OTW Fannews: Fan fiction films

  • The release of a film based on a well-known former fanfiction writer’s books raised a variety of issues in the press. Hypable noticed that the film was presumed to be bad solely for having a young female fandom. As Den of Geek recently pointed out, this is common for many fandoms where the audience is criticized regardless of the canon in question.
  • Few reviews of the film were all that positive but some critics took note of fannish factors. Per Zimbio: “Some people will turn their noses up at her for being rooted in such seedy, low-brow stuff, but in an age where Fifty Shades of Grey is a New York Times bestseller, who are we to judge? After all, thanks to her we have a movie where, for all its faults, at least there are strong female characters and a compelling closet-gay subplot I wish had been given more screen time.”
  • China Daily fit their review into the context of young adult authors and the search for hits. “Gender politics aside, the kind of power Twilight wields is rare. It kick-started the search for the next female-focused young adult book series to be pillaged, effectively giving a boost to a moribund publishing sector, had a hand in mainstreaming fan fiction, saved an American television network (the CW) and, yes, was proof positive the XX audience could propel a property to $1.5 billion in global box office.” The review concluded of Mortal Instruments “[T]here’s a giddy appeal to MI:COB that makes it enjoyably bonkers despite its weaknesses.”
  • Some reviews placed the blame for the film’s weaknesses squarely on its fanwork origins. “This kind of nakedly derivative fan fiction lacks the depth that makes reading and cinema worthwhile, and misses the heart of storytelling: Discovery. We don’t crack open books and go to movie theaters for the expected; we explore for the unexpected.”
  • The Dissolve placed the film in the category of fan fiction movies. “Fan fiction, at its essence, involves appropriating characters and/or universes from existing narratives and rejiggering them to create new stories. Based on that concept, wasn’t it a form of fan fiction when New Line Cinema grabbed Freddy Krueger by the ratty striped sweater and tossed him onscreen with Jason Voorhees, to make 2003’s Freddy Vs. Jason? When Frankenstein was ripped from Mary Shelley’s novel and, eventually, pitted against the Wolf Man in 1943’s appropriately titled Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man, wasn’t that a form of fan fiction?”
  • Meanwhile Poptimal saw the film’s origins as a plus for finding an audience. “I would recommend City of Bones to teenage girls (or anyone still harboring one inside of them, -raises hand-)…The film is based off the book of the same name by author Cassandra Clare. I hadn’t read the book before walking in, but had no problem following along. And after walking out of the film, I now own the book. That marks a successful translation to me.”

What examples have you seen of “fan fiction films”? Write about it in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn’t guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn’t mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.