Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep

This is the most convoluted universe I have ever seen in a movie or game series.
This is Kingdom Hearts:

This is the trailer for the most recent….part of the Kingdom Hearts series, Birth by Sleep, and boy is it….yeah. In brief, the story of KH involves the hero’s journey of Sora, going from kid on an island…with no parents…to an interplanetary champion of love, hope, and the ever clear Light! (whatever that means).  Basically the ambiguity of Square Enix’s “good vs evil” collided with the stock Disney “Believe and Trust your Heart” – which leaves us with a very basic (VERY BASIC) battle of light and darkness.

And that really doesn’t make a lot of sense.  You are fighting your rival at the end of the first game and all seems lost…but then you “believe and the power of your heart saves you!!!” ….whatever that means.   Now, I am an optimist and I do believe in magic that underlies the world (at least in the magical qualities) so I really like that “light v dark” stuff. However, this series goes to a ridiculous point – PARTICULARLY after the second game. But I wont get into that. Let’s get to the trailer….

Basically I would say that this is the Zack Snyder of Trailers — it looks amazing and really focuses on that.  It is a gorgeous trailer!  Some moments (o:29, 0:35, 1:07) look nigh on live-action, which is incredible for animation made in 2006-7.  The set-up is beautifully haunting and draws us into wondering “what is going on”.  Then, of course, the fight is masterfully crafted, showcasing the years of experience Square Enix brings to the series.  Combat plays fantastically, quick and intense, and best of all – it builds up the story rather than replace it.

That is what is best about this trailer:  it has a narrative story that almost follows a three act structure.  First to be clear, this is actually two teasers in one video.  The first is the secret ending of KH2 and the second is the original teaser for the game (split is at 1:26).  The narrative part is actually across both

Starting with the introduction of the three heros in the Secret Ending, we start to see the world in which this all occurs.  The second teaser begins with the villain’s entrance and at about minute 2 we shift into Act II.  The shift is subtle but we move from the exposition of characters to the actual fight itself. Then final Act begins at about 3:30, about the time that the Bald guy enters the fight.  The shift here is from mindless violence and fighting to a more personal side of thing.  We start to see who we are dealing with people (who might or might be recognizable) and it becomes all the more real.

What doesn’t work about the trailer is the music.  It is nice and it hits the beats, but it doesn’t enhance the trailer. It just exists to fill the gap of sound and for no other purpose, which is a shame because it could have been spectacular.  Oh, well…

Overall, I am drawn to answering the BAZILLION questions I have about the series and where it is going, so I have to give this trailer a solid:

Rating = 5/5

If you want to look more into the series and the super convoluted storyline, check out the Kingdom Hearts page on Square Enix’s website.  It at least puts them in order 🙂 and God knows we all want them to just MAKE KH3 and get on with it already!

Thanks for hanging in there with me this week!  Crazyness happens when you are two weeks into your Junior year of college.  I promise to be more punctual with stuff in the future weeks.  And speaking of, tune in next Friday for Melancholia – already promising to be a fantastic film!

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About Tyler D. Welch

Filmmaker, Storyteller, Scholar View all posts by Tyler D. Welch

One response to “Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep

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