Star Wars Downunder: The Good, The Bad & The Thirsty

For some reason I really got caught up in the hoopla of Star Wars Day today. But what about beer and Star Wars, you might ask? Believe it or not, I found something. It’s an interesting fan film made in Australia, entitled Star Wars Downunder. It’s shot in 35mm and took 10 years to make, directed and co-written by Michael Cox. And because it’s Australian, it’s also about beer. The creators describe it by asking “what would happen if you crossed Star Wars with an Australian beer commercial?” And their answer was “Star Wars Downunder: an epic tale of the good the bad and the thirsty, described as “half an hour of action, special effects and lovable Aussie larakins.” On the film’s website, they recount the plot as follows:

The film tells the story of a lone Jedi: Merve Bushwacker (David Nicoll), returning home after a long absence. His mission? To partake in a refreshing beverage, known locally as amber fluid. On his arrival, he is dismayed to discover the planet has become as dry as a dead dingo′s donger, thanks to the tyrannical rule of Darth Drongo. Drongo has hoarded all the amber fluid in his impenetrable fortress “Dunny’s Deep” for reasons unknown. Can Merve, and a motley collection of unlikely allies band together to topple Drongo’s evil regime? Will liberty and amber fluid flow freely once more?

As many reporting on the film lament, there’s no scene in which the character says: “That’s not a loightsabah! THAT’S a loightsabah!” And while that would have been hilarious, there are, however, lightsaber boomerangs, because … well, why wouldn’t there be? Here’s the trailer:

Star Wars Downunder Trailer from Michael Cox on Vimeo.


Intrigued? You’re in luck, because you can watch the entire 30-minute film on YouTube, or below.

Muppets’ Beer-Drinking Habits

I got a nice tweet from Gerard Walen of Road Trips For Beer, who’s obviously been paying attention enough to know how much of a Muppets fan I am. He had a chance to see an advance screening of the new Muppet film that opens Thanksgiving and he assures me that Porter and I “will love the movie.” Of that, I have little doubt. I’ve turned my whole family into Muppet fans by showing them all of the television shows and movies since they were little. I’ve been a fan since I was a kid, and have never really stopped loving their bad pun, groaner brand of humor ever since. But after seeing the film, Walen took it a step farther in a post: ‘The Muppets’ Movie Makes Me Wonder: What Beer Would They Drink? He’s come up with some pretty funny, inspired choices for the main characters. Makes me even more thirsty to see the movie later this week.


Star Trek’s Engineering Deck Brewery

If you’re like me, you love what I call “brewery porn,” which is photos of brewing equipment either installed or by themselves. So when I watched the film reboot of Star Trek, I was convinced that portions of the movie — the engineering deck — were filmed inside a large brewery. Sitting in the darkened theater back in May, I remember thinking it looked a lot like Anheuser-Busch’s brewery in Fort Collins. But I forgot about it until last night, when I re-watched the film on DVD. It turns out I was half-right. It was filmed in a large Anheuser-Busch brewery, but it was the one in Van Nuys, California (which in retrospect makes sense, since it’s closer to Hollywood).

Reading over the Trekkie chatter about the movie, it appears that the decision to use the brewery as stand-in for the engineering deck was one of the least popular things about the new film. But perhaps what was most surprising was that, while to anyone reading the Bulletin or who’s been inside a brewery it was completely obvious, many people didn’t even realize what it was. But if you did know, it was a bit jarring and made it more difficult — as critics charged — to continue the suspension of belief necessary to get lost in the story. One common criticism I didn’t agree with was that while the rest of the ship was all shiny and new looking, the engineering deck (brewery) looked dark and dingy. But remembering the tours of cruise and military ships I’ve been on, that’s the way it often is. The places for the passengers are decorated for comfort and are appealing to the eye while in the places where it’s just for the employees, such niceties are ignored and decorated merely for convenience and functionality. Below are a few screencaps and other photos from the film inside the Anheuser-Busch brewery in Van Nuys. Being a Star Trek fan since I was a kid, I still liked the film and would recommend it on its own merits. Despite certain anomalies and inconsistencies, it was still entertaining and enjoyable to watch. Except, of course, for the brewery.

Nuclear symbols were painted on the fermenters to make them look more reactor-like.

A screen cap from the film inside the brewery in Van Nuys.

Another screen cap, this one after the characters Captain Kirk and Scotty beam back aboard the Enterprise.

Director JJ Abrams (in the foreground) directing Star Trek inside the A-B brewery.

In this view, similar to the first one, you can see the flying camera used, and developed by J. Patrick Daily.