It’s party time! Excellent! After years of enduring a middling Blu-ray release, Paramount offers the cult classic SNL comedy Wayne's World a new and much improved 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray to schwing about! With an excellent Dolby Vision, a slick new Atmos track with corrected music cues, and the same archival extras, this one is Recommended
There was a time when Saturday Night Live was genuinely always funny and didn’t struggle for relevance from one episode to the next. It was a bold time of colorful recurring characters and top-tier performers ready to make you laugh for an hour each and every week. It was this magical time that SNL and Paramount teamed up to give fans of Mike Myers and Dana Carvey a feature-length Wayne’s World film - and amazingly it definitely didn’t suck!
The film’s plot is loosely structured to give the film something resembling a story while allowing for ample fourth-wall-breaking interplay from the stars. The film starts in Wayne’s basement just like any average segment from SNL, but then quickly gets out of that tiny space and breaks out into its own cinematic adventure. As Wayne and Garth try to navigate taking their cable-access show to the big leagues, Wayne also falls for the beautiful up-and-coming rock star Casandra (Tia Carrere). But not all is right in the world when a network corporate sleazeball (Rob Lowe) aims to steal Wayne’s World out from under its hosts and sets his sights on Casandra.
Director Penelope Spheeris manages a clean flick that just sticks to the basics. Wayne’s World expands the small SNL segment while staying true to its roots. For every plot beat, there’s a scene where any given character gets to break the cinematic barrier and talk directly to the audience as if the cameras never stopped rolling and we’re along for the ride. And it’s genuinely funny. The film finds ways to tell a pretty tired and recycled plot and give it some comedic chutzpah. Sometimes it’s Ed O’Neil, sometimes it’s a cameo from Robert Patrick as the T-1000, and sometimes it’s Mike Myers and Dana Carvey just doing what they do best. It’s weird, random, and just damned funny.
And 30 years later this film is still funny. Some of the gags may be a bit dated but I still laugh pretty much all the way through. Admittedly part of that is nostalgia-driven harkening back to seeing that amazing teaser trailer just before The Addams Family in the theater when I was a kid. I didn’t always get along with my older sister growing up, but we made peace at the movies and this was one of the best times we had at the theater together sitting in broken seats with sticky floors and munching down stale candy and popcorn. Minus the bad food and gross viewing conditions, Wayne’s World is still a fun brainless flick to this day and always worth revisiting on any home video format you can get your hands on.
Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
Following their 30th Anniversary SteelBook release - Paramount gives Wayne’s World the boost in ratings for a new single-disc + digital 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray. Pressed on a BD-66 Disc, the disc is housed in a standard case with an identical slipcover. The disc loads to a static image main menu with traditional navigation options.
Given Paramount’s rather bumpy (to say the least) efforts on 4K of late, I honestly wasn’t expecting much from this new 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray of Wayne’s World and initially avoided picking it up, but color me surprised! While not exactly a show-stopper, it is a notable improvement over the now ancient Blu-ray release with sharper cleaner details, colors that are actually healthy and vivid without looking washed out, and a natural-looking filmic appearance without an egregious overuse of smoothing or bitrate modulation other releases suffered. There is some, but it’s not a complete travesty.
Facial features, clothing textures, and the design work for Wayne’s basement or the big studio set all come in beautifully. The only slightly dodgy areas revolve around optical effects like the opening credits or towards the end when Wayne and Garth set up their various Happy and Mega-Happy endings. The biggest boost this film sees is from the Dolby Vision HDR grading that actually gives some life to the primaries and skin tones. Black levels are strong without any crush issues. They offer noticeable improvements for the various concert sequences at Casandra’s loft party or the Alice Cooper concert. Also, they fixed the slight frame judder issue that was apparent on the last disc. All around, I’m pretty happy here.
Next on the list of improvements, Wayne’s World clicks in with a new Dolby Atmos mix, that is actually pretty solid. While the film doesn’t always make use of the vast open soundscape, there are some great highlights. Anytime there’s music, it fills up the channels beautifully. That’s really where you’re going to get the most out of the extra spacing and height channels. Dialog is clean and clear throughout without issue. Even if it’s not the most action-packed film ever made, there’s still an immersive amount of surround activity to keep channels active and engaged. But most important to fans will be the inclusion of the proper music cue from Stairway to Heaven when Wayne is checking out the Fender. It’s all of a couple of seconds but it’s nice to hear the proper tune so the gag actually makes some sense. A full Atmos track may not have been necessary, but we got one and it’s good!
As for the bonus features, what we get here is pretty much all of the archival stuff from past releases plopped onto the 4K disc. Which is fine, it’s nice to have everything all in one place, but at the same time a new retrospective with cast/crew interviews 30 years later would have been a cool addition.
Wayne’s World isn’t going to be accused of being the best comedy of the 90s, but it’s a damn funny flick that still holds up. Granted that could be nostalgia talking as I wonder if anyone born after 1990 would think this is funny. For my money, it’s a great way to burn 95 minutes and put a smile on my face. I don’t always pull this one off my shelf when I need a laugh, but when I do Wayne’s World never fails. Now with a new 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, fans have another reason to check back in with Aurora, Illinois’ best cable-access hosts. The new Dolby Vision transfer offers up numerous notable improvements coupled with a dynamic and effective Atmos mix to match. New bonus features would have been nice but I’ll take what I can get since they're actually on the 4K disc. Recommended.