I went to that Crisis Core event last night — partly because I had to for the sake of the 1UP Show, but also to settle a bet with Shane regarding just how relevant FFVII really is in this day and age.
Anyway, chatting with Christian Nutt and Kohler and various other game writer types at the Metreon last night, I had a realization as to why I think Crisis Core succeeds where Advent Children fails miserably, and it’s so simple that I feel kind of stupid about it. The difference: one is a video game, the other isn’t. For all that gamers complain about movies based on games totally missing the point and straying entirely too far from the source material, I look to Advent Children as a resounding demonstration that movies can only go so far in mimicking the other medium before they drop off the deep end and into utter ridiculousness.
The things I hate most about Advent Children — the obtuse narrative, the lack of tension and consequence within the endless violence, the general preposterousness and joylessness of it all — are things that, within the context of a game, wouldn’t feel entirely out of place. But when you turn a boss battle into a cinematic sequence (which is precisely what the one-on-one brawl between Tifa and Pretty Boy #2 is) the result is incredibly stupid, a pointless back and forth that goes nowhere. Having those little numbers pop up when you hit a dude makes a world of difference, I guess.
From a narrative standpoint, I guess Crisis Core probably isn’t really that much better than Advent Children, besides having a much more likable protagonist. But since the video game-y bits are allowed to be video game, it comes off much better. So let this be a lesson: if you want to make a cinematic game adaptation, don’t put a freaking video game director in charge.
Except Hideo Kojima. Naw, just kidding. Especially not Hideo Kojima.