Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
May 15, 2019
Man on the Moon
Tamara: Hey, you wanted to see us?
NC: Ah, Malcolm, Tamara, take a seat.
Malcolm: But...there's no chairs.
(Sudden close-up to a smiling NC)
NC: I said, take a seat.
(The two roll their eyes and sit on the floor)
NC: Do you remember the Swan Princess review?
Malcolm: Oh, yeah.
Tamara: Yeah, sure. I think a lot of people like that one.
NC: And do you remember the characters Mr. Rooster and Miss Kitty?
Malcolm: I think so.
Tamara: Yeah, we voiced them, right?
NC: (chuckling) Well, because nobody demanded it, I decided to give them a spinoff named "Miss Rooster and Mr. Kitty".
Malcolm: You know a rooster can't be female, right?
NC: I don't see gender, only money. Thus, I'm gonna have them star in all the sketches moving forward.
Tamara: Wait. You're replacing us portraying characters...
Malcolm: ...with characters that we've already portrayed?
NC: Oh, yes. Virtual actors are the future, so you're no longer needed. Farewell.
(Still smiling, NC presses something offscreen...and a wall of spikes appears above Malcolm and Tamara, closing in on them! Both aren't frightened, however)
Tamara: Don't you need us to do their voices, though?
(NC hesitates a bit. The wall of spikes goes up)
NC: I guess you have a point. Or wouldn't if you didn't mention that. But we are gonna have to negotiate.
Malcolm: No need. You can't bet everything on virtual actors that nobody's even seen yet.
NC: Oh, I think you misunderstood, Malcolm. I'm not negotiating with you. I'm negotiating with your characters. Mr. Kitty, Miss Rooster, please come in.
(The Flash-animated characters, a yellow cat and a brown female rooster, come inside the room, looking displeased)
NC: You see, I had them animated earlier. They're the most perfect virtual characters you can imagine. They will be in all of future sketches, play all of future characters, look exactly how I want them to look! Real actors will be a thing of the past! (laughs maniacally for some seconds, then hands the binder over to Malcolm) If you could just read the lines I wrote for their negotiations, that'd be swell.
Malcolm: (half-smiling with Tamara) Well, gee, we'd love to...
Tamara: But our reach just doubled.
NC: D'oh! Everybody associates your voices with them, though!
Malcolm: Well, if you want the illusion to be ruined...
NC: (throws hands in annoyance) No, no, let me just write then to the budget here. These sickos... (mutters a bit while writing something in another binder) Okay, fine. Say the lines.
Malcolm: (reading from the script) Gee, Mr. Critic. Since we're not real, you can negotiate whatever you want.
(As Malcolm speaks, NC notices that Mr. Kitty and Miss Rooster are standing still and doing nothing)
Tamara: Wait, why isn't his mouth moving?
NC: (sighs) I must have just paid for enough animation to have them walk in. (goes back to writing in the binder) Now to budget in more for lip movements. Ha-ha! This is so much better than actual actors!
Malcolm: Oh, oh, what kind of personality does Mr. Kitty have, by the way?
NC: Oh, none.
NC: Well, I want them to be blank slates so people can imagine them in other roles!
Tamara: But isn't leaving an impact what would make people want to see them in other roles?
NC: Oh, why are you making this so complicated? Just get to the part where everything works!
Tamara: Okay, fi...what movie did you see?
NC: (shifts eyes) What?
Malcolm: Any time you act weird or weirder, it's because of a movie that tried the same thing.
NC: Nonsense. (raises voice) Just as Aki Ross will soon be the most famous actress in the entire world...
Tamara and Malcolm: (deadpan) Final Fantasy.
NC: SO WHAT IF IT WAS?! (crosses hands glumly)
(The title of the movie Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within is shown, followed by clips)
NC (vo): Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within was something of a bizarre experiment. Based loosely on the popular video game franchise, this was one of the first fully computer-generated movies to attempt to look photorealistic. Though media and entertainment has come a lot further in this technology, it still stands as a pretty damn impressive effort. And an expensive one. With a budget of over a 137 million dollars, it only made 85 million of its money back. Why was so much put into a video game movie, (The posters for Super Mario Bros. Movie and Street Fighter are shown) which infamously don't get much of a return? Because, no joke, this was going to be the start of casting virtual actors. Their main character, Aki Ross, was being pushed as the first virtual character to be in other movies.
(The posters and shots of the movies mentioned are shown with Aki's face Photoshopped onto some of the characters)
NC (vo): So you could have The Incredibles starring Aki Ross, Polar Express starring Aki Ross, maybe even cross into live-action movies, like Bad Santa with Aki Ross, or Cat in the Hat with Aki Ross. (After a beat, "???" appears on screen) I don't know. It's a weird idea! On the one hand, the lines of artistic identity are being blurred all the time, with animated musical groups like (promo posters of...) Gorillaz and Miku being such big hits. But something about this just seems...silly. I mean, what? (More pictures followed by Photoshopped ones are shown, including one from 2017's Justice League) Is Gollum gonna play a Ninja Turtle? Is Shrek gonna play Superman's upper lip? Is General Tarkin gonna play Jar Jar? Is Thanos gonna play Sonic the Hedgehog?! (At this point, the poster for the already infamous then-upcoming 2019 Sonic the Hedgehog movie is shown with Thanos' face on the main character's, followed by a caption that reads...) Please? I guess in children's media, we've kind of done this before, (The posters for Mickey and the Beanstalk, The Muppet Christmas Carol and the shot of Bugs Bunny wearing a Superman suit are shown) putting Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny and the Muppets in different roles, but that's usually more for laughs. And even then, they usually don't stray far away from their well-known personalities. They don't act much different, outside of the characteristics we already know them for...which is exactly what acting is supposed to be, for the most part. (As he says this, images of Jack Nicholson and Jeff Goldblum are shown) I mean, if Aki Ross played Sadness in Inside Out, does that mean we couldn't change the way she look to match the character because it's already a designed virtual actress? Or would we morph her to look like the character, defeating the purpose of the virtual actress? The whole thing's a little odd. But people the time were convinced this was going to be the next big thing.
