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Film / Young Einstein

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Young Einstein is an intentionally inaccurate portrayal of Albert Einstein as the son of an apple farmer in Tasmania in the early 1900s. In this movie, Einstein splits a beer atom (with a chisel) in order to add bubbles to beer, discovers the formula for energy and travels to Sydney to patent it. Here he invents the electric guitar and surfing and comes up with a theory of relativity while romancing an anachronistic Marie Curie. He invents rock and roll and uses it to save the world from being destroyed due to misuse of a nuclear reactor under the watching eye of a similarly inaccurate Charles Darwin. Um... yah...

Written, directed and starring Australian musician Yahoo Serious (born Greg Pead), the film was created due to Yahoo's interest in Einstein's life after visiting the Amazon River. The film was made on a very small budget, even going so far as forcing Serious to sell his car to gain funds for it. The film was a hit in its home country of Australia and had modest success in the United States as well, making it the second-most successful Australian film upon its release.

Not to be confused with Little Einsteins. Entirely unrelated to Young Frankenstein, except that both are ridiculous comedies.

This film provides examples of:

  • Accidental Misnaming: Upon looking at his research, an inmate remarks that he is "keenly interested". Albert takes this to be his name.
    (while being brought into the asylum, Brian and Lunatic Professor examine Albert's papers)
    Brian Aspirin: Oh? Space and time curved, eh? Personally, I got busted for drugs.
    Lunatic Professor: Science, eh? I'm keenly interested.
    Albert Einstein: Pleased to meet you Keenly.
    Lunatic Professor: (looks up at Albert and shakes his head)
  • Affectionate Parody: Of Albert Einstein, Marie Curie and Charles Darwin. And pretty much every other historical personage named in the film (including Sir Isaac Newton, in the self-referentially titled book Young Newton).
  • Alcohol Hic: Albert gets the hiccups when he first tries beer.
  • Alternate Universe
  • Ambiguously Jewish: The only hint of Albert's faith we get is him drunkenly warbling "Hava Nagila".
  • Anachronism Stew: Invoked for comedy.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: The energy from splitting Beerium Atoms.
  • Artistic License – Geography: Albert wanders past Ayers Rock/Uluru on his way from Tasmania to Sydney. Of course, he was lost.
  • Battleaxe Nurse: The head nurse at the mental asylum. Though apart from smashing Einstein's guitar when he first arrives and intimidating the newly arrived inmates, she is never seen abusing anyone.
  • Bedlam House: Mr. Preston gets Einstein committed to a mental asylum to keep him out of the way. It's Played for Laughs as the staff at said institution are nuttier than the patients. There are also dedicated "Mad Scientist's" and "Manic Depressive's" wards.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Albert Einstein is the son of Tasmanian apple farmers who actually invented "Roll and Rock" and surfing.
  • Big Damn Heroes: When Marie notices that Preston is about to shoot Einstein, she grabs a heavy object, sneaks up behind him and knocks him out. The shot misses and ends up harmlessly hitting a non-critical indicator lamp on the reactor. To her bemusement, the object is the science award trophy.
  • Blatant Lies:
    • The guard that Marie speaks to at the main gate of the mental asylum first claims that Albert isn't there. When she insists that she knows he's there, he then tells her that he's bathing. When she says that she'll wait, he says that Albert is a notoriously long bather and that it would take all day.
    • Preston's award speech. He definitely didn't make it his life's quest to put bubbles into beer. He stole the formula from Albert and partnered with a local Brewery to build his reactor. When Marie calls him out on on his thievery, he claims that he merely "borrowed" Albert's formula and that he'd receive a percentage of the profits.
    • Preston also lies about Albert being an escaped lunatic. While it's true that Albert did escape from a mental asylum, he was committed by Preston under false pretenses.
    • Preston's claims that he's a scientist.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: Facing the destruction of Paris, Albert stays calm and works the problem.
    Marie Curie: Albert, if the bomb goes off then...
    (Albert eats an apple, his expression contemplative)
    Albert Einstein: Just a moment Mary, I'm having an idea.
    (Albert keeps eating an apple, thinking his idea over while Marie is gesturing for him to get on with it)
    • Moments later, Einstein approaches the reactor and plugs in his guitar.
    Marie Curie: Albert, what are you doing?
