The Wizard of Oz is a film that most people can remember with great clarity. From Dorothy and her ruby-red shoes, to the creaky Tin Man and friends, it is a delightfully bizarre and fantastical movie. But it does have its odd moments. Dissolving witches, flying monkeys, and cowardly lions are just a few of the many reality bending characters that appear. So how could this movie be made anymore surreal? What about an alphabetical version of this classic?
Matt Bucy (the creator behind the fan made Star Trek Continues series) set his sights on the challenge of giving the world an alphabetically friendly version of the movie. When I say alphabetical I mean strict alphabetical. Any noise, moan or groan is put in its appropriate place within the movies running time which makes for a confusing, bewildering and utterly crazy viewing experience. This is no short either, this is the entire film! People who suffer with flashing imagery may want to avoid this video, because it is quite disconcerting.
It is hard to know what to say about this. I only managed to watch 30 minutes of this as my motion sickness kicked in hard. But it is a work of genius to create this, mad genius, but genius just the same! Some of the parts I watched were incredibly fun, like how many times rainbow or wizard is mentioned in the finished movie. The start is a very surreal experience with every little grunt put in order, it makes you think about not only about how the film is structured but also about how important the narrative flow is to the movie itself and how much fun it is to muck around with this narrative!
Dangerous Minds has an interview with Matt on just this very subject. Below are some of the highlights from that interview.
GOOD GOD, MAN, WHY DID YOU DO THIS CRAZY THING?
It was a challenge from a friend, Ray Guillette, to do something never done before. While on a short road trip, he said he didn’t think anything original was possible. I said nonsense! He asked for an example. I hatched the idea then, pretty much complete, and we riffed on the idea for a while. Then I totally forgot about it. But a couple years later he asked me when I was going to make this original thing. I said I’d hop on it right away and thanked him for saving the project!
When was this done and how long did it take?
The idea was hatched in 2001 (I think) and then I actually did it in April 2004. It has been shown sporadically since then, most recently at MIX in NYC a couple years ago.
It didn’t take too long. In a couple of days I wrote a bit of code to help disassemble the movie, then the disassembly took me and another friend three days to complete. It was a manual process but it went very quickly. It was pretty difficult to speak after a day of disassembly! It really messed with my head. The credits took another day. I had to wait for the right moody clouds to show up where I live so I could re-shoot the sky pan that lies under the credits. In total no more than a week of work.
So there you have it a classic given a completely new spin. I love how fans of anything now have the tools with computer technology to create whatever version they like.
Images: MGM, Matt Bucy