12 May 2015 | quincytheodore
All the basic elements of Japanese fantasy, sadly none of the graceful production value
For those who have seen or played Japanese video games, Battle for Skyark would be awfully familiar. It closely follows the aspects of role playing game, from the brooding teenage boy who is destined to save the world, intricate yet impractical costumes, cheesy one-liner and stereotypical one dimensional characters with outlandish hairdo. I was seriously having flashback of childhood memories when watching the movie, unfortunately it does not even remotely create the same fond memory it's inspired from.
If one searches the image of Final Fantasy or any other Japanese RPG, it should show a character similar to Rag, the main protagonist. Rag is destined for greatness as a savior. He must journey to fulfill this prophecy, meeting new allies and defeating monsters along the way. The movie is, in the very sense, a live action inspired by anime or video game. It borrows so heavily till the point of cringe-worthy.
Most fantasy games have excellent visual and incredible CGI, this is not so in this case. Battle for Skyark is frankly a low budget flick. It tries to deliver the style with the same complicated outfits and extraordinary hairdo, but it's trapped with typical tedious scenes with little coherency. The monsters and setting seem very uninspiring as it only shows bits of special effects, these are too few to create any convincing atmosphere.
Sadly, this formulaic "teen saves the world" gimmick was already dull in Japanese fifteen years ago. Using same artificial rigid characters, like the stern companion or silly sidekick, can feel very monotonous. The screenplay doesn't work well either, often glossing over details or stutters slowly in the middle. The dialogues are corny, they might work on games or animations, but given the real life interpretation, they feel bizarre at best. Lastly, narrative doesn't clearly explain nor does it conclude in satisfying manner.
I wanted this movie to work, maybe due to sentiment or nostalgia. However, in all honesty Battle for Skyark might copy the look of characters, but the plot, setting and overall atmosphere merely produce a lackluster movie.