Strange Brew (1983)

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Released 14-Oct-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1983
Running Time 86:44
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Rick Moranis
Dave Thomas
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Dave Thomas
Rick Moranis
Max Von Sydow
Paul Dooley
Lynne Griffin
Angus MacInnes
Tom Harvey
Douglas Campbell
Brian McConnachie
Len Doncheff
Jill Frappier
David Beard
Thick Wilson
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $14.95 Music Charles Fox
Ian Thomas


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement Yes
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Throughout life, people always search out for the finer things. Bob and Doug McKenzie (Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas) are no different. Each day marks the continued search for a cold beer, some back bacon and more donuts. As the brothers know, the best beer is always free beer, and it's Doug that hatches a plan to score a year's worth of free Elsinore beer. Employing the old 'mouse in the beer bottle' trick, the pair head to the local liquor store to present their 'contaminated' product for adequate compensation. When their ploy falls on unsympathetic ears, it's suggested that they head to the brewery itself to plead their case. With nothing to lose, the two head to Elsinore Brewery.

    Bamboozling their way into the brewery with their mouse story, the brothers do even better than a supply of free beer - they somehow actually land jobs at the brewery as 'beer inspectors' where they inspect bottles as they travel through the conveyor belts. It's here where the brothers meet Pam Elsinore (Lynne Griffin), the heiress to the Elsinore beer empire after the sudden death of her father. While getting to know each other in the brewery's cafeteria, the group uncovers a plan by Elsinore's head brewer Brewmeister Smith (Max von Sydow) to add a mind altering formula to the company's beer that will enable the Brewmeister to exercise mind control. When the group finds out that Smith plans to release the altered beer at the upcoming OctoberFest, they have to act fast in order to stop him before he alters the minds of everyone in the Great White North and takes over the world!

    It's nostalgia lane big time here, folk. The thing is, I'm not sure as to whether this is going to work here in Region 4 Australia. This film is an extension of a skit that Rick Moranis (Ghostbusters, Parenthood, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids) and Dave Thomas developed for Canada's Second City Television (SCTV) programme, the Canadian equivalent to America's Saturday Night Live. The skit, called The Great White North was originally conceived as a slam on those in Canada who called on the need for more true Canadian content on television. As many comedians have done over the years, the pair used the successful technique of exaggerating a culture's stereotype to the nth degree. Of course Canadians aren't beer swilling, donut chasing, tuke wearing hosers, but these were the nation's stereotype of the 'Ugly Canadian' for want of a better term. Think Kath & Kim for Canadians and you'll be getting in the ball park. This is the reason that I think that this release won't do much here in Australia. Think if you released Kath & Kim in Canada 20 years from now. Do you think that anyone (other than expat Australians) would get it? Probably not, and this is the feeling I got while watching this. For me, it's a whole lot of fun and if you are a Canadian or perhaps an American who grew up in the early 80s watching and listening to these two make the biggest idiots of themselves, then you will probably get a kick out of this. However, if you have no knowledge of the pair other than this DVD release, then you probably won't get this film.

    The McKenzie Brothers have recently been brought back into the spotlight (sort of) with the new Disney film Brother Bear. The two moose in the film, Rutt and Tuke are voiced by Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas in the vein of Bob and Doug. There has also been an animated short based on the characters voiced by Moranis and Thomas and it is expected that some sort of revival might take place in the future. Dave Thomas has tried over the years to resurrect the Bob and Doug concept, and perhaps in time he'll succeed. In the meantime, we have this comedy classic to tide us over. So, like, take off to the video store and get a copy, eh? Otherwise, you're a hoser!

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The quality of the transfer here is okay considering the age, budget and stature of the film.
 
    This film is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, which is very close to the film's original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1. Thankfully, the transfer we get here features 16x9 enhancement.

    For the most part, the level of sharpness in the image here is adequate, but due to the quality of the film stock used and the age of the unremastered print used for the transfer we do get a few flaws. Of all the issues that affect sharpness, grain is probably the main factor. Most of this film takes place in fairly well lit locations, so we don't have a large amount of dark scenes. I found shadow detail to be, again, adequate but a little on the lacking side at time, probably due to the age of the print and the film stock used. Low level noise didn't seem to be a problem.

