Fan Film, Fan Films

A-Pannin’ The Flash

flashMaybe I’m not the best person to judge a fan film about The Flash, DC Comics’ long-running character. My knowledge of the red guy comes almost entirely from watching a few episodes of his early-Nineties TV show, which I checked out because friends told me I was the white version of Flash’s black sidekick (huh?).

Fast-forward (hey, a speed joke) to today and we have The Flash: Crossover, a fan film “shot entirely on location in Kansas City, Kansas,” according to its website.

It has quite the plot: Wally West (AKA The Flash) walks into his girlfriend’s apartment, which appears to be a suite at an extended-stay business hotel. Perhaps she’s a hooker? They head to the bedroom, where he sits down and talks; nope, guess not. Bad guys come in the room, kidnap the girlfriend and Flash does…um, nothing. Instead, we get more talking. How ’bout some running, perhaps? No, time for a musical number by The Joker’s girlfriend, Harley Quinn. Then more talking. Time passes. Still talking. Oops, it’s over.

I always say that fan films are first films, and should be judged accordingly, so we’ll ignore the fact that West’s girlfriend phones in her role at one point (I mean it—they’re supposedly in the same room, but when she speaks off-screen, the audio is clearly recorded off a telephone). We’ll sidestep the fact that the entire film is shot with posturization in an attempt to look like A Scanner Darkly (It doesn’t). And the fact that neither the superhero or super villains do anything, you know, super will be considered besides the point.

Still, for a film about The Fastest Man on Earth, this flick is pretty leisurely. How slow? The website offers a 13-minute version on Veoh, but links to its “YouTube Cut” which is only 10 minutes. Rule of thumb: If you can cut 3 or more minutes out of your fan film and it still makes sense, then your long cut is too long. It’s not a problem exclusive to this movie either; almost any fan film you can point a mouse at is too lengthy.

Nevertheless, let’s focus on what works in this film: The costumes are awesome. Jason Damian (Wally West) does a fine job with some difficult emotional exposition during his opening voice-overs. Having a musical number in the middle of a fan film is such a weird, gutsy idea that it borders on genius, and it hangs together primarily because Amanda Geisel (Harley Quinn) has some serious pipes; the girl can sing.

This is the first effort from Influence Films, and while it’s pretty shaky, they clearly have the resources to make something workable. Every fan film is an educational experience, so it’s a safe bet that their next effort will be a better flick.

What do you think? Give it a watch and share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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