Location: Vienna, Virginia, United States

A graduate of Dartmouth College (2005) and Washington and Lee University School of Law (2010). These are my personal blogs, and the musings expressed on them do not reflect the positions of my employer. They do reflect my readings, thoughts, and aspirations, which I figure is good enough.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Summon Materia - Knights of the Round

It's a little bizzare to think about all the influential (or just time consuming) aspects of my adolescence and childhood being transferred onto different mediums. Of course, it's not that surprising, considering that which I found influential was probably also exerted much influence among others, which is why profits will be had all around.

Still, I see all these remakes and reimaginings being brought to life and I can't figure out whether I like it all or not. Would I have been better off not seeing Lord of the Rings and forever associating Frodo with Elijah Wood and Legolas with Orlando Bloom? As much as I did like the Fellowship of the Ring (the other two, I'm more lukewarm about), I'm not sure that I like having the movie embedded into my imagination when I'm re-reading the books. And I do re-read the books.

Rent is becoming a movie. Even though it seems like a straight translation, will I walk out of the theatre with a different image in my head of Mark and Roger's apartment? Do I really want to replace the stage of the Nederlander that exists in my memory when I think of Rent?

The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe is going to become a movie (although I'm not convinced it's going to be better than the campy and straight by the book BBC versions). To a large extent, just because I loved Lewis' books so much, Christian apologist or not, I want my imagination to hold sway when I think about the lone lamppost in the winter woods, or Lucy walking through a wardrobe of fur coats, smelling camphor, until she steps out into the cold forests of Narnia.

Final Fantasy VII became a movie, and has already been fansubbed and is all over the internet. I should know. I seen it, as they say.

But that's not quite the same though. It wasn't my imagination that sent Cloud Strife and Co. on a quest against Sephiroth, Mr. One Winged Angel. It wasn't my imagination that created those memorable cut scenes. So to a certain extent, it's not quite so jarring when I see those characters again.

For anyone who I've never told, FFVII was a huge time commitment for me. Eric Hunter burned me the game, a while after it came out, but only got the first disc right. So I ended up stuck on disc 1 the first time through, and was up to level 70 before I got around to actually buying the game. That's old news for a lot of people.

At least I didn't share Mike's fate, what with getting up at 3 AM to play the game because he couldn't let his parents find out he was playing.

FFVII is certainly high up on my list of great RPGs, although ones like Chrono Trigger and FFVI and Earthbound surpass it pretty easily. Still, it was quite the phenomenon here and in Japan as well, so it wasn't much of a surprise when Square Enix announced they would be making Advent Children, a movie which takes place two years after the end of FFVII.

It certainly is a pleasure to see Cloud and Co. rendered in today's cutting edge graphics, even though Cloud looks a bit more feminine than I remember him. Tifa's still Tifa though, if you know what I mean. And Red XIII, Barrett, Yuffie and Cid are all largely as we left them in the game. Vincent, of course, is Vincent (which is to say, damn cool).

Everyone's equipment and familiar clothes are left intact. Happily enough, Cloud's sword does seem to have a bit of heft to it, although he sometimes waves it around like it doesn't weight anything. It's one thing when he's doing it on your Pentium II. It's another when he's well-rendered and swinging his buster sword around himself with ease. But that's not that much of a complaint.

I would actually encourage people to go back and play the game again before watching Advent Children. I know I had to think hard about the plot of the game, and what exactly was going on in the movie. As good as my memory is, I think I must have forgotten a bit, since the movie turned out to be quite confusing.

Some of the CGI work, while brilliantly rendered and amazingly lush, is cut and edited rather badly, so that sometimes it's not clear what is a purpose cut and what isn't. The new plot has certain holes which might or might not be lost in translation.

But fans of the game, myself included, will most assuredly love the chase scenes and the vast number of homages to the game and its characters.

Square-Enix was obviously aware of these, because to a large extent, the movie for me was a large dose of "remember when." As in "remember when Cloud had to ride his motorcycle through that minigame?" And "remember when Aeris died at the end of Disc 1, and even though I had 99 Phoenix Down in my inventory I couldn't do a thing about it because it's integral to the plot?" It's more a trip down memory lane than a movie.

But oh what a pretty trip.

All the characters (side characters such as Reno, Rude and Rufus included) are by and large back, although alas, no Don Corneo.

Nobuo Uematsu is back on the music, and some familiar themes play throughout the movie (and one in a part of the movie which made me laugh out loud).

Fight scenes are even reminiscent of the game - watch for limit breaks, for instance. Seriously.

If I do have one complaint, besides the fact that it's not really a movie, it's that the graphics look like a buildup for Kingdom Hearts 2 at times. There's a lot of the same looks, a lot of the same angles as what we saw in the preview for KH2.

That's enough of that I suppose. Fans of FFVII will just have to see for themselves.


Blogger panda said...

"So I ended up stuck on disc 1 the first time through, and was up to level 70 before I got around to actually buying the game."

As I recall, this was mostly me.

I had a lot more time back then.

And it really helped my exploration skills to be completely hindered by the broken Tiny Bronco.

Oh for lost nerdism.


7:30 PM  
Blogger Satchmo said...

Katamari is out tomorrow. Go get it. I might

10:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I rented Advent Children, and low and behold found a bonus feature that took you through the main plotline of the game on the DVD. It was kind of like a detailed highlight clip set. Very helpful, but still I find that people that didn't actually play the game found themselves disinterested in the movie.

2:26 PM  

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