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

It had some moments but for all the gadgets and Will Smith (who I generally like as an actor) it didn’t have 1/100th the cool of the TV show.

Beyond this, and I know it’s fantasy, but I just couldn’t buy into the somewhat precious notion of a super cocky, black, James West style secret agent operating with any degree of effectiveness at a time when black people were suffering horrific levels of prejudice and abuse. It was too weird to not be constantly at odds the historical context of the time, and kept it out of the realm of involving fantasy, and more into the realm of “WTF were they thinking?”


I ended up watching the movie three times because it keeps coming up as “Other movies you’ll like” in Netflix. Every couple of years I think, the movie can’t be that bad, I just wasn’t in the mood for it the last time I saw it.

Guess I should stick with Men In Black II.

As further punishment?

As for the clip, I can’t go along with the people that were offended, I mean if you’re going to go into a movie like that with a chip on your shoulder then you’re probably not going to like a LOT of comedies.

The problem with it, I think, is this scene shows where the movie “tries too hard”. I mean… the retorts are delivered with all the subtlety just short of the actor turning to the camera and saying “Eh? Eh? Get it? Slave!”

That is absolutely hysterical. Thanks.

Basically, this. Among everything else, but this. If a mob is about to lynch a black guy in the Old West, he is not going to be able to laugh them out of it.

I know that sort of thing is Will Smith’s schtick, but it fell flat with the kind of clunk that spells disaster for a fantasy movie.


Out of boredom I tried to watch the remake of “Journey to the Center of the Earth” (with Brendan Fraser) and couldn’t get past the first ten minutes. If you can’t do a remake that’s better than a film starring Pat Boone, why even try?

I think they went wrong with thinking that there was a huge demand for a Wild Wild West movie.

Not every 60’s tv series makes a good movie.

Three times!

Each year, Newsweek does a group interview with a bunch of actors who are up for Oscars. One year, the panel included Will Smith and a bunch of indie type actors.

Smith talked about how weird it made him feel to see "Wild Wild West rake in 40+ million dollars on its opening weekend, because he KNEW it was lousy. He KNEW it was the worst movie he’d ever made, and yet he was out on the talk show circuit promoting it, and watching the movie do huge business… until word of mouth killed it off.

I’m curious as to WHEN he knew the movie was a stinker. Increasingly, action/adventue movies rely so heavily on computer graphics and and animation that a star often has no idea how well or how poorly his performance is going. Liam Neeson says he spent most of the shooting of “The Phantom Menace” standing in front of a blue screen, speaking his lines to aliens and other characters who weren’t really there.

Under circumstances like that, how can an actor know if the scene he’s appearing in will look brilliant or ridiculous?

Probably somewhere along the lines of “and we’re working on getting Kenneth Branagh to play Loveless.” That would have done it for me.

Must. Ignore. Netflix. <grunt> Recommendation. Too. Overpowering…

Well to be fair, the actors in the original Star Wars all thought it was going to be a crapfest too, if you ever watch any of the interviews. Which, if you take out all the John Williams music and add in a lot of really noisy machinery (which apparently was what ya had on the set), you can kinda see that.

:confused: That was supposed to be funny? Seriously, when I first saw it, all I saw was a pair of guys trying to insult each other to show the audience just how much loathing there was between them. It honestly, truly never occurred to me at all that it was supposed to be humorous.

And I agree Selma had the best parts.

If you watch any given non-SFX scene in isolation you can see that.

That can be taken* two* ways…both of which are true! :wink:

No, only one. But it is certainly true.


Amen brother. Would it be SOOOOO hard to pay for a quality writer? Are writers just considered a cost to be reduced as much as possible in Hollywood? I remember Jurassic Park…and the thought among friends and I was that they should have had one less dinosaur and hired an actual writer.

I think part of the problem is that making a movie is such a different experience from watching a movie, that it is very difficult to tell if you are making a turkey or not. IIRC, a lot of the cast of “Star Wars” had misgivings, for example, and it proceeded to smash every box office record and spawn a multi billion dollar franchise.

They shot some scenes of the godawful “Mullholland Falls” (why, oh why, do they keep trying to remake “Chinatown”) at a place I was living. I watched them work. Man walks across pool area, tips his hat to girl sunbathing, says “Can you direct me to apartment 320”. They did that scene like fifty times from seven different angles. It took all afternoon.

I have worked on some small films myself, and it is very hard to relate what you are doing to the finished product. Scenes are shot out of order, etc. You better hope the Director has a good grasp of what is going on, because for everyone else, it gets a little murky.

Just my $.02 worth.

And reading the thread, I notice that I echoed your point about Star Wars, johnspartan. Also realize that on a lot of shows, not everyone outside of the director and principals has even read the whole screenplay. There is a lot of trust placed on the director to have the big picture in their head. That’s why a good director makes the big bucks.