and it's still only a mashup and probably not even an original one at that

Hobbit Falls AU

Earlier this week I reblogged a meme that said:

1 - TAKE YOUR OLDEST FANDOM you know the one, that first thing you made art or wrote fic for, where you made all those really weird over the top OCs because you didn’t know any better
2 - TAKE YOUR NEWEST FANDOM yeah, that thing that you love and can’t stop thinking about right now
3- SMASH THEM TOGETHER like freakin’ conceptual play-doh
4 - MAKE SOMETHIN’ OUT OF IT make fic! art! a song! whatever!

And I remarked (in the tags): “if you think I wouldn’t do a Tolkien-Gravity Falls mashup, then you have another thing coming”.

My initial thought was more along the lines of, Ha ha, that would probably work really well with a DD&MD reference or something, Ford and Dipper as elves, etc. etc.

Then on the bus home, it hit me.  The Pines are totally hobbits.  Disreputable hobbits with a taste for adventure, of course.  But absolutely hobbits.  And after that, it wouldn’t leave me alone.

This got long, so… hit the link below for lots of thoughts, plus better views of the figures.

Keep reading

Fanfic Grows Up

(No spoilers, of course)

Rogue One is a fan film, and that isn’t a bad thing.

In the early internet, pre-YouTube days, there was a growing crowd of young filmmakers eagerly assembling Star Wars fan films and throwing them online. Some were okay, some were horrible, and some were something truly special. It was a fertile ground for the next wave of cinematographers to hone their craft, and they did: it led to film festivals, and even had the tacit blessing of Lucasfilm LTD.

Rogue One feels like the interest being paid out on that investment. It’s a Star Wars film only in that it’s set in the galaxy far, far away. The direction, dialogue and cinematography are alien to the series. There’s no title crawl, no fuzzy wipes, no Wilhelm screams; there’s even one (admittedly clumsy) swipe at a classic Star Wars cliché. It draws less from the style of the series we know, and more from other genres entirely. Again, this isn’t a bad thing.

One sequence of the film looks like nothing less than a mashup of a classic World War II Pacific Theater epic and the sweeping space operas of days gone by. What could have been a disastrous head-on collision is instead a natural fit, the two genres blending into one of the high points of the film (of which there are more than a few). 

The word “dark” was bandied about quite a bit in regard to Rogue One, but it’s really not a dark film at all. Instead, Rogue One chooses to do what many fan films once did: it focuses on an obvious but forgotten aspect that underlies the series. In this case, it’s a choice to tell a story not from the perspective of the generals and Jedi, but instead from the point of view of the average grunts. Of course a new perspective alone doesn’t justify a film, and fortunately there’s an engaging tale included to back up the shift.

That’s not to say Rogue One is perfect, but its faults are relatively few. The largest problem is the demands of the pace. While it moves at an excellent clip and feels very tight, this means a lot of introduction and camaraderie between the ensemble has to be packed in very quickly. Quite a few very talented actors felt wasted along the way; a few performances made me want to linger with their characters, but the script rushes us along. Still, if the worst that can be said is it left me wanting more, it’s not so bad.

The rest are nitpicks. There are a few gratuitous cameos that seemed like executive mandate, because they don’t serve to do much beyond jar the audience out of the experience and say, “Hey, lookit! Remember them?” Also probably the most unsettling experience is the return of Peter Cushing in CGI form. While the use of Moff Tarkin is fairly obvious (the film is built around the story of the first Death Star, after all), his new incarnation owns a summer home in the Uncanny Valley. Every instance the CGI Tarkin has a moment on screen is one you want to end, because it’s unsettling as hell. Its intentionally imprecise precision of movement and almost-but-not-quite-right skin left me squirming. We’re talking Tom Hanks in Polar Express, people. The script justified it and it wasn’t using the character merely to please fans, but the technology just isn’t there yet.

I was skeptical when I heard about Rogue One. Not only is it a prequel, but an untold, original story. Both could have easily been combined into a disaster, but by moving Star Wars into styles we hadn’t seen before it overcame the obstacles. The story itself takes risks, doing things no Star Wars film before it would dare ask of an audience. It all comes together into something far better than this sort of project had any right to be.

Rogue One is a fan film, passing the world Lucas built down to the fans who used to run around with camcorders shooting every nook and cranny of the Star Wars universe. It’s the justification of a tradition that once got sneers. I hope when the Han Solo film rolls around, it takes its cues from fan films, too.