Tuesday, November 10, 2015

It Could Have Been A Game

There's been a reoccurring series on the this blog called "It Should Have Been A Game."  Mostly, it's been about movies which would have been better served had they been presented in another medium, namely video games.  The "should" part of the title implies that the movies themselves were not very good.  However, this time I saw a movie that wasn't particularly bad as is, and as such I've changed the "should" to a "could" to reflect my opinion.  So, what is the movie?  Thor: The Dark World.

It might seem like an odd choice at first but, simply put, this is the best Final Fantasy film adaptation ever made.  Much better than Spirits Within, Asgard has all the science fantasy trappings of pretty much any of the settings found in Final Fantasy 6 onward.  What's more, the back story is all there in the now millennium old Norse texts, particularly "The Edda."  Along with all those ancient tomes, over a half century of Marvel comics have been published on the character.  In essence, The Thor films have their own extensive mythology, as well as recent history, making for fertile ground to tell an epic tale.  Final Fantasy settings, by contrast, tend to feel a bit shallow when it comes to in-fiction history because with each new iteration the world-building has to be done from scratch.

There's also no need for the overused amnesia trope.  Thor, instead relies on a stranger in a strange land (namely a visitor from Midgard) along with efficient narration and exposition on the part of the wise Allfather, Odin.  While only around half of the nine worlds have been explored in any detail in the films, it would be quite easy to spend more time visiting each in...say...a 40 hour RPG, rather than a two hour movie.  Thor's large cast of characters could also get more time to develop and interact, especially if they take the role of party members.  Off the top of my head playable characters could include Thor, Jane Foster, Loki, Sif (no, not Sid), Volstagg, Hogun, Fandral and (too-cool-for-the-group-to-stick-around-very-long) Heimdall.  Named supporting NPCs could include Odin, Frigga, Eir, Tyr, Erik Selvig and Darcy Lewis...plus her intern whose name escapes me at the moment.

When it comes to enemies, we've seen our share of Jotnar and Dark Elves in the film, but little in the way of Dwarfs, Light Elves or the Dead.  There are lots of potential foes that have yet to be debuted because of the limitations of the film medium.  Plus more time could be spent on fleshing out villains like Malekith.  According to actors and the director, a large portion of Thor: The Dark World was cut in post-production because of time constraints and a desire from the studio to change the pacing and tone of the the film.  Part of me wonders if the director's original vision was better suited to a video game.  

Perhaps best of all though is that fact that Thor doesn't feature any of the J-Pop garbage or Harajuku fashion trends that seem to have consumed the double digit sequels of Final Fantasy.  I'm not saying Thor doesn't have it's own brand of craziness, but at least the women of Asgard are wearing clothes that could be considered functional for leisure, battle or other day-to-day activities.  

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