Disney The Tempest Official Teaser HD

Date: 2012
Posted by: Attic Pictures
Cast: Prospero – Dalben (The Black Cauldron), Miranda – Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), Ferdinand – John Smith (Pocahontas), Ariel – Spring Sprite (Fantasia 2000), Caliban – Quasimodo (The Hunchback of Notre Dame), Alonso – King Stefan (Sleeping Beauty), Antonio – Frollo (The Hunchback of Notre Dame), Gonzalo – King Hubert (Sleeping Beauty), Trinculo – Wiggins (Pocahontas), Sebastian – Ben (Pocahontas), Stephano – Lon (Pocahontas)
Credits: Editor: [Micah Lee]; music from ‘Fantastic Garden’ (Coraline) – Bruno Coulais, ‘Ship At Sea’ (Pocahontas) – Alan Menken, ‘Flow Like Water’ (The Last Airbender) – James Newton Howard, ‘To the Stars’ (Dragonheart) – Randy Edelman
Duration: 1.43

This ingenious mashup does what the best of the genre should do, which is to achieve a dream. In this case the dream is a Walter Disney feature film of The Tempest, which clips from Disney films being appropriated to create a trailer for the film that will never be. to be honest, some might worry what Disney would do with The Tempest to make it palatable for the masses (Trinculo and Stephano as comically accident-prone animals would seem to be inevitable), but it couldn’t be too far away from this. The editor has taken clips from The Black Cauldron, Pocahontas, Sleeping Beauty, The Hunchback of Notre Dame (for Caliban, of course), and Fantasia 2000, the ‘Firebird Suite’ sequence, for the most interesting borrowing, that of the Sprite as Ariel. There are also some sound clips lifted from Julie Taymor’s feature film The Tempest as Shakespeare’s words are neatly dubbed onto Disney’s images.

The video is the work of American actor Micah Lee who specialises in re-edits of Disney films, pushing at the boundaries of what one can do with such valued product under US Fair Use laws. The result clearly took a huge amount of effort, bred of a great affection for Disney’s work as well as great knowledge of the films. The sequences flow together smoothly and logically, supported by film music scores applied with equal artfulness. It tells us something of the fairy tale roots of Shakespeare’s play, but also how Disney has squeezed the European storytelling tradition into the one unyielding mould. Somewhere in Disney Studios someone may be looking at this video, half-thinking to call the lawyer, but also half-thinking that here might the next good idea for them. If Hamlet could give us The Lion King

Links: YouTube page
Micha Lee’s personal site

Action Bill

Date: 2014
Posted: AMAA Productions
Cast: Kent Pool (William Shatner, Patrick Stewart), Kenneth Haney (William Shakespeare)
Credits: AMAA Productions. Producers: Dustin Butler, Rachel James; Director: Gareth Witte; Writers: Gareth Witte, Kenneth Haney, Dustin Butler, Rachel James; Animation: Kenneth Haney, Gareth Witte; Sound design: Gareth Witte; VFX: Gareth Witte; Editor: Gareth Witter; Cinematography: Gareth Witte; Music: Nick Longoria;
Duration: 5.07

William Shakespeare is seated at home in Elizabethan England, struggling with writer’s block (literally expressed in this Lego film as a block of Lego) when his peaceful Stratford existence is rudely interrupted by the appearance of a time-travelling, angry William Shatner in a giant robot. Who will save the Bard from impending annihilation? Well, Patrick Stewart, of course, though Bill himself proves himself more than willing to take on a robot adversary, and to derive inspiration from the consequences.

This is a particularly strong example of brickfilm animation, which won first prize at the Short Bricks short competition at Cine Bricks in 2014. Settings, camerawork, lighting, music and special effects are all of the highest order, and though the dialogue is a little unclear in places (I don’t think the real Shatner would recognise himself), the pace and inventive silliness prove the film to be a worthy winner.

Brickfilms, or Lego animations, thrive through cutting down our pretensions to size while simultaneously indulging them. What we elevate they miniaturise, yet their affectionate nature confirms that we were right to elevate the subject in the first place. They mirror the confused view we have of culture at this time. Shakespeare is brought down to size and lifted up at the same time – it is a badge of honour, after all, to be commemorated in Lego. If there’s a message to the film, it’s that to be indestructible is to be immortal. Shakespeare can take on all that the future can throw at him, and still survive.

Visual effects breakdown of Action Bill

Links:
YouTube page
AMAA Productions (with behind the scenes photos etc)

Macbeth Summary

Date: 2012
Posted by: benben8it
Cast: Ben Todd (commentary)
Credits: Bed Todd (artwork)
Duration: 3.41

Here’s a gem of a summary of Macbeth from cartoonist Ben Todd. It’s the usual quick run through the play’s highlights, turning tragedy into quickfire comedy, but making the plot clear for anyone struggling with iambic pentameter. It’s mostly done with simple static doodles, which seem artless at first sight but which have a peculiar charm about them. The black and white is occasionally interrupted by splashes of red blood, a cheesy photograph of Scotland, and great use of one of the most renowned of all YouTube videos, the five-second Dramatic Gopher, hilariously brought in as reaction to the news that Macduff was born by C-section. It’s fun to watch, but it also makes you think. Life, it tells us, is just a procession of exits and entrances, stabbings and survivals, in which there are only happy endings because we do not know what happens after those endings.

