Thursday, October 27, 2016


"Fan Films"

The security blanket of creative endeavors. I guess I can understand the appeal somewhat. The pre-made, already well known--and often beloved universes, characters, and relationships--basically all the hard work already done, that's a lot of pressure taken off before you even get started. It must seem like a fast and easy way to get right to the "fun" of the story. I get that. Writing isn't easy, especially world and character building. It can be intimidating, and maybe you just want to practice story-telling? I can see that, I guess. However, if you stay under that security blanket too long, people are never going to look at you as anything other than a baby.

Anyway... fan films, I've been watching them lately, and then sharing them with you.

STAR WARS EXILE is supposedly just the first episode of a longer work, however, a very quick --and admittedly not that interested--search didn't reveal any later ones, so who knows if this project is till rolling or not. Either way, today's fan film was Directed by Noel Braham and Pokey Spears. They both star in it as well. Plus, truly a triple threat, it was written by Noel Braham too, and George Lucas apparently, at least according to the credits.

...I'm sure he appreciates the acknowledgment.

The Synopsis goes like this: Jedi around the galaxy are being viciously hunted and killed by the evil Galactic Empire. Aware of the imminent danger, Jedi Master Boemana Tora and her Padawan Makal Lori, flee to the outer rim systems close to the planet of Lothal.

That sounds all right, I guess, but it's yet another example of Star Wars and its fandom leaning way too hard on the Jedi crutch, so that's a little old and dull at this point. There's other non-Jedi shit that goes on in the far, far away galaxy, right? Can't tell by looking... Ten bucks says this film centers around a young Jedi Knight resisting the pull of the Darkside... again. Well, at least it takes place in a time period of the Star Wars Universe that I'm interested in (Just before A New Hope). The biggest plus of this fan film though, at least for me, is that it looks like there's a lot of POC involved in this particular project, and that does interest me.

So all right then, let's check it out...

Well, the opening was fun.

It was nice seeing an economical use of Darth Vader. That was well done. It shows a nice sense of control and self-awareness on the part of the Director. Plus, on a side note, they get bonus points from me for the chubby Stormtrooper. Gotta love local talent. Seriously though, the opening crawl and the slow pan down to the planet all felt very Star Wars-y, so as far as the first half is concerned, they did a very good job there.

But after that... things kind of fell apart.

I thought it was interesting that they linked it to the Rebels cartoon, but in what turned out to be kind of a trend, they stopped too short. It was odd that they chose to set this film on a planet "near Lothal" instead of just "on Lothal". Especially with the recognizable skyline in the background. Why do that? Also, why does the planet they were on not get a name?

I also really didn't like the designs and stylistic choices of the Sith Inquisitor. To me, there's a very boring, very cliched way of playing the "pure evil" guy, and this was basically it. Every single facet of the character was just Community Theatre level bad choices. It felt too much like a first thoughts character sketch. Too familiar. Too dull. All around uninspired.

Honestly, pretty much everything about the back half of this film felt off. The dialogue was stilted and way too wordy, and all of it was the kind of wordy nonsense that's better let unsaid and shown, rather then having a character say through clenched teeth, y'know? The fighting was also stiff and clunky, which isn't really surprising for this level of thing, but then the overall oddly paced and choreographed encounter was. The motivation of the two Jedis in general was basically unclear. I get that they're on the run, and that this is supposed to be the first episode of a larger story, but it was all too vague. Why were they even there in the first place? Where were they going? Also, did the Jedi Master turn evil at the end? What was that? It was too hard to tell without any concrete interaction.

All in all, I felt like there was too much focus on what they thought they needed to tell in order to start this story, and not enough of what they actually needed. It ended up being such a weird contrast to the first half of the film in terms of quality.

Plus, didn't it look like the young Jedi flew off in a Colonial Viper in the end?

That was weird.


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