Most Star Wars fan films give themselves away with bad lighting and bad acting. Special FX are easy enough, but the kind of care and skill that has to go into things like proper lighting are often overlooked by filmmaker wannabes. Amateur filmmakers also often fall for the temptation to cast themselves and their friends in their film rather than trying to cast actual actors (amateur or, preferably, professional), leading to horrific acting that becomes a constant distraction. Combine these sorts of "giveaway" serious fan films with an annoying proliferation of Star Wars spoof and parody fan films (it wasn't even that funny ten years ago, guys) and one can see a real problem.
Finding a good Star Wars fan film is like looking for an oasis in a desert of bad acting, bad lighting, overplayed special effects, and lame jokes.
So, when I came across the gem that is "Broken Allegiance" it warmed my heart. Combining professional production values (including great lighting, costuming, etc.) with professional actors and a compelling script, "Broken Allegiance" is the kind of thing more young filmmakers should strive for. Everything about this film says "professional," to the point where it looks virtually indistinguishable from an actual Star Wars film in many instances (it only gives itself away a little in some of the effects shots and in some mildly melodramatic moments among the actors).
I want give away too much about the story here except to say that it is about two dark Jedi apprentices fleeing Darth Vader in the period between Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back. Over the course of the film, expect to develop real sympathy for the characters and their plight (and learn a subtly-presented secret that they're hiding from Vader).
This is the first time I've ever seen a Star Wars fan film that left me longing for its sequel (or, more accurately, continuing serialization). If Lucasfilm had any sense (and they don't), they would hire the people behind this and turn it into a television series.
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