Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker AMV: The Cinematic Experience

Well here's a rare treat: an AMV artist making a return to this rant blog. Yes, the creator of today's AMV is Roynerer, who also made the last AMV highlighted in this rant column, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: The Cinematic Experience. Today's selection has a similar founding idea behind it, but a fairly different mood to its music, visuals, and scene selection keeps it fresh and interesting for us. So, with the customary SPOILER ALERT mentioned, let's take a look-see, shall we?

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker: The Cinematic Experience: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7b0bsAmYFGI

Alright, Mr. DeMille, I'm Ready for my Close-Up: The game's visuals are aesthetically pleasing in their trademark combination of cartoonish style, cel-shading, and eye-catching color. The quality of the video footage is good, nothing bad nor amazing that I noticed.

As with Roynerer's last AMV, the visual artistry is simple, but exemplary. There's a fade or 2 that are nicely placed, connecting the scenes on either side of them fairly well, but the real subtle elegance can be seen at moments such as 4:11 to 4:13, where Link's swirling in the air fades into a picture of clouds circling a towering mountain peak, and 4:49 to 4:52, where a spinning fairy is followed by a spinning bird. The AMV is basically using different parts of its footage--its very colorful and visually appealing footage--to connect scenes in an attention-capturing way here, and it's quite neat.

Most importantly, though, is just the fact that the scene selection here is very good overall. Unlike the last AMV I looked at by Roynerer, this one is less about emotionally telling the game's story in a linear way than it is about giving a grand summary of the game, much like the Final Fantasy 9 Porcelain AMV did that I reviewed a little ways back. At the same time, though, there IS a certain linearity and story-telling method to the AMV, for it starts and ends with the same beginning and conclusion as the game itself--the first few minutes of the AMV show the same legend told at the beginning of the game and also cover the abduction of Aryll, while the last minutes of the video show the final battle with Ganondorf and the departure of Link and Tetra. For these parts, the scene selection is very good, showing what's needed to get the message across in a manner that keeps the attention. I feel that the main body of the AMV is also notable in its scene selection, though. Granted, with less of a linear tale to tell, Roynerer has an easier task, not having to worry about continued comprehension of scenes and their relation to one another...but the images he's chosen to show the scope, magic, and action of the adventure are very effective, yet not overwhelming as they could have been. This is thanks to the fact that in addition to showing plenty of exciting images of dragons breathing fire and magic light shooting across the landscape and such, the video also has several clips that are more simple and ordinary, such as revolving shots of the islands Link visits in the game, or some kids walking along. Also, I should note that even if it's not as cohesive a sequence as that of the previous Zelda AMV, the locations and stuff shown in this video's adventure-summarizing center does actually go in the order that the game does for the most part--you see each new location and the stuff that happens there in the same sequence as you would visit it and do it in the game. So really, this AMV is kind of like a nicely linear sequence of events, but at the same time a generalized overview of the game, and both parts of the combination are done well and don't take away from the other.

Your Music's Bad and You Should Feel Bad!: This AMV actually uses music from 3 separate movies' soundtracks: Armageddon, Dinosaur, and Lady in the Water. I can't say I'm very familiar with any of these movies--I've actually never seen Armageddon or Lady in the Water, and it's been many years since I saw Dinosaur. But as an unfamiliar listener, I'd have to say that these music selections are very nice pieces, effective at invoking emotion in several powerful fashions.

