“The Fanimatrix” and “Duality”

By Deane Barker on October 29, 2003

Sci-fi geeks rejoice: there are two fan films available on the Net based on subjects near and dear to our hearts. “The Fanimatrix” is a 20-minute story based on the world of “The Matrix.” It was produced by two New Zealanders (awesome):

“‘The Fanimatrix’ is a fan-made, zero-budget short film set within the Matrix universe, specifically shortly before the discovery of ‘The One’ (i.e. the first ‘Matrix’ feature film). It tells the story of two rebels — Dante and Medusa — and of their fateful mission onto the virtual reality prison world that is The Matrix.”

Great action here, with martial arts as good as the actual film. There were very few moments when I was reminded that I was watching amatuer work.

But, if you want action, “Duality” is a Star Wars-based film with a lightsaber fight so good I had my nose pressed against the glass of my monitor trying to take it all in. Unlike “The Fanimatrix,” which is all live-action, “Duality” is a combination of live actors and CGI backgrounds. They had only two props (the lightsabers, evidently) and they shot the entire thing against a blue screen.

“Dave also has a background in art, but his martial arts experience was key to making Duality successful on so many levels. He choreographed the entire fight by himself. The main body of action in Duality — the lightsaber fight — was his design, and without Dave’s carefully rendered storyboards, I would have been lost.”

Let me just repeat for the record that the lightsaber duel is stunning. Better than anything that’s appeared in any of the five real films so far. Duality was a follow-up to “Duel,” their first attempt at Stars Wars filmmaking.

One quibble: The Emperor’s teeth are way too straight. The presence of that much evil simply demands dental imperfection. Evil flows out through the teeth, you know.