Before I go off on my tangent that will might very well earn me the title of "troll", I would like to make clear my opinions on this remixing project:
There is never needed an excuse to remix videogame music, or to create art of any form for that matter, if one wants to do it, that's reason enough. The fact that the community has put some of their best and most talented remixers into this project is reason only for celebration. The direction of the project, namely a theatrical arrangement of music from Chrono Trigger is in my humble opinion vastly overdue. I applaud the vision that moved Claado Shou into asking for the time and effort of these fine gentlemen and ladies for their help. I am myself eagerly awaiting the fruits of the collective labour and have eagerly set aside a blank CD to burn what will hopefully a definitive orchestral remix of a classic of video game music composition. I don't have a problem in any way related to the remixes currently in progress, I do not feel it in my realm of expertise to critique what is being done- I am no remixer, no musician and certainly my taste is unique that I do not normally step in to make comments on music, save for joyous praise on the occasion when a mix has profoundly stirred me. To re-iterate: What will follow and what has already been said does not in any way reflect a desire for this project to cease, go forth and create! I look forward to it.
No, what moves me to write line; taking myself from lurker to flamebait material is quite bluntly the laughable assertions made by Claado Shou on the quality of his script. That he would type
had me laughing until I noticed that it had reached 13 pages, which surely puts it outside of the realm of a practical joke. Delusion is always hard to dispel when it's bearer is convinced of his/her grasp on reality, and why should Claado Shou not be, when he's (forgive me if Claado's a she) "[had] three years of screenwriting credit and classes under my belt, so this [writing a screen-play] is not unfamiliar territory..."
While I do respect Claado for actually finishing this script, something that I certainly have not done (that is, write a Crono Trigger screenplay), I find the high opinion of it baffling, because I'm sure he knows that good screenplays usually don't get written in a month. And for those of you who might be wondering, at the end of all this, if he had asked for help- I would have offered it.
To hold this script to any sort of measure begs the question of whether or not it was meant to be reviewed on such a level. To put it another way, there is an immediate irony with someone such as myself taking a text file found on the internet and holding it standards of the "real world", namely Hollywood (Or any other market, for that matter), and then discerning if it's Hollywood "quality". (Which is all too-often an oxymoron, but that's a whole different discussion.) But I find it desirous to pass on my opinion when I see a fellow writer actually displaying hope that perhaps, perhaps his script will get picked up "by the right people" and filmed as a movie. To which I say, not this script, not ever. I know that I don't even need to point this out, that time itself would surely teach vain hope's lesson. But I hate to wait. Let's start, shall we?
(Now, it's important to note that while reading the script/screenplay, I act like this is the first time I've encountered the storyline, so a lot of the criticism is poking at the parts of the story that are not explained in even a rudimentary way to the audience, we can't assume they've all played the game.)
First off, after reading the script, what appears first as an atrocious flaw is the pacing of this 'treatment'; practically no effort was made to keep a sane level of rhythm during this story. The whole script is Chrono Trigger in fast-forward with the vast majority of battles stripped out, leaving us with literally the key plot advancements all back to back- this ends up killing the story on by it's own nature- minutes, mere minutes after the 'group' are passed through the portal for the first time, they are informed of the impending doom of Lavos. It was not even seen fit to have another character written in to explain the entire crisis of the story! It heightens the already fragile storytelling to have Crono hop through a portal, save Marle from a couple of machines, then have Lucca join and just after read a PC that says, in effect: "Hey, you guys are all going to die. KTHXBAI" No credence is given to the fact they are time-traveling, the key introductory themes of cause and effect are skipped over as if unnecessary, we have the entire movie's crux brazenly thrust at us with a such feeble effort. Lucca, who just minutes ago hadn't known a bloody thing about "Lavos", explains: "Look...it would be best to attack the creature as far back as we can, before it's gained enough power to sustain itself. That means, the further back in time, the greater our chances." The fact that that it isn't even established that they can travel back in time only adds to the hilarity of a couple of teenagers deciding to fight a creature they've only just seen on a machine they didn't even have in their own time.
