Assorted CG Movie Trivia and Quotes

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Tekken Refridgerator
-Tekken: Blood Vengeance
Avatar
Source: IMDB
Citizen Siege Producer
Source: Oddworld Creators and Vanguard Animation Partner on Citizen Siege. (Oct 28, 2006).
Retrieved from http://oddworldlibrary.net
Citizen Siege Crash
Source: Oddworld Creators and Vanguard Animation Partner on Citizen Siege. (Oct 28, 2006). Retrieved from http://oddworldlibrary.net
Beowulf
Source: IMDB
Final Fantasy Dilly Dally
-Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children
Cutscenes
Source: IMDB
Polar Express
Source: IMDB
Guinness Book of World Records Website
The Incredibles
Source: ComputerHistory. (Dec 7, 2007). Pixar – A Human Story of Computer Animation. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com
Kaena Memento
Source: IMDB
Kaena Development
Source: EdDouglas. (June 18, 2004). An Interview with “Kaena” Director Chris Delaporte. Retrieved from http://www.filmjerk.com
Peszko, J. P. (2004, July). Kaena: The Prophecy – First 3D CGI Feature-Length Film from Europe. Animation World Magazine, 32-35.
Elysium Quote
-Elysium
Spirits Within Thriller
Source: IMDB
Spirits Within Expensive
Source: Guinness Book of World Records Website
Spirits Within Hair
Source: IMDB
Shrek Locations
Source: IMDB
Toy Story 2 Distaster
Source: Panzarino, M. (May 21, 2012). How Pixar’s Toy Story 2 was deleted twice, once by technology and again for its own good.
Retrieved from http://thenextweb.com
Toy Story Airport
Source: IMDB
Toy Story 2 Dust
Source: IMDB
A Bugs Life
-A Bug’s Life
Antz Vs Bugs
Source: Fleeman, M. (Oct 2, 1998). Of Ants, Bugs, and Rug Rats: The Story of Dueling Bug Movies.
Retrieved from http://laprensa-sandiego.org
Antz Quote
-Antz
Antz Rating
Source: IMDB
Dripik
-Oddworld: Abe’s Exoddus
Oddworld Movies
Source: Katzenjammer Records. (May 2013). Interview with Lorne Lanning Creator of Oddworld Inc.
Retrieved from http://www.katzenjammerrecords.com
Exoddus Movie
Source: Katzenjammer Records. (May 2013). Interview with Lorne Lanning Creator of Oddworld Inc.
Retrieved from http://www.katzenjammerrecords.com
Toy Story
Source: IMDB
Brave Toaster
Source: Schlender, B. (May 17, 2006). Pixar’s magic man. Retrieved from http://archive.fortune.com
ReBoot record
Source: Bernstein, S. (Nov 10, 1994). Techno-Artists ‘Tooning Up: ‘Reboot’ Is First Series to Be Fully Computerized. Retrieved from
http://articles.latimes.com/1994-11-10/entertainment/ca-61086_1_computer-animation
ReBoot dark
Source: IMDB
Beast Wars Quote
-Beast Wars: Transformers
Starshipp Troopers trouble
Source: Oliver, G. (Sept 21, 1999). “Roughnecks: The Starship Troopers Chronicles” debacle !!!. Retrieved from
http://www.aintitcool.com/node/4421

Elysium (2003) was made in South Korea. (Source: IMDB)

Appleseed (2004), Appleseed: Ex Machina (2007), Tekken: Blood Vengeance (2011), Resident Evil: Degeneration (2008), and Resident Evil: Damnation (2012) were made by the Japanese company Digital Frontier. (Source: Digital Frontier Website)

Have some CG movie trivia you think would fit here? Leave a comment below or send an email. Include a source!

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete Review

Advent Children Complete has taught me that I either have extremely bad taste in movies… or Complete was so excessive that even I thought it was ridiculous. I’d have to watch it again to be sure. XD

Cuz, alright, I’ll believe that guys with superpowers can swing giant swords and jump really high and shit, but I can’t believe that a motorcycle can be catapulted THROUGH a helicopter immediately followed by a superhighway collapsing, destroying Midgar even more; the helicopter crashing in completely unrelated and ridiculous circumstances, nearly crushing everyone for the fiftieth time; and another helicopter magically appearing. (If that sentence made no sense, good. That’s my exact experience of this scene in the movie.) Sure, punching the highway while going 70 mph and then throwing your motorcycle with your feet is excessive, but at least then the excessiveness was kept between three characters with well-established flying/high jumping powers and super strength. The action wasn’t thrown between those three characters, a ridiculous comic relief battle in a helicopter, and mass destruction for no memorable reason.

I did appreciate the movie’s attempt to better explain and take more time with the original’s plot and characters. Who the fuck is Denzel and how was he dragged into Kadaj’s evil plans? How did ALL THE ORPHANS (and the whole city apparently) know to go to the church at the end of the movie? Why did we need to spend two minutes watching Cloud’s phone sink to the bottom of a lake? All of these details and more are revealed in this movie!

I don’t agree with all the choices made, but some of them I quite liked. First, I liked seeing Denzel’s backstory. In the original cut, the viewer simply accepts that Denzel is a new character, a sickly orphan that Cloud and Tifa are taking care of. It was nice seeing that there was backing to him. Second, in the original cut, we often see short sequences representing ideas and past events that only the most hardcore FFVII fan or the most studious viewer could take meaning from. Complete extends some of these cuts rather nicely into more coherent images. For example, Cloud’s brief flashback of Zack originally contained a couple shots of Zack encouraging Cloud to work hard as a SOLDIER followed by a very short image of Zack in a panic and yelling “Cloud, run!” Complete extends this to show Zack as Cloud’s mentor, his ultimate sacrifice, and the promise Cloud made to him. While it might leave the viewer with more questions as to who Zack is, it’s certainly less cryptic than Cloud referencing some promise he made to someone followed by a flashback ending with “Cloud, run!”

Overall though, all of these expanded details not only add nothing to the plot but also take away from what the movie does have in story and in action. Problems begin at the beginning. Like the original, Complete starts with the last scene of the game, an event that takes place 498 years in the future. This is followed by a title screen that states “498 years earlier” and a brand new scene. This emotionless, dialog-heavy scene features Rufus and someone else talking about what they’re about to do in the next scene. If that weren’t bad enough, it’s followed by a title screen that says “Two weeks earlier.” The audience is now aware that they have gone back exactly 498 years and two weeks and have no investment in any of the characters and can no longer take the movie seriously.

This tedious expansion on what the characters are doing and what they are about to do continues throughout the movie. Dialog scenes are extended. The scene between Rufus and Cloud, for example, goes into laborious detail about how much they didn’t find Sephiroth and how much they did find Kadaj and his minions in the crater. I actually liked this dialog scene in the original movie. It does perhaps take a couple viewings to pick up all the details, but the dialog is quite delightful and exact. The scene was written to be quick and precise. Cloud doesn’t want to be there, but Rufus wants him to stay, and Reno gets in both of their ways. Cloud talks over Rufus. Rufus talks over Cloud. Reno cuts in between both of them. Extending the dialog in this scene kills the relationships between all three characters and the humor that results from this language use.

New dialog scenes are added. Ever wanted to know who that girl, who drug Denzel to a shady-looking truck owned by effeminate men in black leather, is? She will tell you her life story! Want to know how all the orphans knew to go to the church at the end? You will see a scene filled with ringing cellphones followed by a crowd of people journeying to the Holy Grail—I mean the church. Just how horrible is geostigma? Horrible. What do any of these scenes have to do with the movie’s miniscule plot? Nothing!

Just because you detail the life-story of a random character doesn’t mean you add any depth to the story. In video games, it’s fine to go exploring, take a break from the main plot, find side quests, and learn about less important characters. In a movie, it completely destroys continuity and slows it way the hell down. This is a particularly serious problem considering that Advent Children is primarily a fast-paced action movie.

