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Movies have a soft spot in our hearts. They present us with engaging, moving stories that can entertain as well as make us think. It is in the thinking of a movie long after the credits have rolled and we have gone back to our lives, that the movie continues to exist beyond the confines of the silver screen. It lives in our spirits and dreams.
Consider the notion of dreams for a moment. If a film is nothing else, it is a dream that has been realized. This is one of the cool things about it and why we love them. The fan film goes a bit further in that, it allows one to dream up ‘what if’ scenarios for a favorite story, character or universe and share that. Why? Because there is a deep love and respect for the world and fans want to share that with other fans. Some fans dress up and attend conventions among other like-minded individuals, others make movies (and sometimes also dress up and attend a convention or two).
There are many great fan films out there from the great Lord of the Rings inspired The Hunt for Gollum and Born of Hope, to the awesome Batman: Dead End, which pits the Dark Knight against the Predator. Here, short film director James Bushe has dreamed up a scenario in which a band of Templar Knights must do battle with the Predator and the result is a stellar offering. For a fan operation, with limited resources and all the usual constraints that a film crew must contend with, Predator: Dark Ages delivers.
The premise of the film is instantly intriguing. Predators have been visiting Earth for centuries, right? Why not take us to the time of the honorable Templar Knights and throw the Predator in the mix? How could there be a chance for the knights to survive with their limited technology against the Predator’s supremely advanced weaponry? We are presented with an answer to these questions and more. Dark Ages is essentially a medieval take on the 1987 original Predator starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. It is also a shorter one, clocking in at a little under 30 minutes, but even in that length it still packs a punch.
The acting is very good and does not feel strained. The production value is excellent. From the set pieces, props and the locations, these elements were well put together. Director of photography Simon Rowling deserves special mention for the cinematography, which is also quite amazing, and that is no understatement. For a fan film, it is nothing short of the most professional kind that you might come across in some of the strongest films. There are great tracking and aerial shots that make you wonder how the filmmakers achieved such a polished product. Speaking of polished, the special effects were on point and fantastically rendered.
As good as this movie is, it isn’t without its flaws though, like many other pictures. There are inconsistencies with how Predator moves and also with how some of the practical effects are executed, but in the grand scheme, it is not enough to derail the film.
James Bushe and his team definitely have a future in making more great movies. Hopefully Dark Ages is a good stepping stone to bigger things. For now though, we will relish in the awesomeness of this fantastic love note to the Predator.
Don’t just take my word for how cool Predator: Dark Ages is. Not when you can watch it here below: