Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Final Fantasy 8 (1999: Square)

Plot Summary

The main story follows Squall as he graduates from school, joins the army, slowly recovers his memories from his childhood, falls in love, and saves the world from an evil witch, but not the one you think it is.

The side plots include the story how Squall’s father, Laguna (a soldier), and Rinoa (Squall’s love interest)’s mother, Julia never get together and how he ends up in a small town and gets a girl (Raine) pregnant before leaving her to be the head of a weird commune of lion creatures.  There’s also the story of the almost main baddie, Edea, who gets (I think) controlled by an uberwitch from the end of time into abandoning her wards at the orphanage (where all of the main characters grew up), and her husband to Take Over The World!

The Final Fantasy Series--An Introduction

Final Fantasy was originally created as a last game for a game company to produce before they went under.  Hence the “final” in the title.  It is toted on Square Enix’s website as “The best selling RPG series in the world!” And there is cause for that.  It has spawned 14 numbers in the series, not including spin offs, sequels, and even a couple of movies.  It’s a big deal.  But oh, have they gone wrong in recent, and in not so recent, years. 

The series as a whole has a really interesting premise.  Each installment in the series is an entirely new world that is facing a “final” crisis.  This is a double edged sword.  On the one hand, each installment has the ability to be epic! because you’re not building up from the last epic battle—it's a new world with new problems.  You don’t have sequelitis (usually) where uber crazy things have happened to these characters and keeps happening to these characters game after game.  Which is a good thing.

On the other hand, this means that in each new number in the series, the creators have to come up with a completely new world, new characters, new story, a new magic system, and a new thing to keep you interested in playing for 70+ hours (most of my games lasted from 90-120 hours total, not counting multiple playthroughs).  That takes a lot of work, a lot of ingenuity, as well as a lot of luck in guessing what you think your audience will like, seeing how you can’t bring over a bunch of things from the last game like most series (*cough* God of War *cough*)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Green Lantern (2011: Warner Brothers Entertainment)

This movie had just about everything going for it. This was suppose to be the big budget summer blockbuster that the WB is hoping that this series becomes the next Harry Potter, the movie that they bring out every summer that is their big money maker. They threw money at this movie. It has a wonderful cast, tons of characters who had recognizable names, fantastic CG, especially for the alien world and space background, a decent story—so what went wrong? Why didn’t enough people go out and see it? Why did the critics hate it so much they rated it lower than Mr. Popper’s Penguins?

Now for the context. I really like Green Lantern. Not Hal Jordan, he can just go away, or stay dead, or whatever, but everyone else. The world. I love the Corps and the stories there in. I love Kyle Rayner, Kilowog, and Guy Gardner has even grown on me. I’ve read the comic, I’ve cosplayed a Red Lantern at DragonCon, I like Green Lantern.

Therefore, I was really looking forward to this movie. I know that my expectations were high, and tried to lower them. I tried to look at this movie for what it was and not anything more. But even then, I was disappointed. Honestly, more than anything else, I feel like quoting Get Smart, “Missed it by that much.” They were so close to greatness, if they’d just changed a few little things. No, looking at this list, no, not just little things, but a few things nonetheless.

I will say that I am going to be really hard on this movie. Probably harder than I’ll be on a lot of things that will follow, but I want you to understand that overall I did like it. The acting was good, the action was pretty good, and they didn’t really mess up anything—there’s nothing that I felt that they really needed to retcon in future installments of the series (and yes, they have green lit the sequel). The big problem was that it didn’t work. Not just for me, but it did not do well at the box office. It could have been so much better.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

How this is going to work.

This is a review blog.  I will select a story and review it with tons of spoilers.

First, I’ll give you a context of the selected story.  How it relates to me, or the place I was in my life, thinking, when I encountered the story—as all stories as subject to personal interpretation, and the context in which you encounter a story matters. 

Then I’ll give you my impressions of the story, what I liked, what I didn’t, some analysis, and (and this is the main point) how I think it could have been improved.  Now, this will be, of course, my own personal opinions, and I know that they won’t be perfect.  Sometimes I’ll miss the obvious, or you’ll have an idea that is better than my fix.  (Hey, just like the original stories, right?)  Please, I’d love for this to become a forum for discussion on how to improve these stories best.  Because bad stories upset me.  But not as much as stories that have such good potential that are ruined by some bad decisions on the creator’s part.  That really makes me mad.

I’d also like to note that I’ve said stories, not just movies, although that’s how I’m starting.  Because I am a bibliophile.  I love stories.  All kinds of stories.

Please feel free to join in in the conversation and add your own ideas.