If you prefer your Star Wars fan films to be set in a galaxy far, far away, you'll probably enjoy Kevin Rubio's mash-up of Stormtroopers and Cops. With journalistic prowess that would make Woodward and Bernstein cheer, Troops manages to finally get to the bottom of what really happened to Owen and Beru (Hint: It rhymes with showmestic shilence). This one gets bonus points for the unexpected appearance of Tom Servo and the trooper who sounds like William H. Macy in Fargo.
4) Batman: Dead End
Batman fights Boner from Growing Pains, as well as an Alien and a Predator. What's not to love? Director Sandy Collora's short is atmospheric, a bit cheesy and packed with fanboy thrills. Like most creators of fan films, Collora directed Batman: Dead End with hopes of showing off his talent to Hollywood. In this case, his mission was a successful one. His debut feature, the seemingly clone trooper-inspired Hunter Prey, will be released later this year.
3) The Hunt for Gollum
Now that Peter Jackson is off losing weight and trying to figure out how to wake up audiences still snoozing from his King Kong remake, The Hobbit films are (mostly) in the equally cherubic hands of Guillermo del Toro. Should he decide to leave the project, Chris Bouchard should step in. His 40-minute prequel to Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy was filmed for less than $6,000, making it the first film in history whose budget was less than its target audience's average credit card debt from toy buying.
2) Batman: New Times
Students at Florida's Digital Animation & Visual Effects School created this CGI Batman adventure based on the Caped Crusader's Minimates and C3 Construction toy lines. Giving voices to the DAVE School production are Adam West as Batman, Mark Hamill as the Joker, Dick Van Dyke as Commissioner Gordon and Courtney Thorne-Smith as Catwoman. Harley Quinn and Robin also make appearances, as does the requisite plot point about a supervillian crashing a party. Because this was a school project, the PR department at the DAVE School should travel across the country and teach kids that if they go to class they can one day graduate and work on amazingly geeky yet oh-so-wonderful projects. That would have a bigger impact on pupils than a visit from McGruff ever could.
1) Gremlins 2: The New Batch Alternate DVD Sequence
Remember how the VHS version of Gremlins 2 featured a specially shot sequence that adapted the movie's broken film scene for home video? Sacha Feiner sure does. Bothered that no such special footage was created for the film's DVD release, he set out to make some of his own. Two months and $3,000 later he had finished his alternate scene and had visual proof that he was something of a mad genius. Sculpting his own puppets based on those that were featured in the original Gremlins flicks, he then shot his creations against a blue screen and edited them into such classics as The Exorcist, Batman, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and, best of all, The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms. In the making of feature (as seen here), Feiner discusses why he decided not to utilize CGI for his gremlins. His insistence on using puppets as well as his sharing of Joe Dante's comedic sensibilities make him the perfect choice to helm the inevitable Gremlins prequel/sequel/reboot. Hollywood take note.