Blu-ray Review: STRANGE BREW
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Spanish: Dolby Digital 2.0
Good day, eh! Bob and Doug McKenzie’s first and only motion picture adventure Strange Brew is now available on Blu-ray at last. This is a movie I have watched countless times since I was 6 on a VHS my dad recorded off of TNT in the late ‘80s (a VHS I still own by the way). Strange Brew has bacon, smokes, doughnuts, hockey, and lots of beer. Those of you looking for a comedy about Canadian stereotypes have found the right movie.
Bob and Doug McKenzie are 2 characters played by Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas who appeared on the successful sketch show SCTV in the early ‘80s. These “Great White North” segments pitted the 2 characters in hilarious discussions about Canadian culture. The signature tuques and winter jackets these guys wear stand out enough to make them easily recognized in a large crowd. From what started as filler segments and just an attempt to satisfy the show’s Canadian audience, it quickly became the show’s most popular and funniest sketches.
In Strange Brew, our Canadian hosers look to get free beer from the Elsinore brewery but instead now find themselves employed there. The original owner of the brewery, John Elsinore, died in what was originally thought to be a freak accident but was actually murdered by his brother Claude (played by Paul Dooley) and the evil employee Brewmeister Smith (played by Max von Sydow). Claude and Smith plan to take over the brewery from the new company owner Pam, John Elsinore’s daughter. The McKenzie brothers along with Pam discover a disturbing “take over the world” style plot involving the Elsinore beer being drugged and shipped out in time for Oktoberfest. We see the effects of this drug tested on patients in a mental institution who are subjected to a brainwashing and physical game of.. hockey.
There are some great moments of comedy in Strange Brew. The beginning tricks its audience into thinking they are watching an ultra low-budget McKenzie brothers movie titled Mutants of 2051 AD which serves as a fun and creative opening. The scenes involving the mental patients and Bob & Doug in the brewery hockey rink are also memorable. Revisiting the movie again, Strange Brew is still funny to me. It’s a silly ‘80s Canadian comedy involving 2 likeable characters that’s as satisfying as a thick slice of roasted back-bacon.
Strange Brew is presented in 3-B (3 beers), Hose-o-rama, 2K, 1:78:1 Aspect Ratio. This serves as a nice upgrade from the DVD. The rich colors serve as the strongest point of this remaster. Blacks are even in some scenes but a problem in others. Brewmeister Smith’s outfit appears crushed at times but it’s not all that distracting. Overall, a solid and satisfying new transfer to my eyes with no major problems to report. A DTS-HD 2.0 stereo mix is used for the audio. The title song “Strange Brew” by Ian Thomas and the score by Charles Fox sounds great here. Dialogue is centered and clear. The track is pretty good with no major flaws.
No new extras, but WB did include the extras from the DVD.
– Theatrical Trailer (3 minutes)
– Animated Adventures of Bob & Doug McKenzie (5 minutes) – a small teaser for the animated series. The show was eventually made and ran 2 seasons but I never watched it.
– How to Stuff a Mouse in a Bottle of Beer (2½ minutes) – Great White North segment that aired on SCTV. In this sketch, Doug tells us the secret to getting free beer.