The musical part of this AMV is extremely well-done. This is partially because the music itself is, as I just said, quite good. But the far greater part of what makes this AMV terrific is how well the music is utilized. First of all, the music selection for the arcs of the AMV is great. The beginning, which tells of the legend of Hyrule that the game's story starts with, is played to poignant music filled with mysticism, wonder, and a feeling of epic past events that draws you in--in fact, I was far more entranced by the beginning story in this AMV than I was by it in the original game! After this introduction, the music beautifully transitions into a piece that just as perfectly embodies the idea of a grand tale's beginning as the first events of the game are shown in an abridged fashion, and once the adventure's start has been established, the music once again transitions to a more upbeat tune that perfectly embodies the spirit of a long, involved adventure, perfectly accompanying the part of the AMV that paraphrases the main body of the plot for The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. Eventually, it changes yet again to a strong, epic score to compliment the climactic final battle with Ganondorf that the AMV details. Finally, the AMV concludes to a more quiet, emotional song that embodies the departure of Link and Tetra from the remnants of Hyrule quite well.

In addition to fitting the general mood of each part of the AMV, the music also nearly perfectly fits the details of the AMV, as well, which is always a feat that requires great skill from an AMV creator. Most people will be able to put their AMV to appropriate music in general, some will be able to generally match the music's notes and changes to the events in the video, but rarely do you find an AMV where the creator has done both--rarer still that it's done as well as this one. There are plenty of examples, such as 3:46, where Link crashes into a wall just as the music's beat percussion thingy sounds, and immediately after at 3:48, where Link's splash into the water below is matched to the next drum beat thing in the music. As the music changes to a calmer, more rolling, yet adventurous tune at 3:56, the scene transitions appropriately into the waves of the ocean as Link sails along them. My favorite examples of this perfect cohesion between visual events and the music's notes and emotions is found at 4:30, where the music soars suddenly as a beam of light races from one island totem to the next, crashing into its target as the cymbals crash in the song--such a tiny part of the whole AMV, yet so masterfully done. But these are just a few examples; trust me when I say that the attention to the details of melding visual and audio in this AMV is constant and manifested countless times in the music video's course. And it can be more than just individual notes matching up, too, smaller passages of video and sound where it's not so much the details as the emotion of both the music and video that are in tune. For example, the way the music's climactic conclusion matches to the finale to the battle against Ganondorf from 6:02 to 6:17 is elegantly epic in this way.

Guy, You Explain: This is one of those AMVs that attempt to summarize the game. Interestingly, it's both like the last AMV by Roynerer, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: The Cinematic Experience in that attempts to show the entirety of the game...and yet at the same time, also like most summary AMVs, in that it's more conveying the general idea, the general feel and epic nature of the game, than the entirety of it. What I mean by this is that The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker: The Cinematic Experience here shows you the beginning of the game, and brings you to the game's concluding events, its final battle and the send-off for Link and Tetra, covering the most important parts of the game, the ones with the most story-telling power. Roynerer brings us in this AMV an adequately detailed depiction of the final chapter in Hyrule's long saga of adventures. But most of the game's events that follow the beginning and lead up to the ending are more or less glossed over in the video's middle, shown in a jumble that doesn't cover all the bits of plot throughout the game that lead to the conclusion. Instead, we get the more typical AMV summary of the game, seeing lots of scenes of people, places, and events that all spell out a theme of colorful, fun adventure, which is what The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker was about just as much as all the epic stuff. Both sides to this video's purpose are done very well, and I feel that they're connected very well together, unified as a whole instead of just forced together.

This AMV's not perfect--as good as the beginning of the AMV is, which describes the opening legend of the game, it's pretty long, taking up almost 3 minutes of an 8 minute video--that's a little too long for an AMV just to have you staring at murals, honestly. But on the other hand, I couldn't really say how this could be fixed--the sequence is too integral to the idea of the AMV, and too well-made, to speed it up, or cut it out of the AMV altogether. So it's not a fault I feel should be significantly held against this work.

And other than that flaw, I can't really find anything else wrong with this. It is, from start to finish, epic, elegant, skillfully made, powerful, fun, colorful, and absolutely great to watch--and in having all these qualities, it embodies its game perfectly. Roynerer has told me in correspondence that he takes pride in his work, and the skill, creativity, and enthusiasm evident in this AMV both attests to this, and proves that he has a right to that pride.

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