1992 (Wayne’s World)
1993 (Wayne’s World 2)
94 minutes (Wayne’s World)
95 minutes (Wayne’s World 2)
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 1080p
Wayne’s World: English Dolby TrueHD 5.1; French 2.0 Dolby Digital; Spanish mono
Wayne’s World 2: English Dolby TrueHD 5.1; French, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
It’s party time – Excellent!
“Saturday Night Live” has had something of a checkered record when it has come to transferring successful television skits to the big screen. The Blues Brothers (1980) is much-loved by many SNL fans, but it cost $27 million to make and had a relatively modest domestic box office gross of $57 million. The Coneheads (1993) was panned by most critics and pulled in only $21 million at the box office. It’s Pat (1994) and Stuart Saves His Family (1995) were box office disasters. Superstar (1999) did slightly better than The Coneheads, but The Ladies Man died after taking in only $13.5 million.
The most successful transformation from “Saturday Night Live” skit to feature film is also one of the more improbable - Wayne’s World, which grossed an astonishing and totally unexpected $183 million world-wide. Based upon characters created by Mike Myers, Wayne’s World tells the story of two party dudes, Wayne Campbell (Myers) and Garth Algar (Dana Carvey), who have achieved modest fame in their hometown of Aurora, Illinois thanks to their weekly cable access show which emanates from Wayne’s basement. The two live with their parents and have no visible means of support, but their unrelenting cheerfulness rarely lets them down.
Wayne and Garth are best buddies, but their personalities are almost polar opposites. Wayne is outgoing and optimistic, almost to a fault. Garth, on the other hand, is shy and insecure (and we learn in Wayne’s World 2 that he has just begun to develop pubes). One weekend, after doing their show, they head out with their “production crew” to visit a local heavy metal club (during the drive in Wayne’s AMC Pacer they break into a hilarious rendition of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”). At the club Wayne becomes enchanted by a dynamic and incredibly hot singer named Cassandra (Tia Carrere). In the meantime, the cable show “Wayne’s World” is discovered by Chicago television producer Benjamin Kane (Rob Lowe), who signs Wayne and Garth to a contract which essentially gives Kane control of the show. The plot follows a fairly predictable course, but there are enough genuine laughs along the way that you happily go along for the ride. Myers and Carvey give performances which are loopy and endearing, and it is difficult to take your eyes off of Carrere when she is on the screen. Lowe gives a rather wooden performance as the evil producer, but it does not diminish the overall enjoyment of Wayne’s World.
Following the success of the original, Paramount immediately commissioned the sequel, Wayne’s World 2. The success of Wayne’s World allowed the producers to attract an impressive supporting cast. Aerosmith provides a few rocking musical numbers and the members of the band even do a little acting. Tia Carrere is back as Cassandra, but this time the cad is a record producer played with impressive intensity by Christopher Walken. Kim Basinger exudes sexuality as the appropriately named Honey Hornee (she’s French), who seduces Garth. Amusing cameo performances are turned in by Drew Barrymore, Harry Shearer, Jay Leno, Kevin Pollak, Heather Locklear, and a totally unexpected and funny bit by Charlton Heston.
As the story opens, Wayne and Garth now have their own bachelor pad in an abandoned toy factory, where they built a set which replicates Wayne’s basement. Cassandra has signed a recording contract with Bobby Cahn (Walken), and Wayne begins to worry that Cassandra is becoming too close to her producer. During a dream Wayne meets Jim Morrison in the middle of a desert, and Wayne is inspired to put on a music festival which he dubs “Waynestock.” This of course is a wacky update of the old “let’s put on a show” theme which we saw in the old Mickey Rooney-Judy Garland movies. Along the way there are many laughs, including a very funny Kung-Fu scene between Wayne and Cassandra’s father (a very amusing performance by James Hong).
Wayne’s World 2 did not duplicate the box office success of the original, but to me it is a better and funnier film. It also is a somewhat more conventional film, which may explain why some fans of Wayne and Garth did not quite take to it (the homage to The Graduate may have been lost on younger viewers). However, I defy anyone to watch the scene where Honey Hornee tries to convince Garth to kill her husband and not be reduced to tears of laughter.
These two Blu-ray discs have not been released as a double feature, but they have so much in common that it makes sense to review them together. The humor in these films is not everyone’s cup of tea, so if you did not enjoy the skits on “Saturday Night Live” you probably should leave these alone. For fans, however, they are delightful fun.
The 1080p Blu-ray 1.85:1 transfers are very good. The images are generally sharp and stable, with minimal film grain. There is some occasional softness, but that appears to be a characteristic of the original film elements. Colors are accurate and flesh tones appear to be correct. Most of the scenes take place in bright light, so shadow detail is really not an issue. I did not see any obvious instances of DNR or edge enhancement, and overall the Blu-ray presentation of both films is pleasing and film-like.
Wayne’s World appears to have been recorded in two-channel stereo. The center channel does most of the work and the soundstage opens up primarily during the musical numbers. The surround channels have little to do, but the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio is nevertheless generally pleasing. The dialogue is always understandable, which is a key element in a comedy. Wayne’s World 2 has a more expansive soundtrack. The music numbers really come alive, and there is some excellent and funny fake dubbing during the Kung-Fu scene. This is not demo quality audio, but it is more than adequate.
Director Penelope Spheeris provides a commentary track for Wayne’s World and director Stephen Surjik does the same for Wayne’s World 2. Both discs include interesting and occasionally amusing cast and crew interviews. Wayne’s World also offers its original theatrical trailer in HD.
Each disc comes in a standard Blu-ray keepcase.
The Final Analysis
Recommending comedies is always a tricky proposition, because what one person finds hilarious can be another person’s yawner. The “Wayne’s World” franchise is a known quantity, so you likely already know whether you are amused by the antics of Wayne and Garth. If so, you are certain to enjoy these films on Blu-ray.
Equipment used for this review:
Panasonic DMP-BD50 Blu-ray Player
Sharp LC-42D62U LCD display
Yamaha HTR-5890 THX Surround Receiver
BIC Acoustech speakers
Interconnects: Monster Cable
Release Date: Available Now (released May 12, 2009)