As I related in my review of Wayne’s World, that 1992 film was an enormous - and surprising - hit. Less startling, however, was the onslaught of similar flicks that it inspired. My article about the first WW movie discussed those, so I won’t cover all of that ground again, but it should not come as a shock that one of those offerings was Wayne’s World 2, an inevitable sequel to the original.
Of all the many releases that WW inspired, Wayne’s World 2 was the closest thing to a hit. However, after the $121 million gross of the original, the sequel’s $47 million must have been a letdown for the studio. I’d expect the results to be additionally disappointing given the film’s release positioning. While WW hit screens in February 1992 - a relatively slow time of the year - WW2 came out in December 1993 and was positioned as a big holiday flick.
Unfortunately, it didn’t live up to the hype, and not just in regard to its financial prospects. Fans of the first film generally seem to think little of the sequel. Reactions at the time and since have indicated fairly little affection for WW2, as most people don’t feel it lives up to the heights of the original film.
Personally, I reacted differently, though expectations clearly played a major role in my opinions. When I saw Wayne’s World theatrically, it’d already become a major hit, and even my friend Kevin - a notoriously persnickety moviegoer - saw it and liked it. However, I thought the flick was a bit of a dud. It had a few fun moments, but the overall effect left me fairly cold.
My opinion has changed somewhat since that time, as you can discover in my review of the film; I’m still not wild about the movie, but I see its positives better at this point. Nonetheless, my mild dislike of WW remained in my head when I saw Wayne’s World 2 during its theatrical run. I expected little, but I actually had an enjoyable experience with the flick. No, it wasn’t a classic, but it thought it seemed like a looser and more pleasant piece that better replicated the charm of the old Saturday Night Live sketches.
I hadn’t seen WW2 since then, so I was curious to discover how I felt about it all these years down the road. Not surprisingly, I enjoyed it less during this recent viewing, as my expectations for the film have changed. Back in 1993, I thought I wouldn’t like the movie at all since I didn’t care for the original. Frankly, I’m not even sure why I checked it out since I maintained such a lackluster attitude toward Wayne’s World.
Because my affection toward WW2 stayed in my head since 1993, I clearly anticipated more from it, and that was why I found it to be a minor disappointment upon second viewing. However, that shouldn’t be regarded as a dismissal of WW2. While it has a share of flaws, I still found it to be a sporadically funny and engaging film.
In some ways, WW2 is almost a remake of the first movie. Many of that flick’s characters return. Of course, leads Wayne (Mike Myers) and Garth (Dana Carvey) show up for the sequel, and Wayne’s girlfriend Cassandra (Tia Carrere) - who he met and wooed during WW - also comes back for the new film. Her growing success as a musician is what spurs most of the plot. Her slick record producer Bobby (Christopher Walken) has the hots for her, and he’s bent on removing Wayne from the picture.
Another storyline motivates much of the action. Wayne feels as though his life lacks purpose, but Jim Morrison (Michael A. Nickles) comes to him in a dream and tells him to stage a huge festival concert in Wayne’s hometown of Aurora Illinois. Wayne agrees to do so, and “Waynestock” is born.
As all of this occurs, Garth finally starts to develop some interpersonal relationships with women. Although county clerk Betty Jo (Olivia D’Abo) seems perfect for him - they’re virtual clones - Garth enters into an unlikely sexual connection with sexy older woman Honey Horneé (Kim Basinger). Her motivation for her bizarre attraction becomes clear as the movie continues, but this minor sidestory provides an opportunity for Garth to develop.
Not that much of this matters, for WW2 takes its cues from the first film, and that piece offered little more than a general conglomeration of comedic bits; the plot was mainly an excuse for some fun sequences. That theme seems even more prevalent during WW2, for it appears to be less cohesive than the original, and that’s saying something, WW2 more strongly comes from the “throw it against the wall and see what sticks” school of comedy.
However, since a fair number of the gags are pretty good, I won’t criticize WW2 excessively for this plan. At this point, I think the two films are fairly equal in quality. Wayne’s World gets the edge for freshness and cohesion, but WW2 simply includes the funniest bits of the two. During WW, I thought some segments were decent, but it almost never made me really laugh.
WW2, on the other hand, provided a good number of snippets that were darned funny. The film tossed in some unlikely references that caught me off guard, and many of these were terrific. For example, Chris Farley has a small part as a roadie, and he gets in a fun riff on An Officer and a Gentleman.