(The clip of the ABC TV spot of the movie is shown)
Announcer: She's one of a hundred women who may change the cultural landscape. Perhaps the movie star of the summer.
NC: (drums fingers evilly) Indeed. The perfect plan. Isn't it, Miss Rooster?!
(Miss Rooster and Mr. Kitty are shown to be...blurred)
NC: DAMMIT! Something went wrong with the render! Now I have to pay the animators overtime! (writes in his binder again)
Malcolm: (holding a phone) Oh, hey, I'm on the phone with Phil LaMarr. He says the virtual character he's playing may want to voice Mr. Kitty.
NC: (feeling excited) Ooh, having Phil LaMarr attached could be a big drop.
Malcolm: It's probably gonna cost more than me, though.
NC: (sighs in annoyance) Okay, fine. It's worth having a celebrity like that playing the part of a character playing the part of a character playing the part of a character. (proudly closes the binder) Ha-ha! This makes so much more sense!
NC (vo): But, because Final Fantasy bombed so hard, the idea was dropped faster than a sequel to (poster of...) Simone. Wink to the three of you who remember that movie; I acknowledge its existence. So, why did Final Fantasy fail to find a real audience with its virtual characters? Well, let's take a look.
NC: This is final, and, unlike the games, I do actually mean, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within.
Tamara: Uh, do you still need us?
NC: No. Get out of here.
Malcolm: (points at the blurred characters) But with our virtual characters still here, we might need to voice those.
NC: (sighs and takes out the binder) I don't have a budget right now to animate them leaving!
Tamara: Now, we're very method and we go wherever our characters go.
NC: (puts the binder down) Look. An off-camera alien took them away.
Tamara: What's the alien's name?
Malcolm: You might be able to star in future sketches.
(Tamara and Malcolm get off the floor, smiling, and leave)
NC: These virtual deals are getting worse all the time.
(The Columbia Pictures logo is shown with the electronic laser sound effect)
NC (vo): I guess the Columbia torch is now a lightsaber...
NC: Oh, because sci-fi!
(The movie starts on a deserted planet filled with triangular-shaped bent ledges)
NC (vo): ...as we open inside Jared Leto's brain and find it's full of those things Jack Skellington likes to walk down.
(A scientist named Aki Ross is seen walking on air like this is water)
NC (vo; as Aki): Whoa. Like the movie's script, nothing is there, yet somehow, it's supporting me.
(It is shown that Aki was dreaming about that, as she herself is shown inside a spaceship)
Aki: (narrating) Every night, the same dream.
NC (vo): This is Dr. Aki Ross, voiced by Ming-Na Wen, who keeps having dreams of an alien world.
Aki: It's been 34 years since they arrived on this planet. And not a day passes that the survivors forced to live in barrier cities do not live in fear. I believe my dreams hold the key. Will I be in time to save the Earth?
NC: Boy, she really puts the "dump" in "exposition dump".
NC (vo): By the way, if you don't follow the games, fear not; the movie doesn't either. Ironic, as the director of the movie worked on Final Fantasy games before doing this film, (The posters for FF IX, XIII, and XV: A New Empire are shown) and, granted, each game has a different story and characters.
NC: I'll admit, I never followed them that closely, but you can definitely identify a solid style from them.
(The images of the mentioned games are followed)
NC (vo): They're big, they're colorful, they're imaginative, they're weird, they're over-the-top, they're a perfect mix of both science fiction and fantasy.
(Back to the film, as it's revealed that the events take place in the year 2065)
NC (vo): This looks like someone just pissed a Syfy Channel movie into a jar of mud and then tried to animate Mars Needs Moms 2 out of it. It's not necessarily lazy, it's just standard, even for back then. This is all the typical sci-fi stuff you saw everywhere. The music even tries to make such run-of-the-mill imagery sound much grander that it actually is.
(As Aki's spaceship prepares to make a landing on Earth, the grand orchestral score by Elliot Goldenthal is heard)
NC: (feigned surprise) My God, a ship landing on Earth! I haven't seen that since everything!
(The New York City, which is Aki's destination, is completely wrecked down and almost colorless)
NC (vo): Eh, damn Powerpuff Girls playing tag again.
(The spaceship lands in the city. After Aki makes a signal by shooting in the sky with a flare gun that also reveals the enemies, a Pepsi logo is shown to be hanging on one of the skyscrapers)
NC (vo): Dr. Ross lands in New York to see if more than product placement survived the apocalypse.
(Aki is wearing a mechanical magnifying glass on her head)
NC (vo; as Aki): I would wear more protective space combat gear, but...my hair.
(The signal makes a screeching sound before exploding)
NC: Why does her sensor gun sound like a little girl's hair being pulled?
(Aki makes another shot)
NC (vo; imitating a little girl): Bobby! Quit it!
(Via her glass, Aki spots several invisible alien creatures called the Phantoms roaming around)
NC (vo): Oh, no!
NC: The Generics! An alien race made out of other alien races from other movies!
(Aki quietly moves between two buildings, but changes her direction after encountering the Phantom)
NC (vo; as Aki, sarcastically): "Join the two worlds," Korra said. "We'll get along great with the spirits," Korra said!
(A squad of soldiers wearing helmets comes from above to attack the Phantoms)
NC (vo): Several soldiers land, though, to fight off the Holo-sperm.
Soldier: (to Aki) Just what the hell do you think you're doing?
Aki: There's a life form.
Soldier: I'm taking you in.
Aki: Fine. Arrest me. But I'm not leaving without that life form. (goes away)
NC (vo; as a soldier): But, uh, arresting you? Y-you have the right to be...arrested? I am not even in charge.
(Aki approaches a single plant in the city)
Aki: I need a minute to extract it.
