It’s no secret that I’m a massive Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan…and I feel absolutely no shame in that. So a few months back when I heard about a self-funded fan film centered around Casey Jones, I was interested. The trailer got me more intrigued and when the short film finally released a couple days ago I was completely hooked.
Being a filmmaker and a writer about filmmaker, I get to see quite a few indie films. On top of that, being a nerd, I tend to watch a few fan films (from various franchises) as well, so I went into Casey Jones expecting something similar to your normal fan film (bad lighting, sound, angles, but a lot of heart). Boy was I wrong!
The production quality on this movie is way above anything you’d expect. The acting (while a little hammy at times) was also really impressive to me. Casey Jones is an iconic character with Turtles fans, and he has a particular personality. The actor in this film 100% nailed it. I mean, within the first minute I thoroughly believed that this guy was Casey Jones.
Honestly, this trailer doesn’t show off how good it is.
The plot is essentially an origin story of how Jones got into the ninja skull-cracking business, and even at a scant 35 minutes, nothing about it felt rushed. The story flowed naturally and by the final few scenes you understood exactly how he got there and why.
I will warn you though, if you’re expecting the Casey Jones from the cartoons or the last 3 movies…you’re in for a shock. Polaris Banks (the filmmaker behind all of this) staid true to the Peter Laird version of the character from the comics and the first film. In short, it’s a lot more violent and bloody than you’d expect. For the most part, this is what actually made me like the movie a little bit more, although at times, I thought it was taken too far; to the point where I didn’t really think this would be a guy the Ninja Turtles would ever work with.
Either way, it’s a strong short film with a solid plot that has plenty for TMNT fans to drool over. The only problems it seems to suffer from comes near the end, where the more fantastical elements of that world come into play. Even then, though, the problems weren’t with the story, but the lack of any real budget. Special cameo appearances make it even better, especially considering Polaris managed to get Robbie Rist (the original voice of Michaelangelo from the movies) to once again provide the voice of the party Turtle.
In all it’s the perfect fan film. It hits all the right chords for fans, but still manages to craft it’s own, and well done, story. After I finished watching it, all I wanted was more. I could see myself watching a feature length version of this and be perfectly content. It makes me sad that the official TMNT movie is taking so damn long to actually moving, but in all honesty, this fan film has actually helped fill that gap. It’s just that well done.
If you want to check out Casey Jones the Movie, just hit the link to their official website. It’s definitely worth your time.