Music & Arts
The Art of SwedingJanuary 27, 2016
Everyone can remember the first film they saw on the big screen that left them speechless, where the special effects, cinematography, acting – everything – was so masterfully performed that they were transported to another world.
We’re partial to Jurassic Park, which engrossed some of our team in their pre-teen years. For others, it was Jaws or Star Wars, or maybe Harry Potter for younger generations. Whatever the film, seeing a story so well produced with effects limited only by our imagination is one of the main reasons we go to the movies.
And then there are “Sweded” films, which are decidedly, and quite intentionally, on the other end of the spectrum.
What’s a Sweded film?
Sweded films are analogous to backyard wrestling. They are low-budget, homemade versions of popular blockbusters films. The wrestling comparison isn’t meant to be an insult. The makers of these – let’s say modest – productions aren’t out to mock the originals, but to pay homage to them.
So what eponymous connection does Sweden have to these film? It doesn’t. Not really anyway.
In the 2008 movie Be Kind Rewind, two video store employees, played by Jack Black and Mos Def, remake cinema classics in an attempt to replace the hundreds of movies they accidentally erased. To explain away their astoundingly bad, super condensed low-budget versions of cinematic classics, they claim the films are special editions direct from Sweden.
From one simple line in a movie that bears a 66 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, we have a whole genre of film, complete with festivals like Swede Fest in California devoted to the art of Sweding.
The rules for making a Sweded film are simple:
- Based on already famous film, no more than 35 years old
- Amateur, low-budget production
- Condensed time; only 2-8 minutes in length
- No computer graphics or fancy sound effects allowed
- Special effects must be done using only camera tricks or DIY-ed props.
- Must be hilarious, either intentionally or unintentionally
To get you started, here are some of the “best” Sweded films:
Star Wars: The Force Awakens (trailer)
Complete with an a cappella score, this shot-for-shot remake of the trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens is almost as engrossing as the actual preview. The upside-down Millennium-Falcon-on-a-stick shot is just one of many faithful cardboard recreations of the now-highest grossing film in history.
Starring what appears to be two high school boys, this version takes the three-hour-plus saga and condenses it down to 90 seconds of hilarity. It captures all of Titanic’s most iconic moments, and just like in the original, the biggest emotional response comes when Rose finally lets Jack go.
All the violence and gore of Tarantino’s epic masterpiece is recreated with a toilet-brush-turned- samurai-sword and red crepe paper. As a bonus, the entire movie is out of focus and you can clearly hear the filmmakers say “Action!” before each scene.
Back to the Future
Doc Brown is the star of this short, yet timeless, Sweded version. In the truest spirit of Sweding, the actor masterfully captures the eccentric personality of the original character and still delivers his own unique take on the iconic scientist and the film as a whole.
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
You can tell the group that made this Sweded masterpiece are true fans of the original. They knew just what to leave in, exactly what to take out and end the film on a hilarious note that sums up the epic story, complex character relationships and a Hobbit’s insatiable hunger. The props are outstandingly bad as well, from a snow-globe-turned-scrying-stone to a bucket helmet!
Without question, this is one of the best worst movies we’ve seen. The actors take their parts so seriously, you at first might miss that one of them is wearing cotton balls for a beard. Like the original film, the best elements are the terrifying velociraptors and thrilling musical accompaniment. Only in this version, it’s two guys wrapped in brown packaging tape and a couple of people humming in the background.
Sure, it may not be as magical as the original that captivated us as kids, but hey, there is something special about seeing others have so much fun recreating some of the world’s most beloved films.