Please note: this will include spoilers for Final Fantasy 7: Remake.
I am sick and tired of seriousness in media.
To be clear, “serious” does not mean “no humor and no emotion,” but an eery blandness that scrapes away anything above a certain emotional register. If you want to know what I mean, go and watch Westworld, a show about robotic cowboys where absolutely nobody appears to be able to show any emotion. The colors are bland, the score is moody, the plots are contrived and exhausting, there is no “fun,” only the constant pursuit of whatever vague foreshadowing they intend to make entirely for an audience of people that write episode summaries and listen to podcasts about fictional events.
On the other hand, Final Fantasy 7: Remake feels as if it was made out of spite for prestige TV. It’s big, emotional, colorful, melodramatic and explosive, with enjoyable and satisfying combat and a genuine sense of love for the source material. It’s also one of the single most daring games ever made, not because of the controls, or the combat, or anything systematically it does, but because instead of being a “remake,” FF7: Remake decided to subtly (and then overtly) change the plot of one of the single most beloved videogames of all time, all while fixing almost every issue the original had.
I cannot be explicit enough about how ballsy this is. This remake has been teased since 2005, and the assumption was that the original would be faithfully recreated in glorious 3D…only for the team to decide (with very little warning and absolutely no marketing) that they were going to entirely rip up the combat system, the pacing, and then eventually the plot. Where the Star Wars and Marvel Comic Universes exist in a constant state of anxiety over changing whether Star Lord’s pants are a certain color, Final Fantasy 7: Remake’s developers took the original and said “this was wonderful, we loved it, however 50% of it sucks and the plot needs improving.”
The reason they pulled it off is that they had absolutely no fear of the source material being seen — by today’s standards at least — like it was silly. Modern TV has reached a point where almost every major show is either a series of 980 different new characters that live and die every episode, or a withered old onion of things that were mentioned once that are now suddenly very important. Performances are muted (look at literally any character in Westworld other…