When “Episode One: The Phantom Menace” came out years ago, a villian was introduced that left audiences craving more. A superb martial arts choreographed fight scene and a questionable death scene later, DARTH MAUL was cemented into the Star Wars canon as a character audiences wanted to know more about. Once again, many fan films came to quench that thirst. A more recent effort is one of the better fan films made in this respect.
After a two year effort, “Darth Maul-Apprentice” was released in March of 2016. Boasting some impressive choreography, good sound and performances, it takes the material seriously. What is very interesting about this is that it is set before Maul ever crossed sabers with Qui Gon and Obi Wan, so there is still a trace of emotion and doubt in this character. It is ever so briefly explored in this film, but the result is predictable, as most people will have seen “Episode One”.
That is not saying the film doesn’t surprise you. One thing you can always count on in a fan film, is the over the top action, and love for the Star Wars universe shown in spades. The locations are very picturesque in this fan film, and lend to the production’s professional look. And that is all anyone would hope for at this point.
From a technical standpoint, this film is superior to “Episode One” in visual clarity. What this production does not have in sets, it makes up for in exteriors that look fantastic. And if you want to get REALLY technical, the cameras used are superior in definition to the ones used in “Episode One”. The only difference that keeps the canon film a step above the fan film, is the lenses used. Otherwise, this short film could very well have been made by the people at Lucasfilms, and by “Lucasfilms”, I mean Disney.
The only negative sides to this short that I can see would be that all aspects of Jedi and Sith, and their use of the Force are showcased. The fight choreography is top notch, but does seem to go a bit long in some areas. Still, when you consider the budget, time and effort that went into the short film, you can argue that every second is justified.
The passion and love for the character that was a memorable baddie who was carelessly tossed aside after a brief tantalizing view, has been given a proper revival in this film. In spite of all odds against it, this is a well crafted short, and will grow better with age.