I wrote a review for Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children a while back. In it, I went over some of its problems—it panders, has too many characters for its running time, and breaks its suspension of disbelief more than once. I also briefly touched on Cloud’s depression, which I plan to talk about in more detail today. Advent Children has a lot of things wrong with it, and as a whole, the movie simply does not work. Cloud’s character arc is one of those things. The movie doesn’t know how to handle mental health issues, and that makes Advent Children more than a little painful to watch at times. Cloud suffers from depression, but his depression never contributes to his character arc in a way that matters. Advent Children uses it to set up his internal conflict, but it never resolves his issues. Instead, Cloud’s depression is little more than a gimmick, and the way the movie handles it really drags on the story.
I really wanted to rec something lighthearted for you guys, but after a long week with a shitty boss, I had no mental energy whatsoever to relate to anything outside my own personal experiences. So instead, I ended up going through my pages and pages of bookmarks trying to find something that featured a completely platonic relationship and that was also safe for my current mental state.
In the process, I came across an older story about Jason Todd, Dick Grayson, and their brotherly hatred for one another. Well, Jason Todd comes with his own psychological problems, and most stories with him deserve multiple trigger warnings, but since my depression and anxiety sucked ass this week, reading a fic about a character going through a massive panic attack ended up being exactly what I needed. Not A Brother Not A Friend isn’t a safe read in that regard, but it was definitely platonic and relatable, and for this week, that was good enough.
Trigger warning for mental trauma up ahead.
I’ve been a huge fan of Pirates of the Caribbean ever since the first movie came out in 2003. The following two movies weren’t all that great, but despite the franchise’s many problems, I still had a soft spot for it in my heart, even after watching the subpar On Stranger Tides. And then Johnny Depp decided to be an asshole, and since that wasn’t enough to end his career, we’re now getting Dead Men Tell No Tales.
Disney-Pixar’s Up has a special place in my heart. It’s a fun adventure film with some stunning animation and great writing, and every time I sit down to rewatch it, I find myself in love with nearly everything on the screen all over again. This wasn’t always the case, though. The story is centered on a man dealing with his wife’s death, and fridgings are an overused trope that I hate a great deal. But the more I thought about it, the less this fridging in particular bothered me. Up takes that common trope and reworks it into an important life lesson with a surprisingly positive message about dealing with the death of a loved one.
I really have just about given up on decent female representation in these games. It’s not even that women aren’t in Assassin’s Creed III—we do get a few characters, and they are anything but poorly written. They’re just not in it very much, and I know the story could do better. However, now that Trump has signed legislation allowing DAPL to proceed once more, showing how little both he and other Americans care about Native American lands and the rights of the people on those lands, Assassin’s Creed III was remarkably on point when it came to issues of race. Given the current political climate, it delves into a much-needed conversation about the oppression of minorities, white privilege, and the bad things that happened to make our country what it is today.
Spoilers up ahead.
I love space. I am absolutely obsessed with outer space, exoplanets, and various other things that I don’t fully understand because I don’t science for a living or even go to school to learn how to science. But as someone who reads every science journal I can get my hands on about space and the possibility of extraterrestrial life, I think I’ve reached the point where I have at least a rudimentary understanding of things like gravity. Since I find science super fun, I’ve always been interested in exploring it through a fictional medium where I can vicariously travel to different planets and meet alien life. Stargate, Star Wars, Star Ocean, the new Star Trek movies—why do so many titles have Star in them?—and even Dark Matter and Jupiter Ascending are all right up my alley.
But one of the things that has always annoyed me about these stories is the lack of variety on the planets they go to visit. This is significantly less true for Star Wars and Star Trek, which feature a wide array of alien life and habitats, but in the end, the only way I can conclude that physics works the way it does in too many of these stories is because of magical plot convenience.
Crossover fanfiction is usually not for me, and neither are time travel stories, for that matter. But every once in a while, I come across one that, against all odds, works really nicely. Visitorverse is one of those stories. Written by three different authors, Visitorverse is, at the time this article is being published, a series of nineteen fics taking place in the world of Assassin’s Creed, only the rules of the universe are the same as those in Sense8. Six Assassins—Desmond, Ezio, Altaïr, Edward, Avaline, and Connor—as well as two Templars—Haytham and Shay—find themselves connected across time and end up visiting each other at seemingly random moments in their lives.