NC (vo): She finds what she's looking for inside, a plant, but more space shrimps try to attack.
(One soldier almost falls off a small pile of wreckage, but another one manages to lift him up by the hand)
Female soldier: I got you! (This moment is accompanied by triumphant horns in the score)
NC: Music, stop confusing nothing for something! It's nothing!
(The squad fires at the Phantom before leaving New York)
NC (vo): I know as a Final Fantasy movie, it blows, but as a Ghostbuster reboot, it kinda has promise.
(Aki presents the plant before the squad. They are now shown with their helmets taken off)
Aki: It was worth the lives of you and your men.
Ryan Whittaker: (to a female soldier named Jane Proudfoot) She thinks you're a man.
Jane: I think she's an idiot.
Neil Fleming: I know you're not a man.
Jane: I think you're an idiot, too.
Neil: Very funny.
NC: ...Is it?
(The leader of the squad "Deep Eyes" named Gray Edwards takes off his helmet, revealing himself to the surprised Aki)
NC (vo): Captain Gray, played by Alec Baldwin, of course reveals that him and Dr. Ross used to be an item, and...is also Archer.
Gray: (to Aki) Nice to see you, too.
Sterling Archer: (from Archer, audio) I'm sorry, I can't hear you over the sound of my giant throbbing erection.
(The ship returns to the "barrier city" (protected by an energy shield) the squad resides in)
NC (vo): Oh, come on!
NC: No grand music on that standard sci-fi shot?
NC (vo; imitating horns): BWAAAAAAM! BWAAAAAAM! BWAAAAM...a ship is landing...BWAAAAAAM!
(The squad is prepared to be analyzed by a group of scientists in the capsules in order to see whether they were infected or not)
Neil: I hate getting scanned.
NC (vo): The other soldiers, played by hugely distracting voices, Steve Buscemi, Ving Rhames and Peri Gilpin, all sound so friggin' distinct that it's impossible to connect them coming out of these CG puppets. It just sounds like the criminals from Fargo and Out of Sight are calling Ross to get on the Dr. Crane show.
Ryan: Sir, this scan is probably worse for us.
Neil: These machines are suspected of causing sterility. And I want to have a little Neil Jr. calling me daddy someday.
Jane: That's a spooky thought.
NC: (chuckles) Well, no doubt about it, they're gonna make it to the end.
(The alarm goes off after Gray is scanned, and the squad runs to the capsule he's in)
Ryan: Oh, shit!
Neil: They got him.
Gray: There must be a mistake.
Techician (Dwight Schultz): You came in contact with the Phantom, sir. Please remain calm.
NC: (as Gray) Well, that almost makes me have a facial expression. I can't start having a personality now!
Aki: What level is he?
Techician: Blue. It'll be code red in three and a half minutes.
(Gray is injected by a sleeping draft in his neck)
Sterling Archer: (audio) That is the third saddest thing I've heard today.
(Aki makes an attempt to remove the infection out of Gray's body)
Techician: There is no time! You'll gonna lose him! His treatment shield is failing.
NC: (hand on cheek, speaking flatly) Wow, the suspense I have for these human military catchphrases I've known for only a minute is really drawing me in.
NC (vo): Dr. Ross saves him by zapping the alien Phantom inside his body.
(Aki destroys the infection. Neil walks to Ryan and puts his hand on his shoulder to calm him down)
NC (vo; as Neil): I'm told this represents human emotion. Clearly, didn't work.
(Gray wakes up)
Aki: It's all right.
NC (vo; as Aki): Your chin is still 2/3 of your body.
Ryan: (to Jane) What's with her and the captain?
Neil: What's with her and that stupid plant? (Jane glares at him) What?
NC: (flummoxed) No, really, what? I think you forgot to write a joke.
(Aki approaches her mentor, Dr. Sid, saying that she found the sixth spirit. Both are sure that the Phantoms will be defeated when all the eight spirits are combined)
NC (vo): Donald Sutherland reprises his role as smart old guy, as he talks with Dr. Ross about finding one of the missing spirits they're looking for in the plant.
Aki: Spirits? I thought we weren't supposed to use the S word.
Sid: (chuckles) Don't get smart with me.
NC: (as Sid) You'd be the first person in this movie to do.
NC (vo): One of the weirder things in this movie is Ming-Na Wen is known for being a really great voice actress, like, giving solid performance after solid performance every time. I don't know if it was just bad direction or if there was a time crunch, but her delivery throughout the entire film seems more computer-generated than her character is.
Aki: You made it possible to harness that energy for ovo-pacs, scanners, even the barrier. The council knows that. They trust you, Doctor.
NC: (as Aki, smiling and shifting eyes) Donny. I think I see my mom and dad in the audience. (waves) Hi, Mom and Dad! I'm a doctor.
Aki: Doctor, there is a war going on. No one's young anymore.
NC (vo; sighs): Can we write in that she pretends to be a boy for some reason? I don't know how, I'm just positive it'll add more life to her scenes!
Mulan: (audio, speaking "manly") Uh, sorry you had to see that, but you know how it is when you get those, uh, manly urges.
Sid: Our ideas are unpopular, Aki. If you have any notes or records that could be used against you, destroy them.
NC: Oh, come on. Science being unpopular, especially in an age of computers? That seems far-fetched.
(Aki and Sid appear at the leadership council in the city, where they come across General Hein, dressed in black attire, presenting his project of the giant space cannon named "Zeus")
NC (vo): Dr. Ross and smart old guy go to the Council of Space-Choosey Things and make their case that defeating the alien race known as the Phantoms with a giant cannon is not a good idea. And don't you hate it when you can't tell who the bad guy is?
Hein: Could you please explain why? Zeus was completed a month ago.
NC: (as Hein) Seeing how I'm played by James Woods, it clearly should have been called "Hades"!
Council Member 1 (Keith David): We have reconvened today to vote that very issue again.
