Visionary directors don’t come around every day. In fact, true auters rarely do. They redefine the medium for themselves, playing on inspirations that proceeded them, but moving forward into dark artistic corners not previously explored. This is what makes them unique. This is what makes them who they are.
So what happens when you smash a few of them together?
A few months back, I ran across a trailer that mashed-up Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey with the film aesthetic of Wes Anderson, entitled “2001: A Space Comedy.”
After multiple viewings, I realized that my attraction to the trailer pushed past just the outward humor such a combination proposed. The editor, M. Deicke, had hit on a weirdly perfect cocktail of two filmmaking visonaries, whose styles are almost immediately identifiable.
Kubrick and Anderson are known for their visuals. See a screenshot of either and its easy to recognize, but the key is their adamant and meticulous nature towards their camera framing. It is a defining characteristic of both directors and an area where each bleeds into the others preferences.
Beyond just the visual aspect, both Anderson and Kubrick also define themselves with the sound and music choices in their work. Who hears Blue Danube without thinking 2001 or The Kinks without remembering Royal Tenenbaums? This trailer mashed the memorable visuals of Kubrick with the song selections of Anderson and found a brilliant middle ground, where each artist shines bright, but in a hue we’ve never seen before.
So what happens if it’s taken even further?
I was curious to know. Could Anderson and Kubrick be mashed up for an entire film? Could they dance together for that long? For me, it was worth exploring, if only for the sheer fun of it. So I recut 2001: A Space Odyssey into a Wes Anderson picture entitled, Wes Anderson’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Playing with the visuals in Kubrick’s masterwork, 2001 allows for an easy editing template. Long on shots and short on sound, cuts could be put together rather seemlessly. Suddenly, the Dawn of Man sequence is scored to Mark Mothersbaugh tracks from Rushmore, spaceships fly to The Beach Boys, and a two-and-a-half hour film is cut down to an hour-and-twenty-minutes.
Here’s a clip…
To some, I might as well be ransacking the Vatican with such blasphemy, but I found the experience liberating. The process of understanding both directors and attempting to serve both equally is probably an impossible task, but a challenge I enjoyed balancing.
This, for me, is less “filmmaking,” but “filmplaying” — akin to having GI Joe invade a Barbie’s play house. It’s pushing past what’s expected and finding something new, opening opportunities to discover what makes certain artists unique and what they might do together if given the chance. I think creatives can learn a lot from such projects and, beyond, everything else, it’s a ton of fun.
I’ll be premiering my full cut of Wes Anderson’s 2001: A Space Odyssey soon and am excited to see what sort of experience it brings for lovers of Anderson and Kubrick alike.