The continuity problems that seemingly random detail expansion creates were particularly noticeable in the scene of ringing cellphones. This scene takes place immediately after we see the building Cloud is on explode. We cut to a horrified Tifa yelling “Cloud!” We see Denzel and Marlene, holding hands and wondering if Cloud is alright… Then, we hear a phone ring. Tension destroyed. This ridiculous sound is followed by a sequence of shots featuring Denzel and everyone else in town answering their phones to a mysterious caller (assumedly Aeris) and then going on an epic journey to the church. Sure, no one knows Cloud exploded. They can answer their phones and go on an epic journey if they want to (except Tifa, who’s probably flipping her shit). The audience ultimately decides if they’re going to let this ridiculous display destroy their experience or not. Even then, there’s still a problem. If this is really how Aeris communicates with people as a ghost, then it’s probably better to keep it out of the movie because it’s ridiculous! Leave it to the audience’s imagination! I can think of a better explanation already like, I don’t know, Aeris speaks telepathically to Cloud throughout the entire movie. Why can’t she do that with all the… orphans? Wait. Why does this new scene feature townspeople? We only actually see orphans surrounding Cloud inside the church. Do we need to know what the adults of Midgar are doing as well? Do orphans have cell phones? So many questions!

New and expanded scenes that focus on the horrors of geostigma also add nothing to this seemingly crucial element of the plot. The original movie showed that people with geostigma had gray wounds on parts of their bodies. It also hinted that occasionally these wounds caused people to hallucinate, blackout, ooze blue goo, or even die. Advent Children Complete features multiple characters that are discriminated against for having geostigma, ooze black goo, suffer horribly, and die. Perhaps these graphic depictions of geostigma were to make Cloud seem more vulnerable and affected by the disease. Cloud is on such a different level from the defenseless, nameless characters scrabbling on the ground though that he seems as invincible as ever. The disease is more associated with the desire to atone for past sins or bring back figures from the past like Jenova and Sephiroth than it is with actual horrible disease. That is, it’s more as a symbol that the planet, its people, and Cloud haven’t healed from the events of the past, not as a literal disease that kills billions horribly.

As I hinted at before, there is also more action but not the good kind. New shots and scenes are oddly cut between shots and scenes from the original movie and are excessive to the point where even giant Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children nerds like me are offended. For another example, one new scene features Denzel fighting a summoned monster with a pipe and a fire hydrant (yup). Why do we need to know that Denzel is also helping Cloud and the others fight? Perhaps so his stupidity can lead to Cloud having to save him and Tifa by throwing his sword like a boomerang? Holy shit! What!? These scenes also ruin what little coherence the original action scenes have. It’s already difficult in the original to understand what exactly is happening. The action scenes in Complete add parallel fight scenes to fight scenes, making them even harder to follow and often more ridiculous.

Random spots of dirt, mud, and blood were added to clothing, skin, and shoes. The final fight scene was changed so that Cloud was stabbed ten times by Sephiroth and then hallucinated a little. Tifa still doesn’t get any boobs. I could go on and on, but I believe I’ve nerded out enough. Perhaps my love and near memorization of the original movie has affected my ability to accept any modifications to it. Perhaps if I continue to watch Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete (and believe me I will!), it will grow on me and become my favorite CGI movie since the original… but probably not.

I knew Complete would probably be bloated with additions, but I expected to get at least some enjoyment out of the extended fight scenes and the prettiness of the new CGI. Perhaps it’s good that I didn’t enjoy it as I thought I would. Sure, longer dialog scenes give me more time to drool at the beautifully crafted animation, but the lifeless, bloated dialog and the series of ridiculous events really affected my experience. That says there may be something more to the original movie for me than pretty CGI and giant sword battles. The original movie had its moments of slowness, excessiveness, and mindlessness, but it didn’t try to be anything more than what it set out to be, an action movie for a very specific audience. Its dialog said what needed to be said and nothing more. Sometimes characters only spoke through looks or subtle movements. Its quick cuts showed the minimal amount of what needed to be shown, and it left everything else to its audience’s imagination. This minimalist storytelling may have been lost to its viewers because of its subtleties and because of its focus on getting to the next action scene, but it’s also what made the original story better than the complete one.

