Fan films, like ‘fan fiction’, are not things I generally seek out for my entertainment. A film based on The Lord Of The Rings and which proclaims itself to be “a film by fans for fans” sounds like something that I would avoid like a plague of Orcs.
So I confess that I am surprised, amazed, dumbfounded and, yes, gobsmacked by the trailer I have just watched for a fan-made movie called ‘The Hunt For Gollum’. When I read that this film had been made on a budget of £3,000 (about $4,500), and that instead of filming in the epic grandeur of the wilds of New Zealand, as Peter Jackson did for his Tolkien trilogy, it was filmed in the English countryside, Wales and the popular leafy London dog-walking area of Hampstead Heath, I naturally assumed that this would be an embarrassingly amateurish production which would make me ashamed to be British....
Far from it! If I’d watched the trailers without knowing anything about this film in advance I would certainly have assumed that this was a big budget mega-spectacular with armies of actors, makeup people, cameramen, hairdressers and lighting engineers at its disposal.
In fact, much of the recruitment and film development was done using the Internet. Eventually a crew of 160 people was assembled with 60 people working on visual effects shots over the Internet.
OK, so admittedly the trailer is only 2 and a half minutes long. But heck, the film itself is only 40 minutes long. If the remaining 37 and a half minutes are anywhere near as good, this will be pretty darn’ magnificent. And even if the film doesn’t live up to the trailer, the trailer itself is so good that if I were a movie mogul I’d be getting a contract written for The Hunt Of Gollum’s director, Chris Bouchard, at my earliest opportunity. If the man can do two and a half minutes of this quality with next to no budget, just think what could he do with some financial backing?
Not sure what they will do about the problem of representing Gollum on screen. I doubt if £3,000 buys much CGI. Then again, after seeing these trailers, I’m reluctant to jump to any conclusions in advance.