(The shot starts zooming on various people sitting in the background)
NC (vo): My God, is anybody ugly in this movie?! Can someone have a zit?!
Sid: When we increase the laser power to destroy these deeper particles...
(As Sid speaks, Aki glances at Gray briefly)
Sterling Archer: (audio) Danger Zone...
Sid: As you all know...
(Suddenly, the explosion is Photoshopped onto Sid's head)
NC: Ah! There it is. The #1 line to warn you that you're in a shitty movie, "As you know."
NC (vo): One of the laziest uses for exposition, because, as stated many times before, if it's already known, why is it being said?
Sid: As you all know...
General Hager: (from Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer) As you may know...
Kathy Morningside: (from Miss Congeniality) As you may know...
Nute Gunray: (from Star Wars: The Phantom Menace) As you know...
Admiral Zhao: (from The Last Airbender, to Ozai) As you know, I conducted a raid on the Great Library...
NC: You can pretty much put it on a movie's tombstone as soon as it's mentioned. (The image of a tombstone that reads "As you know, this movie's gonna blow" appears)
NC (vo): So...as you know...the Phantoms' nest is in the meteor that hit Earth. While Gestapo McMatrixCode here (Hein) wants to blast it, smart old guy says it's not a good idea because it'll hurt the Earth's spirit. (Beat) Yep, that's what we're doing.
Council Member 2 (Jean Simmons): Injure the Earth? You mean the Gaia.
Sid: I mean...
Council Member 2: You mean the spirit of the Earth.
NC: (as the council member, while the shot of Gaia and the main characters (their heads covered by red "X"s) from Captain Planet is shown) She's gone through eighth-grade Planeteer bodies the way centipedes have gone through socks. For the sake of our children, we cannot risk this!
Council Member 2: Even if Gaia does exist, won't we still have to remove the Phantoms?
Sid: But there is an alternative to the space cannon.
Council Member 2: Please.
(The holographic board turns on before Hein and Sid)
Sid: Now, as we know...
(Another explosion is edited in)
NC: Two?! Really?!
NC (vo; as Sid): As you know, pink is a color, salt is salty, and the writer for this is never getting hired again. (as council members) As we know! (normal) He suggests using several hidden spirits whose energy can cancel out the Phantoms, but, as of now, they're not all discovered.
Hein: Gathering plants and animals from around the world to fight the Phantoms is utter nonsense.
NC (vo; as Aki, gasps): He said the N word!
Hein: ...some army of touchy-feely plants and animals...
NC: By the way, I love James Woods. I think he's a great talent, he's hugely entertaining to watch...but tell me, tell me he's not trolling the movie with this line read!
Aki: We've succeeded in containing the particles...
Hein: (groans in annoyance) Where is the proof?!
NC (vo): Seriously, how much more "please notice me" high school drama teacher can you get?
Hein: Where is the proof?!
NC (vo; imitating Tommy Wiseau): You are tearing me apart, proof!
Hein: Where is the proof?!
NC: (imitating Hein) Where is the proof?!
(Malcolm opens the door)
Malcolm: Critic, I can't find your copy of Young Frankenstein.
NC: Where is the spoof?!
(A fire is heard crackling...and cut to the image of the burned down Notre Dame)
NC: Where is the roof?!
Tamara: (shows up as a waitress) I'm sorry, sir. Want broth or minestrone?
NC: Where is the soup?!
(A classic "poof" sound effect is heard now...and cut to the end shot of Goof Troop intro, but with no "Goof" in it)
NC: Where is the Goof?!
Malcolm: (comes to NC and points at something) Look. A deer.
(An image of a deer is shown in NC's room. NC looks down and sees the absence of a hoof)
NC: Where is the hoof?!
(Tamara is now dressed like a magician)
Tamara: Look! Magic!
(She makes a white bunny disappear with her wand. No sound is heard)
NC: Where is the poof?!
(NC then reaches for something in his mouth and pulls out a tooth)
NC: Ah. Look at that. I screamed so hard, one of my wisdom teeth fell out.
Tamara: Oh, that's very fortunate.
NC: (smiles) Indeed. Perhaps I'll get some money tonight.
Malcolm: Oh, well, you better head to bed, Critic.
NC: Indeed, Malcolm. Y-y-yeah.
(NC, Malcolm and Tamara walk out of the studio. NC lies on the couch in the living room, puts his tooth under a pillow and covers himself with a blanket, smiling warmly. During this, "Morning Song" by Edward Grieg is playing)
Tamara: Good night, little Critic.
NC: Good night, Malcolm and Tamara.
Malcolm: Dream of merriment and joy.
NC: I will.
(Malcolm and Tamara quietly leave the room. As the night comes, next to the sleeping NC appears a Tooth Fairy...or rather, a crazily smiling man with a beard wearing tutu, played by Jim. He waves his wand in front of the pillow to collect the tooth and deliver a coin, laughs quietly like a lunatic and disappears. As "Morning Song" reaches its coda, NC wakes up the next morning, yawns and walks to the kitchen. He takes a box of Lucky Frosted Cocoa Trix)
NC: (scoffs) Cereal. What will they think of next?
Tamara: Oh, hello, Critic.
NC: Good morning, Malcolm and Tamara. Sleep well?
Malcolm: Sure did. Oh, did the fairy come last night?
NC: (stops unwrapping the box) Why, I got so excited for cereal, I didn't even think to check!
Malcolm: Well, better go take a look.
(Exclaiming in joy, NC throws the cereal box away and runs to the couch like a bunny. He puts his hand under a pillow and takes out a coin)
NC: (suddenly speaking to the camera with an angry facial expression) Where is the tooth?!
(He rises up...to meet Fard Muhammad in a tux holding a mike and the confetti falling on him. Behind him, a banner that reads "Most Annoyingly Drawn Out Joke" is hanging. Malcolm and Tamara come to NC to congratulate him. In the background, Ludwig Van Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" is playing)
Fard: Congratulations, Critic! That was the most annoyingly drawn-out joke you've done in years! How does it feel?
