that the widescreen format preserves the original ratio, but I have my doubts.The picture is in 1.78:1 anamorphic, but the deleted scenes are clearly in 1.85:1, which seems a tad suspicious. The opening is a bit on the grainy and dirty side, but the picture quality rapidly improves, though it is never as razor-sharp as some other releases. The colours and contrasts are very good, capturing the 70s in all their colour-blind awfulness.
The principle extra is a commentary by director Lucas Reiner and his father, Carl Reiner.Their talk is most engaging and filled with anecdotes, though occasionally there are long pauses as they watch the film without finding anything to say. The Behind-the-Scenes featurette is the usual bit of promo. The outtakes and extra scenes come in the form of a montage, and there is also the theatrical trailer, cast and crew filmographies, and a video by Redd Kross. Easter Eggs,wherein various luminaries talk about their experience with the 70s, are easy to find — just move the cursor through each menu’s page and select the unlabelled option (trust me, you can’t miss them). The menu’s main page is scored.
Interesting idea, with an intriguing cast, but the final result is just not that funny.