I admit, I’ve never really watched that many fan films. I don’t really have an excuse, I’ve also been unaware as to how many there are out there. A recent example of one that did catch my attention was Batman: Dead End. That one was a cool little flick featuring appearances from other big film franchises. Then I heard about something called Revelations, a new film based in the Star Wars universe. With the Star Wars hype machine in full motion building up to the release of the final feature.
Well, I paid a visit to the Panic Struck Productions site and discovered an elaborate production. a 47 minute production that is available in Windows Media and Quicktime format. I proceeded to download the Quicktime version, but as soon as I did that, I discovered something else. They had a DVD image available, 3.5 gigabytes of uncompressed glory. Now this was the only to go. In addition to having the full film, it also includes two audio commentaries, one from the director, and one on the special effects. Now if all that isn’t enough, there is another 4.5 gigabyte image for a second disk. This disk is all behind the scenes footage. Wait, there’s more, there is also full color art that can be used to print out a DVD case cover and images to print DVD labels. To top it all off there is also a zip file containing the music score so that you can burn your own soundtrack.
By now, you must be asking yourself if it is any good. I can answer that with a single word, Yes. Considering that the budget was less than $20,000 and the entire cast and crew were working on a volunteer status, sometimes needing to put up their own money, this is an impressive result. The production values are better than any of the few fan films I have seen. It may better to term it an independent film, as that’s what it really is.
Anyway, the story is set between Episode III and Episode IV. It follows Zhanna, the Emperor’s Hand, and rival of Darth Vader, and the hunt for the last Jedi. We are also introduced to a new type of Jedi, the Seer. Seer’s were a group who have visions which the Jedi Council made use of, but over time they became unreliable and have since gone underground. Taryn Anwar is our heroine who has escaped from the Imperials and with her ragtag cohorts are searching for an artifact of great power which could help bring down the Empire.
Now, it wouldn’t be Star Wars unless you have a motley crew. You have Taryn’s sister Reaux, who is gifted with visions, Declan, the Han Solo like rogue, and Cade a warrior who is a man of his word. There is also an elaborate space battle, and an impressive lightsaber battle.
This is not a perfect film, some of the acting is not that great, some effects not that convincing. But the one thing that this does have is heart, the enthusiasm that runs through makes you forget about the bad. It is an amazing work that a lot of people put their heart and soul into it. It is that which really sells the film.
The crew has done a great job of placing this within the established universe, while at the same time creating something original. There is some very good work to create new landscapes and worlds. Inventive work to give us new ship designs and crafting an exciting lightsaber battle.
Then there is the second disk, an hour and a half of behind the scenes footage. There are interviews and unfinished footage. We get as look at many aspects of the production, from what model cameras were used, to the software for the computer effects, the layering used to create the landscapes, the costuming, it coves it all.
It is a wonderful set, and to top it off, it is being freely distributed. I can’t give these guys enough credit for what they have succeeded in creating here. Any fan of Star Wars, or even just a fan of independent cinema, actually any of you. Go on over to the site and download it.