Well, I’m back! I know, I know, you haven’t missed me in the slightest. That’s ok, I wouldn’t miss me either. But never-the-less, I have returned. And this time I’m doing another installment in my nostalgic film remembrances, and this one should be interesting!
I have no real link to recent or up-coming events for this one. I was simply thinking about how to ease back into writing again after a brief hiatus (look, I’ve got a almost 5-month old daughter now. I’m likely to run into writing roadblocks!) and then it hit me like a steampowered blast from the past. I’m picking a film that I REALLY enjoyed when I was younger, even though it’s stupid. And yes, I just admitted that the film itself is stupid. But if you’ll indulge me, I feel like I might be able to sway your opinion on the film a little.
First, it’s a Will Smith vehicle. Of course it’s not going to be Shawshank Redemption or Citizen Kane. The point of the film is to have Smith be the smart-arse and everyone else begrudgingly like him. And this is because, as anyone who grew up watching Fresh Prince can tell you, Will Smith is a smart-arse who’s also incredibly likeable. Seriously, watch a few Fresh Prince episodes that deal with some of the harsher realities of life and tell me you don’t side with him. I’ll wait………
Secondly, the film was not going to have a fantastic script. It’s a late 90’s Hollywood Steampunk Western. Since the makers of Trigun weren’t called in, there’s nothing that could have saved it there.I firmly believe that most people who hated this film went in expecting Men In Black in the Wild West. Sorry boys, not gonna happen.
Thirdly, I went in with ZERO expectations. I literally picked up the VHS (yes, that’s right. Anyone reading this born after 2000, go and ask your parents why Be Kind Rewind makes them smile so much. You’ll be shocked at how annoying the pre-digital age could be!) in the store, went “Huh. This could be fun.” and came home from the field trip (long story) to watch it. I had no idea who Kevin Kline was, I’d never seen anything in the Steampunk genre before and I knew that the graphics wouldn’t be anything too special. And that saved this film for me.
Will Smith was Will Smith. He just hopped in a time machine and went back to the West. Kline is a wonderful foil to Smith, even if it’s cheesy as hell. If you were to come up with text-book odd couple, you’d basically end up with them. Salma Hayek is eye candy. Again, it’s the formula. Luckily, she’s also a good actress who probably puts in the best acting in the film. The Steampunk aesthetic is wonderful. I didn’t know what it was before I watched it, but afterwards I was well and truly a fan. The villain is straight out of 1910’s black and white silent cinema. The only thing he doesn’t do is tie someone to a train track while
stroking his moustache, though the magnetic collars are bloody close. And the spider…. is stupid. But that’s ok. And as far as stupid Macguffins go, it’s one hell of a doozy!
I know people who’ve already seen this will probably still hate it. But I hope you’ll at least see it for what it was. It never had a chance at being real cinematic gold, but it went all in anyway. And I don’t care what anyone says, that theme song was (to coin a phrase) dope.
And now we come to the rating. For those of you who haven’t read my other articles, I’m hurt and a little offended. But beside that, I’m not employing a traditional rating because it’s all about how my childhood film watching was better than yours (it’s true, don’t deny it!) and how it makes me feel. So I think that Wild Wild West can only receive a rating of…
10 year-old me playing Desperadoes.
So thank you once again for letting me carry on and wax lyrical about a film that probably doesn’t deserve it. But hey, I like it! And so, it only remains for me to say…
Wikky-Wikky-Wild-Wild West, Jim West, Desperado!!!