Machinima

Romeo & Juliet, 2553 A.D.

Date: 2007
Posted by: mcdonaldjm
Cast: Meaghan Sloane (Chorus), Richard Jau (Sampson), Mitch Ryan (Gregory), Jeff Heilman (Abram), Jim Raley (Benvolio), Jordan Gebhardt (Tybalt), Fred Tollini, S.J. (The Prince), Bruce McDonald (Montagu), Victoria McDonald (Lady Montagu), Jon McDonald (Romeo), Arbiter (Juliet)
Credits: Directed and edited by Jon McDonald, music from the score to Titus (2000) by Elliot Goldenthal: Philimelagram, Arrows of the Gods, and Tamora’s Pastorale
Duration: 8.53 (part 1), 4.36 (part 2)

There is a whole genre out there of machinima versions of Shakespeare. Machinima are animations usally made using video game software, where fans of games such as Halo, Call of Duty, Second Life, World of Warcraft etc., and repply the figures and backgrounds to their own narratives. An increasing number have chosen to recreate scenes from Shakespeare in this form, frequently emphasising battle sequences, and mostly playing on the comic disparity between Shakespeare’s scenes and the outlandish figures of the fantasy worlds of video games.

This school project adaptation of Romeo & Juliet Act 1 Scene 1 uses imagery from the game Halo 3. It is both typical and distinctive among the genre. Typical, because of the comic effect of bizarre science fiction figures uttering Shakespeare’s words and the time devoted to the battle scene. Distinctive, because so many of Shakespeare’s words are heard. Unike other examples of the genre, which either paraphrase the text or use just a few key lines, here the filmmakers offers us reasonably long stretches of dialogue (albeit with some modern paraphrases) that draw us all the more into this unearthly world where Montagus and Capulets are luridly coloured robots from 500 years hence. The brawl between the two camps is well chosen (the Spartans and the Elites from the original game), though the absence of Juliet herself (beyond a wordless appearance portrayed by the Halo 3 character Arbiter) tends to render the video’s title an irrelevance. There are two parts, taking us not very far into the play, but far enough to recognise that an imaginative work has been realised.

Links:
Part 1
Part 2
Wikipedia on Machinima

Stage

Date: 2006
Posted by: RobbieDingo
Credits: Story, animation, props, camera work and original music by Rob Wright, a.k.a. Robbie Dingo
Cast: Second Life animated figures
Duration: 3.27

This unusual and rather haunting animation was made as a Machinima movie (filmmaking within real-time, 3D virtual environments) in Second Life. It takes as its inspiration the ‘All’s the world’s a stage’ speech from As You Like It (Act 2 Scene 7), and calls itself Stage because of its stage-like setting, its reflection on the stages of life, and ‘The Seven Ages of Man’. Apart from the opening quotation and the expressed intentions of the author (whose Second Life identity is ‘Robbie Dingo’) there is little that connects the film with Shakespeare’s work, but inspiration is as important as interpretation to BardBox. A succession of fathers and sons play a circular tune on a piano, the boys growing up to be men and accompanied by their sons in their turn. All the while a toy train circles round and round endlessly. The figures may verge on the creepy, but the film has something.

Stage was Winner of the Best Film award at the June 2006 Alt-Zoom festival.

Links:
YouTube page
Internet Archive page
My Digital Double, Robbie Dingo’s blog