Just watched the Hunt For Gollum, which was released on the 3rd of May. Before say anything else, can I just state that I usually loath fan-fiction. This one I was prepared to dislike as well, especially when I heard it was being made on a budget of GBP3000 . Surely you can't do justice to Tolkien with that?
Despite my misgivings, I watched it last night, and it's astonishingly good. Halfway through I was kinda half thinking, "wait a minute, are we sure
The actors, though not exact lookalikes, were pretty close, and definitely good enough to be convincing. Aragorn is supposed to be a lot younger (he's not immortal, and this story takes place at least a few decades before The Fellowship), so that was easy. Gandalf is mostly cloaks and beards anyway, so no big problem there either.
The best one was how the problem of a digital Gollum could be solved for a minimal (read : non-existent) budget. In the end, we do see him closeup on screen, but the sccript writers managed to avoid the whole issue by simply following Tolkien's storyline! Well done, and lots of kudos to them!
Speaking of similarities to the PJ films - that Nazgul scream was awfully close to Fran Walsh's Nazgul, wasn't it? Blatant copy? Or convincing homage? I'll let you decide for yourself... :)
Special mention also to the fightscene choreographers - really well done! It's hard to make sword fights look realistic, but they managed it easily. Good fast action scenes, impressive blows and counter attacks, the overall flow of the fight was easy to understand, and very exciting it was, too!
The best news of all is that there's another one coming - Born Of Hope, which deals with more Aragorn backstory. Especially good news since Peter jackson and Guillermo del Toro have announced that The Hobbit will be split into two movies, rather than one Hobbit movie and a bridge movie. The two fanpics would be that bridge!
If you haven't watched it yet, this one's not going to be available at your DVD store - since it was a fan-made piece it's not going to be for sale anywhere. You'll need to stream it (for free!) right now from here.