Wild Wild West Review

This review was originally posted for the Ultimate 90s Blogathon, hosted by Tranquil Dreams and me.

Wild Wild West movie posterSynopsis
Army Captain James West (Will Smith) is tasked by President Grant (Kevin Kline) to work together with US Marshal Artemus Gordon (Kevin Kline) to find the ex-Confederate scientist Dr. Arliss Loveless (Kenneth Branagh) before he can take over the United States government.

Review
Wild Wild West was a go-to movie for my friend and I back when we were growing up. Between the two of us, we could (and still can!) quote the movie in its entirety. Having watched this many times over the years, I acknowledge that the nostalgia factor might affect my enjoyment of the film, as I have found several flaws since watching it as a young lad. However, that doesn’t mean it still can’t be enjoyed on its own merits.

Right out the gate, this movie is goofy. Not funny, although it is that too, but goofy. Artemis Gordon’s inventions feel a little too perfect for the situations they get Gordon and Jim West out of. Arliss Loveless’ beard rivals Crane’s beard from The Hunger Games for most intricate movie beard, acting as the proverbial “I’m the bad guy” sign. Loveless’ invention to bring the “US government to its knees” is a giant, steam-punk tarantula. Everything about this movie screams “Saturday morning cartoon.” Nevertheless, it has a sense of fun that many film miss, which is why it still works for even as I’ve grown older. Wild Wild West never takes itself seriously, making it fun for both the actors and the audience.

The humor can be seen as a little juvenile, like the scene below, but that kind of humor is what I like. Will Smith and John Kline are enjoyable to watch together. This film came out relatively early in Smith’s film career. It is fun to see how he has brought the same energy and personality to his characters throughout all of his movies, whether they were in the 90s, when he started film acting, or today. I’ll admit I haven’t seen many of Kline’s films to compare Artemis Gordon to his other roles but his comedy here is more subtle than Smith’s which works because having two boisterous comedians would be too much.

Besides the two leads, the other two big supporting actors, Salma Hayek and Kenneth Branagh are clearly having a good time too. The often scantily clad Hayek is obviously there for the eye candy and to give West and Gordon someone to compete for, but it doesn’t appear to bother her and she gives a memorable performance. Branagh gets fully into the maniacal villain role. It’s cartoonish and over the top but he steals his every scene he’s in.

I thought Wild Wild West was GOOD 🙂 It isn’t afraid to be silly and have fun with itself, which might turn off other viewers but I really enjoyed that. Everyone, from Will Smith and Kevin Kline to Salma Hayek and Kennith Branagh, feel like they are enjoying themselves. I grew up watching this film regularly and although its imperfections have become more apparent over the years, it still is every bit the fun, adventurous romp I remember it to be.

Favorite Scene

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Barry Sonnenfeld – Director
Jim Thomas – Story
John Thomas – Story
SS Wilson – Screenplay
Brent Maddock – Screenplay
Jefferey Price – Screenplay
Peter S Seaman – Screenplay
Elmer Bernstein – Composer

Will Smith – James West
Kevin Kline – Artemis Gordon / President Ulysses S Grant
Kenneth Branagh – Dr. Arliss Loveless
Salma Hayek – Rita Escobar
M. Emmet Walsh – Coleman
Ted Levine – General “Bloodbath” McGrath
Frederique van der Wal – Amazonia
Musetta Vander – Munitia
Sofia Eng – Miss Lippenrieder
Garcelle Beauvais-Nilon – Belle
Bai Ling – Miss East

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Ultimate 90’s Blogathon Wrap-up: Wild Wild West (1999) by Drew’s Movie Reviews

Tranquil Dreams

We have arrived, ladies and gents! We are at the final day of the Ultimate 90’s Blogathon and both my fantastically awesome co-host Drew from Drew’s Movie Reviews and I will be sharing our final wrap-up posts on each other’s sites. First to share is Drew with his review of 1999’s Wild Wild West. Will Smith, Kenneth Brannagh, humor and wild west…

Take it away, Drew!

Synopsis
Army Captain James West (Will Smith) is tasked by President Grant (Kevin Kline) to work together with US Marshal Artemus Gordon (Kevin Kline) to find the ex-Confederate scientist Dr. Arliss Loveless (Kenneth Branagh) before he can take over the United States government.

