Friday, February 2, 2007

Brilliant Recuts All About Genre

There's been a number of these recut trailers over the last year and a half. First The Shining, then Jaws and then Brokeback Mountain hit and the whole trend sort of jumped the shark.

At their most basic level, these trailer remixes are all about genre; about leveraging the semantic elements of one genre into the syntactic elements of another. In most cases the humor comes from the interaction between the viewer's knowledge of the original source film, or at least knowledge of that film's generic underpinnings, and the reversal of expectations that comes with the re-edits. Usually, music (a semantic element in and of itself) plays the key role in shifting the focus.

In two of the three above examples, popular horror films were recut to play more like comedies (The Shining as romantic comedy, Jaws as the generic buddy film). Even if you don't know the original films, the editing and original performances are usually good enough to get a chuckle. In the case of the video below however, the artist has recut When Harry Met Sally, one of the strongest examples of modern romantic comedy, to look and feel like a thriller in the vein of Fatal Attraction or Sleeping with the Enemy. The trailer itself, devoid of prior knowledge of the film, is loaded with tension. But what takes it beyond the previous examples, in my mind anyway, is the manner in which the creator clings strictly to the generic conventions of the thriller and utilizes pitch-perfect cuts from the original, allowing the new and the old interpretations to play against each other perfectly. It's only within this context that the trailer shows its true humor.

And believe me, I realize that when you analyze things to this extent, they're not usually funny anymore, but watch it. It's still goddamn hilarious.

No comments: