As it usually goes, I had planned to a different review next but ended up watching another DVD that inspired me to do it first. At this rate I’m terrified I may never actually get through all of these since I keep finding new ones to add. However the subject matter alone meant there was no way I was going to ignore this one.
This is Ridgway Film’s adaptation of Earthbound.
I don’t want to blow your mind or anything, but Earthbound is my favourite game of all time. I don’t know if I have made that clear enough by mentioning it in every single podcast that has ever existed on this site, but there it is. When I found out that people out there were making their own Earthbound movies, I knew I had to check it out, especially because there was once a time where I myself toyed around with the idea of making my own Earthbound film. I blind bought both this and another Earthbound DVD (The EB Saga, which I will get to as well, maybe sometime in 2014 the way we’re moving along here) and held off on watching anything online until they arrived.
This DVD actually contains the first three parts of the ongoing Earthbound movie. Parts 4 and 5 are available online and part 6 is in the works. Each one is fairly long, running about 30-45 minutes, and covers a different town from the game, at least that seems to be the pattern so far.
Right out of the gate, if you are not an Earthbound fan, this will hold little to no appeal for you. I’m sure there would still be enjoyable elements but for the most part you would be completely lost (“why is everything suddenly blue?”, “why is that guy dressed up like a mouse?”, “why would he eat a hamburger he found in a garbage can?!”, etc). So Earthbound fans need only apply here.
As expected, the quality isn’t insanely high but you know what, it’s far better than I expected and this holds especially true as the episodes progress. Initially the same locations are used to represent almost all of the locations in the game however by the third episode this has really opened up and become a lot more varied. The effects range from Ed Wood-esque charm (the UFO’s chase the lead by having a visible hand hold them in front of the camera), to surprisingly high quality, such as the computer generated Mr. Saturns that appear in the third episode. I was actually quite impressed by the amount of work that clearly goes into these. During fights the HP meter is always displayed, and there’s a lot of other fun touches such as actually having Fuzzy Pickes come spinning in from the sky when he arrives. Obviously a proper Earthbound movie would cost millions and millions of dollars so given what these guys had to work with, I have to tip my hat to them.
But I mean really you can rag on the production quality all you want (which I personally won’t because again, I was impressed) but what matters is that these episodes are just charming as all hell. It’s made by a group of people who clearly have a whole lot of love for this game and it shines through. From the near constant implementation of the game’s music, to the numerous appearences of Fuzzy Pickles (it would be blasphemy to have him only show up once) and so much more, it’s a pretty awesome watch if you’re a fan of the game, and are of course forgiving when it comes to production quality.
While the actual DVD case is pretty well done and features both the Earthbound colours and font, it’s the DVD menu I especially have to give a shout-out to. It is set-up like the file select screen from the game right down to the finest detail, even going as far as to include a “Don’t Care” option. I won’t lie, that may in fact be my favourite part of the whole package.
Making another strong case for why I don’t need to include this section, I once again have nothing really to say here.
The main piece of bonus content is commentary on all three episodes. It’s a pretty good listen, getting into the back story of the idea and providing a detailed overview of the whole thing. Though the little brother does get annoying, at least the other participants feel the same way.
The other bonus feature is a documentary about the making of these three episodes which runs just shy of 20 minutes. You get interviews, behind the scenes footage, some bloopers, the usual stuff. Also worth a watch as it covers some aspects that the commentaries do not.
Is It Worth It?
I know this was easily my shortest review but I mean in the end there isn’t much to say. This works well as a tribute to a great game and anyone with an appreciation for Earthbound should check it out. It only costs 10 dollars and you get quite a bit of content so if you’re a fan of the game, I would say it’s absolutely worth it.
For each of these reviews I will be showing at least a part of it to my wife in order to get a quick perspective from someone who is not that familiar (if at all familiar) with the material.
What did my wife think? - "So I really need to play Earthbound right?" (case in point!)