Fan fiction is something that’s never interested me. If you’ve ever read any, you probably don’t need any explanation as to why. And in the last ten or so years a combination of things (the internet, broadband, unprecedented access to the required hardware and technology, etc.) has brought about a new age of fan film. Most of the time, like fan fiction, the output is worthless. The vast majority of this stuff seems to be mostly (sometimes) clever editing of already existing material. What little original content there is, tends to be poorly made and is most likely enjoyed by very few outside the group of people who made it.
All of that said, I just saw the single best fan film ever made and it’s called The Hunt For Gollum. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that this is based on the recent Lord Of The Rings movies by Peter Jackson and New Line. The story is about Gandalf and Strider’s attempt to capture Gollum before he can be captured by the enemy, and taken into Mordor. In the book, these events are described in just a few paragraphs and are offered up only as back story. This film is a nice interpretation of those events and is shot very much in the style and spirit of the Peter Jackson movies. The film ends with Gandalf heading to the Shire, leading directly into the beginning of The Fellowship Of The Ring, and if you were to watch the two, one after the other, the fan film, aside from the different actors, wouldn’t seem too out of place from the studio-produced film. Think about that for a minute, that’s an impressive achievement.
Anyway, you can watch the thing for free at www.thehuntforgollum.com, where there are also trailers and behind the scenes footage and all the rest of it. The film is 40 minutes long but it’s in flash video format so the download time is fast (I have an insanely fast internet connection so I might not be the best judge of what a fast download time means for most people. I just downloaded the entire 289Mb movie in approximately two minutes, so judge for yourself.) and the sound and video quality are good even on the crappy old processor of this particular computer (my newer machine would have doubtless played it even better but it’s Windows and therefore unworthy of my grace).
Anyway, if you’re a fan of the films and/or the books, just go watch the film, you won’t be disappointed. No, the actors aren’t as good (and the girl who plays Arwen is actually really not as good, but she doesn’t have a single spoken part, so who cares), and yes, the visual effects are better in the Peter Jackson films, but so fucking what? The actors and the visual effects might not be as good but they’re still good. Damn good, in parts. And taking into consideration that this movie was made by a small army of people (just watch the closing credits, they’re almost as long as the credits from the Peter Jackson movies), none of whom were paid, this movie is fucking amazing. Much like the crew of the Peter Jackson movies, the people who made this movie made it with love of the source material. Unlike the crew of the Peter Jackson movies, they made it solely out of love of the source material and the final product – the film itself – is their only compensation. And I imagine most of them feel as though that’s compensation enough.
I hope that everyone who made this movie feels as proud of what they’ve done as they should, it really is an incredibly rare and cool thing they did. One last time: Go see it.