Today I’d like to begin a “miniseries” about various media that strongly influenced my development as a person. While of course my environment, friends, personal disposition and parents all have the strongest impact on my formative years, I can’t ignore the connections to the entertainment industry. In reflecting on the main points of various games, movies and books I find that so many of these messages became my own anthems. I will begin this discussion with a pair of video games originally released in 1992 and 1994 respectively for the Sega CD: LUNAR: The Silver Star and LUNAR: Eternal Blue. They were remade for the Sega Saturn in Japan, and my fandom was the sole reason I bought the Saturn console. Much to my dismay, due to the untimely death of the Saturn’s market in America the games were ported to the Sony Playstation instead. Predictably, I acquired a Playstation in order to play the remakes. In fact, I love this game so much that I also purchased import copies of the Saturn versions in Japanese, and followed a few of the spin-offs and further remakes such as LUNAR Legend for the Gameboy Advance. Although the later remakes flesh out a few points that were never brushed upon in the other versions, my favorite renditions were the remakes released on the Saturn/Playstation as I feel these consoles were better capable of handling the ambitions of the studio.

LUNAR and LUNAR 2 are not revolutionary in gameplay by any stretch of the imagination. While these two games were some of the first RPGs I can think of that actually directly connected the first game and its sequel (including overlap of a couple of characters who reappear in Eternal Blue), they don’t challenge the traditional style of the JRPG. They don’t do all that much with the gameplay that adds breadth to the genre – in fact the only thing I can think of is that in LUNAR 2, your baby dragon companion, Ruby, will randomly attack enemies to finish them off if their health is low enough and sometimes revive fallen party members. But the play was hardly the draw in my book. The story – and the mode in which it is told – is the reason this game is so important to me. I will get back to that in a bit, though.

While the characters are not terribly multifaceted (other than Ghaleon, but I can’t describe the layers of his psyche without ruining part of the story), there were some archetypes that really spoke to mini-me. As an independent female, I was constantly searching for female characters in all forms of media to look up to. Sadly, I rarely found any strong women who were consistently so. Most frequently, even if there was an independent female character she would either mellow out over time and become less potent, or suddenly lose all power in supplication to whoever the male lead was. This frustrated little me to no small degree, and so when I saw the female characters in LUNAR and LUNAR 2 I was vindicated.

In The Silver Star, Luna is incredibly sweet, but short-tempered and fiery; Jessica is fiercely independent, forthright, and physically one of your strongest party members despite being a soft-hearted priestess and daddy’s girl; Mia is the most powerful mage short of Ghaleon, despite being physically and emotionally fragile and in fact steps up when the situation requires it, showing an inner core of iron will that even she was unaware she possessed. The women in fact rouse the men of the party to action when they are discouraged by seeming defeat at one point during the game, inspiring them through their disappointment, anger, and personally fiercer determination to get it in gear and never stop pressing forward. They are the ones who talk sense into the males and bring them back to the party.

In Eternal Blue, Lucia is naïve and torn between duty and her heart, but ultimately finds faith in her friends and her love beyond all else, gambling the fate of the world on her trust; Jean, a free-willed dancer, faces her dark past and overcomes it, turning it into a strength that she wields to save her friends and the world as a whole; Lemina shows a side of herself that’s hidden beneath her extroverted, forceful, materialistic businesswoman nature – one that is simultaneously fiery and sensitive, loyal to her friends and wholly devoted to the resurrection of her legacy as the descendant of Mia (from the original game): the Magic Guild of Vane.

Little Jala was entirely enamored of these characters. I saw many facets of myself in them, related very strongly to them, and responded to the game’s story overall with a strength that caused me to laugh and cry with the characters as the story progressed. I was drawn into the LUNAR universe at a time when my family was scattered and had moved to a new place, thus also separating me from my friends. I was alone and I clung to these games, playing them over and over again. Their positive messages of determination, faith, empowerment and love stuck with me. I would even say that my inborn optimistic streak was cultivated and kept alive despite the challenges I faced,  because of these games.

LUNAR and LUNAR 2 feature the same basic sprites you can find in any 16-bit RPG. The designs of the overworld maps and battles are nothing to write home about – but then again, given the storytelling mode of these games, the hardware itself probably couldn’t handle the graphical overload. The Sega CD had definite limitations as one of the first CD-based consoles, but even so Game Arts and Studio Alex were ambitious with the LUNAR titles, incorporating vast amounts of spoken dialogue and animated cut scenes. The remakes on the Saturn/Playstation further expanded these methods of storytelling, with literally hours of animation and dialogue throughout. The LUNAR games were the first I’d played with that much animation and that much spoken dialogue in an otherwise traditional JRPG. The frequency of these cut scenes eventually became the norm for most video games on the market, but at that time it was frankly a new concept as it turned the game into a movie that you interacted with and played through. The otherwise dull graphics are livened by the voices and the animated sequences, which are gorgeously done.

The music, composed by Hiroyuki Iwadare, is simply marvelous. The female lead of the first game, Luna, is a songstress whose voice summons powerful magic and thus she has a few scenes where she sings; in the second game, Lucia, who is related in specific ways to Luna, also has a few moments where she, too, sings, likely due to that tie. This adds a personal touch to the themes, as the songs reflect what these characters feel and think. The instrumental tracks however do a splendid job of carrying the weight of each emotion as it plays out on screen and during battle. The mood is well understood, and the music alone would often rally my heart with its stirring drums or bring tears welling up in my eyes from the mournful piano tracks. These soundtracks remain some of the video game music that I listen to with the greatest frequency. I never tire of them.

One facet that really caused a stir within me was a horrible little trick Game Arts/Studio Alex played with LUNAR: Eternal Blue. That is, you fight the epic battle to save the world at the end of the game, and there is a cut scene and the credits roll. But the ending isn’t exactly what I’d hoped for, and thus it left little Jala severely depressed upon initial completion. I was so depressed in fact that it was a week before I could even pick up my controller again, and despondently I went to beat the game a second time and re-watch that dissatisfactory ending. To my complete shock, on the main game screen I saw a new option: EPILOGUE. WHAT! Little Jala was beside herself! The epilogue to the second game (not a dynamic of the first, as you might conjecture) added a bit more gameplay, as well as a more acceptable ending. It totally faked me out, though, and made me miserable for a short time before I discovered what was really going on. This was the only game in my life that had ever pulled a trick like that on me.

As to the story, it is hard to go into any great detail without completely spoiling it for any potential new players. I will therefore be as general as possible.

The characters face predictably immense odds and must save the world, just like every other JRPG. However, there is an unshakeable faith that the main characters, Alex and Hiro, both have that forms the anthem of the games: that of the power of humanity. Ghaleon from LUNAR and Lucia from LUNAR 2 both place little faith in the power of the human spirit, because humans are short-lived and generally weak in the broader scope of things. Yet in both games, it is the strength of heart that these seemingly weak creatures possess – their unstoppable drive as short-lived beings – that wins the day. I don’t recall the original Sega CD versions as being overly preachy about the notion, but I do recognize that the Saturn/Playstation remakes do get preachy about it to grind the point home. However, by the time I played the remakes the notions were already firmly planted in my head and thus I wasn’t bothered by this at all. The games call into question the virtues of power and immortality, things that many people blindly desire. The decisions made during the game by some of the characters who wield power and/or possess immortality were interesting to my adolescent self.

When the games were brought to America they were published by Working Designs, headed by Victor Ireland. Now, Ireland and his crew took a fairly serious game and infused American pop culture of the time into it as well as several humorous bits in town interactions, despite immense criticism. I have to say though that Working Designs was phenomenal at localization, and I can’t imagine these games without Ireland’s touch. The English-language strategy guides – also written by Working Designs – retain the same humor found in the game itself and thus are consistent companion pieces. The voice acting is also wonderful, with my favorite being John Truitt. Truitt’s version of Ghaleon was very different from the Japanese seiyuu – in Japan Ghaleon has an authoritative, masculine, deep tone dripping with confidence; in America, his voice is extremely condescending, slightly nasal, and of considerably higher pitch, dripping with sarcasm. Any belief others may have that I am a purist due to my tendency of preferring the original version of imported games/movies/etc is entirely crushed by my preference for the American spin on these games despite also playing the Japanese versions during that same era of my life. It’s not that, for example, the Japanese voices are bad (at all!) – Akira Ishida plays Alex, and I simply adore him – but despite the changes the face of the games took the ports are still splendid. Another little “Easter egg” WD added was the inclusion of hilarious outtakes from the voice acting sessions at the end of the credits in LUNAR: Eternal Blue.

Another note about Working Designs: their presentation of the games when they ported the remakes to the Playstation was phenomenal. They included a whole box of omake (“extras”) for LUNAR: Eternal Blue Complete such as paper standees; a cloth map; a soundtrack; a hardbound, full-color manual; and best of all, a solid metal replica of Lucia’s pendant. This pendant was actually the reason why I bonded with my friend Ben, whom I met in college. He was a friend of a friend, and when I said hi and took a look at him I recognized the necklace he had on as Lucia’s pendant. We became friends over shared fandom. 🙂 The strategy guides released by WD for the remakes were equally awesome, particularly for the sequel. So, although they took forever to finish porting the games with release dates always being pushed back and although people criticized them for their little embellishments to the game’s script, I loved what they produced.

I have digital copies of the radio dramas that came out during that era for these games – at least, as many of them as I could find – as well as several comics, art books and even light novels (in Japanese mind you, which I’ve translated bits of and read as much as I can). Whatever it is that I could locate. My fandom for these games is ridiculous. Not as ridiculous as some wholly obsessed fans, I know, and I’m not going to get into a war about who the bigger fan is because I don’t frankly care, but for my particular “nerd level” I’m extremely dedicated to LUNAR.

Sadly the various spin-offs have never caught my attention, and the series seemed to disintegrate at a certain point. The remake of the first game on the GBA, LUNAR Legend, was a cute revamp but for any new player I would strongly recommend the Saturn/Playstation versions as they more fully express all that these games are, and the direction that Game Arts and Studio Alex were going with them.

LUNAR and its sequel will not seem quite as magical to the rest of the world, I know. But I do not hesitate at all to state that they helped to shape the person that I am today. If you play these games, you will find echoes of my personality reverberating through the characters and story as they infused me with myriad little tidbits that I wasn’t even aware I was soaking up at that time. LUNAR and LUNAR 2 were two of the most influential bits of entertainment to seep into my psyche as I developed as a human being, and thus no matter what these games hold special places in my heart and memory.

To end this entry, here are some fun facts:

  • LUNAR: The Silver Star was the first game I ever bought a strategy guide for, mostly because I wanted to fully explore the game more than I’d ever desired of any prior game.
  • LUNAR: Eternal Blue was the first game I ever pre-ordered.
  • LUNAR: Eternal Blue was the first game I bought merchandise for (games back then didn’t really spawn the whole chain of merch that they do these days). There was a watch with the LUNAR 2 cover showing Hiro, Ruby and Lucia backed by space and the Blue Star. I coveted this watch ridiculously and practically begged my mom to help me get it. She did. I still have the watch.
  • Working Designs was the first game publisher that I consciously followed. On faith that they published good games, I would buy titles simply because they were released by this company.
  • A few years back, I came across Victor Ireland (head of now-defunct Working Designs) selling some WD promo stuff on eBay. I shot him an email and we had a little back-and-forth conversation. This was super awesome. He’s a great guy, and was very kind to oblige an old fan. 😉
  • The LUNAR games were the first I purchased soundtracks for.
  • The LUNAR games were the first import games I bought.
  • The LUNAR games were the first games I bought comics for, let alone import books for.
  • The LUNAR radio dramas were my first experience with radio dramas overall.
  • My first serious game fandom was for the Shining Force games (already previously discussed on this blog). Although I certainly love them to this day with ardent strength, they did not affect my development as a human being whatsoever. They were just good, fun games that I really enjoyed playing. My second serious fandom (for LUNAR) remains my strongest game fandom to this day.

Framed Ink is a short book about narrative art, predominantly as regards storyboarding for film but also briefly touching on graphic novels. It’s a good book to flip through if you haven’t ever studied narrative art before, and if you have it is a succinct and visually intensive review. It reads quickly and gets to the point, focusing on the compositional elements of each still as well as on the movement of the camera throughout the sequence.

In my particular case, I enjoyed its brevity as I used it as a review of things I’d studied previously and thus I didn’t need all the “fluff.” However, if you’re looking for this to teach you how to draw narrative art, you’re better off getting a different book. Framed Ink gives you a few pointers, but it’s definitely not a “how to.”  The author’s purpose is to convey some basics of developing emotive compositions through what you do and do not draw or emphasize; lighting; camera work; etc but does not delve into too much detail as the author presumes that you are already working in the field on some level and are simply seeking to heighten your awareness of how you may better convey the story you are telling with your art. By the same token though, if you are already working in the field I don’t think this book is going to present you with anything groundbreaking or new. It lists some good tips to be sure, but if you’re already constantly working on storyboards and/or graphic novels you will naturally already employ the techniques mentioned. This book may suggest something to you in such a way that you wish to further explore that particular element, but overall I wouldn’t consider this to be “required reading” the same way I consider the books by James Gurney.

It was worth the time it took to read (which wasn’t long at all), and it will remain on my shelf as a reference to flip through, but I also definitely could have survived without it. You may wish to preview this book on Amazon to see if it’s right for you – if you’re newer to the art style this may be very valuable to you.

Prometheus

Posted: 2012.06.30 in Movies

To put it succinctly, my response was: “What…the HELL…was that?!”

I’ll back up and explain.

According to the information listed on Wikipedia, this movie was set in the same universe as Alien, but takes place before the first movie. It is not, however, a direct prequel. Ridley Scott, the director, stated that they may make a sequel to Prometheus but in order to tie straight into the original Alien, a third movie would be needed. The ending of Prometheus very clearly does set itself up for a Part Two, but unfortunately I doubt I’ll want to go watch it in the theater.

First though, I’ll talk about the good. The soundtrack, although not riveting or memorable, gets the job done. The special effects are beautiful. It’s a pretty movie. The actors do the job and I believe were well cast. Ridley Scott’s directing is also just fine. The pacing of the movie is similar to the way Alien is paced: slow at first, with a spiral of more and more action near the end.

However, my big issue with the movie is the writing. While there are many nods to Alien interspersed throughout the film both in lines of dialogue and situations, the writers throw so many different things at the viewer without ever explaining anything. Meanwhile, the bits of story that viewers should be able to pick up on and assume on their own are very clearly explained in the dialogue, sometimes more than once or for longer than is really necessary. While there is of course the intention of making a sequel, the sheer number of “WTF was that all about” moments and ridiculous happenings just made me shake my head in puzzlement.

It’s not suspenseful. It’s not scary. It’s not action-packed even at the end when a lot of things are happening. If you just like the Alien universe, don’t think about much when you watch movies or just have lower standards than me for your entertainment, then you’ll enjoy this film. It’s pretty. But that’s about all I can say for it. Although I like Ridley Scott movies, I didn’t care for this one. I feel like I need to go watch Alien to cleanse myself of the retardation that sapped my Friday evening.

Now for those who want specifics and don’t mind spoilers, I’ll explain further…

Read the rest of this entry »

I bought this book due to a sudden intense impulse to create a vegetable garden on my apartment patio. Although I’ve kept plants off and on in the past, I haven’t had a vegetable garden of my own since I was a little girl (and even that was a family garden) and thus I felt it would be a good idea to educate myself about the matter.

First, let me say that this book does the trick. It’s a handy reference guide with detailed information on 160 different vegetables, herbs and flowering edible plants. It lists growing regions of Texas, planting and frost dates, troubleshooting for each plant, info on beneficial bugs as well as pests, techniques for improving soil and so on. Thus, if you live in Texas and want an all-in-one veggie guide, this is a good book to have. The only thing I’d say is that it lacks real photos of the bugs mentioned, and the quality of the photos in print isn’t the best, but it has all the info you will need in either case.

Now, as to the source of the information, a large chunk is regurgitated from the extension service and so you can probably get most of this info yourself for free from them. However, in my opinion it takes a lot more time and effort to get the info yourself, print it and organize it than it takes to get a copy of this book to use. To me, the price is worth it in that case. There are tons of critical reviews on this book in a variety of locations, but speaking from my own personal viewpoint the book is good to have, succinct, and easy to navigate. It will remain in my book collection for some time and was a worthwhile purchase.

If you’re curious about what’s going on in my little garden, you can check out my personal life blog category.

Click on the above image to be taken to the ComiXology webpage for this comic. The first issue is FREE!

In my meanderings around ComiXology lately, I came across this series by Th3rd World Studios. As with many things, I was hooked first and foremost by the fact that it was 1) highly rated; and 2) free. Well, the first issue at any rate. I’d recommend that you go read it, too, because you won’t be disappointed.

The year is 1944. A man — like so many men — is off fighting WWII. Back home, his wife cares for his two young sons. One night, the elder son is taken away by the Boogeyman. Some of his toys — as well as his little puppy — decide to go into the Dark to find and retrieve him. It’s a cute plot so far, right? Sure. It’s like Alice in Wonderland meets Toy Story. Only…it’s NOT.

There are different striations of toys: favorite, prior favorite, forgotten, broken, common. Each of these have entirely different beliefs about their place in life as well as their relation to the Boy. Some aren’t vested enough to join the quest; others were handed down to the younger son and state that their duty lies with their new Boy. This swiftly-established rationale pervades throughout the story once the chosen toys enter the Dark. What is “worth it” to them? What do they feel about the Boy? This comic is amazingly cerebral and incredibly brutal despite the cute premise. While the Boy’s father fighting in Normandy, the toys undergo a rescue mission into enemy territory, fighting against armies of the Dark: the forgotten toys, the broken toys of all the children, each twisted because of their abandonment, finding new meaning in the Dark in the service of the Boogeyman.

When the toys enter the Dark, they assume new fleshy forms that are equivalent to their original toy bodies: the toy soldier becomes a real soldier; the teddy turns into a giant grizzly; and so on. So, too, do all the cast out toys already in the Dark have their own forms that are based on what they once were.

The starting cast includes:

Scout: The Boy’s young puppy. Scout, being a loyal dog, naturally opts to search for the Boy.

The Colonel: The fearless toy soldier who rallies the toys into the Dark. He is very much what the Boy idealized after his father left for war, and so is one of the Boy’s favorite toys.

Maxwell (Max): The teddy bear who was the Boy’s prior favorite until the arrival of Scout. Max is short-tempered and violent and hates Scout passionately.

The Princess: An Indian princess figurine who has been separated from her tribe. She is reserved and stately, but is fearless and skilled in combat.

Harmony: The ballerina figurine who has watched over the Boy from the toy shelf longer than any of the others. She does not have the heart of a fighter, instead being very motherly. She refers to the other toys as her family.

Percival (Percy): The cowardly but very intelligent piggy bank, drafted unwillingly by the Colonel. He is steadfastly against the voyage into the Dark and feels no loyalties to the Boy, who will intentionally break him sooner or later in order to extract the money he guards.

Quackers: The wooden tug duck with a loud mouth and little tact, who flies reconnaissance. He goes into the Dark because his friends are going, and in particular is close to Max.

Jester: The jack-in-the-box from England, who wears his heart on his sleeve. He has fallen in love with the Princess and worries after her. He feels as much loyalty to her as he does to the Boy.

Boogeyman: Very much like Lucifer, he is a deceiver who is always plotting and bends others’ wills to his own. He is the ruler of the Dark and has stolen the Boy, presumably to corrupt and break him. He is depicted in a truly terrifying fashion and is an effective villain.

Loyalty, trust, and courage: these are tested for each toy. The story itself is wrought with betrayal, death, trials and tribulations. It is a very serious and well thought out handling of an initially lighthearted premise. I was excited for each new issue, and even now am eager to read more. The artwork is gorgeous graphite with soft shading on sepia, and as such the entire comic has a nostalgic feel to it. This works well with the fantastic vintage attitude of the piece.

Will they save the Boy from the clutches of the Boogeyman? Only time will tell, as this series is still a work in progress. Currently there are three volumes available with a fourth being released this summer. I’d highly recommend this series as it only improves with each new book.

Click on either of the above to see these issues on Comixology.

Let me first prepend my review of these two issues by stating that I am an on again, off again comic reader. I have not ever religiously read any particular series; I read them when I think to get them, and although I do tend to consistently gravitate towards Batman and his allies/enemies, I will also read anything else that catches my eye regardless of series, publisher, origin country, and so on. These two issues of Suicide Squad are the first I’ve read from that particular series.

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

The premise of this story arc is that someone killed (and skinned) the Joker while Harley was in Belle Reve Penitentiary and acting as part of the Suicide Squad, which is a team of supervillain death row inmates who are allegedly working off their sentence via performing high-risk black ops missions for the government. Harley finds out about the Joker’s death and goes on a killing spree in an issue prior to the two I’m reviewing (but of course this information is recapped in the issues in question). As issue #6: The Hunt for Harley Quinn begins, the remainder of the Squad is attempting to track her down.

A sizeable chunk (but of course not the entire issue as this is Suicide Squad, not Harley Quinn) recounts the tale of Harley’s life prior to meeting the Joker: she was a psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum who was assigned to work with the Joker. She’d been a “good girl” all her life up to that point, but her way of approaching the Joker – challenging him fearlessly, and quite aware of what he might try to pull – intrigued him enough that he decided to lure her in instead of killing her. The rest of the issue focuses on some of the other members of the Squad, particularly the two squabbling male leads, Deadshot (the leader) and Savant (the challenger) as they seek out Harley.

Issue #7: The Origin of Harley Quinn continues the story, with Harley-of-the-present breaking into the police department to retrieve the remains of the Joker – his face, which was skinned off – and the rest of the Squad creating a distraction and sneaking into the building to catch her. The rest of her origin story is related, with Harleen (Harley-of-the-past) meeting with her superior, whom she finds out has been stealing her research on the Joker for a book she is writing to make herself famous, and due to the Joker’s persuasive influence she just snaps and nearly kills the woman. Directly thereafter she breaks the Joker out of the Asylum, and he takes her to the place he was “born” and tosses her into a vat. When she emerges, she’s lost all compunctions and has special half-and-half hair and decides she needs to make out with the Joker.

Back in present day, Harley traps Savant in a cell with his foot on a pressure-sensitive mine (if he moves, he blows up) and while he’s dealing with that, she also captures Deadshot and ties him to a chair. In perhaps the more interesting segment, she takes the Joker’s face and places it over Deadshot’s, talking to him as if he is the Joker. While she’s in her weird delusional monologue about how the Joker is still alive she decides to kiss him, at which point he shoots her, thus finding her recaptured. (Although I am not covering issue #8 as it isn’t really related to Harley, you find out that she is still alive despite the stomach wound and returned to the team again.)

I must say that although I bought these two issues because I wanted to read about what happened between her and the Joker, I was more entertained with the testosterone-fueled exchanges between Deadshot and Savant. The problem I had with the Harley/Joker exchanges was that although it was a good idea, the events were so briefly touched upon that it wasn’t nearly as effective as it could have been. Neither character really shined in all their crowning glory, and the changes in Harleen which made her into Harley were barely shown. I’d have liked it better if it were a stand-alone series of a few issues, but as this was written in the midst of Suicide Squad it involved too many goings-on and too many characters in too few pages. It would have worked even within the larger context of the present events, had the mini story arc been a couple of issues longer. As it stands, it is mildly amusing and fun but nothing spectacular. It almost tempts me to take the ideas presented and run with them, drawing up my own spin on the events between the two in a fan comic. Almost, but not quite.

Posted: 2012.04.17 in Manga/Comics

The Butterfly Circus

Posted: 2012.03.23 in Movies

I was first introduced to The Butterfly Circus by my sister in 2009. She and I have for years periodically exchanged YouTube links with each other, but they have always been totally random, silly, funny videos. This short film is none of those. At first, I recall that I felt a bit put-upon by her providing the link. The video wasn’t some 1 to 3-minute goofy clip, but rather a 20-minute short film. I remember that it took me perhaps a week to even get to the link and watch it. I somewhat dreaded it, in fact, because I do not like dramas or the typical Hollywood inspirational films. But eventually, I did in fact watch it. And in watching it, I believe my life changed some.

The summary you will find on IMDB goes like so:

At the height of the Great Depression, the showman of a renowned circus leads his troupe through the devastated American landscape, lifting the spirits of audiences along the way. During their travels they discover a man without limbs at a carnival sideshow. However, after an intriguing encounter with the showman he becomes driven to hope against everything he has ever believed.

Since my initial contact with this movie, I have watched it again every few months or so whenever I need a spiritual recharge. The entire premise of the movie appeals to my Buddhist side – compassion and kindness, patience and positivity because of — NOT “in spite of” — the personal trials and pains that each character faced prior to joining the Butterfly Circus.

But Jala, I thought you said that you dislike dramas and inspirational films? — I did, but I specified “Hollywood inspirational films.” You know, the ones where the cat and two dogs have to traverse through the wild to get home or the one where the kid has to improve and hit a home run to win the game and that sort of nonsense. This film is entirely different because it is very visceral. It appeals to the little seed of negativity that each person harbors within, the feeling of abandoning hope…and then rediscovering it due to something as simple as a little belief from another. The challenges that each character overcame (or is overcoming during the film) are hard, real world instances of true pain. And yet…

If you could only see the beauty that can come from ashes…

The era of my life when I first watched this film was rife with personal challenges, and has been again throughout 2011. This made my watching The Butterfly Circus very poignant. It struck hard, and fast, and directly at my heart. I cried the whole time I watched it. Even now, every single time I watch it, I cry. This movie is a catharsis for me. It releases my pain and allows me to make that transformation when I feel myself losing strength. More than just that alone, it strengthens my resolve to act in accordance with the Noble Eightfold Path; to express kindness and patience to others; to learn from my pain and use that to grow wiser and stronger; and to help others. It has served as a good reminder of what my goals should be, and how I should conduct myself.

The cast is perfect for the film. The director is amazing. The score only serves to strengthen all of the emotions you will feel while watching it. It has been seen by over 10,000,000 viewers worldwide, and is being made into a feature-length film.

Are you ready? Watch it:

 

If you loved it as much as I did, please help support the wonderful talent who created this work and purchase a copy for only $12.99 on Amazon. If you love the score, it is available on iTunes. I know that sounds like a sales pitch, but I urge you sincerely as someone whose life became a little bit better thanks to this short film.