Review
Wild Wild West was a go-to movie for my friend and I back when we were growing up.  Between the two of us, we could (and still can!) quote the movie in its entirety.  Having watched this many times over…

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Childhood Films Blogathon: My Fave Five Films From My Childhood

Childhood Films Blogathon Banner

The wonderful Caz over at Let’s Go to the Movies is putting on a great blogathon this weekend: the Childhood Films Blogathon.  I’ve talked many many times about the films I enjoyed and watched over and over in a time referred to as “my childhood.” So far, I’ve already reviewed Aladdin and Jurassic Park and before the end of the month, I will have posted reviews for Toy Story and Ocean’s Eleven. So instead of reviewing another childhood favorite, for his blogathon I’ve compiled a list: a list of the films I regularly popped into my VCR (DVD player in the case of Ocean’s Eleven) when I was growing up.  Here are my fave five(-ish) films from my childhood.

The Mummy5) The Mummy

I remember the birthday I received The Mummy and The Mummy Returns.  I didn’t ask for them but one of my relatives got them for me anyway.  I’m sure glad they did.  I watched them so many times.  Going on an adventure with Rick O’Connell and Evey into the desert to find the treasure and end up awakening the cursed Egyptian priest Imhotep, eventually needing to defeat him is simply a fun and wild ride.  The Mummy Returns was great, too. I especially liked the pygmys in the oasis but The Mummy takes the cake in my book.  This and its sequel are also the only two films I have on VHS, DVD, and Blu-ray (for now).

4) Ocean’s Eleven / Wild Wild WestWild Wild West movie posterOcean's Eleven movie poster

I’ve paired Ocean’s Eleven and Wild Wild West together because these are the two movies that my best friend and I would watch all. The. Time.  Seriously, between the two of us, we could quote both of these movies in their entirety.  Ocean’s Eleven is my favorite heist movie (spoiler alert for my heist fave five list whenever that happens).  George Clooney and Brad Pitt are perfect together and the entire team, the rest of the eleven if you will, are just a blast. Wild Wild West tends to not be favorable with most viewers but I find it hilarious. Will Smith and Kevin Kline make a great comedy pair and I laugh every time I watch it.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Secret of the Ooze3) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze

Don’t laugh, hear me out.  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, in its nature, is a farce. It’s meant to be ridiculous and not to be taken seriously. For the longest time, I hadn’t seen any of the other two TMNT movies, only The Secret of the Ooze.  But you know what, that’s all I needed.  I can guarantee that any dude who grew up in the late 80s to early 90s watched Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and had at least a few of the action figures.  The Secret of the Ooze had humor, action, and Vanilla Ice’s Ninja Rap.  Seriously, how can you not enjoy that?

2) Jurassic ParkJurassic Park movie poster

Jurassic Park has a well deserved place on IMDB’s Top 250 movie list.  Not only does it have a great story, developed characters, a moving score (thank you John Williams), and dinosaurs, but it was a huge milestone in visual effects.  But let’s be honest, the dinosaurs were enough to draw in my attention.  The special effects looked so real that sometimes it is hard to believe that this is a film and not some documentary. Steven Spielberg knew how to make things suspenseful while still being light.  Although this has a PG-13 rating, I’d say it’s a mild PG-13, which was one of the reasons my parents let me watch it when I was much younger than that.

Aladdin movie posterToy Story movie poster1) Aladdin / Toy Story

“Another twofer? Drew, you are cheating” I can hear you say.  But you know what? I don’t care.  I could probably trace my love of movies back to these two great classics.  I am honestly surprised I didn’t wear out the VHS tape on either of these from watching them repeatedly.  Aladdin‘s message about being yourself and Toy Story’s about friendship are just as powerful today as they were over 20 years ago.  My cousin and I enjoyed Aladdin so much that we dressed as Aladdin and Jasmine for one Halloween (she was Jasmine, of course).  I can’t say enough positive things about these two films.  They will always be a part of me at my core and I wouldn’t have it any other way.


Check out the rest of the entries in the Childhood Films Blogathon here.