P.S. Cloud’s phone had to sink to the bottom of the lake, the same lake he dropped Aeris in, so that her ghost had a phone to call everyone and tell them to go to the church at the end of the movie. NOW THE WHOLE MOVIE MAKES SENSE! XD

CG Movies for Mature Audiences and of Note

This post is defunct. See here for the new location of the Atypical CGI Movie List.

Looking for CG movies outside the Pixar/Disney/Dreamworks norm? The following films are Gates Media guaranteed to be atypical in art style, content, or target audience. This includes a complete list of all feature-length, fully computer-generated movies rated PG-13 and R to the best of my knowledge. Do you know of a movie that you think should be on this list? I’m always looking for new ones! Leave a comment below or send an email.

G
The Polar Express (2004)

PG
Antz (1998)
Battle for Terra (2007)
Delgo (2008)
A Christmas Carol (2009)
Foodfight! (2012)

PG-13
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001)
Kaena: The Prophecy (2003)
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (2005)
Appleseed: Ex Machina (2007)
Beowulf (2007)
Vexille (2007)
9 (2009)
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete (2009)
Appleseed Alpha (2014)
Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV (2016)

R
Appleseed (2004)
Resident Evil: Degeneration (2008)
Resident Evil: Damnation (2012)
Starship Troopers: Invasion (2012)
Sausage Party (2016)

NR
Shenmue: The Movie (2001)
Elysium (2003)
Ark (2005)
.hack//G.U. Trilogy (2007)
Tekken: Blood Vengeance (2011)
.hack//Beyond the World (2012)
Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker (2012)
Harlock: Space Pirate (2013)
Appleseed XIII: Ouranos (2014)
Appleseed XIII: Tartaros (2014)
Heavenly Sword (2014)
Halo: The Fall of Reach (2015)

Speech Therapy: Sword Boomerang? How Do?

Transcript:

The first time I saw Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete, there was one sequence in particular that I couldn’t get out of my head.

The more I thought about it, the more I wasn’t sure it had actually happened.

“Cloud couldn’t have thrown his sword. Yuffie must have thrown her boomerang!”

“Maybe he just rode his motorcycle by and mowed them all down.”

“Well, he can fold a couple of his swords. Maybe it was bent into the shape of a boomerang when he threw it.”

“Maybe he rode his motocycle so fast that he caught up to the swords!”

I had to watch this sequence five times before I could finally accept that it did happen. Then, I saw this. Cloud had thrown not one but two giant swords… like boomerangs… at the same time.

The result is a scene so ridiculous that I literally could not comprehend it. But wait. The original Advent Children was also full of physics defying action. I’m usually not a stickler for physics, so what’s the difference between this sequence and, say, Loz throwing his motorcycle with his feet?

Why could I accept that and not boomerang swords? So here’s my theory.

All the scenes leading up to Loz’s motorcycle toss prepare us for it. From the very first fight scene, we’re introduced to the high-speed, motorcycle chase sequences that we’ll see for the rest of the film.

We also see on several occasions the damage that Loz’s attacking arm can do, his super-human abilities, and the forces that he can withstand.

Finally, we have plenty of chances to see that gravity doesn’t work quite as we expect it to.

Combine these elements together, and you have a believable motorcycle toss.

Advent Children doesn’t remove all the physical limits that we’re used to though. For example, the film gives us no reason to believe that thrown swords will do anything but lodge themselves into whatever they’re thrown at. Further, we never see a character willingly throw their sword. The separation between fighter and sword during a fight is always shown as being a bad thing.

So, Cloud throwing his swords like boomerangs breaks the film’s loose but nonetheless existent physics and the world’s established rules of battle, creating a scene that comes off as random and completely ridiculous.

