It's hard to say what my favourite thing about Steven Soderbergh's new remix of Raiders of Ark is. Is it the total lack of dialogue? Or maybe it's the vivid black-and-white rendering that makes you forget the film is supposed to be in colour. Actually, honestly, it's the sick 8-bit soundtrack. That's it.
Soderbergh didn't transform this 1981 Steven Spielberg classic into a silent monochrome masterpiece just for fun. He actually made the changes to highlight the original director's mastery of staging, a term he defines as "how all the various elements of a given scene or piece are aligned, arranged, and coordinated." And the trick works. With just Soderbergh's sort of awesome score — think Blade Runner meets Drive — it's incredible how deeply you're encouraged to study the shots. (Watch the full film here.)
Indeed, Spielberg is a master. "This filmmaker forgot more about staging by the time he made his first feature than I know to this day," Soderbergh wrote on his blog, "(for example, no matter how fast the cuts come, you always know exactly where you are — that's high level visual maths shit)."
So sit back and soak it in. It will feel a little weird at first — most of the experiments on Soderbergh's blog do. In the end, you'll love it, though. And you might even learn something. Just click over to Soderbergh's blog, Extension 765, to see the Raiders of the Lost Ark remix in full. [Thanks David!]