Fan Film - Venom Of The Force (Review)
There are good, bad and funny fanfilms. Venom of the Force is an incredible mix of all three. Cars in the background, a hilarious over-acting villain, a saberstaff used as walking stick, killed characters chilling out in the background... See the humor and charm in these things and you'll greatly appreciate this 30 minute film. The chosen locations to resemble each planet are great, and showing them first with screenshots is well done. The writer did an great job on story, dialogue and structure, the music continuously support it with the proper emotional tone,
The opening crawl does everything right, format and content-wise. The Jedi are traveling to a village, who they want to ask permission to build a new temple. This shows the writer thinks about the how, after the who, what, where, when and why. The break gives the Jedi master an opportunity to remind the padawans of the Jedi Code, but then Darth Mhorkan shows up. They don't waste time on an unnecessary introduction, and the quick way he slaughters the Jedi knights exposes just how unprepared they were for the attack.
A wonderful screenshot from Kotor sets up the next scene, and I can see why they chose the attic for it. The padawans have been corrupted by Mhorkan, and he lets them recite the Sith code before forcing them to duel to the death. Of course the brothers refuse at first, but the promise to be killed if they don't abide leaves them no choice. Their skills are pleasantly surprising. When it's obvious who is superior, they decide to turn on their master and I like how this plays out. I also love all three of their outfits, and the little lights on the floor are a nice touch.
The second act starts with introducing the new characters who will have to defeat the Sith. The first Jedi is meditating when he receives a vision of the rising threat, and he seeks out a master's council. Firstly he calls him by his name, and master Lamoon replies in kind. Well written, but focus more on the articulation in the future. Quinn explains his visions, and his master tries to assure the knight but also recognizes the disturbance in the Force.
When we travel to Kashyyyk I'm immediately wondering how they will bring the Wookiees to life, and I'm a little disappointed that they don't show up. But the Sith meeting with the bounty-hunter Jade is satisfying. After this show of power and introduction they leave to find the Jedi. That battle also is immensely satisfying. Jade's skills are immediately established when she kills four soldiers in a split second, and the side-view of the 2v2 lightsaber battle is awesome. The interrogation of the surviving soldier is good, but his execution is fantastic.
Quinn reports to master Lamoon that all the Jedi on Kashyyyk have been killed. Initially, the plot to destroy the Jedi seemed like it should be quite obvious to master Lamoon, after he's been told that two Sith and a bounty-hunter killed an entire outpost. But the more I think about it the less it bugs me, because Sidious hid his plans for years while operating right under the nose of the Council. It just exposes the contrast between the two Sith lords.
The third act starts with a council meeting. Quinn has a plan to bait the Sith to a place where he can contact them, and arrange the showdown. Good thinking here; don't wait for their attacks which could happen anywhere, but get the upper hand and deal with them before they make too many casualties. That way of thinking could have made a difference in the final stage of the Clone Wars.
Their conversation in the next scene is really amusing, and I like the machines they use for this. Afterwards Darth Azarias immediately calls Lord Mhorkan and tells him where the party is. The seven Jedi feel very confident when they're only met with two SIth and a bounty-hunter. Then Darth Mhorkan shows up, but they stay confident. But when Quinn arrogantly states that they're still outnumbered, Mhorkan summons two extra fighters. The way they appear to rise out of the ground is really cool. Then it's time for the showdown!
Most of the fighter's skills aren't too impressive, but the camera spots, editing and music compensate for that. They alternate nicely between the fighters and give all of them decent screen-time. The Jedi manage to kill Jade and get rid of the Sithspawn, but only manage to wound Darth Alcander while they are themselves being killed one by one. One Jedi barely survives but is powerless when she watches the Sith taking Quinn hostage. All in all it was a satisfying battle with a couple good surprises.
It ends with Grand-master Savage approaching the battlefield. The dead Jedi can not be helped, but one is still alive to come with him. They will have to kill this venom at the source...
They're making this a trilogy and there's a sneak preview for the next film behind the credits. All in all I'm impressed and I hope the sequel will be just as good or better.
Review by: Joel "Mith" Storms.