Links:
YouTube page
Ben Todd’s Pencil Poetry Tumblr site

Behind the Stage

Date: 2013
Posted by: Donald Jordan
Cast: None
Credits: Animated by Donald Jordan
Duration: 1.27

A short but inspired work of imagination. Using a mixture of photographs and medieval woodcuts, the filmmaker has imagined a staging of The Tempest, with stormy waves, sinking ships and a whale, all framed by a theatre and shot in black-and-white. It’s a moment’s inspiration made real, where the static comes to life, and the illusory nature of the stage is made apparent through illusion. Brief, but you remember it afterwards.

Links:
YouTube page

Shakespeare’s The Tempest Animation

Shakespeare’s The Tempest Animation from matthewkilford on Vimeo.

Date: 2013
Posted by: matthewkilford
Cast: Year 6 pupils from Bloxham Primary School
Credits: Made by Bloxham Primary School; Animation Station: Matt Kilford, Emily Horler. Special thanks to Mrs Verinder, Mrs Way, Mrs Coles, Mrs Ralls, Mr Ingall
Duration: 10.28

This is an absolutely charming animated version of The Tempest made by Year 6 pupils ( ages 10-11) of Bloxham Primary School, Oxfordshire, with help from local arts organisation Animation Station. It tells the essential story, with snatches of the most familiar lines, using children’s drawings animated in a rudimentary but entirely effective manner. What gives the film its power is the use of the children’s voices to tell the story and voice the characters. They tell the story with enthusiasm and conviction. While with some schoolchildren’s online Shakespeare you sense the eagerness of the teacher but wonder about the pupils’ comprehension of what they are being asked to do, here it is clear that they were fully engaged in both play and project. It is a film to persuade anyone, of any age, of the play’s magical qualities. The applause at the end is a delightful idea, and entirely merited.

Links:
Vimeo page
Animation Station

The Many Coloured Messenger

Date: 2010
Posted by: Mary Martin
Cast: None
Credits: Animator: Mary Martin
Duration: 3.37

This exquisite animation was made in 2010 by an A-level student. Made up of over 1,000 painterly images, it takes Prospero’s words “We are such stuff as dreams are made on” and illustrates them in abstract fashion, showing a small green figure in an ever-changing landscape of colourful forms, while a clock denotes unstoppable time forever moving on. A remarkable piece of visual imagination, made all the more effective through the rhapsodic musical accompaniment with flute and piano. It’s a work of which an Oskar Fischinger or a Walter Ruttmann would have been proud. Here is how Shakespeare can play upon the creative mind.

Links:
YouTube page

Romeo & Juliet, 2553 A.D.

Date: 2007
Posted by: mcdonaldjm
Cast: Meaghan Sloane (Chorus), Richard Jau (Sampson), Mitch Ryan (Gregory), Jeff Heilman (Abram), Jim Raley (Benvolio), Jordan Gebhardt (Tybalt), Fred Tollini, S.J. (The Prince), Bruce McDonald (Montagu), Victoria McDonald (Lady Montagu), Jon McDonald (Romeo), Arbiter (Juliet)
Credits: Directed and edited by Jon McDonald, music from the score to Titus (2000) by Elliot Goldenthal: Philimelagram, Arrows of the Gods, and Tamora’s Pastorale
Duration: 8.53 (part 1), 4.36 (part 2)

There is a whole genre out there of machinima versions of Shakespeare. Machinima are animations usally made using video game software, where fans of games such as Halo, Call of Duty, Second Life, World of Warcraft etc., and repply the figures and backgrounds to their own narratives. An increasing number have chosen to recreate scenes from Shakespeare in this form, frequently emphasising battle sequences, and mostly playing on the comic disparity between Shakespeare’s scenes and the outlandish figures of the fantasy worlds of video games.

This school project adaptation of Romeo & Juliet Act 1 Scene 1 uses imagery from the game Halo 3. It is both typical and distinctive among the genre. Typical, because of the comic effect of bizarre science fiction figures uttering Shakespeare’s words and the time devoted to the battle scene. Distinctive, because so many of Shakespeare’s words are heard. Unike other examples of the genre, which either paraphrase the text or use just a few key lines, here the filmmakers offers us reasonably long stretches of dialogue (albeit with some modern paraphrases) that draw us all the more into this unearthly world where Montagus and Capulets are luridly coloured robots from 500 years hence. The brawl between the two camps is well chosen (the Spartans and the Elites from the original game), though the absence of Juliet herself (beyond a wordless appearance portrayed by the Halo 3 character Arbiter) tends to render the video’s title an irrelevance. There are two parts, taking us not very far into the play, but far enough to recognise that an imaginative work has been realised.

Links:
Part 1
Part 2
Wikipedia on Machinima