So let me start this off with that I do really appreciate fan films like this. I think the effort is great and I think the time and dedication they apply to a project like this is step above just normal fans. However, I do not think that makes them immune to criticism, of which I have plenty. So be sure to watch the videos above if you don’t spoilers.
First things I liked. I think making Link silent was something odd but it kind of worked in this as a mash-up between the hero with no name western trope and the silent protagonist status (although in the game I think it is implied that Link does talk when like, telling people his name). Making him an adopted Native American was also kind of nice touch, although I think some lines bringing that up would have been nice. In westerns, I think race does play a big part in their society but you know, that’s just what I would’ve liked and it didn’t take away from the overall experience.
I also enjoyed counting the various Zelda references. The moon from Majora’s Mask, the way Ganon was killed, Red potion (though it was a bar, shouldn’t it have been milk?), the Moblin gangs, ect. The fighting was also on Power Ranger level of choreography, which don’t get me wrong, that’s a good thing at least for me. But it doesn’t fit the western theme or the Zelda theme all too well. The acting was done quite well, although I wouldn’t say triple A actor well, just pretty good for a fan film well. I loved their renditions of the Zelda tunes, I might at least buy the main theme when it hits itunes. Generally, I loved almost every aesthetic choice in the series and some of the reinterpretations like making Link seem like more like Ezio or something.
Now for some of the things I felt were…off. First of all, I understand that a western/Zelda might not be the easiest thing in the world, especially if you aren’t just straight up adapting one of the games, but the best scene was the opening and then it just kind of spilled down hill. In that opening scene, we get that this is a revenge story, we get some bits of Link’s backstory, and we get a couple of game references. After that, the plot is hammered into us via exposition fairy who coincidentally is also Navi and who aside from being said exposition fairy, also has no real purpose in the story. She was useful in pretty much one scene, which was telling Link where to go but that could’ve been done by anyone. Instead she is given way too much screen time for such an important character, she was even named (I think it would have been more clever to just let the audience figure out who she is through her infamous dialogue). Sheik was another wasted character, seemingly in the story because it’s a western/Zelda mash-up, rather than having the plot make sense. Okay, I’ll admit that I thought that Ganon’s gang “apologizing” to check people’s arms for wounds was pretty clever…too bad Zelda only had one pair of clothes and it happens to have no sleeves.
Sheik also bothered me because in the one scene he (she?) was in, he kicked ass. Then once she’s (this is confusing found out she is captured pretty easily off-screen. Unless I’m remembering incorrectly, something magic prevented Zelda from freeing herself in Ocarina of Time, so in this magicless universe there is really no excuse.
Lastly, I don’t know how clever it was in A Fistful of Dollars, but the reference sadly made the cut between parts 2 and 3 unpredictable, and thus not fun to watch. Thanks to Back to the Future Part III and the original Clint Eastwood movie, you can’t expect to psyche out the audience when they do something like buy an iron pan, and then get shot. Everyone is immediately going to know that it’s under his poncho and he’s going to get up any second. This is just another example of the references for the sake of references thing that hurts the writing more than help it.
I think in the end, this series suffered from being way too short and having big ideas. I would have liked all the character to be flushed out more. It was kind of hammered into us that Ganon was going to get some treasure that would make the town thrive but I don’t really recall if it was ever stated what he was really going to do with it. Sheik and Zelda needed something more than one scene to establish them as different characters. Even though everyone know they are the same person, the fun of it is watching how the plot unfolds, not just what gets revealed. I don’t think we ever know why Sheik is wanted by the Moblin gang in the first place. Also, when it comes to references, I for one definitely prefer more subtle ones rather than “hey character from game, I’m also character from game” types. Overall, the writing just made the series less enjoyable to watch and so I hope with their next mash-up venture the crew determines how to fit their plot into a shorter time spand, extend the series, or just learn what to cut and what to keep.