Friday, May 24, 2013

Wild Wild West (1999) Review:

Director Barry Sonnenfeld has released a lot of films under his name that aren't exactly what you would call normal films. What I mean by normal is that it does not pertain to the real world. Examples like these are Men In Black (1997) and The Adam's Family (1991). They are not your regular comedy's dealing with normal people. That's a talent Sonnenfeld has - making strange but funny movies. However, Wild Wild West (1999) was a mismatch of ideas and comedy. I can also see why the original stars of the movie weren't pleased with it either because it wasn't anywhere close to the TV show.

The damsel in distress with our two heroes
This particular film sets up the origins to how the two main roles, Jim West and Artemus Gordon come together to save America. But even this isn't done well. The only origin explained is how they meet - there really isn't much of a back-story to any of these characters at all. Jim West even has a girlfriend that only has a very brief introduction and is never explored again. Playing these two main roles are Will Smith (West) and Kevin Kline (Gordon) and to be honest, their on screen chemistry isn't great, but it's also not horrendously terrible.

The comedy is really on and off here - a hit or miss. Sometimes Smith and Kline do exchange so remarks that'll spark up a few chuckles, but it is not as frequent as one would hope for. In fact, for the times that aren't funny, they're more awkward instead of just falling flat. Most of this is related to the sexual innuendoes. It just doesn't seem appropriate for the film. It made me uncomfortable to see cross-dressing that didn't look natural or attractive for that matter. I'm amazed that the supporting cast was written to be so dumb to fall for such obvious flaws.

The rest of the cast isn't too bad. Salma Hayek is the sex symbol as usual, even though her character is kind of meaningless. She's only there to make the characters of West and Gordon drool and fight for who could bring her to bed with them. M. Emmet Walsh is also a good supporting character even though he doesn't get as much screen time as he deserves. Kenneth Branagh was impressive enough that he could make long speeches that seem to be rich in high vocabulary, although I'll never understand his taste in pets. Another thing that’s not explained.

Kenneth Branagh in his strange attire
It's sad to see that the four writers to this movie all agreed on having the super weapon that the villain wants to use to obtain his goals is by using a giant mechanical spider. I mean, in the 1800s? How ludicrous is that? It's one thing to have a preference for spiders,...but not to model your super weapon after it. Really guys? It's because of this that this movie can not be taken seriously at all. This is where I think director Sonnenfeld could have opened his mouth and said something. But because he's so used to working with weird material, it flew right over his head. Ugh.

So along with the few laughs that viewers might get from West and Gordon's wisecracks are the gadgetry and music (sort of). I had a lot of fun with the eye candy in this film. Most of it was because of Gordon's ingeniousness and a little bit of the other things not created by him. To have a mini wrist note pad seems very useful! The score, composed by Elmer Bernstein, wasn't bad either. It had a reoccurring theme and stuck to it. I am curious though to why he didn't stick to the original theme from the TV show....he even hinted at it at one point in the film! Come on...that's proof that you could have stuck to the original theme.

The cast, special effects and music isn't bad but instead of sticking to the traditional western genre, director Barry Sonnenfeld decided to keep things weird like the rest of his films. As a result, the comedy can be awkward and villain's show of power is stranger than is menacing.

Points Earned --> 6:10

No comments:

Post a Comment