Posted on Tuesday, January 5th, 2010 by David Chen
I wasn’t a huge fan of Michel Gondry’s Be Kind, Rewind, but I loved the film’s take on “sweded” videos, which had amateur filmmakers and actors recreating iconic scenes from beloved films. My absolute favorite one had to be the Terminator 2: Low Budgment Day video, but Gondry actually created a hilarious sweded version of the trailer for his own movie. While some might see the process of sweding as reductive, derivative, or just plain ridiculous, the film seemed to argue that there’s something beautiful in the art of interpretation that comes through in these low-rent films.
I was reminded of Be Kind, Rewind when I saw a piece over at Cinematical about a stage production version of Roland Emmerich’s 1996 film, Independence Day. Hit the jump to see some video of the production, and for a few more details.
According to Cinematical, the production was the brainchild of Old Murder House Theatre, an offshoot of the War Room Collective, consisting of a group of filmmakers from the Savannah College of Art and Design. The group’s popularity has grown over time, as this production of Independence Day, which took place in a meat-packing warehouse, had over 200 attendees:
In my book, the main appeal of these enterprises is discovering how the crew decided to re-create certain iconic scenes, both dramatically (i.e. performances) and in the realm of production (i.e. costumes, sets, props, and special effects). In those realms, I think this effort succeeds wonderfully.
But this stage version, completely devoid of special effects or any recognizable actors, also seems to ask: When you strip the film down to its performances and dialogue, what are the artistic merits of Independence Day? I’ll just say that I was actually surprised at how many scenes I remembered from that film. If nothing else, Roland Emmerich knows his archetypes and how to milk them for all they’re worth.
War Room Collective has already done a version of Jurassic Park and a Lion King/Predator double bill.
The group is planning versions of Men in Black and Aladdin, and is thinking about taking ID4 and Jurassic Park on the road. I wish them the best. Let us know what you think of these videos in the comments.