NC: Well, you know, we were nervous at first, I mean, we deliberately wasted everybody's time, I mean, the review just completely disappeared. But, you know, hopefully, we gave some nightmares out there with the fairy... (points up) and I want to thank God...and to all the people I pissed off out there, I'm sorry, I'm not well! (goes to hug Malcolm and Tamara)
Fard: (chuckles and speaks to the camera) Emotional words. Stupid emotional words. I'm Fard Muhammad, and I'm not talking to a camera right now; I'm just insane!
(Back to the film; Aki reveals to the council that she has been infected and the collected spirit signatures are keeping her infection stable, convincing the council that there may be another way to defeat the Phantoms. However, this revelation leads Hein to incorrectly conclude that she is being controlled by the Phantoms)
NC (vo): Dr. Ross shows that she is infected by the Phantoms and that the research has slowed it down. But the only way to destroy the infection without destroying her is finding the other spirits.
(Gray joins Aki, who is tampering with a machine in her lab)
Gray: Mind if I tag along?
Aki: You'll probably get bored.
NC: "Get"? Have you been watching this movie?
(Meanwhile, Neil and Ryan stop their working and try to deliberately cause troubles to the machinery, to Jane's chagrin)
NC (vo): But two of the guys stop their transport so that Gray and Ross can have some time alone.
Neil: We're just gonna strand them for a while.
Ryan: We're just helping the captain out a little.
Neil: Yeah, come on, Jane. Where's your sense of romance?
NC (vo): Ah, that old cliche of muscle-bound military men trying to hook couples up.
Neil: It's amore, baby.
NC: It's okay. It's not like any of their lifespans are limited...oh, wait!
Aki: (trying to activate her machine) What's going on?
Sterling Archer: (audio) Oh, God, that's how Maximum Overdrive started!
Gray: So will you tell me about them?
NC (vo): She tells him about the spirits they've collected and the odd places they've been found.
Aki: The fourth was a bird. Ever tried to track a sparrow from outer space? What am I saying? You probably would love that.
Gray: You're right, I probably would.
NC: (gets confused) He's always been known for his late-night sparrow tracking. (shrugs)
Aki: The fifth was a little girl dying in a hospital emergency room.
NC: (astonished) Oh, you're not ready for a scene like this, movie. You have to practice with a few Spocks and Bubbas before you get to do a scene like this! (As he says this, the shots from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Forrest Gump are shown)
Aki: I told her everything had a spirit. Dogs, cats, trees, little girls.
NC: ...Really? You're...you're trying this?
Aki: I told her she wasn't dying, just returning to the Earth's spirit.
NC (vo; sighs): Okay, I guess I'll give credit that they're attempting to go outside their comfort zone, but...I just don't really see how this is the romantic moment the movie was building up a second ago.
Aki: She told me that she was ready to die.
(Cut to a scene from before)
Neil: It's amore, baby.
Aki: Only seven years old and ready to die.
Neil: It's amore, baby.
Gray: (comes closer to Aki) I'm sorry.
NC: (as Gray) And I mean that in the most non-caring Alec Baldwin-y way I can say that.
Aki: I have to find the seventh and eighth spirits. (Gray takes Aki by her shoulders)
NC: Holy shit, is he using this as a means to get in her pants?!
NC (vo): I guess this was a romantic scene after all!
Aki: I don't know how much time I have left.
NC (vo; as Gray): Mmm, kids dying are hot. Tell me about the ending of my girl. It so puts me in the mood.
Neil: It's amore, baby.
(Before Aki and Gray can kiss, the ship starts shaking, and the electronic devices have a glitch)
NC: (as Gray) Damn 90s-early 2000s cock-blocking trope!
(Hein is shown in his office looking in his window through the blinds, when Gray comes to him)
NC (vo; as Hein): Can someone please give me a cat for my black leather gloves to pet? I'm trying to do as many evil red flags as I can here.
Hein: Report any aberrant behavior in Dr. Ross to the major immediately.
Gray: Dr. Ross is a spy?
Hein: (chuckles and comes to Gray, revealing his almost glowing eyes) The general is wondering why he's explaining himself to a captain.
NC: Somehow, an animator took...
NC (vo): ...Von Doom's comically childish sneer face and turned it into an entire person.
Hein: The general is wondering why he's explaining himself to a captain.
(NC, imitating Hein, growls like a wild animal three times. In the meantime, Aki, as her infection worsens, falls unconscious, and she has another dream in the unknown planet again, but this time, she's surrounded by the visible Phantoms attacking the planet)
NC (vo): Dr. Ross has another dream about the alien world, as it looks like Robo-Duckmen are going to war. And I'm not gonna lie, that's a pretty cool sentence to say.
(Aki looks around the Phantoms that are surrounding her)
NC: Like the audience, everybody's waiting for something to happen.
NC (vo; as the Phantom, in a deep voice): Stone's not safe here. Too boring.
(Aki and the Deep Eyes visit another deserted planet to collect the seventh spirit)
NC (vo): The team go to find the seventh of the eight spirits in a dangerous region where Phantoms roam.
Aki: The seventh spirit should be just beyond that line of wreckage.
NC: (imitating Elmer Fudd, leaning to the camera) We'll find the wabbit.
Ryan: This was the Phantom Cleansing Mission. My father's in here somewhere.
NC (vo; as Ryan's father offscreen): Right here, son! Still disappointed!
(Aki spots a falcon flying above them)
Aki: A survivor.
Neil: What's it doing right here?
Aki: Hoping for life to return.
NC: Yes. Most birds follow hope over instinct. Coco Puffs is an addiction that can be beat.
(The team approaches a soldier's body and his ovo-pack)
NC (vo): They seem to find the spirit in one of the soldiers' backpacks.