What I liked about the original Advent Children was that unlike most other full CGI action films, it never broke its established rules as soon as the opportunity arose. Granted, Advent Children created a world so action packed and boundless that near anything was believable, but it still had lines that it could not and didn’t cross. I wouldn’t believe that Cloud can throw his swords like boomerangs, that a child can defeat a monster with a fire hydrant, that a dead girl no one knows would call everyone in Midgar, or any of this for reasons that I’ve already explained.

Perhaps if this were a film about sword throwing children, who frequently receive phone calls from dead people they don’t know and destroy poorly designed super highways with an infinite number of helicopters, maybe I would believe it. Because Advent Children Complete only uses these elements randomly though… no.

Like I said, Complete isn’t the only CGI action film that has this problem of breaking its own rules for the sake of awesome action. It’s quite common actually… for reasons… but that’s a subject for another video. Talk at you next time!

Speech Therapy: Blood! Vengeance! Characters! (Round 2)

Transcript:

Last episode! Do Tekken: Blood Vengeance and Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children create fight scenes that also entertain non-fans of the games they’re based on? Specifically, do they create characters within the course of the film that non-fans can sympathize with or understand?

Now! Let’s take a look at the final fight scene in both movies. Both fight scenes are sort of like a final boss fight where the boss is a character that fans are familiar with but has only been mentioned briefly in the course of the movie. From the boss’s first appearance to his defeat, Advent Children Complete’s final fight lasts roughly 10 minutes, Advent Children’s lasts 6 minutes, and Tekken’s lasts about 25 minutes.

Do the movies succeed in setting up the characters and story so that non-fans are also engaged in the battle and entertained for the duration of these fights?

Tekken fairs very poorly… but for reasons completely unrelated to the introduction of a new character. As soon as this boss fight starts, the two girls we’ve spent the entire movie with cease to have any importance. This fight is between boss Heihachi Mishima, Kazuya Mishima leader of G Corporation, Jin Kazama leader of Mishima Zaibatsu, and Shin Kamiya.

The character that we know best is Shin Kamiya. As sort of the driving force of the movie, he’s carrier of the M gene, a genetic mutation that makes him immortal. Jin and Kazuya have been after him to gain immortality, which is how the three came together for this final fight. Unfortunately, whenever Jin and Kazuya meet, Jin’s grandfather and Kazuya’s father, Heihachi appears as well. This is all part of Shin’s plan though. He wants to kill Heihachi, the man behind the experiments performed on him to produce the M gene.

Shin’s not really someone we can sympathize with though. He’s developed no meaningful relationships with the main characters and shown himself only to be a pathetic, suicidal asshole. We need not worry too much about it though because, despite his immortality, he dies almost immediately, assumedly by being impaled on a few stray hairs.

This leaves us with two characters who combined have had less than five minutes of screen time. Jin is perhaps the most likely one we can sympathize with. He died as badly as he lived, but Shin’s death ignites Jin’s rage towards Kazuya and Heihachi. The Mishima family has killed an innocent in their family quarrel, and this isn’t the first time it’s happened. Jin wants to kill his father and grandfather to end the bloodshed. Heihachi and Kazuya simply want to kill the other two for no reason. Jin is also a friend of Shin and Xiaoyu, the protagonist. What sympathy we can have for Jin is forgotten though when he carelessly tosses Xiaoyu aside, and we’re reminded that he doesn’t care if he destroys the entire world in his quest to destroy his family.

Meanwhile, the main characters are on the sidelines trying desperately to assert their purpose in an ultimately meaningless fight. They seem to be trying to emphasize the horrors of violence, but because this battle is taking place in a castle in the middle of nowhere between near invincible characters that we don’t know or like, there’s nothing horrific about it. In fact, we’re hoping that all three of them kill each other as quickly as possible so that they stop breeding. Xioayu’s robot friend Alisa becomes a casualty, but her apparent death does nothing to stop the violence or improve Jin’s character. Xioayu is the only one in the audience or the movie who is stupid enough to believe or care that Alisa is dead. Jin put her in standby mode so that she wouldn’t get in the way of him murdering his family.