Speaking of Farley, one way in which WW2 tops the original comes from its supporting cast. The sequel includes a nice roster of talent, starting with the ever-compelling Walken. Yeah, Rob Lowe was fun as Benjamin in the first film, but he’s not Walken. In addition, Basinger makes the most of her horny Horneé. I never thought Basinger was all that sexy, but she seems fiery hot for some of her scenes, and she showed decent comedic instincts as well.
A look through WW2’s cast listing finds a slew of additional talent. We get fine actors like Kevin Pollak, James Hong, and Harry Shearer, and a few big names pop up in additional cameos. Heck, even crummy sitcom performer Ted McGinley provides a funny turn as “Mr. Scream”. (It’ll make more sense if you see the movie.) Cameos don’t make a movie great, but they added a nice dimension to WW2.
I was interested to note the alterations in the main characters. Cassandra made the most negative growth. She really receded to the background here, and she seemed like much less of a strong personality. Cassandra came across as a tough, fun chick in WW, but here she becomes more of an appendage.
During WW, I found Garth to be much more interesting than Wayne, largely due to the actor’s performances. Carvey offered a quiet and unusual turn, while Myers seemed to have a chip on his shoulder through most of the film. Surprisingly, things seem to have changed for the sequel. No, Carvey didn’t display the strangely peeved attitude shown by Myers in the first movie, but he seemed more ordinary in WW2. During WW, Carvey maintained a sweetly odd disposition, but the sequel’s Garth lacks life. In addition, Carvey appeared to have aged about 30 years between films. Granted, he was always much older than Garth was supposed to be, but during some of his close-ups, Carvey appeared more eligible to play Garth’s grandfather.
On the other hand, Myers rebounded nicely from his cranky turn in the first film. The sequel’s Wayne seemed to be much more charming and engaging. He still tended to mug too much and become excessively cutesy, but this Wayne was generally fun and endearing. He seemed to better resemble the TV show’s character, and that was a good thing.
Probably the weakest aspect of WW2, however, was the fact that it stayed to close to its predecessor. Not surprisingly, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me suffered from a similar concern; it blindly repeated many of the gags seen in Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery. WW2 better created its own identity than did AP:TSWSM, but it still went to the well too frequently.
Nonetheless, I generally enjoyed Wayne’s World 2. It wasn’t as good as I recalled, and it could be pretty hit or miss, but as a whole, it was a worthy follow-up to a decent film.
Wayne’s World 2 appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, dual-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. For the most part, this picture strongly mirrored the fine effort found during the first film. It also featured a few flaws, but these were minimal and the overall image seemed positive.
Sharpness consistently seemed to be crisp and distinct. At no time during the film did I detect any signs of softness or fuzziness, as the movie looked nicely detailed and accurate. Moiré effects and jagged edges made no appearances, and WW2 seemed to lack the minor edge enhancement I saw during the first film.
However, print flaws played a more significant role during WW2. These were inconsistent, and most of the movie passed without incident. However, at times the defects became surprisingly heavy. Some segments offered a fair amount of grain, and periodic examples of grit, speckles and small nicks also appeared. Strangely, the scenes between Carvey and Basinger provided the heaviest flaws; for example, check out Garth’s post-coital appearance to see what I mean. Overall, WW2 seemed to be acceptably clean and fresh, but a few short injections of defects caused some concerns.
In keeping with the first movie, colors generally seemed to be outstanding. For the most part, the hues looked bright and vivid, and the majority of the colored lighting scenes seemed clear and accurate. Again, scenes between Basinger and Carvey created the only moderate problems. When Garth and Honey meet in the launderette, the colors appeared somewhat heavy. However, those instances remained the exceptions to the rule.
Black levels were deep and strong, and shadow detail looked appropriately heavy but not excessively thick. Low-light sequences generally seemed to be crisp and distinct, though those darned Carvey/Basinger shots were slightly muddy. Ultimately, Wayne’s World 2 provided a very pleasing visual experience. Had it not been for the minor problems seen in the Garth/Honey scenes, the film would definitely have risen to “A”-level. As it stands, the DVD will have to settle for a still-solid “B+”.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Wayne’s World 2 also matched up nicely with the fine audio heard during the first film. As was the case with that flick, the soundfield of WW2 often opened up nicely, mainly due to the frequent use of music. Effects offered positive atmosphere throughout the movie, but they usually remained fairly subdued and general. However, some scenes used the surrounds in a very positive manner. For example, Wayne’s take-off on the old “and they told two friends” shampoo commercials (for Prell? I can’t recall) provided a solid echo in the surrounds. Other louder scenes - such as a spoof of Jurassic Park - also made the rear speakers come to life.