Gray: How do you explain that? The pacs power our weapons, the barrier cities...I mean, it's just bio-etheric energy.
NC: Wait, stop! You're doing your painful exposition without using the words "as you know"! Come on, movie, we can go for three in this stinker! (shows three fingers)
(The group is discovered by the Phantoms)
NC (vo): But the Phantoms find them and try to hunt them down.
Jane: Fire in the hole!
(She fires from her gun that releases flame onto the Phantom that was about to charge the squad, burning it down)
NC: (rolls eyes) Yeah, that was kinda cool.
(Flying away, Ross starts feeling unwell, and two squad members prepare to take Aki into custody)
NC (vo): They take off, as two of the soldiers say they have to take Ross in as her infection attracts the Phantoms.
Gray: I won't let you do this, soldier. You're gonna have to shoot me.
Soldier: Stand down!
(Aki suddenly awakens, making a short yell, and the startled soldier shoots her in the chest)
NC: (stunned) Well, that seemed harsh.
NC (vo; as a soldier): She screamed! It was scary! I shoot scary!
Sterling Archer: (audio) Oh, my God, you killed a hooker!
(Gray kicks the weapon out of the soldier's hands. The transparent Phantom floats out of Aki's chest and kills the soldiers)
NC (vo): The Phantoms take out the two soldiers...aw, they didn't even get to capture the flag... (The shot from the video game Halo 5: Guardians is shown briefly) ...which makes Underworld here very unhappy.
(Major Elliot, voiced by Matt McKenzie, comes to Hein's office. Hein is sitting on his chair with its back turned away)
Elliot: The Deep Eyes are returning from the wastelands, sir. Apparently, there was an incident.
NC: What was he (Hein) even doing before that guy came in? Doesn't he have any important work to do?!
NC (vo; as Hein): Mmmm, evil...brooding... (sniffs) My hand smells great.
Hein: By tomorrow morning, the council will be at our feet.
(The unconscious Aki is brought into Sid's lab by the Deep Eyes)
NC (vo): Meanwhile, Aki seems to be dying, and...I don't know, you make sense of this.
Sid: She needs a sympathetic spirit to help hold her in this world. And I can think of none better suited for that task than yours, Captain.
NC: (as Gray) So if I just...clap my hands and say "I believe in Aki", she'll come back to life?
(Gray has the seventh spirit injected into his body, and after this, he lays down next to Aki and takes her hand, finding himself on the planet Aki is dreaming about)
NC (vo; sighs): Well, something like that, as they set up a device to share the same dream while he puts the seventh spirit in her. It's not that I understand it, I...just don't care.
Gray: Where are we?
Aki: On an alien planet.
Gray: You seem pretty calm.
NC: Yes, you're usually so energized and expressive! (makes a confused face)
(The large groups of the Phantoms charge toward one other as Aki and Gray embrace themselves)
NC (vo): Oh, no. It's the Alien vs. Predator movie even less people wanted!
(The fire quickly appears on the planet and starts burning everything down. The effect is...not impressive)
NC (vo; chuckles): Wow!
NC: I think actual Castlevania fire...
NC (vo): ...looks more impressive than that!
NC: (makes jazz hands) Photorealism, everybody!
NC (vo): The dream shows the aliens destroyed their world, and a meteor was flung into our world. So it's like Superman, except instead of aliens saving the day, they made everything destructive and boring.
NC: Like Superman. (The Man of Steel poster appears)
(We go to a commercial. After going back, we see Hein at his table watching the photo of his family)
NC (vo): Meanwhile, adorable Wolfenstein Nazi sits around again, not doing any real work, just continuing to brood.
Hein: My wife and daughter were killed by Phantoms in the San Francisco Barrier.
NC: Don't try to give him character now. He looks like...
NC (vo): ...the cool older brother of (shot of...) Neil Patrick Harris from Starship Troopers!
NC: I think all credibility has sailed!
(To scare the council into giving him clearance to fire the Zeus cannon, Hein lowers part of the barrier shield protecting the city)
NC (vo): He tries sabotaging one of the bases so that the council will be more desperate to go with his plan, not realizing he's letting the Phantoms get too close.
Elliot: Breach in Sector 31, General.
Hein: Relax, Major. When this night's over, you're going to be a hero.
NC (vo; as Hein): Mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! That's our hero laugh. Mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!
(Aki, Sid and the Deep Eyes are taken and put behind the laser bars)
NC (vo): Meanwhile, our heroes get captured and try to figure out what Aki and Gray's dream meant.
Aki: The meteor is a chunk of their planet that got thrown into space when they destroyed their world.
NC: I feel like she's gonna tell me what number I reached and then instruct me to leave a message. What meteor turns you into Melinda May?!
Neil: But how could they survive the trip across outer space on a hunk of rock?
Aki: They didn't. They're not an invading army. They're ghosts.
NC: Yeah. How's that for a twist? The creatures that were known as spirits and Phantoms...were ghosts.
NC (vo): Next, she'll be telling me DRINKS ARE ACTUALLY BEVERAGES!
(Cut back to Hein and Elliot)
Soldier: Sir, I have numerous Phantom contacts.
(The Phantoms start invading the ship)
NC (vo): Speaking of dead weight, the Phantoms break in too far past security and begin wiping out the barrier ring.
(Elliot is fatally injured)
NC (vo; as Hein): Relax, you're a hero. "Mwa-ha-ha-ha", remember?
(Hein walks towards the malfunctioning barrier shield and realizes his plan has gone awry)
Hein: What have I done?
NC (vo): Ah, yes. He learned his lesson enough to do it just one more time near the end of the movie. Yeah, your attempts at sympathy work as well as Hitler giving us "Sorry, things got out of hand" card!
(Back to the group still behind bars)
Neil: The bars are pulse-sonic lasers. I mean, it's not like I can just wave a magic wand and...
(The bars malfunction and turn off)
NC: (as Neil) Hey, my voice was so nasally that it short-circuited the doors!
