Alright, geeks. Get ready for a trip into the bizarre or even “what the fuck” territory. If you’re not interested in learning about the weirdness of modern geek evolution, get out of here.
So a group of folks that go under the name 3GI Industries put together a crowdsource campaign to get many many filmmakers and animators to participate in a project called SHREK RETOLD. SHREK RETOLD is a fan made remake of the original SHREK movie. They got over 200 people involved, retelling the whole movie from beginning to end in various live action and animated clips that have made a Frankenstein's monster of a movie. I investigated the history surrounding it, and I have found that what people are doing with their fandoms these days is particularly fascinating.
Think of this not as an endorsement, but a case study in the modern culture of fandoms and how a global social acceptance geekery has lead to the evolution of geek culture in ways we couldn’t have imagined. This is not to say that there aren’t things about this to genuinely be appreciated.
Before we talk about the movie, we should look into the history leading up to it.
The SHREK fandom is such an odd thing. There have been memes for years joking that “Shrek is love, Shrek is life”. It’s like some kind of joke cult that many who grew up with the movie as a part of their childhood is in on. From the outside, it looks as though millenials have lost their minds. Kind of like the massive troll with eating the Tide Pods. It was a running joke that a handful of kids thought was serious and when they made the news being poisoned by them, all of the older generations took that representation and interpreted it as a whole for millenials.
About five years ago there was a sort of meme going around on Facebook where people would create fake events, listing a band too big or ridiculous event happening at a ridiculous location like water fountain or a grocery store. But then something unexpected happened. People began showing up to them. In Dallas, there was an event for gathering around a water fountain and shouting “BWAAAHHH” like Hank Hill. People showed up, that actually happened. I marked myself interested on the Event just for shits and giggles and the day came and I saw footage of this happening. There was another event where people were invited to come run like Naruto ninja across a bridge in Austin. They raised over $300 in charity.
Five years ago and event called Shrekfest that was intended to be another one of those joke events was no different. People actually showed up. Created by those from 3GI Industries, perhaps before they went by that name, the joke festival turned out to be a good time, and they decided to keep on doing it.
At first, I wondered if Shrekfest would be like some kind of cartoony renfaire. Does anybody want that?
It seems super weird, but upon looking at footage from those festivals, it looks like just a fun day at the park. Young adults are hanging out and getting a little reminiscent about a movie they saw as kids, and then when it gets dark they watch the movie. They have roaring and onion eating contests. Just silly picnic games and everyone seems like they’re having a fun time. It’s held in Madison, Wisconsin, which I hear is the Austin of Wisconsin.
As curious as I am about the whole thing, and one who likes to have as many experiences as possible, I would love to see it all in action.
Shrekfest not a one of a kind thing to have happened. Since geek culture has become so socially accepted, we are now having festivals based around individual shows and blocks of entertainment.
Existing today, there is also INTERNATIONAL SAILOR MOON DAY, GHOSTBUSTERS FAN FEST, and more recently an ADULT SWIM FESTIVAL. I’m sure there’s many more out there already.
Perhaps festivals are much more welcoming to the casual enjoyment versus the hardcore comic convention crowd that has been known to contain gatekeepers.
Finally getting back to SHREK RETOLD. Inspired by the unexpected success of Shrekfest, 3GI Industries put the project together for SHREK RETOLD to be a crowdsourced baby of the internet. They were successful, obviously, and SHREK RETOLD was born. You can watch it for free right on YouTube.
Between the 200 filmmakers involved, there are some very nicely animated or high budget clips, and then also some extremely amateur “I’ve never animated before in my life but I made two seconds of it” parts. Some parts are downright bad. They have some cool names attached to this project. Uncle Joe, Michael Cusack, Sadworld, and so much more.
The 3GI Industries guys themselves perform the opening sequence with a great cover of Smash Mouth’s “All Star”, and the end the movie with an even more fantastic 80s-ized music video cover of “I’m a Believer”. 3GI seems to hold a great sense of humor about both their movie project and Shrekfest. I won’t lie, though. With some of the bad parts, it can be a bit difficult to get through. Eventually I did finish it and I am just blown away that this project was completed, and all of the different art and styles of filmmaking that was involved made this something definitely worth talking about.
Will there be more projects like this put together in the future? I’ve seen a couple of fan animatics of SAILOR MOON episodes retold with the original English dubbing. Just as with those SAILOR MOON episodes, I appreciate the the art and creativity that went into SHREK RETOLD.
You can watch this mystifying project on YouTube for free.
~Eva Snail aka Big Eyes