Shamelessly She-Hulk

Posted: August 17, 2018 in Baer, Fan Film
Tags: , , , , , ,

Brian Baer took a dive into the deep waters of Fan Films for this article. With the advent of digital editing, there are now thousands of fan-made movies for seemingly any franchise or character all of varying quality. Brian looks at one of his favorites here. Hopefully you’ll give it a watch as well. Enjoy!
In the opening minutes of 2007’s
Shamelessly She-Hulk, the title character explains that she is a copyrighted character. She says the copyright’s holder, Marvel Comics, has no idea that she is currently being adapted into the movie we’re watching. Jen Walters then turns towards the camera and says, “Don’t sue us. We’re not making any money off this. We don’t have any money.”

This moment encapsulates the self-aware aspect of both the character and the full length fan-made production itself, but it’s far from the only such moment. Influenced by John Byrne’s Sensational She-Hulk series, Walters gleefully, and constantly, breaks the fourth wall. A hand-drawn Howard the Duck appears to lament how making a movie ruined his career. Spider-Man shows up to recommend ditching director Garrett Gilchrist for Sam Raimi. Batman and Superman shake their heads disapprovingly when another character uses a DC Comics copyrighted phrase.

she-spideyThis sort of off-kilter approach fits She-Hulk perfectly. Shamelessly creates a meta-narrative of Walters writing and producing the film herself, simultaneously drawing attention to and explaining away its low-budget production values, its over-earnestness and moments of cheesiness. She talks to the camera about the creative directions and contradictions of comics she has appeared in, and the film’s not-quite-legal footing allows her to include the inter-company crossover mentioned above. Even the movies starring Deadpool, the comic book character who usurped Shulkie’s schtick of talking to the reader, can’t reach the same level of self-referential-ness that Shamelessly She-Hulk achieves.

As for the film itself, writer/director Gilchrist found some wonderfully charming actors. Kierstyn Elrod, who plays Jen Walters when she’s big and green, has the perfect sort of wide-eyed silliness and a great sense of comic timing. On the other hand, Lesley Youngblood, who plays She-Hulk in human form, brings a quiet vulnerability and subtlety to her scenes.

sheRoughly half of the film is dedicated to the She-Hulk’s origin, in a rather comics-accurate retelling of her first appearance in the Savage She-Hulk series. These sequences are more straightforward and dramatic than the meta-textual framing device, which sadly leech some of the film’s energy and momentum.

As much as the viewer may wish to see the entire movie done in that “wink, wink” style, it’s also important to remember when Shamelessly She-Hulk was made: 2006 was before Iron Man and the MCU, and long before the superhero genre was safe and cemented enough for films like Deadpool to play with the format and conventions. While Shamelessly’s self-aware humor was ahead of its time, it still had to follow the rules about the typical hero’s origin story retelling.

However, the film’s greatest weakness is that it is currently unfinished. Gilchrist’s ambitious production came apart before one or two final sequences were filmed, and a few sequences could benefit from tighter editing and a soundtrack. While it initially existed as a series of clips on YouTube, a rough cut of the assembled film was recently made available for download. (See link below!) Gilchrist is hoping any buzz it generates can lead to a more finished final cut.

This rough cut shows the promise of the project as a whole. Shamelessly She-Hulk’s cleverness rests in how joyously it colors outside the lines. While it’s a fan film made on a fan’s budget, its limitations tend to add to its charm.

More than that, it’s a project that was clearly fueled by a love of the character. Whenever Jen Walters is officially adapted by her copyright holder, let’s hope that the resulting TV show or movie has this same amount of heart.


Visit the Official Website.

Download the Rough Cut.

  1. briancbaer says:

    Reblogged this on .


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