Director: Chris Windsor
Runtime: 82 min
Sound Mix: Mono
Certification: Canada:PG (2005) / Canada:R (original rating)
Welcome to Burquitlam and meet the pillar of society, local butcher, and all-around swell guy; Bob Sanderson. He will be our host as we take a slice of this small town and examine it over the course of a few short days. We get to know this town very quickly as we attend a town meeting where our lead, Bob, presents his ideas for a new universal language that will help simplify our lives and create unity throughout the world. Although filmed and set in the 80s, it’s clear that this movie’s era is the 1950s. Technological optimism, and an overly hopeful outlook on the future are a few of the running themes. The school children are even taught here that “the future lies in the future”. Everyone, including Bob, feel that household appliances are the single most important contribution man has made to the world.
We also get to know a few other characters including Abdulla, the enormous and frightening boiler-room attendant, and Jan Wezinski, a high school student who’s driving goal is to reach outer space. For reasons we are unsure of, Abdulla murders one of the mayor’s meaningless thugs. Just before this bizarre killing, he sings a song about the Baghdad Boogie and plays a trombone in the basement while the heat steadily rises from the boiler. He is also summarily fired because of his lack of attention. He then proceeds to shove the town mayor into a running vehicle engine, and drives off in the same car. Later, Abdulla is inexplicably carrying around the body in a burlap sack and it accidentally gets mixed in with Bob Sanderson’s usual delivery of meat. The body is hung in the freezer, which is then locked up tight. Abdulla’s mission becomes clear; retrieve the body by any means possible… even if that means becoming Bob’s new butcher trainee.
Between Abdulla’s random acts and disconcerting demeanor, Jan’s pursuit in obtaining orbit, and Bob Sanderson’s good nature and complete clueless-ness of his surroundings, this story grows to become extremely entertaining and engaging. The feel of the film is very personable, much like the feeling you get at a small town play.
Oh, and i nearly forgot… our fourth, and most entertaining plot-line; Space Aliens. Their mission is to find an energy source that will power their highly advanced smokeless ashtray-looking space vehicle. I don’t know why they need more fuel, it seems like the string that holds them in orbit is doing a fine job. Perhaps if the person making the “whoooossshhhhh” sounds could have sputtered a little into the microphone, it would have been more convincing.
Jan is also searching for a power source and the means by which to purchase it. Bob Sanders pays his lab a visit and a fantastic musical number ensues about the fantastic uses of chemistry in our modern world.
Part of the fun is that you don’t have a single clue what is going to occur (or is currently occurring) from scene to scene, or sometimes from shot to shot. A musical interlude, for example, would generally occur in a moment of change or self-revelation in a typical musical. In Big Meat Eater, a number can happen at any moment and with any character about any subject. It’s this continuing randomness that helps keep you interested. Although characters have their singular driving forces, there are enough unexpected elements floating around to keep the pace moving along energetically.
Mutants, robots, aliens, zombies, cold-blooded murder, science, appliances, musical numbers, zany special effects, meat, a campy cast of characters… the list of appeal goes on and on. This movie was truly ahead of it’s time. It is a cheese-filled, wink-at-the-camera gem from start to finish, and it is hard to take your eyes off the screen. (except, perhaps, when Abdulla grinds meat during his Big Meat Eater number)
HUMOR: Nearly had an aneurism from laughing.
MUSICAL NUMBERS: Can make even Chemistry hysterical.
ALIEN ROBOTS: Unforgettable. Legendary. all that stuff…
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