Nonetheless, music remained the most active element, and the movie used different tunes in a compelling manner. The emphasis remained in the forward spectrum, as the songs displayed fine stereo separation and were placed appropriately within the soundstage. The surrounds also kicked in good reinforcement of the songs, and the live venues sounded especially good, as the rear channels created a convincing club environment. These elements echoed those heard in the original movie, but the sequel seemed to be a bit more enveloping and convincing.
Audio quality also seemed to be solid. Dialogue sounded natural and warm, with no signs of edginess or problems related to intelligibility. Effects were generally detailed and accurate, with positive fidelity and clarity. Loud elements came across as clean and detailed, such as the “stomp” heard during the Jurassic Park bit or the boom of thunder. Again, music worked best, as the songs seemed bright, dynamic and rich. Low-end response was quite good, as the tunes featured tight and deep bass. Overall, I really enjoyed the soundtrack to Wayne’s World 2, as it provided a fine listening experience. While very similar to the mix heard for the first film, the sequel upped the ante enough to merit a strong “A-“ rating.
The DVD release of Wayne’s World 2 includes a few decent supplements. First we get an audio commentary from director Stephen Surjik. Although this track could be somewhat spotty at times, as a whole Surjik provided a decent discussion that was worth a listen.
This was a semi-screen specific commentary. By that I mean that Surjik occasionally remarked on the action we currently saw, but these instances were not frequent. Instead, Surjik tended to provide a more general chat about issues that related to the film. Most of his time, actually, was spent on broader topics about movie-making as a whole. He covered a lot of these areas and offered some nice insight into the processes. If you’re looking for a lot of details about Wayne’s World 2, you’ll be disappointed, but this commentary still seemed interesting for the most part as Surjik went over many movie-related subjects.
Next we move on to Extreme Close-Up, a collection of recent interviews with Wayne’s World participants. During this 14-minute and five-second program, we hear from actors Mike Myers, Dana Carvey, and Tia Carrere plus producer Lorne Michaels and director Stephen Surjik. In addition to the interview clips, the show features a few brief shots from the set and a smattering of film snippets.
The DVD for Wayne’s World also contains a program called “Extreme Close-Up”. It’s not the same show, but the two are identical in format. All of the interviews came from the same sessions, and both provide general discussions of the film and its production. Often those shows are drab conglomerations of praise, but while “ECU” certainly has some of those moments, it features a decent total of interesting details about the film. The participants mainly stick with general anecdotes and memories, and the program doesn’t have a solid organization, but the factoids were fairly fun and interesting, so “Extreme Close-Up” merited a look.
As was the case with the first DVD, Wayne’s World 2 includes some of the most creative DVD menus I’ve seen. The main screen resembles one of those cable TV program guides that continuously update current shows, and it’s a very clever touch. The package even integrates some clips from other Paramount programs to create the illusion that different viewing options exist; if you click their entries, you can watch brief snippets from Solid Gold Workout, Fun In Acapulco, and I Love Lucy. DVD menus usually do little for me, but I thought these were a nice touch.
Oddly, the film’s trailer makes only a semi-surreptitious appearance on the DVD. It doesn’t appear in the extras menu, but you can see if in the top half of the main menu. Why the disc didn’t also include it in a larger version seems mysterious to me. Also, I’ve read that some unusual trailers were created for WW2, such as one that spoofs the THX ads. This doesn’t appear here, and the only clip we get seems like a fairly ordinary and conventional one.
Since Wayne’s World 2 didn’t exactly set the box office on fire in 1993, I never expected it’d receive very positive treatment on DVD. However, this new disc offered a pretty solid program. I largely enjoyed the movie itself; it was more erratic than its predecessor, but it provided more laugh-out-loud moments and I thought it was more successful as a whole. The DVD featured very positive picture and sound, and it also tossed in some decent extras. Wayne’s World 2 is a fun flick, and this DVD serves it well.