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Wayne's World

Paramount // PG-13 // May 12, 2009
List Price: $29.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Ryan Keefer | posted May 11, 2009 | E-mail the Author
The Movie:

Boy oh boy, have I run the gamut of reactions when it comes to Wayne's World. I vividly remember the late '80s and early '90s period when Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels was trying to make a movie franchise out of every possible recurring character. Some were good, and some wound up being The Ladies' Man. When Wayne's World came out, I never really thought much of Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar. In fact, I remember Howard Stern calling the film "Wayne's Bomb" before it came out. It went on to make over $120 million domestically, and expressions like "Not!" "No Way! Way" and the like became pop culture catchphrases. And I was doing them every so often too. Wayne's World was a film that I resisted seeing that, when I did finally see it, I was surprised at how funny it was.

Yet as time's gone on, the film's jokes and catchphrases have grown more and more stale. This is in no small part due to the fact the film so bathes itself in that early '90s period of time, things aren't funny anymore. The fourth wall breakdown is a little too frequent a crutch, the drum solo from Garth, and Wayne and Garth rehearsing production countdowns, are desperate and unexplainable stretches to turn the film into 90 minutes, the acting by the female lead (Tia Carrere, True Lies) is wooden in just about every scene, and Myers, like he would go on to do with his Austin Powers trilogy of films, seemed to be repeating lines for the simple intention of making sure they were on T-shirts later in the summer. There is one saving grace to the film, and that's the performance of Rob Lowe as Benjamin, the film's protagonist. He exhibits a sense of comic delivery that would prove to be beneficial in Myers' Austin Powers films, not to mention as a key player in The West Wing. To see the genesis of that comic skill is nice to experience again.

That's the good part about Wayne's World. But for that good, Myers' script and the direction of Penelope Spheeris' (Black Sheep) give us 92 minutes of "excellent!", "schwing!" and god knows how many other things, strung along with the transparent plot of having Wayne and Garth (Dana Carvey, Little Nicky) realize major success with their sleepy public access cable show, only to have fame and fortune get in the way of their friendship, not to mention Wayne and his girlfriend Cassandra (Carrere). Cassandra's a singer in a rock band, and Wayne tries to get her her big break with a record deal also, despite the promises of Benjamin, a television producer who could presumably make it happen for her.

I mentioned how I liked the film once I actually saw it, but it helped start a list of films for me, which subsequently Borat and Jackass have found themselves on. A film might be hilarious the first time, but as you watch it months (or in the case of Wayne's World, years) after first seeing it in the theaters, you just don't find yourself laughing like you used to, because of some of the things I mentioned above. The heavy metal nature of Wayne's World can be translated over to some degree as well. For those who collected the tapes and CD of hair metal bands like Dokken, Ratt and Tesla, put them on again now and try to answer this question; "What the heck were you thinking?"

The Blu-ray Disc:

Wayne's World is given the 1.85:1 widescreen 1080p high definition treatment, using the AVC MPEG-4 codec, and things aren't too shabby on Blu-ray. Blacks in things like Wayne's hair and clothes and club sequences look solid, and detail in things like the hair strands in the star's wigs can be easily discerned. In fact, foreground image detail isn't bad, and facial imperfections in tight shots can be spotted relatively easily. There's even a hint that the picture is multi-dimensional in a couple of exterior sequences. The film suffers from image softness occasionally, but overall should be a step up from the standard definition disc.


The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 sound option is admirable, but considering how musical and how ambient the film is, more could have been done to pump things up a bit. The music sounds clear and possesses a decent dynamic range, but it misses a low-end punch which would have made things sound good. Along those same lines, the scene where Wayne and Garth are outside when the planes fly over them, the lack of subwoofer engagement is a good sign of what kind of sound quality you're going to deal with in the film. Dialogue sounds strong and speaker panning of evident even in the early scenes in Aurora, but by and large the sound is hardly a world-beater.


Spheeris contributes a commentary to the film which is surprisingly candid. She opens the track by talking about a scenario with Michaels before he went to New York to start SNL, and talks about the early work she did with Albert Brooks' short films which aired on the show. She mentions how her previous work got her the job here, not to mention the trials and tribulations of working on the production. She finds herself watching the film and laughing at scenes periodically, but reflects on its success as well. She even goes into biographical recollection too, discussing how she turned down both This is Spinal Tap and The Brady Bunch films (one of which was the right decision, I might add), but overall this is a loose and fun track. "Extreme Closeup" (23:14) is a look at the film which appears to be a dated press kit when the film was first released. Featuring interviews with Myers, Carvey, Michaels and Spheeris, the first three discuss the differences in shooting a feature compared to television, with an occasional production anecdote thrown in. It's hardly revelatory. The film's trailer (2:06) closes the disc's material out.

Final Thoughts:

I wish Wayne's World made me laugh like it used to, but the fact of the matter is that either it's just not funny, or I'm much more refined than I used to be. Looking at the Blu-ray disc from a higher level, technically you could go for the double-dip if you like the film, but it's more for the high definition look than anything else. Supplementally it could be good but feels like a wasted opportunity though. If you haven't seen Wayne's World before but are familiar with Myers' work, feel free to give it a spin, but I wouldn't worry about buying it.

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