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"Strange Brew" Revisited

Plastic ran an article this week revisiting that pinnacle of modern cinema, Strange Brew, and I have to admit, I saw things in it I hadn't seen before:

In their brave retelling of that Hamlet thing you might have heard about somewhere, filmmakers Dave Thomas and Rick Moranis dare to put their own spin on the tale, instead of slavishly reproducing it line for line, like that hack Sir Lawrence Olivier. Perhaps sensing that most of the original's inaccessibility to modern audiences derived from the location, they made the bold decision to set the story in Canada as opposed to Denmark. (And hey, as long as we're changing stuff, why not make Hamlet a cute chick, eh?)

Strange Brew introduces us to Pam Elsinore (Hamlet), and her return to Elsinore Brewery after the murder of her father. Her mother Gertrude has recently remarried, and a strange ghostly visitation by the deceased points the finger at her new father-in-law, Claude. But from there, the film breathes its own life (with a suspiciously strong smell of beer) into the classic characters, making them into people that a modern audience of drunken louts and college kids -- same thing, eh? -- can relate to, while still paying homage to Shakespeare's classic tale of love and revenge.

The end result may seem to put a positive spin on what were formally tragic events in the original, but still manages to remain true to the source material. For instance, Ophelia (in the guise of a retired hockey player named Rosie La Rose) dies, but is revived by drinking from the blessed beer bottles of Bob and Doug McKenzie (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern). And in Moranis and Thomas' retelling -- unlike that one with the guy who played Sid Vicious -- the two hapless assistants manage to escape the doom prescribed to them in Shakespeare's original. In fact, they assist our "Hamlette" in tracking down her father's murderers and dole out justice.

Take off, indeed.

And then there was this comment on the story:

One of the Lord of the Rings movies I went to in the theater had a long, sweeping shot of a devistated battlefield. During this shot, someone in the audience started reciting the beginning to The Mutants of 2051 A.D.:
It was 10 years after World War 4... 2051... the future. I was the only one left on the planet after the holocaust, eh. The earth had been like dezvistated by nuclear war. Like Russia blew up the US and the US blew up Russia. There wasn't much to do. All the bowling alleys had been wrecked. So's I spent most of my time looking for beer.
I just about peed myself laughing.


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