Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Fallout 3 AMV: Mad World

2012 Update: As time has gone on, I've come to think much less of this AMV. By all means I still consider it very good, but if I were to encounter it for the first time today, it wouldn't get its own rant. I'd include it in my General RPG AMV rants, sure, but it just doesn't merit as much praise or focus as I've given it here. I'll still keep it up, of course--it wont' be the first rant I've felt less in tune with over time, after all, but it's still a part of my history here, and it's not like it's totally off or anything. Just take this one with a grain of salt. And now, as it was:

Yeah, that's right--ANOTHER Fallout 3 AMV rant. I make no apologies. It's a good game and these are good AMVs.

Now I'll grant you, in comparison to the other Fallout 3 AMVs I've posted, this one isn't quite as blatantly awesome. But it's still darned good, and very impressive in its own right when you realize that this AMV was made before the game was even released. That means that somebody, in this case a Youtuber named Squiggy3210 (or Zorskel, on his other channel), put together an AMV using nothing but stock footage of preview videos that managed to be good enough to catch my attention (and I tend to be borderline unreasonable with how picky I am about these things). Certainly worth a look, wouldn't you say?

(Unless you don't like blood and guts and such--I've said this a couple times now, but it bears repeating that Fallout 3's general gameplay is not for the weak of stomach, faint of heart, or low of age).

Fallout 3: Mad World: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afOWtUjHXHg

Poetry in Motion: Quality-wise, this AMV's certainly fine. Certain parts are definitely in higher definition than others, but I wouldn't say any of the clips in this video are anything less than satisfactory for how well you can see them.

As far as visual tricks go, there's not much to note here. The camera work is good sometimes, like when it gives a wide shot at 2:35, which emphasizes the scene's conjunction with the lyrics "mad world." Still, from what I understand, all of the clips of this were taken from preview footage, so that's more a case of picking the right scene for that moment than the AMV maker's setting it up himself. As far as Zorskel goes, not a lot of effects were put in--just some basic fades for transitions from one scene to the next, really. Still, even if some effects might have improved it, the AMV's good without them, and with a more mellow and slow song like this one, visual bells and whistles might have actually been distracting. The scenes often change accordingly with the music's tone and changes, so it seems reasonable to say that Zorskel did put some thought into the arrangement and timing, at least, and it does work.

I Gotta Have More Cowbell: The song is the real strength of this work. This AMV's visuals are more there as a backup to the song and its general mood than a completely equal share of it. The song for this AMV is Mad World, a song by British band Tears for Fears. This version of Mad World is the one from the movie Donnie Darko, performed by Gary Jules and Michael Andrews.

Now, I admit that I'm biased in that I'm fond of this song anyway, but I think that Mad World really fits Fallout 3's setting quite well, and this AMV shows that. Previous Fallout 3 AMVs I've covered are more active and even upbeat, having messages of warning against letting a world like Fallout 3 come to pass, and emphasizing the battle between vice and virtue in Fallout 3's wasteland. Fallout 3 Mad World, however, looks at a different, but also significant aspect of the game: the moody, regretful tone of the Fallout universe, the feeling created from simply stopping a moment in your journeys through the wasteland and looking around at it.

The song captures this lonely sadness in and of itself well, but the AMV enhances this mood and its association to the Fallout world by often tying the lyrics to the scenes being shown. The opening is very nicely done, backing up to view a part of the Capital Wasteland until you get to its explorer getting ready to go through it. Parts like the segment that starts at 0:13 match the song very nicely, showing the tired people of the wasteland and its decimated, decaying locations to the lyrics describing them as "familiar faces," "worn out places," and "worn out faces." The part at 0:27's decent, showing traveling through the Capital Wasteland as being an example of "going nowhere." The part at 0:47 is, of course, a perfect fit for "no tomorrow," being scenes of a nuclear explosion from the game. 1:55 shows the Lone Wanderer's first encounter with Sarah Lyons and her paladins, a meeting in the game in which the Brotherhood of Steel combat veterans wonder who the hell this newcomer is who's just waltzed into a combat zone, to the lyrics "no one knew me."* The real highlight of the AMV's matching scenes to the song, though, are the parts for the chorus at 1:17 and 2:34, where you're shown examples of standard chaotic settings of the post-apocalyptic world, along with a scene of the horrible violence that occurs in it regularly, perfectly emphasizing what a "mad world" it is. The second chorus is particularly good, as it goes on to be the end of the song, which the AMV handles very well, giving a wide view of the world to the "enlargen your world," and finishing the final "mad world" with the game title and the iconic Fallout 3 scene of the Lone Wanderer walking down the road with Dogmeat.

Of course, it's not perfect. There are times in the AMV where the lyrics and feel of the song just don't match up to the the visuals. 0:33, for example, shows you a scene of a gunfight with a couple super mutants, while the song, as quiet as ever, talks about tears filling up glasses and no expression and so on, which...well, there's not a lot of connection there between the audio and visual, unless I'm missing one hell of a metaphor. There are a few other moments where the connection between video and music are shaky at best, though I think that one's probably the worst. The AMV overall is of good quality and worth viewing, which is why I'm doing a rant on it at all, but it wouldn't be honest not to make mention that it's not perfect.

I'm running this monkey farm now, Frankenstein! And I wanna know what the fuck you're doing with my time!: As I said, I rather like the part of Fallout that this AMV emphasizes, the strange, displaced sense of both familiarity and the alien in a destroyed world that was once ours. Most AMVs about Fallout 3 emphasize its violent, twisted world and the small wars of vice and virtue that occur within it, and power to them--that stuff is a huge part of it. But few AMVs are willing to step back and look at the calm, exhausted displacement of the Fallout world that rests beneath it all, the sadness behind the chaos and madness that you can see, hear, even feel in the game when you stop for a moment and just take in its surroundings. Fallout 3: Mad World does a good job of that, and few AMVs try to.

This work also has a second notable function--while it may seem less important now that Fallout 3 is well over a year old, this AMV was made 2 weeks before the game was released, and was intended to further spark people's interest in the upcoming game (as is made obvious by the end of the video). I'd certainly say it does this well, too. While there were obviously fast and attention-getting trailers and such for the game, speaking for myself, a well-made AMV that shows a more contemplative side to the game and promises some heart and soul to it to go along with all the action and adventure and whatnot is easily as likely, if not more, to get me interested in the upcoming product.

This is a good AMV that gives the viewer another perspective to its featured game that most other AMV creators don't consider, and accomplishes its task of garnering interest from its viewers quite adequately. It's not perfect by a long-shot, mind--the AMV was made before there were clips to use beyond those released for trailers and such, and it does show. It could be greatly improved by Zorskel with an update to its video selections--now that Fallout 3's been out for a while, there are craploads of in-game videos of it all over Youtube and beyond, so chances are he could find some decent new clips to put in at certain parts where the video loses relevance to the song. Still, as it stands, it's still remarkably good, and worth the watching.

* Interestingly enough, since this AMV was made before Fallout 3 was out and thus before its story's events and details could have been known, Zorskel couldn't have actually KNOWN that this scene would match so well to the lyrics right then. It has to just be a very handy coincidence that he happened to put that scene there. Intentional or not, though, it DOES make for a nice addition.

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