    Colour's use here is quite natural and without exaggeration. Colour's commitment to this disc is adequate and within the the limitations of the source print. I found the colour here to be a bit muted, but as stated above, there are legitimate reasons for this. The only way we're going to get a better transfer of colour here is with a full print restoration. Don't hold your breath.

    This disc features a video transfer that runs at a very stable 5.25 Mb/s. This isn't a huge bitrate, but it is enough to give us a watchable image. Consider the source and you shouldn't complain. The Great White North gets a visit from The Great White Outline (edge enhancement) from time to time here, with a prime example at 48:41. There is also an instance at 1:05, but this is more a limitation of the video source shown and not this transfer. There are a number of small nicks and flecks that litter the screen throughout the programme, a sign of an unrestored print. Grain is also an issue here, with a major example seen at 48:41.

    There are only English subtitles available here, these being the normal stream as well as those for the Hearing Impaired. I watched the entire film with the English titles enabled and found them to be reasonable enough to convey the general meaning of the spoken word on screen. The one thing that I did notice is the lack of the 'Eh?' at the end of most sentences. These are often spoken by the main characters but are not titled. Strange, eh?

    This disc is formatted single layer and as such, there is no layer change.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    We have a very basic audio transfer here that is faithful to the original theatrical release, but lacking in any dynamics.

    There is only one audio option here, that being an English Dolby Digital 1.0 (yes, that's right, 1.0) soundtrack running at a very basic 192 Kb/s.

    Even with the strange Canadian accents heard in this film, I still found the dialogue to be quite understandable. There is some fairly obvious dialogue echo audible at 69:41, but this is present in the original sound mix and is not a transfer problem. I had no problems with audio sync here.

    Music for this film comes from two people. Charles Fox composed the film's score, which is fairly dated but is in keeping with the tone and subject matter of the film. Charles is known for his scores for films such as Barbarella, Foul Play, European Vacation and Keeping the Faith as well as television shows such as Happy Days and The Love Boat. The film's title song Strange Brew was composed by Ian Thomas, brother of star Dave Thomas.

    How good is your AV receiver? This Dolby Digital 1.0 soundtrack should test it. I ran this film through the Mono Movie setting, but it was only able to derive the slightest main and rear channel effect. You won't get much from your surrounds or subwoofer with this disc.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    So, like, take off, you extras, eh? Where'd they go? They must have took off. No extras. What a hoser.

Menu

    After the usual distributor's logo, we're taken to the disc's Main Menu which offers us the following:     The menus are static and silent and feature 16x9 enhancement.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     This film was released in Region 1 on October 1, 2002 in a package that is superior to this one.

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on:

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on:     A massive win for Region 1 and sad news for us, as the only market for this film will be those who know of the McKenzie Brothers from their SCTV days and would like to take in their humour all over again. Without the extras that are afforded the Region 1 disc, we have a fairly empty Bob and Doug experience here. The lack of extras, coupled with the lack of a stereo audio mix lead to a total win for the Region 1 version. If you are a fan of these guys, rent this at your local video store and if you like what you see, order it from Region 1.

Summary

    This is good stupid fun from a pair of very talented actors. Bob and Doug were a cultural phenomenon in their day and it's nice to see them out and about again. If you have watched Brother Bear and wonder where the voices for the moose came from, look no further than here. Recommended for expat North Americans that are children of the 80s. Check it out, eh?

    The video is adequate with an aged but watchable image.

    The audio is very, very basic with only a Dolby Digital 1.0 mix available.

    There are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Sean Bradford (There is no bio.)
Wednesday, January 28, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic DVD RP-82 with DVD-Audio on board, using S-Video output
DisplayBeko TRW 325 / 32 SFT 10 76cm (32") 16x9. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderYamaha RX-V2300 Dolby Digital and dts.
AmplificationYamaha RX-V2300 110w X 6 connected via optical cable and shielded RCA (gold plated) connects for DVD-Audio
SpeakersVAF DC-X Fronts (bi-wired), VAF DC-6 Center, VAF DC-2 Rears, VAF LFE-07 Sub (Dual Amp. 80w x 2)

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