I recently watched the fan-made prequel to Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings; despite its slim budget, the production values are high, and the actors share uncanny similarities with those in the official movies.
I was impressed by the landscape shots, the orc make-up, and even the Gollum CGI. While Gandalf, Aragorn, and Elrond were clearly played by different actors to those in Jackson’s movies, each one of them strongly recalled the original, particularly Aragorn’s underplayed reactions. (Arwen looked too different, and I got the sense that she overemoted her line-light appearances.) Gollum’s lines and voice was almost indistinguishable to that of the movies. Even the directorial style cast back to Jackson: voice-overs on top of epic scenic shots, orcs with English accents.
The storyline was straightforward, and here I could see the reasonings made by the production: Gollum is usually seen at a distance, in the dark, lightening the CG-work; the short 40 minute length contains three major action sequences that don’t especially advance the meagre plot or the characters.
It’s an excellent work, all the more praiseworthy for its fan-based origin.