“Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away … a jedi master had two young and ambitious pupils.” That could have been the beginning of the Star Wars fan film Reign of the Fallen, except that this film has a bit more class and style than that.
In a world where too much is governed by greed and financial power, it is in equal parts fascinating and invigorating that a concept such as fan film is allowed to thrive, or at least to live. Fan film is like fan fiction, only on the screen. But while fan fiction requires nothing but a devoted mind and a computer (or pen and paper, for that matter), a fan film by necessity needs at least a skeleton staff, a lot of time for pre-production, shooting and editing, and usually also some fairly expensive equipment. In theory, of course, a fan film needs be no more sophisticated than Tarzan and the Rocky Gorge (1936), but a lot more is required if it wants to be taken seriously.
Even the best fan films are often amateurish in many ways. The actors are usually not very good, and special effects can sometimes look comically bad. Of course, this is part of the charm: The film makers actually manage to complete a film of considerable length in spite of their limitations, and the results can be endearing; even enjoyable.
Reign of the Fallen is no exception in this regard. However, unlike many other fan films, it does not suffer from its amateurish aspects to any greater extent, because it places very little emphasis on acting and special effects anyway. Here, the main focuses are the script and the photo. And both are of high quality, better than some professional films. In fact, the film is extremely beautiful at times. Also, the music is excellent.
Reign of the Fallen is set on the distant planet Prias. The Sith wish to increase their influence, but there is a way to stop them, if only one of the Jedi master’s pupils can find an ancient artefact and use it against the Sith. Such is the basic plot, but there is a lot more depth to it once the story is set in motion.
This film is best enjoyed by true geeks. Even in spite of its qualities, it is doubtful if it holds enough to be interesting in itself, without the scope of the entire Star Wars phenomenon to augment it. If you are a Star Wars geek (you know you are), watch it on May the fourth, Star Wars Day.
Reign of the Fallen
Running time: 55 min
Director: David McLeavy
Stars: Jason Updike, Carlos Acuña
Image quality: Good
Resolution: Low (640×270)
Sound quality: Excellent
Best file format: Quicktime (271 M)