"Star Wars: The Phantom Menace was the most disappointing thing since my son."
That's the daffy opening line of filmmaker Mike Stoklasa's "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace Review," an insightful, rudely funny takedown of George Lucas' prequel. And it's as good a place as any to start an appreciation of a hybrid of the video essay and the mash-up—an emerging format that's often more entertaining than the work it cannibalizes.
Let's start by distinguishing straightforward mash-ups and video essays from works created by Stoklasa and his siblings-in-spirit. The term "mash-up" was first applied to musical works that combined existing pieces of recording music in order to create something new. The YouTube equivalent is defined by Wikipedia as a work that "combines "multiple sources of video—which often have no relation to each other—into a derivative work, often lampooning its component sources or another text." (Examples include those now-ubiquitous clips in which somebody puts, say, Joe Pesci's "Funny how?" monologue from Goodfellas into the mouth of Elmo, or turns Stanley Kubrick's The Shining into a heartwarming family comedy with music cues by Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman.)
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