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I couldn't tell you why people are so repulsed by genre westerns. Something about it doesn't quite click in the mind. Maybe it's an American thing. In any case, I saw Wild Wild West when it first came out, and got exactly what I was promised. Ridiculous history. Steampunk machines. Salma Hayak's corset filled to bursting. Bai Ling's thong (If you're into that, I guess).
I think the reason this movie, in particular, suffers is because it works the race angle too much. Hardy har, a black cowboy. Well, news flash: Barry Sonnenfeld may be Jewish but he's no Mel Brooks. For that matter, Will Smith is too wholesome to be playing Cleavon Little. The script takes itself to seriously at times, and I honestly don't think the players involved are subtle enough to handle it. Maybe they should have stuck to fat women/dick/crossdresser jokes.
Now that time has distanced us from the film's wasted budget, this is an enjoyable piece of schlock. As often happens, people tend to focus too much on nitpicks like Kevin Kline's impression of President Grant, and not at larger problems.
I remember watching this when I was a kid and it left me an impression that never seems to go away. Even today, I still enjoy watching this movie with guilty pleasure. I honestly think its awesome just purely on the gadgets and the infamous Spider Tank. Of course its not meant to be a serious drama or anything , just a silly movie filled in with steampunk silliness. I mean, even the movie poster alone could tell you that its not to be mentioned seriously.
All in all, this movie should be best watched without going too deep into the plausibility of the plot and just for the sake of the silliness factor.
No one really cares that this film wasn't faithful to the original show, since no one in this movie's target audience had ever even heard of it before the movie. It gets a bad rep for some bizarre reason, despite doing well exactly what it sets out to do: provide some cheesy Cattle Punk fun for a little under two hours. Sure, it tries a little too hard to be Men In Black, but the dark tone and Elfmanesque score just add to the film's charm instead of detracting from it. Just about the only complaint I can lodge against it is the script's dip into cartoonland when Smith's Jim West survives a 50-foot fall, but that's really about it.
Plus, that giant spider was too dope.
So Okay Its Average. That's really the only opinion I can give for this film. The special effects have stood up well against the test of time, and it has a decent story. I have not watched the original show, so I had no high expectations for this movie to meet. I, personally, liked the move well enough. Give it a try, especially if you have someone to snark with at the silliness.
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