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Wayne's World

review by Zach B.

Rated PG-13

Studio: Paramount

Running Time: 94 minutes

Starring Mike Meyers, Dana Carvey, Tia Carrere and Rob Lowe

Written by Mike Meyers and Bonnie Turner & Terry Turner
Based on the characters created by Mike Meyers

Directed by Penelope Spheeris

Retail Price: $24.99

Features: Audio Commentary with Director Penelope Spheeris, Cast & Crew Interviews, Theatrical Trailer

Specs: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, Dolby Digital English 5.1, English Dolby Surround, French Dolby Surround, English Closed Captions, English Subtitles, Chapter Search (23 Chapters)

Released: July 10th, 2001
Also part of Wayne's World 1 & 2: The Complete Epic

"Where did you learn English?"

"College... and the 'Police Academy' movies."


As history (or film history for that matter) has shown us, it's always hard to take a short five minute sketch and put into an hour and a half movie. Well over ninety percent of those films come from the show "Saturday Night Live". Unfortuantley, a lot of them are pretty terrible... but "Wayne's World", the first Saturday Night Live film (I think - if you don't count "The Blues Brothers") is the sole exception.

"Wayne's World" is an epic like no other that follows Wayne Campbell (Mike Meyers) and his best friend Garth Algar (Dana Carvey) who, as most of you probably know from watching SNL, host the cable-access show "Wayne's World". However, when a big TV executive named Benjamin Oliver (Rob Lowe) buys the show out to please a client, a guy who owns a video arcade franchise (Brian Doyle Murrary), and makes "Wayne's World" a whole professional deal, a lot of things change for the two. Still, it all creates a whole bunch of wackiness and zaniness that is pretty predictible but really fun.

I'm a sucker for a movie like "Wayne's World", I can just instantly get into it and still have watching it despite the several times I've seen the movie. The film works perfectly though and sets out what it does to accomplish: it entertains while keeping the feel of the actual sketch. The characters are likeable, it packs plenty of laughs and puts things in interesting scenarios.

The film also works in a number of other ways. I liked how it set things up for people who have never seen the skit before, and how it makes a jump in settings. The actual skit was usually confined to Wayne's basement, the movie takes them out of there and on to many more locations. Wayne and Garth also talk directly to the camera, which, believe it or not, helps the film. They realize it's a movie which makes it all the more entetaining.

Meyers, who knows his characters best, co-wrote the script with Bonnie and Terry Turner. A movie like this could be hit and miss as far as jokes, but thankfully all the jokes (at least I think so) make their mark perfectly. This is a movie where you'll laugh a lot and that the jokes don't get too old. It's been nearly ten years since the movie came out, and I think a lot of the stuff holds up really well.

Spheeris does well directing the film and gives it a good, lighthearted edge. Once again, I think the film stands out against all the other SNL films. If you like a good comedy, "Wayne's World" can't be beat.

Presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, "Wayne's World" looks fantastic. Colors are well saturated, black levels are pretty solid and contrast is excellent. Detail is quite good and there's a great sharpness to the picture making it look like a first run movie out there currently that just got on to DVD. Complaints are minimal: Some blemishes and shimmering here and there, but never distracting. It may not seem like near-reference quality video, especially for a film that was shot on a low budget, but "Wayne's World" gets so many things right.

Paramount has created a new 5.1 mix for "Wayne's World", and the result is surprisingly good. This movie does feature it's share of surrounds, but I found the rear speakers most active during the music and concert scenes. I found myself actually feeling like I was at the Alice Cooper concert in the movie. .1 LFE is pretty good, and dialogue is crisp and clear with no distortion or anything to overpower it. An English Dolby Surround mix and a French Dolby Surround mix is also included, plus English closed captions and English subtitles.

Thankfully, "Wayne's World" is not a bare bones release and features a good amount of supplements on the making of the film. A Audio Commentary with Director Penelope Spheeris is included, and it's quite entertaining. This isn't a technical commentary at all, but still pretty entertaining if I say so myself. Spheeris talks about the choices she made as a director (and I really saw what she was going for), how she knows Lorne Michaels and stuff about the shoot. She's pretty jolly and offers a good deal of information, so fans of the film will want to listen to this.

Extreme Close-Up is twenty-three minutes of cast and crew interviews and some clips from the film. The full frame featurette has interviews with Lorne Michaels, Carvey, Meyers, Carrare, Rob Lowe and Spheeris. This isn't fluffy at all but rather their thoughts about the film. Meyers talks about how he created Wayne, Dana Carvey talks about developing Garth while Spheeris talks about getting the film. Carrare thanks Meyers for creating the character and starting her career, Lowe about making the film and Lorne Michaels on creating the film. It's really well done and I was glad to see that this was not promotional.

Finally, the Theatrical Trailer is anamorphic widescreen and two channel sound. On another note, the menus are terrific. They act like one of those cable television guide channel. From there you can play the film, access the special features and set things up, but there are also some clips from Paramount stuff that make it all the more entertaining. Incredibly creative and I was glad to see them here.

"Wayne's World" is a highly original and funny film that anyone with a sense of humor should enjoy. You don't even have to have basic knowledge of the sketch to understand the movie, but then again, I'm sure a lot of you out there are familiar with it. Paramount has included a great transfer, a nice new 5.1 mix and some cool features all for a price five dollars lower than usual. Party on DVD fans!

(4.5/5 - NOT included in final score)




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