Hey everyone, Fan Film Boy Rob here with another fan film Review. I am sure that a lot of you have at one time seen the 2005 ‘Fantastic Four’ movie with Captain America (Chris Evans) playing Johnny Storm, Jessica Alba as Sue Storm and Ioan Gruffudd as Reed Richards. Hollywood just cannot seem to get this franchise right (maybe now however since Disney purchased 20th Century Fox that might change!). It was not that the movie was terrible, but that of course depends on who you ask, it was just missing something. The villain of the movie, and probably one of the most famous villains (apart from the re emergence of Thanos of course) in comic book history was Victor Von Doom. In the movie Doom was played by Australian actor Julian McMahon.
FUN FACT Julian McMahon is the son of the 20th Prime Minister of Australia Sir William McMahon.
Julian’s performance as Doom was like the movie not terrible, but the way that the character was written was. The blogger Nicholas Conley stated on his blog www.nicholasconley.com that “what Doom is not, and never has been, is the obnoxious, greedy businessman that he was portrayed as in the 2005 Fantastic Four movie.” The reason that Nicholas made this comment was because he was actually comparing McMahon’s Doom with actor Alex McKelvey’s portrayal of Doom in the 2017 film ‘Von Doom - Unofficial Dr Doom Fan Film”. Nicholas’s blog post is titled ‘The “Von Doom” fan film reveals the Doctor Doom we’ve all been waiting for.’ Nicholas is not shy about his enjoyment of this film and his love of the Doom character with comments like ‘it's the best 14 minutes that Doom has ever had on film’ and ‘his story (Doom) is epic, tragic, on of the most developed in all of comics’.
So let’s talk about the film. Von Doom was written and directed by Ivan Kander and is just under fourteen minutes long , and was published onto YouTube on March 28, 2017. The film has over 51 thousand views since it was published and is a origin story for Dr Doom that is based somewhat on the comics. As l have done before, and for those of you who are not familiar with who Dr Doom is let me share a little bit about him. Dr Victor Von Doom was created by writer/editor and comic legend Stan Lee, and artist Jack Kirby. His first appearance was in ‘The Fantastic Four #5’ in July of 1962. According to Wikipedia Doom is the son of a Romani Witch and a nobleman known only as The Baron, he is the leader of the fictional European nation of Latveria.
Comic book characters can be both the easiest and the hardest characters to bring to life on film, especially those that have already had a complex and long comic run. I have talked about this before with characters like Jason Todd’s Robin in ‘The Bird and The Brain’ as well as on my podcast. Von Doom however manages to make the character not only real and believable, but almost (and only briefly of course) makes him likable. In its short run time Von Doom manages to work in three major stages of Doom’s life into a single and cohesive narrative. The film starts in the forest of Latveria where a young boy and his father are running from an unseen menace. It is from the very beginning that the comic Dooms backstory and the films differs. In the film Doom seems to not be the son of The Baron or a Witch (though we don't actually see a mother we do hear about her knowing some things such as medicine or maybe more), his father is a medicine man who has been forced to try and save the life of the Barons very ill wife who is pregnant with his son. We find out that he is made to try something experimental or untested but he is unable to save her and she dies along with her unborn child, this is the reason that the father is fleeing with his son. The last thing that we see and hear before the film moves on are a single shot and we see the boy who is all alone now.
Skip forward and the year is now 1976 and we find out that the boy who fled Latveria is now a young man attending Empire State University of New York. This smart and obviously very ambitious scientist is determined to prove that science and superstition are two sides of the same coin and both can be used to try and change the past. Ultimately we are brought back to the Latverian forest and it is here that we meet the Doom that we all know! One of the most powerful lines for me in this very well written film is Doom’s line that “people need to die to set men on the right path” and when you watch the film you will see why that line is important. One of the most impressive things about fan films, and this fan film in particular is when you find out how much has been spent to produce it. Even a short fan film costs money, and Von Doom was produced for just over $11,000. This really does prove that a good quality film can be made on a reasonable budget. Be impressed by this film and enjoy it for what it is a great origin story for an amazing character, I don't think that we are going to be getting a Doom film anytime soon (though I have since been proven wrong with the rumors of a Morbius and a Kamala movies in possible pre-production, see my article Obscure of May 30).
Robert is one of the hosts of the Fan Film Boyz Podcast, a podcast that discusses, reviews and helps promote fan films. For more in-depth discussion and interviews with directors, writers, actors and actresses, give the podcast a listen.