With video editing software and some know-how, fan made trailers and movies have started outdoing Hollywood. It’s especially true for films based off anime and video games, where Hollywood is only trying to wring a few easy millions out of a well-known franchise. Directors use cut and paste formulas to appeal to broader audiences, but they don’t click with fans who want more than watered-down characters plugged into a shoddy script.
Fans though, do it out of love. They also know what other fans want, which makes their films more satisfying than a Hollywood cash cow. Going by what I’ve seen, I’d say Hollywood should leave otaku movies to the people who know what they’re doing–the fans. These flicks prove that even with a small budget, you don’t have to be Steven Spielberg to make a movie people like.
Dragonball Z – Saiyan Saga (DBZ Live Action Trailer)
This is a fan-made take on the Vegeta saga–with a power level over 9000! (I couldn’t resist.) This fan made trailer is what Dragonball: Evolution should have been. It even has an appropriately sized, and appropriately bald, Krilin screaming “Hurry, Goku! We need you’re help!” to which the freshly-trained saiyan hero appears. Just imagine if these guys were given a Hollywood budget. It would have made fans–and even Akira Toriyama, who said Evolution wasn’t on par with is work–a lot more happy than the incoherent train wreck from Director James Wong.
Legend of Zelda (April Fools’ Day) Movie Trailer Premiere
This one will blow your mind. An appropriately stoic Link is the hero of time, fighting baddies to great acting, visuals, and an epic score. I was actually never a huge Legend of Zelda fan, but after watching the trailer it made me wish someone (like Peter Jackson) would get the rights for a film.
Ign.com made the trailer as an April Fools Day joke, however, a group of fans also made a full length movie. It even found its way into several theaters before Nintendo’s lawyers launched an all out assault and had it shut down. It was shut down, but with a little browsing you can still find it floating around online. Ign’s trailer is much better than the movie, though.
Street Fighter x Tekken: The Devil Within – Short Film
There’s never been a Street Fighter vs. Tekken movie, but there have been both Street Fighter and Tekken movies. You’ll get more enjoyment out of watching this film of a ninja bear then you will from watching Tekken. Katsuhiro Harada, director of the video game series, in no uncertain terms, had this to say about it: “That Hollywood movie is terrible.”
Street Fighter too, was mainly Jean Claude Van Dam flexing his muscles at the camera. The only reason to watch it was Raul Julia’s I-know-this-movie-is-a-joke portrayal of M. Bison. (That’s Vega for my Japanese readers.) But, while both movies are almost as entertaining as watching a toilet flush, Thousand Pounds, a fight choreography company, made a short film that just got it. If you’re a fan, you’ll noticed moves actually used by the games’ characters. Outfits and attitudes are also faithful to the series–even Ken’s eyebrows are huge black eye mustaches. These guys made 9 minutes better than two multi-million dollar movies.
Princess Mononoke Fan Film, Wolf Girl
This short trailer is for an upcoming fan made movie by director Nate Drake. It has a beautiful original soundtrack, which you can download at the pianist’s site. (It free until the end of December.) It’s set 600 years after Princess Mononoke in a world where humans have forgotten about the forest–but the forest still remembers. It’s a short trailer, but captures a spirit of wonder I hope the final movie will retain. Since the director now has full funding and has started production, I’m looking forward to watching the finished product. If you liked the trailer, you should check out the Wolf Girl website.
Pokemon Apokelypse: Live Action Trailer
Here’s a fan made parody of Pokemon that, quite frankly, I would go see if it was ever made into a full length film. In this alternate world by Kial Natale and Lee Majdoub, Pokemon is more or less what it really is–cockfighting. I really enjoyed this tongue-and-cheek “reboot” of the series, including loads of easy-to-miss attention to detail like Brock’s squinty eyes. The trailer has a bit of strong language though, so don’t click of you’re sensitive to that kind of thing.
Naruto Shippuden: Dreamers Fight
This one is bonus because there’s never been a live action Naruto movie. Yet. It’s just a matter of time before someone gets the license to butcher it though. Or, we can just give it to our friends at Thousand Pounds, who made the short fan made movie Naruto Shippuden: Dreamers Fight.
Pokemon Snap: The Movie (Trailer)
Another cheeky remix of Pokemon by Gritty Reboots, which I had to mention. Professor Oak has made a Jurassic Park style Pokemon island that the main character, Todd Snap, is hired to document.
Hollywood has access to million dollar budgets, but with purchasable pro-grade cameras and video editing software, a quality production can be made by anyone with enough skill and determination. Just check out the fan made prequel to the Lord of The Rings, the most excellent Hunt For Gollum, which was made for only a few thousand dollars. Factor in video uploading sites like Youtube, and you’ve got a playing field where even the little guy can compete with the big dogs.
Even this blog–one of the millions out there–uses the same technology as The New York Times and Forbes. Factor in access to knowledge about how to improve Google search ranks and anyone can compete with major sites covering the very same topics. Nowadays, normal people can make it happen–if they’re willing to learn how and work hard. Fan made trailers and movies are just part of the shrinking gap between big business and your average Joe.