Hi, all. So you might have noticed that I left off my Doctor Who episode reviews after “The Bells of St. John”. Never fear, though: I’m here to make up for it with a review of all the remaining episodes in one post. Buckle up for mediocre plots, tired tropes, and characters with no character after the jump!
So, the other day, I found proof that the universe hates me.
I am baffled that this is actually happening. For anyone who missed it, the first Percy Jackson movie was nothing short of terrible. It had its moments, and I’ll admit to liking some of it. It was certainly a movie with potential, but it didn’t follow the books. It added some unnecessary romance between Percy and Annabeth—because why the hell not?—it completely cut out the actual main antagonist in order to make Hades the bad guy—again, because why the hell not?—and it took just about every opportunity to disregard what made the books so great to begin with.
Percy Jackson was a unique retelling of the Greek Pantheon because it modernized everything. While I did find the books remarkably similar to Harry Potter in a lot of ways, which only served to worsen my opinions of the books—special place for special people (Camp Halfblood/Hogwarts), trio of three main characters, etc.—Percy Jackson still managed to be its own story. I didn’t love the books, but I could respect the writing style, the original characters, and a unique spin on an already well-known mythos.
But the first movie changed all that. It ruined the uniqueness. By changing the villain, it created plot holes, by adding the romance so early on it wasn’t true to the main characters, and by un-modernizing the gods, it ruined what made the premise justifiable and not overdone in the first place.
While this trailer for the sequel certainly looks better, as though hopefully the director and writers learned from the mistakes of the first movie, I don’t have high hopes. How can I? It’s been so long between films that I had actually thought this one would never happen. I’d have much rather seen the first movie rebooted. So here’s me not being excited to go see this.
Continuing on with this series, I am unfortunately not done talking about the religion in Final Fantasy X. I’ve already gone over what Yevon is, but I have not talked about what it entails. Or rather, I haven’t talked about its foundation in detail. And just as a warning, while my other posts have had spoilers in them, this one will have a lot more.
Anyway, if you want to continue reading, Yevon is centered on the aeons, which are essential in order for summoners to defeat Sin. Most simply, aeons are powerful creatures that summoners can summon and control at will, but it is more complicated than that. I’ve already gone over both the portrayal of religion and the dead, which are also essential to understanding what the aeons actually are. A dead person is comprised of pyreflies, which act as a soul, more or less. Sometimes dead people will become angry and turn into monsters, while other times, they’ll manifest as ghosts. And in keeping with the general theme of Final Fantasy X, aeons also come from the dead, though aeons themselves are not dead. More accurately, they’re the manifestation of dreams of the dead.
While some dead people become fiends and others become ghosts, a small few will become fayths. Fayths are people who died willingly and had their souls forever trapped inside stone statues. Every Yevon temple in Spira has at least one statue. When summoners travel to the different temples, they enter something called The Cloister of Trials. Once completing that task, a summoner may enter The Chamber of the Fayth, where he or she can pray to the fayth’s statue for a way to defeat Sin. If the fayth answers the summoner’s prayers, the fayth will then grant that summoner its aeon. Summoners must train by praying at temples and obtaining as many aeons as possible or they will never become strong enough to gain the power of the Final Aeon, which is the only aeon that can defeat Sin.
It is the aeons that are responsible for both destroying Sin and rebirthing it over and over again. Unfortunately, like every other good idea in this game, something has to ruin it. So besides Yevon using machina, what I’m about to talk about is the other incredibly large plot hole that could have very easily been fixed.
So I’ve already gone over Seymour and Yuna, and now I’m talking about Yevon. Yevon is the main faith in Final Fantasy X. Just about everyone follows it, and it makes sense that they would. Yevon’s teachings are the only thing providing the people of Spira hope, and it’s been the only thing providing that for the past thousand years. Sin keeps killing people and Yevon is their only way out. Summoners pray at temples run by Yevonites, which probably only enforces the belief that it is through following Yevon’s teachings that Sin will ever truly be destroyed. And when you have a world living in such terror, with their only escape being the church, it also makes sense that Yevon is the leading political power in Spira.
Yevon is actually a very interesting faith, and it is unfortunately not explored to the extent that I wish it would have been. It has a lot in common with Buddhism, Shintoism, and Catholicism. It requires a lot of disciplines for its followers—not using machina, which is what the people call machines—and some of its iconography is indicative of Buddhism. The temples and all the ritualistic practices are very similar to Shintoism, and as for the Catholic Church, it has a very similar hierarchy. Yevon is led by a Grand Maester (basically the Pope), and beneath him are three other Maesters (Cardinals). And then there are the people under them, so on and so forth.
People who don’t follow Yevon, like the Al Bhed, are frowned upon and considered heretics. Though the game does show people being killed for not following Yevon, it honestly surprises me that it doesn’t happen more, and it can even be argued that the Al Bhed who are killed are murdered for other reasons. The amount of scorn non-Yevonites face makes me surprised that executions based on faith, or lack thereof, are not common, especially considering that there are orders to kill Yuna after she is excommunicated.
But when a faith is established as the leading political power, while it’s not a big surprise that the leaders may be corrupt and while we can also argue that Yevon may have brainwashed the people of Spira, that doesn’t mean it can get away with some of the things it does. It doesn’t matter how corrupt an organization is, if it purposefully flaunts its hypocrisy people are going to notice every time. And that’s what happens in Final Fantasy X.
So just to be clear, I want to say that I have yet to play a Final Fantasy game that I don’t like, which may seem surprising, considering that I do nothing but complain all the time. Oftentimes, Final Fantasy X goes from something I genuinely think is good to a guilty pleasure, but other times, it’s completely infuriating. I’ve mentioned before when talking about XIII that I prefer games that start off weak and end strong, compared to games that start off strong and end poorly. Unfortunately, Final Fantasy X falls into the latter category. The first part of this game is pretty okay. We’ve got a great setup with some unique characters, we can see what’s at stake, and on top of the entire apocalyptic catastrophe that’s going on we’ve got religious oppression.
There’s a lot happening in this game. Also, much like IX, it tackles some pretty deep subjects, like death and sacrifice. On top of the aforementioned religious oppression. Unfortunately, X just couldn’t keep up its momentum.
So the other day, I forced Saika to take me both to the movies and to pay for my ticket. Naturally, we went to see Rise of the Gaurdians, which was a pleasant break from the sword fight the two of us failed to properly have beforehand—more accurately, we swung wooden sticks at each other and it was very awkward—and I have to say that this movie did not reach my expectations. It’s plenty enjoyable—I’ve seen it a few times already—and it’s a good story. But it is nowhere near as epic as everyone made it out to be.