Advent Children does a better job at creating an entertaining fight scene that we care about without needing all the backstory that fans have. This time, we have the benefit of being with Cloud, a character that we’ve gotten to know pretty well in the course of the movie. By this point, Cloud has realized what an ass he’s been to his friends, and he’s tried to make up for that. He’s defeated horrible monsters that have destroyed the city, slaughtered innocent civilians, and attacked his friends. He’s also fought Kadaj, who is responsible for kidnapping and enslaving children, destroying the city, killing people, and possibly infecting innocents with a horrible illness. Overall, Cloud is someone we can root for.

The moments leading up to the fight do a great job at getting rid of any doubts we have about how bad it would be if Sephiroth were resurrected. As soon as Cloud realizes that Kadaj knows how to recreate Sephiroth, his cocky attitude changes to panic. We recognize Sephiroth from the film’s introduction when he appears, and Cloud shows us how we should feel about this. Panic is something we’ve never seen from Cloud before, and he’s fought a giant monster, hordes of beasts, and three guys who are nearly as strong as he is.

We’ve seen: “Ah crap. I dropped my sword.”

“That guy! I should stop hallucinating!”

“Damn kids!”

And “What the hell?”

But never “Oh shit!”

Sephiroth’s danger both to the world and to Cloud is further enforced when we see what he can do. We’ve spent the movie with characters that can defy gravity and destroy structures with a single punch or sword swing, but Sephiroth still manages to place himself on an entirely different level. Compared to Sephiroth, Cloud and the others are really only high jumping. They need to launch themselves off something, like the ground or the power of friendship, and eventually, they fall. Sephiroth can outright fly. He can also destroy structures without touching them and manipulate the weather without Materia.

[Gifts from mother?]

Yeah, whatever.

These elements introduce the possibility that Cloud might fail. He may even be killed. We’ve grown to like Cloud and the destruction of the world and its inhabitants is never a good thing, so even if we’ve never played Final Fantasy VII and could care less that Cloud is fighting Sephiroth in a glorious CGI movie, we still have enough reasons to engage in the fight and root for the hero.

At the end of the day, Tekken: Blood Vengeance and Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children are fan service films, and there’s bound to be some things that outsiders won’t understand or appreciate. That’s what makes fan service films great! Unlike most movies out there, fan service films target a very specific audience, which can produce unique, awesome films. Some fan service films like Blood Vengeance target their fans only. I’m sure Tekken fans are much more appreciative of the glorious battle between Heihachi, Jin, and Kazuya than I am… at least I hope they are. Other fan films like Advent Children are accessible enough to attract new fans to a great game and give a nod and wink to old fans. Either way, these films give someone out there something that they’ve always wanted to see.

Talk at you next time!

Speech Therapy: Blood! Vengeance! Characters! (Round 1)

Transcript:

I discovered this film recently: Tekken: Blood Vengeance. I’m not a fan of Tekken. I don’t know anything about its story or characters. The movie had an art style reminiscent of Advent Children’s and probably would have some great fight scenes though, so I figured at least that’d be entertaining. Besides, I wasn’t a Final Fantasy VII fan the first time I saw Advent Children, and I loved that movie anyway. It could happen again. You never know.

Blood Vengeance was everything I expected… and more.

There were pretty, action-packed fight scenes, but I didn’t really care about them though. Something was missing. Even for a fan film, Blood Vengeance is pretty mediocre, but its fight scenes were visually similar to Advent Children’s. What’s the difference? The answer is simple: I don’t understand what motivates any of the characters to fight. Blood Vengeance is heavily reliant upon its audience’s knowledge of the Tekken universe.

