While "Saturday Night Live" has tried to spin-off several characters from the show's skits into feature films, few have been as successful as "Wayne's World", which featured adult metalheads Wayne and Garth, who host a public access talk show out of the basement of his parents' house in Aurora, IL. The show largely revolved around Wayne and his oddball friend Garth talking about hot women, throwing out catchphrases ("Schwing!", "We're not worthy!" and many others) and interviewing locals.
The first film has "Wayne's World" being picked up by a network executive (Rob Lowe) with the intent of using the series to try to appeal to a younger audience. While Wayne and the socially awkward Garth didn't really want to sell out, they find themselves already sold when the exec tries to take creative control and get his client (Brian Doyle-Murray) a spot on the show in order to promote his chain of arcades. Meanwhile, Wayne falls in love with the leader of a local band named Cassandra (Tia Carerre) and finds himself in competition for her with Lowe's exec.
The film is helmed well 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 "Laverne and Shirley" opening. However, there is one issue: years later, the picture feels dated - it's wholly and completely stuck in the '90's.
One can accuse the movie of lacking much in the way of plot, but it actually offers more of a plot than some of the other "Saturday Night Live" skits-turned-movies. The good-natured, catchphrase-heavy first film also has more than a few great gags and memorable one-liners, not to mention terrific performances from Carvey and Meyers.
Although the first picture was a huge success, there's only so much that can be done with the concept, and the second picture saw that a good deal of the comedy had already been mined from the concept. A year has passed since the original picture and Wayne (Mike Meyers) and Garth (Dana Carvey) have moved out of their parent's houses and into an abandoned doll factory. The show has become a complete success and continues on, but Wayne decides that there's got to be more in life. One night, he's inspired by a dream where he walks across the desert to meet with Jim Morrison. He's to put on a rock concert in his hometown of Aurora, Illinois and bring in some of the biggest rock acts out there. So, with the help of trusty sidekick Garth, the two go about what looks to be the impossible.
Meanwhile, Wayne has reason to be jealous yet again as he finds himself in competition with slimeball record producer Bobby (Christopher Walken) for the affections of Cassandra (Tia Carerre). Not only that, Wayne has to prove himself to Cassandra's father - in one of the movie's best sequences, the two face off in a battle much like a Hong Kong action film. Garth even finds himself a girlfriend in Honey Hornee (Kim Basinger), but are her intentions what they seem to be?
Meyers' screenplay does find a few laughs here and there, but the gags aren't as rapid-fire as in the original and a few just miss. Penelope Spheeris seemed to be able to know how to direct comedy better than replacement Stephen Surjik, who had some previous experience directing episodes of "Kids In The Hall", but hadn't done any feature film comedies - or any actual films at all, for that matter, prior to "Wayne's World 2". The second picture doesn't have the zip of the original, either, as some stretches start to feel draggy.
Overall, "Wayne's World 2" isn't the worst way to spend an afternoon, but it does have some elements lifted from the original and the jokes are a little more few and far between.
Both films are available separately on Blu-Ray.
VIDEO: Both films are presented by Paramount in 1.85:1 (1080p/AVC). An "A-list" catalog title, the first film has been given terrific treatment for its Blu-Ray debut. Although the DVD edition looked pretty good, the Blu-Ray shows a few nice improvements, starting with sharpness and detail. Although the low-budget comedy never looks razor sharp, the picture did appear well-defined and crisp during most of the running time. Although a handful of slight specks were seen on the print, the picture mostly appeared pristine and colorful, with colors that remained bright and well-saturated throughout. Overall, I'm not sure the film looked this good when I saw it theatrically.
Although the second film looked mostly similar, there were a few issues, such as sharpness and detail, which could waiver at times - although most scenes looked crisp and well-defined, some stretches were mildly softer in comparison. The print was in similar shape, with only the occasional light specks seen. No edge enhancement or other additional concerns were spotted, and colors remained pleasing, looking well-saturated throughout.
SOUND: The films are presented in Dolby TrueHD 5.1. 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 reinforce 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.
Similar to the original, the sequel's sound design mainly sticks to the comedy formula, with dialogue being the focus. If not for the occasional gag that uses the sound well and the rock music that is included throughout the movie, there really wouldn't be anything for the surrounds to do. Audio quality sounded fine again, as the music came through warmly and richly, with nice bass. Dialogue also sounded clear and natural, as well. A nice soundtrack; not terribly active, but it handles the music very well.
EXTRAS: The first film offers:
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" (HD).
It's too bad that Carvey or Meyers (or both) couldn't have been pulled in to do a commentary, as having the two looking back on these characters 15 years later would likely be a lot of fun.
For the second picture:
Commentary: This is a commentary by Stephen Surjik, who provides some interesting discussion of the behind-the-scenes stories involved in the making of this sequel and how the director went about adding his own "touches" to the "Wayne's World" saga. Yet, there's also a few odd comments that seemed rather obvious. About 20 minutes into the movie, he states, "I really enjoy working with actors, you know? Working with actors is good." Fascinating stuff, and actually, it's probably a requirement for most directors to, you know, sort of be into working with actors. Overall, it's not a bad commentary, but there's a few small spaces of silence here and there as well as some moments where the director goes off track, but fans of the film might be interested in checking the track out.
Extreme Close Up: Wayne's World 2: This is a shorter 14 minute "making-of" documentary featuring interviews with Carvey, Meyers, Lorne Michaels and others involved with the productions and the choices made in taking the "Wayne's World" story one step further. Interesting insights and, like the documentary included with the first one, definitely isn't "promotional" in nature.
Final Thoughts: Although the sequel runs out of steam, the first "Wayne's World" still gets quite a few good laughs. Both films get very good presentations on Blu-Ray, with the extras from the DVD editions and upgraded audio/video.