The difference between a good remake and a bad remake is that the good remakes are made by people who actually want to make them. Despite their traditionally shoddy nature, this logic often applies to fan-creations too.
Who better to breach copyright than someone who really knows, loves and respects the intellectual property in question? Nobody, that’s who.
From Half-Life to Doctor Who, here are a selection of the best fan-made films on the net.
Half-Life: Raise the Bar
Fans have waited long enough for Half-Life 3 that they’re starting to make their own films based on the franchise, though on this occasion it’s a film focusing on the backstory of one of the series’ most iconic weapons: the crowbar. As you can see from the opening scenes, production values and the level of skill involved in this ode to Valve are both particularly high.
Star Wars: Downunder
Ten years in the making, Star Wars Downunder answers the rather strange question of “what would happen if you crossed Star Wars with an Australian beer commercial?”. This is 30-minute epic all about beer, special effects and action sequences, all of which looks great. This is great stop-off for anyone learning to make their own fan film, as the producers have left all of their original work, plot, storyboards and other materials online for anyone to peruse.
From the aplty-named Blue Core Studios comes Sonic, an 18-minute live-action fan film with some particularly mixed production values. There’s a definite sense of video game cheesiness, particularly whenever Dr Robotnik shows up on screen. This isn’t the first time Blue Core have produced a fan film based on a video game character, they also produced a MegaMan film too.
Doctor Who Anime
You read that right folks, a Japanese-style animated film starring everyone’s favourite time-travelling doctor. This is about as unofficial as it gets, though the animation is startlingly good in places. Created by Paul Michael Johnson, this patched-together anime production bases itself on a style of anime popularised by manga hits like Ghost in the Shell and Akira. I’m no Doctor Who fan but I really enjoyed this.
The winner of a flurry of awards, and for good reason, Croft is an excellently crafted survival tale based on the Tomb Raider series of games. The producers clearly know the franchise well, making sure to include Lara dual-wielding pistols, Americans-in-peril and dubiously-accented British guys for a truly fitting ode to a computer-generated 90s pin-up.
935: A Nazi Zombies Series
Here’s an interesting concept: a fan movie based on a bonus game. 935 is a series of films all about Nazi zombies, inspired by the Call of Duty series and its zombies survival mini-game. Despite how it sounds, these are two very accomplished productions that really stand out for their sense of humour and over the top violence. Oh, and a surprising union between the American, Russian and Nazi survivors.
Relax – this is nothing like the 1993 Super Mario Bros. movie. It’s a six-part (and counting) tale about two simple plumbers and their transformation from handymen into bringers of justice. Sounds over the top and ridiculous? You betcha! The special effects, action scenes, costumes and actors themselves are reason enough to see this parodic tour-de-force. The playlist below contains all six parts, just click play and enjoy.
IMPS: The Relentless
What does the Star Wars galaxy look like from a Storm Trooper’s point of view? That’s exactly what IMPS: The Relentless tries to answer – not that you asked. An acronym for Imperial Military Personnel Stories, IMPS is an adventurous Star Wars fan film of eight chapters, though only two have been finished at the moment. An excellent cast, beautiful special effects and cheeky sense of humour make this a stunning effort.
Who cares about copyright when the results are this good? There are a lot more films out there on the net, and thankfully we have projects like FanFilmFollies help bring them together. I know I’ve probably missed your favourite, so go on – add it to the comments below!
If you enjoyed these, you should read last week’s Stuff to Watch about the excellent fan-made Star Wars and Robocop remakes. They’re a hoot.