I got a surprise in the mail Saturday.
As I mentioned before, one of Christy's relatives is involved with the guys that made the Star Wars fan film, Troops. They're making what will eventually be a feature-length film, I.M.P.S. The Relentless, but they're releasing it in small pieces (these guys all have full-time jobs, besides devoting lots of their "spare" time to this project).
They released the trailer back in March and released the first chapter back in May.
So why am I waiting to tell you about it until now? Good question.
I tried several times to download it, but couldn't.
I could download it at work, but couldn't play it there. I downloaded and installed the correct DivX player at home (which was the problem at work), but had some trouble downloading the actual film over my dial-up connection there (it's a 200MB+ file).
All that to say, Nathan was kind enough to mail me a DVD copy of the first chapter and trailer!
So now that I've seen it, I'm happy to report to you that it is really good! This is not your average (or even above-average) fan film.
This has a really high production value throughout, and these aren't just a bunch of tight shots on actors either, they've created a world for these ships and characters and they allow the viewer to see it! There is a lot of detail here that could have easily been left out. The ships are believable inside and out and these aren't just all the same ships that we've seen in the Star Wars films. They have created new ideas and expanded on what we've seen before. I was especially fond of the TIE docking stations and the landing gear on the Corellian freighter. Very nice.
Believable sound effects that, again, expand on the Star Wars universe, but still fit the part. I even heard a "Wilhelm" scream in there! Very nice work, fellas!
More on the plus side, there was original music composed for this production. More on that HERE. The CG elements they use blend in nicely with the real sets and actors. Editing, mixing, all quite good.
With a narrator speaking over the first several scenes, I started to worry that the entire thing would be like that, but once you get to the dialogue, there are several genuinely funny moments, some spoken, some not.
I'm anxious to see in what direction this film is going to go next, though I'm a little worried that they're actually going to make me care about some of these troops that were always so easy to hate from Lucas' films.
Other that that, the only downside that I can think of is that I am probably now on every government terrorist watch list between here and California! Besides getting a package in the mail that says "Special Imperial Agent," now, with all this terrorist nonsense happening over in London accompanied by headlines like MURDER AT STOCKWELL, BAD DAY AT STOCKWELL STATION, and STOCKWELL RAIDS, well, I'm pretty sure that I'm being monitored by the F.B.I., C.I.A., etc.
May the Force be with me -- and also with you!