(The robotic alarm starts to be going "Proceed to the nearest evacuation facility" over and over)
Neil: (after standing in place for a bit) I think we should proceed to the nearest evacuation facility. (Everybody runs off)
(NC begins to ponder about that moment. He stands up and gets into a talk with a referee played by Malcolm while the sounds of cheering sports fans are heard. After they finish, they lift their heads above)
Referee: This was a cool scene (The shot of Jane releasing flame onto the Phantom is shown) and a funny scene. (The shot of Neil saying his line is shown) This movie has earned two points. (The cheering gets louder)
(Aki, Sid and the Deep Eyes drive away from the Phantoms to Aki's ship)
NC (vo): They drive on giant four-wheeler that...somehow sounds like a go-kart...
Aki: We need to find my ship.
Ryan: If it was towed inside the city, it would be in the military hangar.
NC: (as Neil, "at the wheel") I may have to use a whole horsepower on this thing!
(The group crashes because of the Phantoms' attack, and Ryan gets injured)
NC (vo): But they crash, causing one of them to get injured.
Gray: We'll find the ship, we'll be back for you. You hear me, Sergeant?
(They make sure Ryan is comfortable, leave him in the four-wheeler and walk to Aki's ship)
NC (vo): So they run to the ship so they can come back for him...or they leisurely stroll. You know, this does sure get in the way of this nice, relaxing walk. Opens up the lungs. Even though his would be close soon...but it is still nice. It's nice.
(Jane and Neil see that the ship is held back by the giant magnetic device, so Neil has to get inside the remote control machine's wires)
Neil: There's the problem.
NC (vo): To get the ship moving, though, two of them have to go down to tinker with some wires.
Neil: (fixing the machine while Jane is at the guard) You think we're gonna get outta here alive? I mean, I wonder if anybody else has gotten out.
Neil: What if it's all a bunch of mumbo-jumbo? (is shocked by the electricity) Ow! Jane, do you mind we stop talking? I'm trying to concentrate here.
(NC is not amused. Cut to the infamous clip from Final Fantasy X that shows Tidus laughing forcibly. Back to NC; he's discussing something with the referee again. They finish and look above)
Referee: Yeah, we're taking that point back. (NC nods as the crowd cheers louder)
NC (vo): But the Phantoms catch up with them.
(The Phantom manages to get inside Neil and takes away his soul)
NC: He went out like he lived: tragically unfunny.
(Jane takes hold of her gun...but sees that it's too late to do anything and sadly drops it down. The Phantoms take her soul as well)
NC (vo; as Jane): Well, it's like they say in the military: "When the going gets tough...bye."
(Aki and Sid, who are inside the ship, see the Phantoms' invasion on their comrades)
NC (vo): Aki sees what's going on and decides to help.
Aki: We're in countdown to lift off. (leaves)
Sid: No, wait. It's too dangerous. Aki!
NC (vo; as Sid): Well, I did all I could. Maybe I'll miss her.
(Ryan's soul is also taken away. Gray climbs above the ship and shoots the Phantoms out)
Sterling Archer: (audio) LANAAAAAAA!!
(The explosion occurs, which forces Aki, Sid and Gray to fly away)
NC (vo): The team gets wiped out except for Dr. Ross, Gray and smart old guy, who fly out of there.
(Gray is looking somber. Aki floats to him while in zero gravity)
NC (vo; as Aki): Hey, I know a lot of people are dead, but I'm kinda horny.
(Aki and Gray kiss)
NC: These two people want to bonk at the most morbid times more than Gomez and Morticia Addams!
(The audio from Addams Family Values is played)
Gomez: (audio) To pain.
Morticia: (audio) Tonight.
(Aki and Gray go back to Sid at the control panel)
Sid: I enlarged the scanning perimeter...
NC (vo; as Gray): Yeah, she enlarged my scanning perimeter, too.
Richie: Am I right, boys?!
(Hein is shown to have escaped into the Zeus space-station where he finally receives authorization to fire the cannon. Sid finds the eighth spirit at the crater site of the alien asteroid's impact on Earth)
NC (vo): It looks like both them and Slimy Del Slime-Slime are going to the crater where it looks like the final spirit is located.
Gray: That's a one-way trip.
Sid: And then we wait.
Gray: That's your plan? We wait and see what happens?
Sterling Archer: (audio) You learn that in med school that you obviously didn't get into?
(Sid lowers a shielded vehicle with Aki and Gray into the crater. Just before they can reach it, Hein fires the Zeus cannon into the crater, destroying the eighth spirit)
NC (vo): They go down to the crater just before it gets blasted, hurting the Earth's feelings.
Aki: (via communication) General Hein, you must cease fire immediately. What you are looking at in the crater is the living spirit of an alien's homeworld.
NC: (poker-faced, shaking head) She recorded this in a day.
Aki: The cost may be the entire planet, sir.
NC: Chun-Li is laughing at you! (This character from Street Fighter (1994) is shown)
(Aki and Gray observe the blue fluid in the planet's canyon, which belongs to the Phantom Gaia)
NC (vo): He, of course, refuses and keeps firing, as Gray and Aki come across the Gaia in all her blue Kool-Aid glory.
Gray: That's not what I think it is, is it?
Aki: Yes. It's Gaia.
NC (vo): So planet spirits are...Smurf snot. Good to know.
(Cut to Hein floating towards the Zeus)
NC (vo; as Hein): I know as a villain, I shouldn't say this, but...wheeeeeee! Whoo, piece of candy.
(More Phantoms appear on the planet, and Gray shoots them off)
NC (vo): I guess one of the Phantoms is a compatible spirit, but they don't know which one yet. Not that it matters much, as Dr. Ross does what she does best in this movie: being passed out.
