Amid all the success of Saturday Night Live, Second City Television went quietly
unnoticed for some time. It's most popular incarnation began in Toronto
in 1976 and would introduce the world to such later comedy greats like John Candy,
Joe Flaherty, Eugene Levy, Andrea Martin, Rick Moranis, Dave Thomas, and Harold
Ramis. Like most successful sketch comedy series, the popular characters are often
spun off into their own films. Such was the case of Bob and Doug McKenzie and
their Canadian television show Great White North. Predating Wayne and Garth by
nearly a decade, Dave Thomas and Doug McKenzie defined the term slacker and brought
Canadian slang to the American masses.
As the film opens, you learn that the brothers are making movie and are desperately
trying to get the MGM lion to roar. Having spent their budget money of beer,
there's not much of a movie. The next day it's time to buy beer
and there is no money. Trying to scam beer from the local quick stop, the pair
informs the clerk they found a mouse in their bottle of Elsinore beer. He responds
by telling them to take it up with the brewery.
Quicker than you can say Road Trip, the drunkenly duo commandeer a vehicle
and drive to the Elsinore plant where they land smack in the middle of a plan
to take over the world. Brewmeister Smith (Max von Sydow) has developed a new
brew that will allow him to control the minds of men and takeover the world,
never mind the fact that not everyone drinks beer. The two brothers witness
the drug being tested, which involves hockey masks and keyboards, after being
given jobs at the factory. After being implemented in the plans, it's
up to them to stop Smith any way possible.
Anything possible is an apt description for this film, as anything can happen.
Flying dogs, drinking millions of gallons of beer and the infamous steamroller
are all things witnessed in this film. Most of it doesn't make sense and
half of it isn't even connected to the plot, but that doesn't matter.
Like the strangest of surreal comedies from England, Strange Brew rarely makes
sense. What it does well is provide laughs. Moranis and Thomas make Bob and
Doug come alive and they seem like real brothers. Their dumbstruck looks make
you feel just sorry enough for them and amazed when things work out the way
Video: For a picture of its age and background, the print
here looks surprisingly good. The colors seem a little dull, but not anywhere
as annoying as some DVDs I've seen. Slight bits of grain and a few print
flaws do appear, but the 16x9 anamorphic presentation is perfect for the small
screen of home viewing.
Audio: Not much in the audio department has been done, nor
was it necessary. It's a Dolby Surround mix that has audible vocals and
nice balance considering the mono source.
Extras: Not much on the disc, but what's there is great
stuff. An original skit from SCTV is included, one that shows hot to stuff a
mouse in a beer bottle. Looking even younger than they do in the film, it's
a treat to see it in such great quality. Also included are the movie trailer
and a short 5-minute trailer for an animated series. Looking like the Family
Guy in animation style, it's an unbelievably good preview that introduces
the cast and the setting. The jokes are funny and well delivered. The only bad
thing is no other information is included. After searching the Internet turned
up nothing, I can only guess it was included as a promotional piece in hopes
of getting noticed and being produced. UPDATE!! That's partially true, I think. I found Animax Interactive. They look to be web and animation developers and they've done the mentioned cartoon. Look at their website and you'll see the creative director is McKenzie brother Dave Thomas. Keep checking their site for more info.
Overall: This is the best the film has looked since it was
released. Fans of the movie or of SCTV should pick this disc up, as should anyone
who gets a kick out of Saturday Night Live and other similar sketch comedy shows.