There was a time not so long ago when Weird Al Yankovic was God. I remember staying up all night listening to the radio waiting to hit the record button so I could get his new song "Eat It" on tape. The following week I'd stay glued to the TV set to catch an episode of Video Rocks at 7am to see the exact replica copycat video, man it looked just like the original "Beat It" video (Weird Al was the king of parody). I'm sure that I wasn't the only one, immature boys everywhere rocked out to Weird Al songs and a collective "Oh my Gosh!" could probably have been heard across the nation when the announcement was made; Weird Al Yankovic has a movie coming out! That movie, is the spoof spectacular, UHF. Long out of print on VHS and Laser Disc (courtesy of the now bankrupt ORION Studios), MGM has resurrected this prime example of classic cinema to be enjoyed by all on the oh so magical DVD format.
Weird Al plays George Newman, a down on his luck daydreaming kind of fella who just can't seem to keep a job or a girlfriend (Victoria Jackson) for that matter. Through a unique turn of events, George has the opportunity to run a low-end cable station (Channel 62) that his uncle attained in a poker game. With the help of the station secretary (Fran Drescher) and janitor (Michael Richards) George creates some wacky programming (Wheel of Fish and Bowling for Burgers anyone?) that prompts the ratings to soar. RJ Fletcher (Kevin McCarthy of the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers and many more) owner of a huge rival station will stop at nothing to see Channel 62 fail.
As far as spoof movies go, UHF is definitely top notch. UHF doesn't care whose toes it steps on, with such movie parodies as Indiana Jones, Rambo and Ghandi (as an action hero). Along with parodies of the familiar, there are also plenty of original spoofs including commercials for Spatula City ("we sell spatulas, and that's all!") and Plot's "R" Us discount burials ("visit our new salad bar!"). I'm not gonna lie to you, a lot of the humor in UHF is sorely dated, the acting is pretty much pitiful, and some of the comedic setups are just that, painfully obvious setups. BUT, (yes there's always a but), in 1989 I can't think of anything that was funnier, plus it's Weird Al! This movie was made for fans of Weird Al by Weird Al, and you can truly see the heart and soul of just about everyone involved on the screen (well, you can't really SEE their hearts and such, but you get the idea). UHF is funny, hilarious even! UHF is Weird Al and Weird Al is UHF (got it?).
This transfer of UHF on DVD is nothing short of astounding. Colors are so sharp and bright UHF looks like a real film once again. Despite the obvious budgetary limitations one can now truly appreciate the wacky lighting schemes of the film (no joke). Grain is minimal and there is little to no evidence of print damage. Black levels are dead on throughout, as darker scenes exhibit no problems whatsoever. Only complaint, a bit too much on the red side, including flesh tones. A minor quibble at best as fans couldn't have asked for any more, it's wonderful!
Sound is presented in Dolby 2.0 stereo surround and is quite pleasing. There are very few directional effects, yet rears kick in primarily during musical numbers and action scenes. Dialogue is crisp and clear and is fairly balanced in the center. There are some great stereo effects, which remain balanced throughout as well.
I think it's safe to say that this DVD of UHF was created with the fans in mind. Not only does it carry a MSRP of less than 15 bucks (yes all Weird Al fans are thrifty) it's basically a special edition in disguise. We get both a 16X9 widescreen version of the film along with the less superior full frame version. In addition there are deleted scenes (hosted by Weird Al himself), a brief (I mean very brief) behind the scenes featurette, trailers and stills, a music video for the song UHF and a few hidden surprises. Which brings me to my next point, studios are now billing Easter Eggs (hidden features) as special features, what a world. Lastly, the disc features a superior audio commentary with both Weird Al and co-writer/director Jay Levey. In addition Emo Phillips, Michael Richards and Victoria Jackson all stop by to lend some time to the audio commentary. It's very rare that you will here me say this, but the audio commentary on this disc is without a doubt, the best I have ever heard. Complaint time again. The standard version and widescreen version are on opposite sides of the disc, which is fine. However, the deleted scenes are on the standard side while all the other extras are on the widescreen side. Pity me, I had to flip the disc. Minor complaint, I know, but I figured it's worth mentioning. Also worth mentioning are the nifty animated menus, neat!
Bottom line? If you are a Weird Al fan buy this DVD. On the other hand, if you're a spoof fan and a UHF virgin, give it a shot. There is no better way to enjoy UHF than with this DVD.