Through my life, I’ve learned one universal fact. . .
Geeks are the most passionate people on the planet.
This passion often leads us to wield our various talents to try and become closer to the works we so enjoy. This has led to many creations: from terrible fan fiction that becomes a movie to amazing film projects highlighting technical skills and upcoming actors.
Today’s list will be of the latter.
Dragon Ball Z: Light of Hope
The talented folks of Robot Underdog bring much shame to Hollywood’s attempt to bring the high flying action this legendary anime is known for. Light of Hope is an adaptation of the animated film The History of Trunks, one of the most emotional moments in DBZ‘s history. With this as its inspiration, Light of Hope has a lot to work with as far as scenarios and character development.
Even though there is only a pilot episode available, Robot Underdog delivered one of the most accurate live action visions of the Dragon Ball Universe. Every punch is highlighted. Energy ripples from the fighters. Malice drips from the Androids like hot oil. All of this is used as the paint that wets the canvas, displaying what DBZ fans have been wanting for a long time.
My only complaint is waiting for the series’ completion. Keep rockin’ the dragon, Robot Underdog!
Spawn: The Recall
Some of the most amazing art in comic books comes from Todd McFarlane, whose main man is none other than Al Simmons aka Spawn. While the Avengers were fighting a giant purple dude with bling, Spawn was dethroning Satan, destroying the world and recreating it in his own image. While Spawn has been kicking ass in comics, his live action experiences have been lack luster.
Michael Paris and his team sought to redeem the red-caped knight and did just that in their short film, The Recall. Spawn’s tales have always been oozing with darkness, which is why this project’s direction of being more of a horror film makes sense. There’s all sorts of disturbing imagery and suspense that leads up to some of the best effects I’ve seen in a movie period, let alone an indie project. I’d share more, but its just so good that after the eight minutes are over, you’ll be crawling to the feet of Malebolgia, begging for more.
The history of video games is paved in heroes, but one woman took a stand during the PlayStation era, Lara Croft. The Tomb Raider has been in several action adventure games and has even been played by A-list actress Angelina Jolie. Lara was the epitome of heroic and sexy; however, she underwent a drastic change at the hands of Square Enix in 2013.
It’s this image of Lara that Can Cinema latched onto, creating a gripping short story of a hostage situation. What’s interesting in this piece is the desperation Lara shows, just as she did in the newest game. Each kill is done effectively for the huntress, but every time there’s a bit of regret in her eyes. The film is filled with action, but these tender moments with the character is what makes it worth while. Even fans of the original character will enjoy a few notable scenes, as a lot of inspiration was pulled from the Tomb Raider’s early years.
Welcome to Hoxford
IDW Publishing has been putting out comics such as Transformers and Ninja Turtles for several years. Yet, there is one mini series that they released that stands out, Welcome to Hoxford. The story centers on Ray Delgado, a murderous, insane man, believing himself to be Chronos, lord of the Titans. He is sentenced to death for all of his crimes and transferred to Hoxford. Unfortunately, the prison is being run by a group of werewolves that enjoy hunting down their inmates. Ray faces these monsters head on, knowing that he is destined to destroy them.
Like the comic series, the fan film highlights the dark nature of the story in its visual style. Reflections are bright, stark contrasts to the encompassing darkness of Hoxford. Coupling this with absolutely brutal action scenes, the film seems to have been done professionally on the same level as 300 or Sin City.
Personally, this fan project has sparked a deep interest in the comics. Hopefully this team will get a chance to expand Ray’s story into a full length film.
D.C. Comics has inspired a flood of fan films. Whether it’s the overall need to put these characters onto the silver screen in ways closer to the comics or the general ease at which these scenes can be recreated, I’m not sure. Either way, there have been loads of amazing projects featuring characters from the D.C. Universe.
Joker Rising tells the origin story of the Clown Prince while paying homage to Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight. The fan film was shot in just over a week and has a vibe similar to Blow. What’s amazing is the deliverance of the character, building on each scene that leads to a climax that is chilling, but also puts the Joker in a sympathetic light. In fact, this portrayal rivals Ledger’s in my opinion.
Smoking Alien will also be creating a sequel series called The City with Two Faces and a pilot episode is on the way. Keep a sharp eye on their Youtube page for more information, as well as other projects they have produced.
Over the course of researching for this list, I’ve discovered not only these amazing projects, but a multitude of worthy films. The D.C. Universe is a playground for these indie developers, for I stumbled upon an excellent Harlequinn story and a Nightwing Mini Series.
Fan films give producers, directors, writers, and actors a chance to make their mark in an industry that’s nigh impossible to get started in. Yet, even if they don’t have absurd budgets or A-list actors, their passion for films rings out louder than ever.
Even though its hard, log off Netflix, shy away from Hollywood and explore the world of indie film once in a while. There are amazing stories being told. Don’t forget to spread the word about these films; each of them deserves being viewed much more than they have.
Please share your favorite fan films in the comments below! They may even be mentioned in future articles.