What once started as a sketch on a TV show (as so many 90’s comedies did, it seems) became a successful films in the early 1990’s. The small budget of the first film proved fruitful, as it earned it back with ease in the United States….six times over. Add in international receipts and the film made over $180 million. Sadly the sequel, which followed a mere year later, had double budget and only barely made it back in the states. Poor reviews and what essentially amounted to the same film in a different setting made for an unsuccessful formula. While Mike Meyers has gone on to star in and write other successful series, Wayne’s World was one of his first really big breaks—as well as one of his first really big disappointments, which seems to be a pattern in his rollercoaster career.
Synopsis – Wayne’s World
Based on the Saturday Night Live sketch of the same name, Wayne’s World is a wacky, irreverent pop-culture comedy about the adventures of two amiably aimless metal-head friends, Wayne (Mike Myers) and Garth (Dana Carvey). From Wayne’s basement, the pair broadcast a talk-show called “Wayne’s World” on local public access television. The show comes to the attention of a sleazy network executive (Rob Lowe) who wants to produce a big-budget version of “Wayne’s World”—and he also wants Wayne’s girlfriend, a rock singer named Cassandra (Tia Carrere). Wayne and Garth have to battle the executive not only to save their show, but also Cassandra. Director Penelope Spheeris, Myers and Carvey hang a lot of silly, but funny, jokes on this thin plot, and the energy of the cast—as well as the wild pop-culture references—make Wayne’s World a cut above the average Saturday Night Live spin-off movie.
Wayne’s World was always a popular series in my house—at least with my brother and sister. The perpetual innuendo and not-so-subtle references and jokes to more obscene things made for easy laughs. It didn’t hurt that the first film was genuinely funny, with countless catchphrases being spawned from it as a result. Hell, you use “schwing” so much nowadays (or at least I do. Erm…nevermind…) that it’s easy to forget where it originally came from. On top of that, the series affinity for breaking the fourth wall and just generally being a ridiculous and absurd film made a great number of fans as evidenced by its box office intake).
The series also tried something relatively unheard for…well, most films: multiple endings. While the sequel would eventually designate which ending fans would “use,” the film nonetheless set up for a strange way to end the film which…really, was the only way you could end something that started out as a five minute sketch on a TV show. Two fake endings was funny but by the third one it was another fantastic joke from a film you really didn’t expect much from—which is what made it all the more enjoyable (and why the sequel didn’t work).
The plot itself is throwaway, with a predictable series of events that lead to the aforementioned trio of endings. While it’s easily forseen, it’s just such a genuinely entertaining and funny film that even as obvious it all seems, it’s just a riot to watch. It helps if you’re a fan of Meyers or Carvey (in my case I’m both, so that worked out well), but this really one of the better SNL inspired spin-offs to ever come down the pike. Highly Recommended.
Synopsis – Wayne’s World 2
Everyone’s favorite headbangers from Aurora, Illinois, are back in this sequel to the 1992 hit comedy Wayne’s World. The success of their TV show allows Wayne Campbell (Mike Myers) and Garth Algar (Dana Carvey) to finally move out of their parents’ homes, but now they have to figure out what to do with their lives. Wayne’s girlfriend, up-and-coming rock star Cassandra (Tia Carrere), is enjoying a career boost thanks to her new manager Bobby Cohn (Christopher Walker), but Garth thinks that Bobby is more interested in her body than her place on the charts. Meanwhile, Wayne is visited in a dream by the late Jim Morrison (Michael A. Nickles), who convinces him to promote a massive rock festival, “Waynestock,” featuring Aerosmith as headliners. Garth, on the other hand, is finally relieved of his pesky virginity by femme fatale Honey Hornee (Kim Basinger), though it turns out that Honey has a hidden agenda. Drew Barrymore, Harry Shearer, and Charlton Heston play cameo roles in Wayne’s World 2, and Jay Leno, Rip Taylor, and Todd Rundgren appear as themselves.
