Tennessee-based band The Protomen found their creative spark in Capcom’s Mega Man games. For over a decade, the band has been releasing parts of their rock opera based on the games. It’s part-1984, part-Streets of Fire. Today, the band dropped their latest (and most impressive) video to date, “Light Up the Night”.
One of the greatest things about fandom is seeing the way one artist influences another. Sometimes this happens in less-than-subtle ways, such as in the art of fanfiction. Fanfiction has grown from its roots on countless teen LiveJournals. If you really think about it, J.J. Abrams and Gareth Edwards have created (canonically accepted) Star Wars fanfiction with A Force Awakens and Rogue One. Showrunner Bryan Fuller has said that his show Hannibal was “Thomas Harris fanfiction”. Fanfiction can be big and bold and wonderful when made by talented artists who take up the right property. “Light Up the Night” is a great example.
The “Light Up the Night” music video/short film tells the tale of Joe, a young man who teams up with the reclusive Thomas Light to take down the tower of Dr. Wily. Light and Wily were partners in creating robots, but they disagreed on how to use them. Wily used his robots for power and riches; when Light tried to stop him, Wily framed Light for the murder of his girlfriend, Emily. “Light Up the Night” takes place decades later when Light finally decides to take down Wily once and for all.
It’s melodramatic and a bit cheesy, but that’s why it works. The visuals are pure ’80s, shot on location in Manhattan and Brooklyn, with CGI sci-fi effects. James Ransone (Tangerine) is an ideal All-American motorcycle-riding hero. Skateboarding legend Steve Olson looks great as the grizzled Thomas Light. This is Mega Man if Mega Man were raised on RoboCop and Tommy.
It’s clear that the band wanted to do more with the video, as important exposition is told through a comic book format. It feels as if they ran out of money, time, or both, and tried to smash too much story into the 16-minute runtime. That’s okay, though, as the final product is still a lot of fun and the shots of the band performing capture the passion these folks have for what they do.
This is fan-created art at its best, with the right people, the right property, and a whole lotta love.