The Top Five Final Fantasies — Beneath the Tangles

Some Final Fantasy fan art I did is now up at Beneath the Tangles, put in the service of yet another list. I’m still trying to get a handle on drawing humans, having invested so much of my effort into drawing creatures with longer snoots and bigger ears, etc. On a couple of occasions (Faris and Terra’s Esper form) I tried to mimic Yoshitaka Amano’s style/designs a bit, and this oddly enough turned out to be what I’m most pleased with.

In lieu of my usual attempts to wrest theological insights from video games, I thought that this time around I’d post a top five list of my favourite Final Fantasy titles, and use it to showcase some of my bad fan art. It’s a series I’ve been a big fan of since since my early…

via The Top Five Final Fantasies — Beneath the Tangles

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The Empire Strikes Back

The next film on my David Lynch revisit turned out to be Inland Empire, which I’ve never seen before. This was largely a fortuitous development: it’s seemingly out of print and not readily available for streaming; but I just so happened to stumble across a relatively cheap used DVD copy in a music store, so there you go.

Anyhow, I can’t remember the last time my feelings about a movie changed so dramatically over the course of a viewing. The first half hour or so was really rough, and I was starting to regret putting down money for it. By the end I was considering giving it a place in my top ten movies. Another watch is probably necessary before that sort of decision, but I definitely love it more than Mulholland Drive – even though Mulholland Drive is by far the better film. In fact, Inland Empire may in fact be a straight up bad movie, or even a movie that’s so bad it’s good. I don’t know. It breaks so many cinematic rules that it’s hard to properly evaluate by the usual criteria.

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I’m sorry for the lack of content here – I just haven’t been feeling the blogging itch lately, and a lot of my leisure time has been eaten up by my silly drawings. To make up for it, here’s some personal pop culturey nostalgia.

When I was a pretentious teenager I counted David Lynch among my favourite directors. My adult self, on the other hand, quickly developed a knee-jerk reaction against the man’s films. But this, I think, had less to do with the quality of those films than my desire to not be reminded of that awkward teenager. Certainly I’ve never revisited any of them in the past decade – the 80s cheese of Dune being the lone exception. So lately I’ve been thinking to rectify this and see with more objective eyes what this old love is worth (and this also seems particularly timely, given that we’re getting a new Twin Peaks soon). A good way to start off would be Mulholland Drive, which seems generally agreed upon as his best movie, and was the one I watched first.

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Everything is canon now

So I found myself returning to the original Kingdom Hearts for the first time since it was relatively new. Perhaps it was the need for a palette cleanser after the excellent but admittedly very harrowing NieR: Automata. Perhaps it was the fact that I found Final Fantasy XV, which more-or-less had the same dev team, to be surprisingly good. Perhaps it was Square’s timely release of a HD collection. In any event, I’m giving the Kingdom Hearts series a second chance; which is saying something, considering how my first go-around ended in an emotional dumpster fire partway through Kingdom Hearts 2.

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Things visible and invisible

Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey has become so iconic and cemented in its status as a classic that it’s easy to forget that it originally opened to very mixed reviews, with as many critics finding it a pretentious mess as those who found it brilliant. And I think this divisiveness accurately reflects how it continues to be received among audiences today. I have yet to find someone who thinks 2001 is merely ok; everyone seems either convinced that it is one of cinema’s supreme masterpieces or else finds it one of the most boring, self-indulgent spectacles put to film.

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The future looks bright

Talking about animated movies is one of the Things I Like To Do on this blog, and it’s been quite some time since I talked about Don Bluth. So let’s talk about Titan A.E. (2000), the movie that kinda sorta ended his career in feature films.

Its hard for me not to have an immediate fondness for what Titan A.E. is, conceptually: a mainstream animated take on classic Campbellian space opera. It’s a rare movie that doesn’t feel beholden to the normal expectations of what an American animated movie should be.

Which makes it all the more unfortunate that it’s kinda bad.

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The Legend of NieR: Gaiden: Automata

[NieR fan art was supposed to go here]

NieR: Automata isn’t just a good or even great game; it’s one of those games which makes use of the full potential of the medium in a way that few games do. Or, to put it another way, it’s a game that makes you realize just how much untapped potential there is. It surprised me in a way that I don’t think I’ve felt since the early 3D era, when it suddenly seemed like video games could do almost anything.

NieR: Automata is proof that the medium can do almost anything…if it wants to. Playing it to completion was like falling in love with video games all over again.

(Spoilers ahoy!)
(Incidentally here’s my previous, less spoilery post)

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The Top Ten Classical Compositions

It was only a matter of time before I’d submit western art music to the indignities of a top ten list. Some composers like Beethoven didn’t make the cut simply because I couldn’t choose one piece of music above the rest. Don’t even ask if the numbering means anything here; cutting things down to ten was painful enough.

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General geekery

I haven’t had much time/energy for blogging in recent weeks. Here’s a quick and dirty bullet-list of relevant stuff to indicate that I’m still around.

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Do androids dream of frilly gothic lolita dresses?

Ok now this is just getting silly. A few days after I finished The Last Guardian, Square Enix released what may be the most Josh W. game ever made.

That game is NieR: Automata.

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