Strange Brew DVD Review
Bob and Doug McKenzie October 22, 2002 @3:09pm EDT

DavE brought over a copy of the recently released DVD of Strange Brew last week and we watched it. I've only had a DVD player for about a month but I'm still impressed with the picture quality I get from them, and am quite pleased that Strange Brew has been released in this format. However, I have a few complaints about this DVD that are explained in the article. Read more to see them, eh!

Update (October 27, 2002 @1:42pm EST): Okay, I finally got my own copy yesterday!

First of all, I'm sure most of you have already seen Strange Brew or otherwise you wouldn't be reading this article. So instead of critiquing the movie I'll review the DVD itself. I'm quite pleased that Strange Brew has finally been released on DVD; the picture quality is much better than any video tape and theoretically will last much longer, too. The image is 1.85:1 widescreen so those who didn't see Strange Brew in the theatre when it came out 19 years ago (which, given the time it spent in the theatre probably includes most of us) finally get to see it as it was meant to be seen. One example that sticks out in my mind is when Bob shows the difference between TV and movies. On VHS the picture shown is slightly distorted and of lower quality, but here they actually show a TV showing Bob and Doug. However, I wouldn't have minded a fullscreen version in addition to the widescreen one to avoid the letterboxing effect and get a few more scanlines out of the image.

I can't comment on the surround sound (if any exists) because I have no decoder hooked up to my TV and only two speakers on my computer. But the audio we were able to get was mono despite the fact the DVD is advertised as being in stereo (the VHS releases were mono, too). Perhaps the movie was never mixed for stereo sound.

The extras are also a bit disappointing. There's only one clip from the Great White North segments shown on SCTV, although it's the one about stuffing a mouse into a bottle which I thought was appropriate for the movie. I think they should have included all of them, especially since there's some that haven't been seen in a while because they weren't included in the syndication packages. Plus, by including more they could have sparked interest in a possible SCTV release on DVD.

There's also "The Animated Adventures of Bob and Doug McKenzie", which is actually a trailer for a cartoon being developed by ANIMAX Interactive, a recently formed animation studio whose Creative Director happens to be Dave Thomas. This was actually pretty well done and appears to have been based on the plot for Home Brew, the sequel of Strange Brew that never materialized. In Home Brew, Bob and Doug were supposed to be garbagemen, and they are here in their animated forms. There's also several other characters including Dwight, the driver of their garbage truck, bickering couple Rupert and Mary Beth, the Ledoux brothers who hate the McKenzies, and their loser friend Dennis with a mullet and no job. I think that there's too many characters but it might work over a half-hour episode. They hang out at the Skate'n'Bowl (sounds Canadian, eh!) in Borderton, Canada, where they play hockey and drink "Molson Canada" and "Labatt True" (I guess they're hoping for product placement from one or the other of these companies). At first I didn't think that Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas were providing the voices (Rick sounds a little squeaky doing Bob's voice but it could be the fact that it's been 20 years since Strange Brew was filmed, I guess they're both a bit older) but after checking the credits I see they were both there, along with Dave's brother Ian Thomas who provided the music for this trailer. I'm looking forward to seeing the cartoon, wherever and whenever it appears.

My main disappointment with this DVD is that Rick and Dave didn't do any commentary over the movie. It would have been nice to hear what they had to say about the writing and filming of each scene. Another nice addition would have been deleted and rewritten scenes.

There were a few things that could have been done better with this DVD, but all in all, it was a good five dollars worth for me and my whole family. For a rating I'd give it five beers out of a six-pack; it was nice to see Strange Brew on DVD and also the Animated Adventures but there was enough stuff missing that I won't give it a perfect review. I ripped DavE's copy of the DVD since I haven't been able to find it locally and hear that it's even hard to find in cities. I still plan to buy it eventually and hope that sometime in the near future there's going to be a new release with commentary and more episodes of Great White North. I'll buy that one, too.

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