    Albert Einstein: Well, I'm going to use this instrument... (snaps on the power with some sparks) to drain the atomic energy out of that bomb.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Albert doesn't always consider how dangerous his work is and sometimes lacks awareness of what's going on around him (see Iron Butt Monkey). But he is undeniably a kind, friendly, generous, highly intelligent and very resourceful person who keeps his cool in a crisis.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Mr. Preston Preston wants to woo Marie and definitely does not like seeing her with Albert.
  • Determinator:
    • When Albert gets an idea in his head that he wants to try out, he gets things done.
    • Once Marie found out that Albert was imprisoned in a mental asylum, she allowed nothing to get in the way of her getting in to see her boyfriend. When the gate guard tries to dissuade her from visiting because Albert is a very long bather and would take all day she says:
    Marie Curie: I will wait forever!
  • Did Not Think This Through:
    • Mr. Preston Preston consistently says and does things with little or no regard for common sense, logic, decency or consequences to the detriment of those around him. It eventually comes back to bite him in the final act.
    • Albert Einstein has his moments too, but has far fewer of them than Preston.
  • Dirty Coward: Mr. Preston Preston.
  • Disastrous Demonstration: Preston Preston steals Albert's energy formula to put bubbles into beer and, in his ignorance, nearly nukes Paris in his attempt to demonstrate it.
  • Einstein Hair: Yahoo Serious has claimed he decided to make a movie about Albert Einstein because he has the same hairstyle.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Preston Preston is introduced as a lecherous Know-Nothing Know-It-All when he tries to speak French to Marie and messes it up, and then tries to explain how a gramophone works even though it's completely irrelevant to anything at the moment.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: Darwin realizes just what Preston has done when Albert finally confronts him.
    Mr. Preston Preston: And now, fellow scientists, the world's first—
    Albert Einstein: (calmly) Mr. Darwin? Preston has built an atomic bomb.
    (the crowd gasps)
    Marconi: Atomic bomb?!
    Charles Darwin: What?!
    Mr. Preston Preston: (in a whiny voice) No I didn't!
    Albert Einstein: Mr. Preston, do you know what happens if you split an atom at its nucleus?
    Charles Darwin: (realizes) Atomic fission!
    Preston Preston: This man is an escaped lunatic!
    (Albert calmly eats an apple)
    Charles Darwin: (Oh, Crap!) That barrel is a gigantic atomic bomb! (crowd gasps) Mr. Preston! Stop!
    Preston Preston: It's harmless you... stupid old man! Look!
    (Preston pulls the lever and the Beerium reactor immediately starts spewing flame and smoke, blaring an alarm and flashing a "malfunction" alert.)
    Preston Preston: (cue Oh, Crap!) It is a bomb! (he tries to move the lever, but it doesn't budge) Help! (starts screaming in panic)
  • "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner: Rather unexpectedly, from Charles Darwin, as the bomb is about to go off, and he sits quietly while everyone else is trying to run away screaming.
    Preston Preston: (grabs Darwin by the lapels) Save me! Where do I run?
    Charles Darwin: It's an atomic bomb, Mr. Preston. There's nowhere to run to.
  • Friend to All Children: Albert is wonderful with children. While in Sydney, he befriends the local children, plays with them in the street and plays his electric guitar for them.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Albert is also wonderful with all sorts of wildlife. Throughout the film, he is seen feeding a Tasmanian Devil an apple note , adopts a lizard, is against drowning wildlife when his father asks him to dam the valley, and is quite happy to find that his hotel room's bathroom has a mini ecosystem in it.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Albert is able to build machinery and equipment from electric guitars to power boats and surfboards using parts and materials from the surrounding environment.
  • Guards Must Be Crazy: The case can definitely be made for the entire staff at the mental asylum. Marie is able to impersonate Albert's father and visit him with little more than a Paper-Thin Disguise consisting of a fake beard, hat and pants. The guard that lets her in buys it despite having met and spoken to her earlier.
  • Historical In-Joke: Sigmund Freud appears at the Science Academy Awards... with his mother.
    Sigmund's mother: Signmond!
    (slaps his hand away from his face)
    Sigmund's mother: Don't pick your nose!
  • I Kiss Your Hand: Creepy flavour: Preston Preston to Marie Curie complete with icky sucking sounds.
  • Iron Butt Monkey: Albert has many accidents throughout the movie. He simply shrugs them off, as it's Played for Laughs.
  • It's All About Me: Mr. Preston Preston. He cares more about himself than others.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: I present you Mr. Preston Preston. A man who thinks he's smarter than he is with an over-inflated sense of self-importance. A man who happily lies, steals, takes credit for other people's work and nearly nukes Paris.