I had to wonder if Advent Children was any better. Unlike what I did with Blood Vengeance, I didn’t go into Advent Children with absolutely no knowledge of what I was about to watch. I’d played through the first disc of Final Fantasy VII. I recognized Cloud and most of his friends. I knew who Aeris was and that… spoilers… she dies. I knew who Sephiroth was. Perhaps this previous knowledge was the only reason I could engage in the characters’ battles…

No. Surely, surely, Advent Children isn’t this bad at character development!

Let’s compare the first fight and the last fight in Blood Vengeance and Advent Children to see what makes one more entertaining than the other for non-fans.

The first fight scene in Tekken: Blood Vengeance is also the first scene in the movie, making it even more important to introduce the characters and their motivations. The scene begins with Nina Williams, who appears to be on the run. She is ambushed by a giant semi-truck driven by Anna Williams and seems to expect it, further suggesting that she’s just done something wrong. Both women begin the fight by attempting to brutally murder one another. They emerge from the wreckage unscathed, call each other sisters, and continue fighting. The point of this fight is hidden in a single, easily-missed detail. Nina holds up a flash drive, an item she no doubt stole from Anna.

Good thing this scene and the next two make absolutely no sense if you miss it! Good thing also that the English translation of this movie is awful, but that’s beside the point.

So these women have a reason for fighting. Is it enough to sympathize with either of them? Not really. Remember these sisters started the fight by trying to brutally murder one another. Personally, I can’t relate to that without any background information. Can we ever sympathize with either of them? A movie doesn’t have to reveal all of its secrets at once after all. Once again, not really. In fact, the further we get into the movie, the more distasteful these women get.

Nina and Anna work for rival organizations, Mishima Zaibatsu led by Jin Kazama and G Corporation led by Kazuya Mishima respectively. Jin and Kazuya are after information on the M gene, a genetic mutation, for the sole purpose of using it to become immortal and more powerful. What’s in it for Anna and Nina? Why do they work for these crazy people? Anna spends the movie beating on the main characters and being evil for no reason. Nina briefly questions the possibility that her boss might destroy the world and then continues working for him.
She helps the main characters, but only to thwart G Corporation and piss off her sister. These seemingly good deeds are driven by her incomprehensible hatred and her company’s unexplained rivalry with G Corp, which aren’t noble or reasonable motivations.

In contrast, the first fight scene of Advent Children gives us plenty of information to speculate on why the fight happened and a character we can understand. We know a few things about Cloud’s personality. He’s negligent and moody, but at some point, he was nice enough to make some friends, ones who still care about him. He’s also somewhat vulnerable because of some pain in his arm. The audience is much more likely to have experienced depression and pain than to have experienced invincibility and mindless hatred, which already makes Cloud much easier to relate to than Nina or Anna even though we don’t know a lot about him yet. Loz, Kadaj, and Yazoo are still pretty mysterious, but we know that they’re childish and looking for someone. They also start the fight for no apparent reason, establishing themselves as the bad guys. The beauty of this seemingly pointless battle though is that Cloud is as clueless as we are, giving us another reason to engage in his plight. Most likely, this battle started because Kadaj and his gang wanted to fight for fun, which matches their childish behavior, and to gather information on “mother,” who Loz and Yazoo ask about soon after the fight begins.

Even if we have no idea what Final Fantasy VII is, Advent Children gives us plenty of clues to help us determine who our hero is, why we should sympathize with him, who the bad guys are, and why they are fighting. This extremely simple but effective character development lets us spend more time watching some great action and less time figuring out why we should care.

An audience member who’s never played Tekken before will have a much more difficult time getting into the action in Blood Vengeance since it gives us no reason to like anyone and few visual clues as to what’s going on. I’m not saying all characters need to be established as good or evil like Advent Children does. I suspect that Tekken is (or could be) full of morally grey characters with interesting relationships and motivations for their actions, and it’s a shame that this movie doesn’t take advantage of that. It could be more successful as a standalone film if it gave more hints as to who these characters are and why they do what they do.

Next episode, how do these films handle the final boss fight where the boss is someone only fans can truly appreciate? Talk at you next time and also…

[I’ll be your refrigerator.]