"Saturday Night Live" has had so many famous skits, but for the most part, that's all they've been - skits. "Wayne's World" has been the only breakout, but yet, they still keep coming. Starting out on SNL as a parody of the "cable access" shows that many people simply skip by on their way to either the movie channel section or the networks, the 1992 film attempted to give duo Wayne (Mike Meyers) and Garth (Dana Carvey) a more fully-realized adventure.
The film has "Wayne's World" being picked up by a network executive (Rob Lowe) with the intent of using both of the duo - they didn't really want to sell out, but they've found themselves sold when the exec tries to take creative control and get his client (Brian Doyle-Murray) who owns a chain of arcades a spot on the show. Meanwhile, Wayne falls in love with the leader of a local band named Cassandra (Tia Carerre) and finds himself in competition with Lowe's exec.
The film is quite well directed by former documentary filmmaker Penelope Spheeris, who was responsible for "Decline Of Western Civilization" and other punk documentaries. She admits on the commentary that she might have cut the film a little quicker and upped the pacing if she's done it today (and I agree with her a bit), but the film works since there's enough well-done slight gags and witty jokes paced out across the 94 minute running time, including a particularly hilarious parody of the Laverene and Shirley opening. It's also all filmed with a bit more visual elegance than you'd expect from cinematographer Theo Van De Sande.
The sequel really didn't quite catch the magic (with a few exceptions), but it was still rather enjoyable at parts. The folks at SNL should take a look at the original film though and see what works if they ever try to come up with another film based on one of their skits.
VIDEO: Kudos to Paramount for making "Wayne's World" look better than I've ever seen it look. This disc isn't exactly going to displace "The Fifth Element" or similar titles as a demo disc in terms of image quality, but I was greatly impressed with the studio's effort here. Sharpness and detail are wonderful; the picture often has a very nice sense of depth and looks superbly well-defined even in the dimly lit or dark scenes.
The entire film looked splendid, with only a couple of very minor flaws throughout the picture. A couple of tiny traces of pixelation and edge enhancement appear, but these were hardly noticable and certainly not distracting. What I was really pleased about was the near-complete lack of print flaws; the movie looks fresh and clean throughout.
Colors also looked stellar throughout the movie, especially in the club sequences, where the stage light colors looked crisply rendered and vibrant. Colors never looked the least bit smeared throughout the movie and often looked beautifully well-saturated. Black level was also strong and flesh tones appeared natural and accurate. I'd forgotten that Theo Van De Sande was the cinematographer for this movie - he's really one of the best in the business, taking material that wouldn't otherwise be that visual ("Little Nicky", "Cruel Intentions") and bringing out subtle details. This is a really fine presentation that definitely surpassed my expectations.
SOUND: "Wayne's World" is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 for this new DVD release. Although the 5.1 presentation mainly sticks with a usual "comedy" presentation focusing on the dialogue, with a film like "Wayne's World", the music also has a big part of the proceedings. During the sequences at the club when Cassandra's band is playing or during the scenes where music enters into the scene (for example, the famous "Bohemian Rhapsody" sequence), the surrounds really kick in nicely to provide the music, or re-inforce the sounds during the concert scenes. A few other stray surround effects also enter in, such as when the duo are sitting on the car and the plane flies over.
MENUS:: Paramount has provided some fun animated menus; they're enjoyable, but the animation is a little slow at times. After a little clip where the menu "changes channels", you're lead to a menu that looks like the "cable preview" station where you get a list of the schedule. As it scrolls up, you get the options. Choose a sub-menu and it scrolls down. The only part of the menu that's a bit of a problem is that the scrolling is a little bit slow.
Commentary: This is a commentary by director Penelope Spheeris. The director is funny and a little bit wacky, laughing along with the movie at a couple of points and cheering on the characters once or twice. She's energetic and good-natured, but also shares some interesting discussions about working with the actors at a few occasions, hinting once or twice that Carvey and Meyers often had different ways of looking at certain scenes. She also provides a nice overview of the working schedule on the picture, which had to be completed in a short period of time. It's an informative and entertaining track with only a few pauses of silence. A recommended listen.
Extreme Close-Up: This is a 23 minute "making of" documentary that provides interviews with Carvey, Meyers, SNL creator Lorne Michaels, Spheeris and others as they talk about not only the creation of the characters, but how the movie came into being.
Also: Trailer for "Wayne's World" and look for previews of "Brady Bunch" and "Sunburn"(never heard of that one) on the main menu.
Final Thoughts: "Wayne's World" is still really the only "Saturday Night Live" skit-to-feature film that I've thought was a true success with great performances from the two leads. Paramount also turns in a great performance for the DVD, providing excellent audio and video quality, along with a few very enjoyable supplements. Highly Recommended!
The Film *** 1/2
Video 92/A = (368/400 possible points)
Audio: 89/B+ = (356/400 possible points)
Extras: 82/B = (246/300 possible points)
Menus: 85/B = (170/200 possible points)
Value: 83/B = (249/300 possible points)
FILM GRADE: *** 1/2
DVD GRADE: B