Their cartoons have all been re-made through crowdsourced projects. Shrek Retold might qualify as the most ambitious of the bunch, at least in terms of length. It’s a shot-for-shot remake of the entire 2001 feature, all 90 minutes of it. The remake drops online November 29.
Shrek Retold was orchestrated by 3GI, the organizers of Wisconsin’s Shrekfest, where the remake premiered over Labor Day Weekend.
If you’re thinking to yourself that this is all a bit silly, check out the video essay below by animator Marcie LaCerte, who also participated in the production of the remake. LaCerte offers a sharp perspective on why these kind of re-animation projects have flourished in popularity, and examines Shrek Retold through various frameworks, including art history, internet crowdsourcing, appropriation art, fan culture, and meme creation.
3GI’s Grant Duffrin, the lead organizer of the Shrek remake, says something poignant in the video essay. “It’s hard to be an artist and have people care about your stuff,” he remarks, “and with the Shrek remake, it’s like, yes, I get to basically make a feature and everybody cares about it.”
Duffrin’s lament is a common one among independent artists. Many artists complain about pouring effort into a personal project and sharing it online to scant reaction, while at the same time watching a piece of their fan art of a Disney princess or some such corporate concoction going viral beyond their wildest expectations.
In that context, Shrek Retold and other remakes of its ilk make a lot of sense – it’s a way for independent filmmakers and animators to piggyback on the marketing power of corporations while redirecting attention away from the corporation’s creation and back to the individual artist. It’s an interesting, if imperfect, solution to being a creative person in an era where nearly all of the cultural dialogue is dominated by a handful of entertainment megacorporations.