I wish I knew how long it took the guys from 1A4Studio to do their quasi-parody Speedrun videos, because I would then clone the creators several times over so that they could pay a one-minute homage to all of cinema. Actually, I’m pretty pleased that, in four videos, they haven’t strayed from the science fiction genre. Maybe we don’t need Speedruns of movies like Madea’s Family Reunion or Titanic. But another James Cameron film fits the bill perfectly.
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If there is anything to be learned from the seminal classic Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, it is that whatever killed off Jar Jar Binks and all of his relatives was the greatest achievement the universe has ever contained. Even though that point of view isn’t prevalent in the above video, I think it’s spiritually there. Because nobody likes a Binks.
Anyway, I couldn’t be more happy that 1A4Studio is back at it, whittling science fiction classics down to their essences…and also their fight scenes. Their Speedrun series tells an entire film’s story in just under a minute, and they’ve already covered The Matrix and Back to the Future, going backwards as far as quality and fandom are concerned, ending with the biggest film of them all as their third entry. Where else could they possibly go? Empire? Jedi? Chances are, they’ll be able to do one of these every couple of years to match the Disney Episodes.
Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 classic 2001: A Spacy Odyssey is a dense, esoteric, philosophical mind scrambler of a movie that people continue to debate the meaning of even decades later. Books, many of them, have been written about this film, from just about every angle imaginable, but one question remains, can you distill the essence of the movie down into 60-seconds? Well, this new video attempts to do just that. You’ll have to judge for yourself if they’re successful or not.
The answer to this question, which you probably gathered for yourself, is that they don’t really pull this off, but you didn’t really expect them to, did you? But that doesn’t mean this quick animated video isn’t without a certain set of charms. This is the 13th episode from 1A4STUDIO’s Speedrun series, where they recount the entire story of a movie in a minute or less. Some installments work much much better than others, and with a movie like 2001, it’s not an easy feat to accomplish. Hell, HAL 9000, one of the most terrifying antagonists in all of film history, is barely anywhere to be found in this video, and that’s a bummer.
Of the endless number of kitschy, pop culture-related YouTube feeds out there, one of my favorites is 1A4Studios. They’re the creators of the “blink sixty times and you’ll miss it” Speedrun clips that distill entire films into just one minute’s worth of rapid fire animation, complete with high-pitched chipmunk voices that deliver slices of dialogue. Their latest is one hell of an effort, as they’ve cut down the 137-minute James Cameron sci-fi classic Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and even though they don’t spend the proper amount of time on the T-1000 getting frozen and shattered into a million pieces, we’re willing to give them a free pass.
Even though the video is only a minute long, it’s astounding how many of the film’s central scenes are included, from the initial biker bar arrival of Arnold Schwarzenegger to the seemingly endless chase scenes that John Connor leads all over the city. It works well that there are so many chases, since the motion in these videos are almost always left to write anyway. Am I the only person who wishes that there were an alternate version of this movie where Edward Furlong got his due comeuppance by getting his face shoved in a bowl of shit?
Who’s got time to watch an entire movie these days? Especially in the theater, with all of those damn ads. If you want to catch up on your classic science fiction but don’t have a lot of time, 1A4Studio has the perfect solution—60-second condensed versions of must-see movies. The latest studio speedrun is Blade Runner, but they have a ton of other sci-fi greats to choose from.
While it lacks the gritty futurism of the original, as well as Harrison Ford’s compelling “is he or isn’t he a replicant?” performance, this video has a certain charm all its own. My favorite part is definitely the unicorn bursting through the television. In a strange way, that kind of sums up what Blade Runner is all about. Speedrun sex is also pretty funny, as are the gymnastics involved in gunfights.
If you’ve got a few more minutes, and I do mean minutes, you should brush up on more genre favorites. Their version of Aliens features surprisingly adorable killer extraterrestrials. As with the previous video, the characters take an elevator to transport from one “scene” to another, which functions as a nifty metaphor and way to break up the visual frames. Also, even drawn as what looks like a cross between a marshmallow and a stick figure with pigtails, Sigourney Weaver still kicks a whole lot of ass.
The Wachowskis’ Jupiter Ascending remains semi-permanently on the horizon as it deals with funding and all the technical wizardry that usually comes with their epic-in-scope films. And with Cloud Atlas not yet on DVD or Blu-ray, we’re left with only things we’ve seen before in the same formats.
Oh wait, except there’s a minute-long version of The Matrix from Russian animation studio 1A4Studio, as told using characters only slightly more complicated than stick figures, in settings just detailed enough so you know what part of the movie you’re in. All things told, it’s more enjoyable than anything involving the “reality” in either of the Matrix sequels. And I don’t think I’m straying very far outside the lines of our reality by saying an androgynous, mostly featureless Neo is easily as convincing as Keanu Reeves. Watch the hectic madness below and remember, “There is no spoooooon!”