'Wayne's World,' starring Mike Myers and Dana Carvey as loveable losers/public access hosts, remains one of the better movies made from ‘Saturday Night Live’ sketches (and this was at the height of the "Hey, let's turn every 'SNL' skit ever into a movie” period – a year before 'Coneheads' and two years before 'It’s Pat.'
Is it also horribly dated?
As far as exemplifying the early-1990's zeitgeist, this has all the bases covered. The Wayne/Garth slacker persona was evident of the Generation X movement. They're sarcastic, ironic, and while they don’t do it on camera, you could easily picture the pair in their basement studio, reading zines and black-and-white comic books, while sipping a Crystal Pepsi. Everything they say is peppered with some kind of pop culture reference while their ideology is never defined. We know what they watched growing up, but not who they voted for in the last election.
The movie takes this and heightens it. Because it is film, pop culture references aren't just made – they're fully visualized. Instead of talking about "the sadistic cop terminator from Terminator 2," they can actually get Robert Patrick to make a brief cameo. The soundtrack is stuffed to the gills with of-the-moment alternative rock bands (and, of course, immortally, Queen).
And the plot?
Well, the plot, as it were, has Wayne (Mike Myers) and Garth (Dana Carvey), the aforementioned loser hosts of a silly public access talk show. They're spied, one night, by a slimy executive (Rob Lowe, stealing the show) and brought to the attention of a video arcade mogul (can you tell how carbon-dated this movie is?) Soon the pair are the stars of their own honest-to-goodness cable show. But can they negotiate the pratfalls of fame and corporate sponsorship? Or will their newfound popularity bring an end to their timeless friendship?
Heady questions, for sure, and there isn't a single one that 'Wayne's World' can't skewer with giddy, goofball aplomb. Myers and Carvey really inhabit their characters, making them truly believable (and, yes, loveable), even when they're doing the silliest thing imaginable - like staging an elaborate recreation of the opening sequence of 'Laverne & Shirley' or having a philosophical conversation with hard rock demigod Alice Cooper.
And it's largely thanks to Myers and Carvey (and Penelope Spheeris' knowing direction) that 'Wayne's World' is carried from early-'90's pop oddity to lasting comedy classic. They're headbangers that still, after metal's decline and the return of pop, can mosh with the best of them. And maybe it's in their antiquity, like an old Coke bottle, that makes them so special today. Those times may be gone, but the laughs remain.
'Wayne's World's' 1.85:1 (1080p/AVC) transfer may have you worried at the beginning. I know I was beginning to dread the experience from the opening paramount logo, which looked grainy and washed out.
Thankfully, the logo isn't a clear indicator of the rest of the picture quality.
That's not to say that 'Wayne's World' has an exemplary picture, but it is a noticeable bump up from the previous home video releases. While the grain that's noticeable on the logo does pop up from time to time during the course of the film, the film overall has a vivid, appealing look. The director, Penelope Spheeris, was a former documentarian, so she captures the movie in a matter-of-fact way that doesn't lean towards the overly bright comedies of today.
High definition really makes this come alive on home video - this image is sharper and crisper than before, with brighter, more defined colors and deeper, darker blacks. (The night scenes are really impressive.) I saw no instances of edge enhancements or problems with microblocking.
Since the bonus features are skimpy on this release - it really comes down to the technical presentation as the sticking point for purchase. While this is a noted improvement over the previous releases, I'm not sure if it's enough to warrant a high definition upgrade.
This release is loaded with a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix and I must admit, I was pretty impressed.
While most comedies stick to the formula of being dialogue heavy affairs, which translates into a front-or-rear channel emphasis on the mix, and, that is the case for most of the time here, there are also prolonged musical sequences which really give the mix some added gravitas.
I was literally taken aback by some of the moments in which the mix was given a run for it's money - the classic "Bohemian Rhapsody" sequence, the Alice Cooper concert, whenever Tia Carrere (as Wayne's hard rock girlfriend) performs on stage. The bass really kicks in, and the mix turns, however briefly, into a truly immersive experience.
Overall, the dialogue heavy sequences, while sprinkled with surround touches, outweigh the truly exceptional music-heavy sections. So, again, since this purchase will mostly be based on technical merits - the sound mix, like the video, is adequate but not necessarily mind blowing. Proceed with cation.
All of the extras have been ported over from a previous DVD release. Nothing new here, sadly, not even the recent MTV Movie Awards reunion of Myers and Carvey as their beloved characters. This is especially strange considering MTV and Paramount Pictures are both subsidiaries of the same mega-company (Viacom). Chalk this one up to laziness, folks.
What makes this a "For Fans" release? Well, while the picture and audio are marked improvements, the supplements are still the same, so spending the extra money is completely up to how much you love the franchise, or how fondly you remember the early 1990's. If so, then by all means, party on.