Joe Dante is always, at least to me, a very underappreciated filmmaker, with his films usually misunderstood and box office disappointments if not outright failures. The 'burbs is Dante's follow up to his Oscar-winning but box-office disappointment Innerspace, tackling a one-location story about paranoid neighbors who band together to see what mysteries lurk with their new neighbors, the Klopeks. Ray Peterson (Tom Hanks) is forced to lead fellow neighbors Art (Rick Duccommon) and Rumsfeld (Bruce Dern) to learn why they are so secretive and possibly learn if elderly man named Walter is possibly a victim of the Klopek's. The film was released in February of 1989, and did reasonably well, but didn't do gangbusters as expected, and was a huge critical flop, some even labling the film one of the worst failures in comedy. Luckily, critical and public perception has changed and has become a popular film, developing a strong cult, and I am part of the cult. Funny, witty, some dark-ish humor abound with Dante delivering some of his best work here, complete with his usual filmmaking touch. The cast isnuo to snuff, with Hanks delivering one of his best, and last, major comedy films he has done. The technical work is well done and professional and you can tell it had a good budget to work with. All in all, it is a funny film, a comedy classic that will not satisfy most, but will make new fans out of the film.
The Blu-ray specs feature a decent 2k remaster, but compared the the better version from Arrow, it is a bit if a downer. It does feature a sharp image for the most part, with colors and details being well done and grain being well-resolved for the most part, but I suspect part of the problem is sharing 2 versions of the film on one disc. The sound, featuring a DTS-HD 2.0 track is lively and features nice separation of stereo elements, but be reserved since it cannot compare to modern films. The extras are where the disc really shine, leading off with a work print version of the film, loaded with deleted scenes not shown elsewhere, but since it was sourced from VHS elements, keep your expectations in check. There is also a commentary with writer Dana Olsen, an over hour-long documentary carried over from the Arrow bluray, new interviews (38 mins.) with cast and crew specific to this release, an alternate ending, photo and poster galleries and a trailer. The Arrow release also had a 24 min. featurette along with an isolated score and a nice booklet, but this release has a slipcover and reversible artwork. This release is overall recommended, with decent specs and plenty of extras, but is lacking a couple of extras from the Arrow release, still i recommend this one hundred percent. You won't regret it.