While I was going through my near daily Google News checkup for the search terms “The Legend of Zelda”, “Metroid”, and “Nintendo NX” (you guys should join me, it’s really fun), I found something that I wasn’t expecting. That was… Anything at all. Yeah, I finally found something, and on “Metroid”, no less! No, it’s not Metroid Prime 4, or Metroid Dread, but it is a Metroid fan film! Yeah, that’s cool! Well, maybe.
While cruising through space, Samus finds an ancient Chozo signal, coming from a nearby planet. However, the planet is nothing special, isn’t it? Well, we all know how this goes.
To be honest, I have no idea what to call this. Is it a movie? Is it a video game? It’s a fan-film, but I don’t have a category for that, yet. I think it’ll be both. Funnily enough, though, that conflict perfectly encapsulates my feelings about The Sky Calls. I can’t decide whether I like it or not. Sure, it has it’s badass moments, that I really love, and evoke the best feelings from Metroid Prime, and Super Metroid. But then it tries to characterize Samus, and decides to take the easy way out, and use the only easy-accessible canonical (even though 95% of the fanbase wishes it wasn’t) reference point. Yeah, that’s right. Other M.
Now, I won’t stand here and recite my hours long speech about how Metroid Other M is an atrocity to Metroid, Nintendo, video games, sci-fi, and fiction in general, but I will briefly touch on the characterization in the game. The Metroid series has always been amazing at telling stories through visual means, rather than dialogue. Through your actions, and the way the game silently set itself up through ever excellent presentation and through the roof atmosphere, you get to know Samus as a character.
She’s a badass, who dosen’t take shit from no one. She’s brought about the end of evil entities from the dawn of time, fought deadly infectious viruses that infected her, kills life-sucking aliens (that are the namesake for the games), took on an entire planet made literally of pure darkness, and basically flips the Space Pirates’s shit on a daily basis. With all of that, she dosen’t bat an eye. I don’t understand why this woman isn’t the poster child for the femenist movement, and isn’t recognized in the mainstream next to Ripely and Sarah Connor as some of the best heroines in sci-fi.
Then, Other M came, and trashed the character. At that point, she was a woman who took orders from a cruel and abusive man, put her life on the line “because he said so”, became a whiny crybaby, and fell apart after looking in the general direction of the recurring villain Ridley, who she’s fought like a billion fucking times at this point in the timeline. Basically, all the cool stuff that Samus did is gone, and it’s actually pretty offensive, what with it’s story not being able to shut up about motherhood, and completely demeaning her at every turn. That’s not even mentioning how they de-power her in a more subtle way, and not even touching on the boob and ass job she apparently got somewhere between MP3 and Fusion.
Oh, sorry. I went on autopilot there, for a moment. So let’s talk about The Sky Calls. It’s got so many cool moments that make me really happy, and are a serious reward for Metroid fans. But, unfortunately, one of the first things you see, aside from the gorgeous Gunship, is Samus in her Zero Suit (which is bullshit, by the way), designed off of Other M. Once she goes down to the planet, she gets scared. Yeah, Samus gets scared. She almost gets herself killed, because she was too busy heavily breathing, and looking around her suit too fast.
Of course, she gets out of it in a super cool way, and continues, unnecessarily talking to herself. Did I mention the actress they got kind of sucks? I mean, I realize it’s a fan film, but come on! Maybe it’s the script, and that was the reason she was talking so much. I can’t decide whether the answer is to make her become a silent protagonist, ala everything that’s not Other M, or just get a better actress to deliver the lines. OK, this is already going on pretty long, so I’ll just stick some stuff in a list.
- The effects and the visual style (obviously borrowing from Alien and 2001) were gorgeous for a professional film.
- Music was authentic, and I got chills when the Super Metroid theme came on.
- Totally kept the atmospheric exploration feel.
- The entire morph ball scene was just perfect.
- Action was awesome, and seeing Samus face off against the Space Pirates in live action was thrilling.
- Samus’s actress.
- Samus outside of the suit/Zero Suit
- The actress’s terrible wig.
- Why did Samus’s power armor have some place for her neck? I don’t remember a neck in her previous armor designs, and it looked really weird.
- Other M
- Other M
- Other M
- Why was the grapple beam purple? When she first pulled it out, I thought it was the wave beam, but it was definitely the grapple beam. That should have been blue.
- Why does Samus nearly get killed, like 30 times, and is scared all the time?
Okay. Here we go. The Sky Calls was surprising. It was not a shitty fan film, it was god damn impressive. Honestly, the production values were through the roof, and they probably spent all their money on motion capture and effects, because the actress they got to play a non-suited Samus sucked. But when I wasn’t watching the completely bored narration, or the actress phoning it in while wearing the Zero Suit, I was engrossed by the badassery on screen. If you cut out the dialogue, and stop showing Samus in the Zero Suit, then this is the absolutely perfect Metroid movie.