The Storytelling Issues of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children

projector-2955551_1920

I’ve watched Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (and its director’s cut version, Advent Children Complete) more times than I can really remember, and probably more than I care to admit. I’ve been trying to put my finger on what the issues with that film in particular are. Everything in my previous post still applies, it’s clear that while the film has excellent visual flair it still has problems using that to tell a coherent story.

But I think it’s hard to really comprehend this on a simple viewing. You have to really break it down in order to figure out where the film stumbles in terms of storytelling. To that end, I’ve broken the film down into scene beats, bold indicates a scene added or altered in the Advent Children release.

Continue reading

Left In An Empty Theater

 

 

darkedinburgh_cinema

Photo by hotblack at Morguefile.com

I began my childhood movie experience with the 1997 rerelease of Star Wars, which was perhaps the best possible foot to start my moviegoing experience on. Of course, this paved the way for a steady diet of Disney movies and Saturday morning cartoons.

 

I like movies. Stanley Kubrick is one of my favorite directors of all time. I’ve had great experiences with movies as an artistic medium and I absolutely love interpreting film.

Continue reading

When Will We Get a Good Final Fantasy Movie?

 

file0001374823614.jpg

Photo by mconnors at Morguefile.com

 

Recently, Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV was made available for rent on iTunes. Being a Final Fantasy fan, I decided to check it out. But I was also keenly aware of its critical response on RottenTomatoes.

Was this going to be a hidden gem? Was it going to be the movie that defied previous expectations for Final Fantasy movies? Was it going to be an improvement on “Final Fantasy VII Advent Children” or the ill-fated “Spirits Within”? Spoilers for all three movies will follow.

Continue reading

Is Idiocracy Becoming a Documentary?

 

file8381279059582

Photo by wintersixfour at Morguefile.com

 

Around ten years ago, Mike Judge produced a cult classic known as “Idiocracy”. It follows a very basic plot, the world has devolved into a society that is full of unintelligent people. It’s common for people to ask “Is this the direction we’re headed?” Equally common is the all-too-familiar chant of its inevitable onset.

When watching it now, I am always wondering “What’s going to happen? What can we avoid and how?”

Average People, Dumb Culture

Fortunately, one thing we don’t have to worry about is the initial chain of events that caused Idiocracy as a whole to happen. ┬áThe beginning of the film presents a scenario where a low IQ man named Clevon outbreeds a high IQ couple. He does this by having affairs with multiple women and recovering from an accident that would normally leave him without the use of his reproductive organs.

Obviously, this scenario is very oversimplified. There’s no way he could reasonably afford to raise the sheer number of children he has. So the scenario of being overrun with Clevon’s offspring is probably not going to happen.

What Idiocracy does get right, at least in many respects, is the culture. What exactly does Idiocracy’s culture look like?

In the vision that the film presents, America has fallen into an era of mass commercialism. This can be demonstrated with the constant saturation of advertising present early on. Corporations are extremely powerful, with Brawndo the Thirst Mutilator successfully buying the FDA and the FCC.

The specific marketing leans heavily on primal desires, the collective “id” or the nation. It’s very hypermasculine and hypersexual. Portion sizes are referred to as “Extra Big Ass”, the two most popular television channels are the Violence Channel and the Masturbation Network.

In the future, people are barely literate. Not only that but anyone who attempts to read is looked down upon in scorn. Education through Costco becomes a viable option, making the consumer model of education the standard (eerily enough, this was before the student loan debt crisis came into focus). Even skilled workers like doctors have become so incompetent at their jobs that they leave most of the work to automation. However, that automation is quickly breaking down with no one capable enough to fix it.

Pretty much every avenue of interaction has been distilled into mindless entertainment. The justice system’s scale is tipped so far that there’s not even show trials, they’re just shows. The political system has gone even further than the gridlock we have today (though I’m sure that people could see seeds of that system in the modern day) with the most effective counterargument to President Comacho’s proposed solution being “I got a solution, you’re a dick!” Rehabilitation is a code word for a blood sport where people compete in monster trucks in a duel to the death.

Eventually, the protagonist saves the day by proving that putting water on the crops makes them grow. But as his lawyer takes on many wives and has many children the process can begin anew.

Turning Back

Solving this problem, unlike putting water on crops, is going to be trickier because we have to deal with cultural biases that most of us are likely not even aware of.

Perhaps thinkers greater than I can point to a solution, and Susan Jacoby had written about the subject intensely in her book “The Age of American Unreason”. Perhaps there will be answers there.

The Cycle of Cruelty and the Monster Narrative

 

DSC00081.JPG

Photo by Denna at Morguefile.com

For a while now, I’ve taken an interest in the “monster” narrative in literature. In particular, it allows for discussions of outcasts in a unique way. One of my favorite books is Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and one of my favorite movies is Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame (gargoyles notwithstanding).

The two carry similar themes, but they offer a look at two different possible outcomes. Where do they overlap and where do they differ?

Continue reading