Wild Wild West (1999 Will Smith film)-How did they get this so wrong?

I’ve just watched *Wild Wild West *for the third time. I really can’t believe this movie is this bad. With the exception of the giant spider, the gadgets weren’t fun. Will Smith does his worst job ever in the movie. His so-called wisecracks don’t work. The whole film just seems to try too hard and force humor where it isn’t.

I won’t make the mistake of watching it again.

BTW, is the tv series ever shown these days? I used to watch it on a very low power independent station many years ago.

Is your question “how did they get the humor so wrong?”

Um, bad writing?

Or, maybe it’s Will Smith Syndrome: no matter what role he’s in, he always overplays the wisecracks. In Bad Boys 2, for example, he was famously allowed to ad lib his own lines.

Yeah, but Smith’s wisecracks worked in Men in Black and Independence Day. In Wild Wild West, they seem like they’re part of the deleted scenes on the DVD extras!

Ah it’s not the worst but definitely could have been so much better.

I’m with the OP here. I don’t understand how many movies can have such a huge budget for actors, effects, etc, and apparently less than a few weeks worth of paying a writer or two.

You won’t fool me a fourth time, Wild Wild West!

Star Wars Ep 1-3, 6
Every chick flick not starring Jack Nicholson, Dianne Keaton, or Diane Lane
Every action film
Every horror film

Imho, the well-written films are sorely outnumbered.

Yeah, I mean . . . have you ever tried talking movies with Hollywood’s key demographic?

“The dialogue was awful

Stares blankly Blinks “The dia-huh-what?”

Hollywood doesn’t bother with good writing because they don’t have to.

I want to pick up whoever invented focus groups and shake them.

Somehow, a person who is unemployed and is willing to watch a movie during business hours 5 days a week has a viable opinion?

In Wild Wild West, not only was the dialogue awful, but the special effects and the gadgets didn’t work that well either.

They’ve been making lots of movies based on great old TV shows, and they fail when the makers don’t understand why the show was great in the first place. The classic case was Mission: Impossible. The TV show was always about a tight-knit, perfectly coordinated team pulling an elaborate con on some drug dealer or iron-curtain puppet regime. The master of disguise, the techy gadget guy, the femme fatale, and the muscle all had to play their parts. And when the job was done, they slipped away quitely to leave someone else holding the bag. For the movie, they made it a star vehicle for Tom Cruise as the lone-wolf agent fighting for his life on a train being chased by a helicopter. In a tunnel.

Same thing with Wild Wild West, they stole from the TV series without knowing why it was worth stealing from.

Maybe I just like deadpan humor. Independence Day didn’t do a thing for me, and Tommy Lee Jones was the best was the best thing about Men in Black. The scene of him interrogating the dog was hysterical.

And Robot Arm nails it.

Not only the old TV shows but the movie remakes as well.

Wild Wild West was produced by Jon Peters, and the best story about Jon Peters comes from Kevin Smith (YouTube clip, strong language) recounting his experience in rewriting a possible Superman sequel. The clip is nineteen minutes long, but hilarious, and explains a lot about Peters - notably the giant spider in Wild Wild West.

I don’t understand how the OP sat through it three times! Dude, you have serious masochism issues going on!

The best part of the movie, to me, was Kenneth Brannagh. His character was hilariously overplayed, and I assumed he was thinking to himself, “This movie is a train wreck, so I’m just going to ham it up to the hilt!”

[Emphasis added.]

In the case of Wild Wild West, I believe it was more than “a writer or two.” This movie was a problematic production that supposedly ended up having a what amounted to a team of writers (most uncredited) brought in to punch up the dialogue. (There’s a cliché here about too many cooks but I’m not going to mention it.)

He probably also figured that since he was getting a nice fat paycheck for the film, he’d might as well give everybody their money’s worth in terms of scenery-chewing.

There wasn’t anything particularly wrong with the dialogue in Wild Wild West. I don’t recall a single line that struck me as being particularly bad. It just wasn’t well written in the sense that it was boring and stupid.

Screenwriting isn’t “dialogue.”


WWWest failed in its writing for plot large, and plot small, boiler plate characters with clumsy fomulaic arcs, reliance on reference instead of actual humor, and a muddle of theme that comes from too may writers. I did like them driving the big spider back to DC in the end though. A good ending redeems a lot.

The one thing they got right was putting Salma Hayek in it.

It made me forget about the bad plot while she was on screen! :slight_smile: :wink:

Isn’t Jon Peters the one who was threatening to write a tell-all book about Hollywood actresses a little while ago?