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Let me tell you all a little story about a twelve year old boy named Gabe Powers. One day my parents took me to see a movie called Wayne’s World—a movie that was, for all intents and purposes, made for twelve year old boys. I adored the film so much I bought the VHS tape from McDonalds. It was my first ever home video purchase, and I proceeded to watch it every weekend forever and ever. Then the sequel came out (within the year), and I taped that one off HBO, and proceeded to watch it every weekend forever and ever.

Wayne's World
When forever and ever finally came to an end I was entirely sick of the Wayne’s World films. The sight of these movies literally made me ill (not really). And then the driving forces behind the films started besmirching their own names. Dana Carvey died pretty quiet death with movies like Clean Slate and Master of Disguise, but Mike Myers and Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels both virtually exploded with increasingly awful motion picture product. Michaels produced more SNL based movies like Stuart Saves his Family, It’s Pat, Coneheads, A Night at the Roxbury, and Ladies Man. Myers went on to write and star in the Austin Powers series, which may mark the exact moment my personal sense of humour diverged entirely with the rest of the world, and eventually made The Love Guru, which all hyperbole aside, is one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. It was with these terrible thoughts weighting heavily in my mind that I reproached the Wayne’s World series.

Feature


Wayne Campbell (Myers) and Garth Algar (Carvey) run a Friday late-night cable access program out of Aurora, Illinois called ‘Wayne’s World’. Slimy producer Benjamin Kane (Rob Lowe) sees potential in exploiting the show, and takes to seducing the duo into selling the rights. Meanwhile, Wayne finds love in a beautiful Hong Kong export rock singer named Cassandra (Tia Carrere). Not content to simply steal Wayne’s show, Kane takes to seducing Cassandra as well.

Wayne's World
The first film is still a relative original, even after years of mimics. The production is dated, but the concepts and themes work better when presented in an ‘out of time’ manner (‘80s metal is one of the only musical styles that hasn’t seen a successful retro resurgence in the last couple decades). The film still works today because most of the comedy is character driven rather than joke driven. There’s a tendency towards skit-like humour, which is understandable considering the source material, but there’s actually a plot, and the film services the script over the humour about ninety percent of the time.

Looking at the film again after all this time away I do have a new appreciating. Besides noticing the Beast of Yellow Night poster in Garth’s bedroom, I’m actually most impressed with the supporting cast, especially Wayne and Garth’s camera and sound crew, and Rob Lowe, who plays the perfect straight man (when I was a kid he was just the villain). I also actually play guitar now (I didn’t when I was twelve), so the scene where Wayne is denied playing ‘Stairway to Heaven’ in a music store becomes personal.

Video


Wayne’s World wasn’t exactly made for the high definition arena, and I’m not going to go out of my way to recommend a repurchase for fans that already own the DVD releases. On the plus side is the gaudy early ‘90s heavy metal lighting and costumes, which are the brightest I’ve seen them since the original theatrical release. The schemes are relatively solid, and there isn’t a lot of bleeding, though there is some minor digital noise and grain in the more subtle hues. The details aren’t pushed too far beyond standard definition capabilities, but there’s an overall natural tone, and besides some minor edge enhancement the transfer is more than satisfying, just not super impressive.

Wayne's World

Audio


Wayne’s World came out when Dolby Surround was still the norm in Hollywood, and isn’t really made for Dolby TrueHD 5.1. The film features a few cool surround moments, including the concert scenes, which are aggressive in the front channels with music, and lively in the rear channels with echo and crowd noise, the low flying airplane scenes, which are genuinely impressive, and of course, the ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ scene.

Extras


Extras begin with a Wayne’s World commentary featuring director Penelope Spheeris. Spheeris is personable and pleasant, and overcomes her slightly annoying tendency to laugh at her own jokes by offering some genuine insight into the production. She knows the real people she’s spoofing, she has an interesting history with Lorne Michaels and Saturday Night Live, and she has some very amusing stories from behind the scenes. There’s not a lot of blank space, and overall the track is quite entertaining. The first disc also features ‘Extreme Close-Up’ (23:00), a brief, but informative retrospective featurette that covers the genesis of the characters and the film, and a trailer.

Wayne's World

Overall


After more than ten years away I’m happy to say I still have a bit of a soft spot for Wayne and Garth, and I can still pretty much repeat every word of the first film verbatim. I don’t forgive Lorne Michaels for Coneheads or Myers for The Love Guru, but I can admit they did some good stuff too. The film doesn’t look or sound spectacular on Blu-ray, so I’m not fully recommending a repurchase for fans that already own the DVDs, which feature all the same extras.

* Note: The images on this page are not representative of the Blu-ray release.


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