Another clumsy effort is the script - horrific in it's blind savagery of the English language. I want to share this with you all:
At the beginning of the "movie" we have Crono's Mother speak of the Millenial Fair: "It would be a shame if you missed it so you could get some sleep." An entirely awkward thing to say, even more so out of a mother's mouth- to which Crono sarcastically replies "Truly, a shame". hmm
Crono runs then to Lucca's house (Which I heartedly agree is the right move), to have her look at his (wooden?) sword and say: "Eventually, you're going to have to use that sword of yours." Wow. Thanks for that fore-shadowing. A boy with a sword, having to use it someday. I would think that the real (in a literary sense) Lucca would think Crono's sword training a waste of time, and she certainly wouldn't be speaking words of dark omen the opening day of the biggest celebration of the millennium. Not to mention that she would be completely absorbed in finishing her machine.
Crono leaves her house, with her saying "Thanks for everything. I mean it." Now this is interesting, we the audience are seeing him getting thanked, but for what? Stopping by? No, she says "everything", implying more than that. We end up having to guess what she means, because the writer certainly isn't going to tell us, now or ever- instead, we only 'hear' a comment which I suppose is present to imply some sort of meaningful friendship- nevermind that the mother can't remember her son's friend's name. (Yes, this is a classic CT gag, but it doesn't translate well at all).
Moving on, we have the one and only side-attraction of the Fair, namely a stale and contrived encounter with Melchior. Nevermind that this scene should really be saved for when Marle is with Crono (it doesn't matter since the pendant importance is completely forgotten until much later), we have some truly terrible fan-service- Melchior takes Crono's sword, breaks it in his hands, and as replacement, gives him the most powerful (and surely heaviest) sword in the game- The Rainbow. But the real humor is in the dialogue, let's take a look:
Yes, the world we live in, as in, it's a reminder- Melchior obviously needs to be reminded of the world's state of affairs.
I often find myself stroking my .22 caliber pistol, telling others: "One can never be too careful, what with the world we live in".
Let's look at the next lines:
Wow. Crono is looking at a blacksmith's sword and asking, in true RPG fashion, where he found it. Ignoring the fact that Crono has lapsed into a very formal and grammatically incorrect form of speech, we see again how simple RPG concepts, well established and mostly unquestioned, would be ridiculous to see actually portrayed in cinema. Any audience would naturally assume Crono was kidding, and at this point, I kinda wish he was too.
Last bit of the scene:
It's lines like these that make me consider that Claado Chou is really just experimenting with the new style of net humor- drooling stupidity and not actually saying "the script is, without ego, top-notch." Let's see what more strange fruit his arrogance will bear...
We now move on to what is for me one of the most pivotal points in early-game, Crono and Marle's smashing (forgive me, I like to pun) encounter. Ignoring that Claado forgot to write in the ringing of Leene's Bell after they collide, he has them hiding at one point behind the bell itself, which doesn't make sense in this world or another- since it's hovering high in the air on arches. And it's certainly isn't that large, either- think of how we see it being constructed in a house- it's at most a meter wide- and also that it's sound is a pleasant middle-tone (cling-clang, cling-clang), not a deep "dong". (Yeah, I know, I'm real musically gifted. ) What I love most about this whole scene is not the fact that Crono asks if the girl is hiding from someone as they're hiding from someone, but that he asks what will soon be the immortal line of:
Wow.Think about the ramifications of people habitually asking questions to which they already know the answer to. And even not rhetorically. What is a shame is that Crono's inner psychology is never really investigated- I would like to know what makes him ask a beautiful teenage girl if she's escaped from prison. Especially since it's Royal Guards chasing them and not Jailers.
By they way, Claado- Did you ever think you'd get a response this long?
Didn't think so.
Moving on, the duo find themselves now at Lucca's demonstration (completely skipping the other "amusements" might be necessary, but quite frankly, and I'm almost serious when I say this, the total exclusion of Gato is reason enough to lose faith in this 'treatment' ) We have some this monologue offered, a confusing mishmash of terms:
Is it an inside joke that Lucca, who is normally so full of knowledge, doesn't have a frickin' clue as to what "post-modernism" is? (Listen, there's no shame in having a dictionary by your side when you're writing, it's a good way to improve your work) Anyways, it certainly doesn't apply to science, and that bit about transporting objects...wait- HUMAN BEINGS through matter itself is unnecessarily complicated. They might not even have atomic theory, in fact, I would bet they don't, and quantifying the distance is absolute madness when you realize that it will soon be teleporting people not in yards, but years. (Or is that a joke, too?)
Skipping ahead now, we have Marle jump through the portal, being flung into the future, and Crono jumping in after her. By how it is written, Lucca would have followed them in, too, but
*Sigh* To put it mildly, I find this extremely contrived. Why not just stick with what was in the game?
After the void disappears completely, we have the Guard Captain utter the ever clichéed line of:
This would be downright awesome if this movie was a comedy. People have been "torn apart" by unseen forces, teleported to who-knows-where and there's nothing to see? Oh, I get it, it's another joke.(Yes, I know that line is pretty much straight from the game itself, but it's one thing to read it, and another entirely to hear someone say it. Don't kid yourself, writing dialogue so it sounds believable is hard.
We then have a classic exchange wherein Lucca vows to restlessly find a way to rescue her friends...no, wait, what we have is this:
"Let's just go home for now."?! Oh, I guess it's defendable because Lucca is hesitant- did you see those ellipsis points? That's going to someday translate into visible inner turmoil! Sure she's leaving her friends to whatever strange fate her machine has doled out, but at home, goddammit, there's supper! Please, don't let me be the only one to see the tattered remnants of suspended disbelief obliterated by that line.
Back to Crono, we have him being thrown out of the portal and "gawking at the incredible scenery: a room filled with blackened, dirt-covered, fire-ridden machinery and steel." Wow, I like how Claado just wrote "incredible" instead of actually showing us through imagery how incredible it is. Blackened. Dirt-covered. It's a complex vision like this that will really pay off when it gets filmed.
Then he utters:
I find it in poor taste to have religious references in worlds where it isn't clear what religions are present. Some writers use "pseudo-religious" slurs that are both free from complaint from the censors, and lead weight to the idea that it's a foreign world. But often it sounds tacky (Like reading Rand from Robert Jordan's Wheel Of Time Series say "Light!" under his breath for the billionth time.) But in light of any discernible religion in Crono's time (Yes, there is a cathedral, but let's not jump to conclusions), I would have him instead say something more generic. Like Samwise's "That's an eye-opener, no mistake" but more Cronoish.(Would that then be a suprised chirp?) Or keep it, it comes down to one's personal vision of what the universe is like. I myself thought it stuck out, though.
Back to Crono's time, we have this:
And then, this:
I like how the King of Guardia threatens his own guards not with corporeal punishment, or any real disgrace, but instead points out that yes, indeed, his orders take priority over, say, not doing them and going home. (Notice how he really must mean it, his fists are clenched!)
Back to the Arris Dome, 2300 A.D.
We have Crono run down stairs and see Marle in trouble, being attacked by two machines. Now I must admit, the choreograophy of the resulting fight is exactly what it should be, not too-complex, but still interesting. Ignoring that by now this storyline is certainly unfolding much differently than in the game, we have some very awkward dialogue between Crono and Marle, at least to me. Hey, listen: For fanfic this is very well might be stellar work (I wouldn't know, I don't read fanfiction), but as a script, I can't imagine it working well on screen. And believe me, I have a good imagination.
In the span of two "MOMENTS LATER" we have a wonderful bit of blunt exposition that starts off with:
I like that. It shows that Crono is callous, perfect juxtaposition for the previous scene: In which he spends much effort bandaging a wounded Marle. Or maybe it's just his pithy nature again. Can't be sure.
We then unravel for a most glorious rant in which the ultimate desire of the movie is made clear: (I'm ending it here, I have no intention of openly critiquing the entire spanse of script. It certainly doesn't recover, though.)
Black holes don't "suck". But this script does.