Thursday, November 17, 2016

Jakku: First Wave

I've been watching a lot of Fan Films lately, and I've been sharing them with you all. I figure, why should I carry this burden alone, right? You can find them here.

So, while on this journey, I have discovered that apparently 60% of all fan films are of Star Wars stuff. After that, maybe 45% is Batman (and man, you want to talk about bad? I may not even share any of the Batman fan films... Oofta...). The last 5% of fan films are so god damn random, I would designate that percentage as the place where the truly devoted fans live. I mean, it's easy to be a fan of Star Wars or Batman, and then go out and make a short film, but when you make a Predator short film? That's some real fan devotion right there. Like, who's watching that, besides you and your friends, and me of course... Anyway, the point is, here's yet another Star Wars fan film, but as a nice silver-lining, this is one of the rare few that has nothing to do with the Jedi, the Sith, or the Force, so thankfully, that means it doesn't feature any Community Theatre Second-stringers running around their mom's backyard Force-Parkouring their sweaty asses off.

Thank the Maker for small favors, amirite?

Anyway, as some of you may recall, the Force Awakens came out last year, and people loved the shit out of it, despite the fact it was a terrible movie that coasted on nostalgia, had no story to speak of, made no sense, didn't earn a single big moment, and pretty much wasted some legitimately good new characters. So, one of the film's main problems was that it introduced a buttload of new Star Wars history, but provided almost no context or explanation.

Enter the fan film.,,

Which brings us to taody's offering. It's called Jakku: First Wave.

Y'see, in the Force Awakens, it opens on a planet that looks and acts almost exactly like Tatooine, but it is not Tatooine, despite having almost exactly the same features. No, this planet is called Jakku, and at some point between the end of Return of the Jedi and the beginning of The Force Awakens, there was a battle there. The result of that battle is apparently the only economy on the entire planet.

Because, no context... Like I said.

Anyway, Jakku: First Wave is an attempt to fill in some of that narrative gap, all told from the point of view of a trio of Stormtroopers who are heading into battle. It was written and directed by Benjamin Eck. He has a lot of Crew experience, and some short films under his belt.

Let's see how he does with this one...

I liked that.

It was simple, direct, and it took an interesting angle that you don't see often. I really liked how these guys were presented as just regular citizens with believable motivations for joining the Empire. To the characters, the Empire isn't this obviously evil organization that makes no sense why anyone normal would join up, let alone support. I like how it's presented as a regular facet of their lives. It's just the Government, just a fact of life, and these characters were people have a different point of view on the greater conflict then we normally see. That's good stuff. I like that. Plus, this short film, while obviously not its original intent, actually has a lot to say about our current election.

I like that too.

Y'see, while these characters may have different points of view, and are maybe not intentional monsters, and have maybe not-evil reasons for joining, in the end, they are still Stormtroopers. Despite their intent, they are still genocidal monsters, still willingly part of a murderous and oppressive regime. Still on the wrong side of galactic history.

Yeah, not bad. 

This was a surprisingly interesting and well-executed idea. 

Also, I'm a fan of any short film that is able to make something like this, a film that is a clever and believable part of a much larger sci-fi epic, all while working with an almost non-existent budget, and yet not advertising that fact. 

Well done.

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