Posted in: Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on May 15th, 2009
“So you think you can stone me and spit in my eye. So you think you can love me and leave me to die. Oh Baby, just can’t do this to me baby. Just gotta get out, just gotta get right outta here… Nothing really matters. Anyone cane see. Nothing really matters, nothing really matters to me.”
I don’t think I can ever listen to Bohemian Rhapsody without conjuring up the image of the gang in the Mirth Mobile bobbing their heads up and down and singing to the Queen classic song. It’s one of those iconic moments in cinematic history that will be with us long after Wayne’s World is forgotten. Too bad the rest of the film hasn’t aged as well.
Wayne (Myers) and Garth (Carvey) are head bangers who run a cable access television show from the basement of Wayne’s mom’s house. They pretty much sit around and utter phrases like Excellent and Party On. When a greedy local television station exec sees the show, he gets an idea. Benjamin Kane (Lowe) decides to exploit the show in order the rake in some cash from local arcade tycoon Noah Vanderhoff (Doyle-Murrey), the owner of Noah’s Arcade, where there’s always 2 of every game. He talks the hapless bangers into signing a contract, bringing their show over to the big station, where Vanderhoff will act as sponsor and pay tons of money for the privilege. Meanwhile Kane has also got the hots for Wayne’s girl, Cassandra (Carrere), the hot bass player who fronts a trendy local band. It’s no surprise that Wayne and Garth just aren’t cut out for the corporate world. The situation finds the dumbfounded duo on a mission to rescue Cassandra’s career and get back their show, Wayne’s World.
Wayne’s World is most definitely a product of its time. What started as a one man skit developed by Mike Myers when he was still an unknown comic living in Canada became one of the hallmark recurring skits on Saturday Night Live during the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. Lorne Michaels was also mining every one of the show’s skits or characters to try to reproduce the success of such 1970’s hits as The Blues Brothers. He might have come closest to it with Wayne’s World, but unlike The Blues Brothers, Wayne’s World is stuck in its own time, and in 2009 it feels quite dated. Somehow the routines just weren’t that funny any more. It’s like digging out an old pair of Bermuda shorts in the attic from your college fraternity days. You know those were some great times, but you’re not about to put them back on and dance around your yard with a keg spout in your mouth, are you? Not even the dawn of high definition is enough to bring this one out of the attic. In fact, there’s something to be said for the old DVDs if you find yourself in the mood for some Wayne and Garth nostalgic craziness.
The truth is that Wayne’s World once worked, and it worked well. Myers and Carvey had years to develop the chemistry that makes these two buddies really work well together. It didn’t hurt that the film already had a core fan base because of the skits. The film is filled with some memorable guest appearances. Robert Patrick does a great send up of his Terminator 2 role. You’ll find Al Bundy clone Glen (O’Neill) working as the manager of the local hang-out donut café. Rob Lowe makes a good sum character. I can’t imagine why. Alice Cooper gives us a one of the best moments in the film when the boys meet him backstage. The show delivered on everything the core audience was looking for, and that earned the modestly budgeted film a pretty substantial $121 million off a modest $20 budget. But if you’re expecting to relive the old charm, I’m afraid you’ll find it somewhat lacking. But, the music is still pretty solid.
Wayne’s World is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The 1080p image is arrived at with an AVC/MPEG-4 codec. This is not going to be one of those showcase discs in your collection. Certainly you never really expected that it would. This was a comedy that was quickly shot and delivered on a small budget. Visuals are not really going to stand out here. All we can hope for is a little extra detail and clarity. We do get that, but nothing more. The film looks about as good as it likely will ever get. Black levels are a little above average, and flesh tones are actually pretty spot on. Colors are realistic, if a little soft at times.
The Dolby TrueHD Audio track does a terrific job with the tunes. You get the most obvious upgrade here. The music delivers, but is somewhat empty in the sub range. Dialog is crisp and clear. There isn’t much of any kind of surround usage here. The tunes sometimes spread out a little in the mix, but expect a bare bones presentation with good fidelity.
There is an Audio Commentary with director Penelope Spheeris. She talks about getting the job and how rushed the production was. A lot of this sounds like her resume to me and offers less on the film than I would have expected.
Extreme Close-Up: (23:14) This looks a lot like a promo type of extra. It is strictly interview segments augmented by clips. The subjects cover the hectic shooting schedule and the ad lib work of the film’s leads.
Wayne’s World gave us some memorable lines that still find their way into our language from time to time. From “We’re not worthy” to “Excellent”, we still hear the phrases. That means that the film will be with us for a long time to come. In fact, this may well be the best Blu-ray release of the year, if not the decade…”Not”.