Heavy description much? Yeah, that synopsis pretty much recounts all of the funny little bits in it, as well as the various cameos that are made throughout it. Sadly Wayne’s World 2 plays on all of the jokes of the first one and really adds nothing to it. The idea of Waynestock was interesting at first but eventually went nowhere and the focus on Carrere’s musical career in the film felt highly reminiscent of the first film as well.
It was clear why this film was made—the first one made a ridiculous amount of money. But unlike the Austin Powers films which at least had a gap in-between them, Wayne’s World 2 came out just a year after the first film (although at the tail end of December, so almost two years), leave audiences with little time to even warm up to the idea of another film, let alone spending more money on seeing the same material.
Don’t get me wrong—I enjoyed Wayne’s World 2 but only as much as I enjoyed Harold and Kumar 2. Neither of the aforementioned films should have been made, but they were funny in their own right but only if you saw the film that preceded it. They don’t stand alone very well and that’s the real shame about the film—as much as I would have loved to watch another hilarious installment of Wayne’s World, instead all we got was the first film recycled (with three different endings in all). Of course having said all of that, I wouldn’t actually mind a Wayne’s World 3, simply because the actors have all aged so much that to see them reunite for another film would be funny. And oddly enough if a third film made use of the three-endings schtick, it might feel more like a series thing than merely a “man, we have no ideas for a second film…just just cobble some stuff together from the first movie and redo some of it.” Or maybe it would genuinely suck too, who knows? I doubt we’ll ever see it, as Meyers star has diminished a bit from The Love Guru (which I actually enjoyed too…but, again, Meyers fan) and Dana Carvey has all but disappeared from the movie scene.
In the end Wayne’s World 2 isn’t a terrible film, but it’s really just the first one recycled. Still funny, but only if you know the characters and genuinely enjoy them. Recommended for fans, but others will Rent It first (if you haven’t seen it by now…this series is almost twenty years old, after all).
The amount of things in this film that are similar to one another doesn’t end at the plot—nope, the presentation here is nearly the same as well. Both films arrive in Elite Blu-ray cases, packed with the same firmware upgrade notice inserts as well as the same disc art (grey!) and similar menu layouts. Both films sport a 1.85:1 1080p transfer and both look fair enough for what they are, but there is some age packed into the back end of the films. Grain and an overall softness to the picture is present, but not enough to really distract too much; plus there’s plenty of details left to glean from the image…this just really isn’t the type of films to try that with. Also present are Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mixes which, for the music component of the film, works fairly well. The films are dialogue driven, however, so expect the majority of the audio to come from the front channels. Also included are Spanish 2.0 and French 1.0 on the first film and DD5.1 Spanish and French on the second. Both films include English, English SDH, French, and Spanish subtitles, while Wayne’s World 2 boasts an additional Portuguese subtitle track as well.
Extras for the films are limited, but both surprisingly contain a director’s commentary. Wayne’s World starts off with a Commentary with Director Penelope Spheeris that is light and informative as she takes us through the production of the film and pauses to talk about what’s happening on screen with the characters. It’s not an information heavy track, but she is genuinely entertaining and it’s worth a listen if you enjoyed the film. Extreme Close-Up is a surprisingly lengthy (over twenty minutes) making-of documentary that includes cast and crew chatter about how the film came to be and their thoughts on making it.
For Wayne’s World 2 I can actually pretty much copy and paste the above paragraph and get the same result. The Commentary by Director Stephen Surjik commentary is, however, a little less interesting than the Spheeris one, if only because Surjik goes off track and makes decidedly strange comments during the film. Still, he’s informative at the very least and fans will enjoy the track for that alone. Replicating the first film’s making-of we again get an extra called Extreme Close-Up which is a shorter look at this second film, but nonetheless includes a decent mixture of cast and crew interviews.
Overall the two releases are solid in nature, sporting a commentary and making-of each and, honestly, for films like these I’d hesitate to ask for anything more (Bloopers, maybe). Recommended if you don’t already own the DVD release(s), but you’ll really gain nothing new here and these films really don’t scream the need to be seen in HD, so it’s really up to the viewer and how much they enjoy the series.
Wayne’s World 1 and 2 arrives on Blu-ray on May 12th.