sábado, 11 de abril de 2009

Final Fantasy, a newcomer's point of view.

Or, what is the fuss about? Like every other cultured nerd next door, i love an inside joke. I love when the movies based on books or comic books pay homage to the fanbase, winks that only those "in the know", inside jokes that only 'those who are worthy" will get and will giggle to themselves. The more obscure the better. Like in that book of wizards, a wizard is someone worthy of that knowledge because he studied and fought for it. Like in any Alan Moore
work, when he fills the pages with references, talking to those who enjoyed the things the same way that he did, celebrating them.

So for me, it was this way with several science fiction books and movies, graphic novels, and even some countries. But something that always eluded me was the "Final Fantasy" series, or, what was the fuss about? I like being "in the joke" as much as the next science fiction convention dweller, but I was like. "What, come on, it can´t be THAT good". Well, I remember playing an old SuperNes game, probably "Final Fantasy VI", in which you have your party, and you wander around and then you face a monster and you attack him and then you have to wait for him to attack you, and only when it´s your turn you can strike him back. Yawnn. Then I remember the 2001 theatrical movie, the first presenting realistical life like computer graphics, for an entire movie. I was like, wow, nice, about the imagery. Gorgeous animated hair for Dr.Aki Ross, and hell, that Ben Affleck like fellow with its giant forehead was distracting, as his movie lines were, like "let´s get the hell out of here", which was repeated ad nauseum. The scenery was a little derivative from James Cameron "Aliens", and well, that was it. Nice movie, nice soundtrack, which i bought, being a nice good collector of movie soundtracks, and this one was fresh from Elliot Goldenthal, which wrote the chilling "ALIEN 3" soundtrack. So, so much reflexes from "Aliens" in that first "Final Fantasy" movie. But i liked the movie, but it seems most of the fans hated it, as "it´s not like the games,you know with Cloud and Tifa and the others".

I didn´t get why he would be so passionate about it, as i saw the designs, a boy with giant sword and spikey hair, like Goku in "Dragonball Z", well, I was stoic about it.

So, a few years later a second movie came out "Final Fantasy Advent Children". As i live in Brazil it meant that someone had just downloaded it, as it would be years of waiting before it would be officially arriving here. I was working at the advertising agency and some colleague had just downloaded "FFAC" and saved me a copy. So I was on the computer, having my sandwich in my cubicle, trying to read the little subtitles on it. I tried hard, but atfer 15 minutes I was sleepy on the keyboard,and I was like "they´re gorgeous people, why are they so mad about?". ZZZ.
My two colleagues were like "Wake up, it´s the characters from the game" "Which game?" "Final Fantasy VII, have you never played?" "Well, no".Faces of disbelief. Poor soul, was I haven´t played Final Fantasy VII. Well, i didn´t had a Playstation, i play games on thwe computer, i play Counter Strike and Tomb Raider, do i have to play this game to enjoy the movie? Hell, yes, i had to! Not only that, i had to go back in time from 2005 to 1997 and played at that time when it was launched. What a poor clueless soul was I.

But once again, i liked the soundtrack, and as the CD was nowhere to be seen, i had to to happy with the mp3, which felt strange and wrong too. I downloaded "Final Fantasy Piano Collection" and enjoyed it. But i felt something while listening to Seiji Honda´s piano rendition of "Tifa´s theme", (whoever this Tifa character was, ah,oh yes, it was the girl in black fight that guy in the church) and boy, what a heartfelt track. But something deeper i felt with "Aerith´s theme". Something that ressonate inside, like when you first listen a John Williams theme when you´re a child. (who´s Aerith??) Again, time passed, other soundtracks came and that was forgotten for a little while.

Later on I bought a playstation 2, and with it, "Kingdom Hearts" and "Final Fantasy X-2", played them with my wife, and what a gigantic and joyful experience it was. Guess I wasn´t prepared for such majestic worlds built with so much artistly. We spent a pack of kleenex in the final cutscenes of both games. The fanboys were right, it was all that. That reverence was justified. It is too much real emotion.


Then I started to play the other games, backwards, first the overwhelming Final Fantasy X, then VIII, and then the legendary VII. and then i could finally listen those soundtracks, mostly the ones composed by composer Nobuo Uematsu in their gorgeous and cute original game version.
It´s too much to tell as each game deserves a whole book to be written about it. So i´ll just be cheap and short and say it´s a fantasticly generous experience. :)
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