26 July 2009

Before YouTube, There Was "Hardware Wars"

Hardware Wars coverYouTube abounds in amateur spoof film endeavors. That's no secret. A group of people think up some humorous but cliche jokes revolving around some pop phenomenon, from movies to television shows to Top 40 tunes. Then they do their utmost best to script and digitally re-create their farcical vision.

That is now, but this is then...
With the tagline "May the Farce be with you," Hardware Wars stars Fluke Starbucker, a gee-golly kid bent on saving the universe.

With the help of Auggie "Ben" Doggie the red-eye knight, Princess Anne-Droid with her matching braided challa breads on either side of her head, and Ham Salad the wry if somewhat morose pilot and his sidekick who is a wookie monster, Fluke sets out on an adventure all-too reminiscent of the original Star Wars.

I remember watching Hardware Wars as a kid. My memory of this farce, however, didn't match my adult re-watching of the movie. In actuality, Hardware Wars plays as an exceptionally lengthy trailer.

Screenshot from Hardware Wars in which the Wookie Monster attempts to eat the buns off of Princess Anne-Droid's headThe jokes are lame, but still good in their own universal way. The special effects are purposely poor. The makers of the short film did nothing to hide the strings that served to move around the irons and toasters that serve as the movie's ships. (Hence, "Hardware" wars.)

Perhaps the most humorous part of the film is Darph Nader, a guy in a welding mask who sounds just like Darth Vader except for the fact that you can't understand a single word the guy's muttering.

Other cheap special effects include the light saber that is nothing more than a flashlight. Fluke actually has to stand in a fog cloud to create the semi-effect of a light saber. Auggie "Ben" Doggie breaks the fourth wall to let us know that the film's producers are all too aware of the cheapness, as he shoots us a "how lame is that" look.

Let's not forget about the classic toaster shot. Taking aim at Ham Salad's iron-ship, two pieces of toast fall from the toaster, only to suddenly be flying along a straight course immediately following the cutaway.

Oh, this short film was way ahead of its time. Who knew that one day, thousands of amateurs would join the ranks of Fosselius and Wiese in creating their own farcical short films? Who knew that YouTube would appear en force to help all these amateur spoof film producers share their visions with the world... again and again and again.

Guess What?
Michael Wiese posted Hardware Wars on YouTube! Want to watch?

Hardware Wars Pt 1 — YouTube

Hardware Wars Pt 2 — YouTube

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