A few years ago, three kids remade Raiders of the Lost Ark shot for shot, using nothing more fancy than plastic guns and smoke bombs. It was before the age of iMovies and DVDs, and they shot in their basements and backyards, with 16mm cameras, and later, VHS. They started when they were twelve-years-old, and it took seven years to finish.
They had the giant ball, the snakes, everything. Steven Spielberg became a fan. I got to see it a few years ago at the Archives, and the kids (now in their twenties’) were there to take questions. Now a movie is in the works about their movie.
Now in the age of the Internet and crowd-sourcing and YouTube, Casey Pugh (who works at Vimeo) put together, Star Wars Uncut, where a call went out on the Internet to re-create 15-second long segments from Star Wars, which were then stitched together. The clips range from live-action, to Lego, to CGI, to puppets, to cartoons. Grown-ups to kids. Shot in cars and offices, cars, and living rooms. The fan film has since won an Emmy.
It should come as no surprise how well the story holds up. Lucas’s fairytale set “a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far, away”, can in fact be set anywhere. As with Tolkien’s Middle-earth, or John Ford’s West, the Orcs, Comanches, and big space-ships are just props. When Luke discovers his aunt and uncle dead in their burning house, the scene came right from The Searchers. It wasn’t just that it was a favorite film of Lucas’s, he was telling the same myth.
What I really dig though, is not just the creativity and ingenuity of the clips, but the obvious love that hundred of people around the world put into this. My favorite 15-seconds...in the car, the guy with the horse costume.