Ruth's Diary


There is something about Youtube that I will always enjoy: clicking on related videos until you discover something truly entertaining and impressive. It's how I discovered the Movie Preview Critic (clicking on a series of videos related to Transformers back in 2007), as well as Yu-Gi-Oh The Abridged Series (back in 2006 Eleanor was trying to find me clips from the original Japanese Yu-Gi-Oh, we clicked on Abridged out of curiosity).

Clicking on related videos of interest also led me to fan-made movies and videos of adaptations of their favourite media. A lot of them just have an interesting take on a universe while being badly produced, while others might not be that good but are done for parody purposes. But like fanfiction, I do sometimes come across one that is very well made.

Like the Megaman Fan Film.

This one I had actually known about for some time thanks to a video looking at movie adaptations of video games, done by the Game Anthropologist. He was basically exploring why Hollywood movies tend to screw up when translating a video game to the big screen, while in Japan, they have a better track record of remaining faithful to the source material. He also brought up the interesting point that, for whatever reason, Hollywood is much better at making movies about gamers and game culture than actual video game adaptations (like Tron and The Last Starfighter).

Anyway, point is, he promoted a few fan made movies and the Megaman one was one of them. Trouble is, at the time, I didn't realise it was called the Megaman Fan Film and I didn't know how to find it. That and...the Megaman mythos really doesn't interest me that much, despite it inspiring at least 2 animated shows (that have made it to the West). But it is well-received and it's not the first time I've watched something inspired by a video game I have little interest in/affinity for. I have seen 'There Will Be Brawl' (a dark noirish version of Super Smash Bros. Brawl) so I always knew I'd give it a whirl if I found it. Youtube did recently release the time limit on videos, so the makers uploaded their movie to Youtube.

So having seen it all the way through, I have to say, it is very enjoyable. It is produced, framed, edited and shot like a big-budget production. Acting...not quite. Some of the actors were very good at naturally portraying their characters, while others were rather hammed up. That's more the fault of the script and direction though. The CGI is pretty damn good for a fan movie, good enough to make you believe there really are robots walking around and interacting with the environment. It's just unfortunate the CGI cars are a bit too obvious, but what can you do? What I can't believe is that the fight choreography is so sloppy. I know, I know, I can't be too harsh on a fan production, but considering you got excellent choreography in Press Start 2 (I admit it's not fan-made but it is still low budget and all they needed was a martial artist) I really wonder what happened in that department.

As for story? Well, much like the game franchise it takes as its inspiration, it's very simplistic: in the near future, Dr Light makes a bunch of robots intended to help mankind, some of them very human-like. Dr Wily decides to betray him and reprogrammes a number of the robots they both worked on to serve him. He then proceeds to *sigh* take over the world (as you do), so Megaman, another of Light's creations, has to stop him. This is pretty much a fairy tale involving robots and that's kinda the main turnoff of the game series for me. When it involves robots, I always find myself asking very ethical questions, as well as the bloody obvious: How the hell are these vicious robots meant to help mankind? Why do some look human? Why was Megaman (and his sister Roll) not affected by Wily's reprogramming?

This, I believe, is the main strength of the Fan Film. They address these questions. When introducing the robots, Dr Light stresses that they are basically tools to carry out the work too trying or dangerous for humans, while some look human-like in order not to be threatening. They can also generate new jobs in robot maintenance. As for Rock and Roll (get it?), the movie shows Dr Light created them to be his children. I suppose it's also to see how far their AIs can develop but the movie never goes that far down his motives. This also brings up a few other things that bug me (and a few others, judging by the comments): when being first activated, Rock is informed of his name, but when he goes out in battle gear, he declares he is Megaman. Where did he get the name from? And why do the scientists always wear white lab coats? Even when they're lounging in their offices or eating breakfast?

There are also moments I wish could have been longer, or better explored. The weird thing about the games is that Megaman seems all too happy to basically kill his own kind. In the movie, he demonstrates some hesitation and remorse. Also to answer my internal question as to why Rock and Roll remain loyal to Dr Light and obey his every word, well, they have more free will than most robots but not complete free will, while maintaining genuine sentience. This means that Rock is naturally curious and at one point questions whether he was programmed to be curious. In a nice revelation, he wasn't. He was also afraid to ask Dr Light some probing questions as he wondered if it would mean his abandonment or deactivation. The audience knows it wouldn't lead to such things, but it does help hammer home that Rock sees the world like a child would.

So, those are my thoughts. As to how I stumbled upon this on Youtube? I was clicking on videos relating to Sonic the Hedgehog and discovered the same people are working on a Sonic Fan Film. Looking at the trailers, it looks very promising: Jaleel White is providing the voice of Sonic, the robotic enemies are creative and look physically there, Dr Robotnik is being acted by someone who appears to be a real-life doppelganger, who is also quite menacing and Sonic himself looks great. They even went to the trouble of making his fur look like real, touchable fur. And the best part? The movie is practically done and will be available for viewing in a few months! It's awesome knowing I don't have to wait too long.

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