  • Land Down Under: Proudly on display throughout the movie.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: All of Preston's antics catch up with him in the final act. He is last seen being taken away after the bomb is defused presumably under arrest.
  • Leitmotif: Albert's is 'Waltzing Matilda', Marie's is a Parisian sounding accordion ditty.
  • Lethal Chef: The chef at the mental asylum. His hygiene is not up to standards, the slop he serves looks very unappetizing and he was baking a pie using live kittens as pie filler! Fortunately, Einstein saves the kittens during his escape.
  • My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels: When Preston Preston tries to speak French.
    Preston Preston: (in French) I would like to eat your suitcase.
    Marie Curie: (confused) Pardon monsieur? What would you like to do?
  • Never My Fault: Preston.
    • When confronted by Marie on his stealing Albert's formula, he lies and tries to downplay his own culpability. Later when things go disastrously wrong in Paris, Preston blames Einstein and tries to kill him.
    Preston Preston: It's all his fault! Albert Einstein! What kind of name is that for a scientist?
    • Even while he's being taken away, he's still blaming everyone else but himself.
  • Nice Guy: Albert Einstein naturally. Apart from Preston, his subordinate at the patent office and the staff at the mental asylum (and a few others), he befriends practically everyone he meets. He's seen to be down-to-earth and humble.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • Albert's energy formula discovery has world-ending potential and he's called out by his friends at the Asylum and Marie for his Cloud Cuckoolander attitude to it.
    • At the end of the film, Albert decides to hand his formula to the governments of the world to be applied for peaceful purposes but Marie (rightly) points out that his formula could be used to build their own atomic bombs. Albert shrugs it off with this zinger:
    Albert Einstein: Marie, if you can't trust the governments of the world, who can you trust?
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Albert gets one when he finds out that Preston plans to build a machine that splits beer atoms and rushes to the beer company to warn them not to.
    • Marie had one off-screen as she very well knew how dangerous Preston's plans were since she went into the mental asylum to warn Albert and get him to intervene.
    • The Lunatic Professor gets one when he realizes that Albert discovered the formula for energy. His colleagues quickly catch on when the professor explains.
  • Only Sane Man: The mental asylum inmate known only as the Lunatic Professor—that Albert mistakenly calls "Keenly"—is anything but a lunatic and quickly realizes how dangerous Einstein's energy formula is.
  • Our Lawyers Advised This Trope: "The characters depicted in this photoplay are fictitious, although the names of certain historical persons were used.
  • Scenery Porn: Albert's journey to Sydney, via lots of places that aren't actually on a direct route.
  • Shoot Out the Lock: Or, in Albert's case, plug his rebuilt electric guitar into the asylum's electrical grid and blow out the electric locks in an overload.
  • Steampunk
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Marie Curie dresses as Einstein's father to gain access to him in the asylum.
  • The Power of Rock: Apparently rock can even drain the power from an atomic bomb.
    (Albert's friends are listening to the science award ceremony over the radio)
    Brian Aspirin: That's Albert's music.
    Lunatic Professor: Yes. Crickey, yes! That's... 4/4 time!
    Ernest Rutherford: 4/4 time! That'll drain the power out of anything!
  • Too Dumb to Live: Mr. Preston Preston and the owners of the brewery he partnered with to build the Beerium reactor. They have no idea how dangerous Einstein's energy formula is and unwittingly build a gigantic atomic bomb that nearly destroys Paris. Later, while Einstein is working to defuse the atomic bomb, Preston tries to kill him, which would've gotten himself and the others killed as well.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Albert Einstein, being the son of an apple farmer, eats apples. His mother likes to bake huge apple pies (yum!).
  • Unsettling Gender-Reveal: Played for Laughs. Marie is able to visit Einstein at the asylum by dressing up as a man and claiming to be Albert's father. Everyone buys it until she takes off her hat and beard.
    (while trying to get across how dangerous Preston's plans are)
    Marie Curie: Albert! They are saying that he intends to build the largest beer keg in the world!
    (she tears off her hat in exasperation. Cue shocked gasps of the other inmates, who are currently in the bathing house and in various states of undress. Marie gives them a "what" look.)
    Ernest Rutherford: (beat) He's a woman!
    (the inmates quickly huddle to cover themselves)
  • Unobtainium: Beerium
  • X-Ray Sparks: While draining the energy off the 'atomic' bomb with his electric guitar.
    Marie: Albert! You are absorbing too much energy you will be killed!
    (Albert's hair sticks out on end, his skin goes red and his shoes start to melt and smoke)
    Albert: I'm all right Marie! They're only electrons!