Monday, June 26, 2017


Welcome to a new installment of SHORT FILM SPOTLIGHT! This week, we conclude our short series on superhero fan films with one final production, this time an animated one from 2014...BATMAN VS. THE TERMINATOR!

Over the past several weeks, we've taken a look at a variety of fan films with various different levels of production, budget, and experience. But one aspect we haven't taken a look at yet is animated fan films, which in its own way is a whole other world to explore with its own limitations and possibilities. Animation is a bit of an arduous process, but it's also one that requires much less resources in terms of the production side. With animation, not only are you free of the limitations of props, sets, and other logistical concerns, but you can also get more ambitious with what you want to do visually. In a film like Starr: A Power Girl Fan Film, an explosion or a laser would stick out more due to the nature of the production. But in animation, the entire film is artificial, making the possibilities almost limitless.

With that in mind, animator Richard Hammond created Batman vs. the Terminator, a short 4-minute film that crosses over an older, Frank Miller-inspired Batman with the post-apocalyptic future of The Terminator, making for a visually stunning film that pays homage to both properties.

Check out the film below:

I mentioned the Frank Miller influence on this, and that's clear from not only Batman's armor design, but also the tank-esque look of his Batmobile, which looks like it was pulled straight out of the second chapter of The Dark Knight Returns. Meanwhile, the rest of the film takes the design predominantly from the future portions from Terminator and T2, and it looks spot on. The look of the T-800's seems like it's pulled straight out of the film, and it makes the atmosphere all the more palpable.

Visually, the animation has a really cool graphic style that makes it almost look like comic book pages come to life. The almost cell-shaded appearance looks partially inspired by anime, especially in the faces of the human resistance members. It makes for a very cool visual look, especially as things start blowing up and giant machines start stomping around. The animation does have an issue with some jittery frames, which is understandable given the fact that, while animation isn't super costly, it IS a long and arduous process (which also explains the film's relatively short length). Some jittery frames can't do near enough to tarnish the pure awesome of the film, though. The work done is impressive, and, while the initial sound direction wasn't great, a more recent version (officially sanctioned by the creator) gave it the soundtrack it deserves.

Batman vs. The Terminator is a watermark for what fans can do in the world of animation, and serves as an excellent cap to a series all about what passionate fans can do in their spare time. With some ingenuity, creativity, dedication, true love for what you're doing, and a little bit of spare cash, regular people like you and me turned their ideas and their dreams into a reality. And not only have these become lauded, and at times viral, productions, but they've paved the way for futures in the industry. People like Bat in the Sun Productions have shown that a passion project can turn into something much bigger. So if you've got an idea, don't just sit around wishing you could. Don't be afraid to take a chance on yourself and your idea. Get out there and make something.

If you have a short film or know of one you'd like to see featured on SHORT FILM SPOTLIGHT, please EMAIL me and don't forget to like and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!!

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