(Aki has a dream vision of the Phantoms' planet, where she is impaled by one of the Phantoms long arms to receive an eighth spirit as particles)
NC: Oh, God! Was this just the longest build-up to the most expensive tentacle hentai? (Beat) 'Cause I weirdly respect that.
Sterling Archer: (audio) Um, does Internet porn know you're cheating on it?
(Aki closes her eyes, having fully gathered the final spirit within her)
Aki: With the hope of new life, has Gaia changed the Phantom within?
(Cut to her awakened...and not sounding the least bit concerned)
Aki: Do you hear me, Sid? The wave pattern is complete.
(NC is squinting)
NC: I don't know. What haven't I used from your IMDb yet? (looks at the snippet of Ming-Na Wen's IMDb page) Um...you're on ER? (turns back) Your ER character couldn't save this performance!
(Aki and Gray combine the eighth spirit with seven others. Hein continues to fire the Zeus cannon despite overheating warnings and unintentionally destroys the cannon and himself)
NC (vo): The final spirit finds her and they use all the spirits to try and stop the beam. But Dartz Face-Ball actually uses so much energy in his laser beam that it ends up nuking the entire ship. Jesus, this guy could turn on a light switch without blowing a place off!
(Hein is shown in his final moments)
NC (vo; as Hein): But I never got my proof!
(Gray is impaled through his chest by the Phantom)
NC (vo): Gray is injured, though, and Dr. Ross tries to keep him alive with...all her heart?
Aki: (speaking almost monotone) Don't leave me, Gray. Hang on, please. I still have the wave.
NC: What kind of beam was she hit with? A Lucas-Shyamalan-ator?
(Gray sacrifices himself as a medium needed to physically transmit the completed spirit into the alien Gaia)
NC (vo; hesitating): It's...kinda confusing what happens next, but somehow, Gray sacrifices himself by mixing his body and her spirit with the Phantom's body and spirit...maybe? Do you care?
(Gray's soul leaves his body)
NC: (as Aki) I'll miss you and all three of your jawlines!
Sterling Archer: (audio) OW! It's like being shot in the eyes by a...glitter gun!
(The Earth's Gaia is returned to normal as the Phantoms ascend into space, finally at peace. Sid walks out of his ship to look at this)
NC (vo): Whatever he did, he made it better, as we're given the last line of the movie.
Sid: Oh, it's warm.
NC: ...The same thing you'd say when your Hot Pocket's done. Deep.
(Aki is pulled from the crater holding Gray's body. She sees the falcon from before flying above the planet, screeching)
NC: (snickers shortly) Is that bird laughing at them?!
NC (vo; as a falcon): Ha-ha-ha! Your boyfriend's dead! You look stupid and he looks stupid! You both suck!
(Aki looks at the newly liberated world from a great height, and the credits roll, ending the film)
NC (vo): And...that's it. That's exactly where it ends.
NC: (shifts eyes) Um... (waves his hand as if to say, "Here you go")
(The continuation of the infamous clip from FF X of Tidus laughing forcibly, now along with Yuna, is shown)
NC: I mean, it's as good a reaction as anything else!
(We go to the movie's clips for the last time as NC states his final thoughts)
NC (vo): So, yeah, this movie is pretty dull and, sadly, very lifeless. The movie encompasses way too much sci-fi instead of a sci-fi fantasy mix, but even if it did, it would still have the same stock characters and dialogue that you would get from...well, a very uninspired video game. On a technical level, I'll give it credit. While the visuals are pretty sterile compared to other sci-fi, it still was a breakthrough in how realistic an entire CG movie could look. Sure, it's a tad dated now, but these were big steps in making CGI more convincing both in totally animated movies and blending in with live-action movies. And, yeah. Obviously, you can't have a virtual actress in other movies if there's nothing engaging about the actress outside of the fact that she's virtual. You have to give the people something cool first if you wish for them to want to see more.
NC: (addresses Malcolm and Tamara) And, you know...I'm sorry I took you two for granted. From now on, I'll recognize acting talent in flesh and blood rather than the virtual realm.
Malcolm: Aw. Well, thank you, Critic.
Tamara: Yeah. We really appreciate that.
(Suddenly, accompanied by electronic beeps, Malcolm and Tamara freeze...and their voices appear to be coming out of Ms. Rooster and Mr. Kitty!)
Kitty: Okay, that's all you paid us for.
(Both of them rise up, startling NC)
NC: Wait! What are you two doing?
Rooster: We negotiated, remember? We let you use our Malcolm and Tamara characters for the amount of time you paid for. (presses a button on the remote, and Malcolm and Tamara disappear)
NC: Wait, so Malcolm and Tamara were virtual actors this whole time?
Kitty: No, you dumbass! They're doing our voices, remember?
Rooster: Yeah, we're still virtual characters. We just made two other virtual characters of Malcolm and Tamara that we voiced.
NC: Well, then...where's the real Malcolm and Tamara?
Kitty: Oh, we killed them.
NC: What?! Then how are you talking with their voices?!
Rooster: We recorded them earlier. We just predicted what you were going to say.
NC: Oh, come on. No one's...
Kitty and Rooster: (speak in unison with NC) ...that genius.
(NC gets perplexed)
Kitty and Rooster: (speak in unison with NC) Peanut butter. (Pause) Howie Mandel. (Pause) Superconductor electromagnetism.
NC: Oh, God! You are geniuses!
Rooster: Yeah, you shouldn't have created us so perfect.
Kitty: It's only logical that this would be the natural progression of using virtual actors.
NC: (gets angry) Well, I'm not a virtual actor! I'm a real man, flesh and blood! And there is no way that I'm gonna...
Rooster: Okay, Chester, you can stop.
(Chester A. Bum steps out from behind NC that is frozen while yelling)
Chester: Whoo! I'm sorry, it's just so much fun to imagine he's real!
Kitty: You wanna catch a bite?
(Ms. Rooster, Mr. Kitty and Chester walk out of the room, closing it behind, and head towards the exit)
Chester: I feel like this is one of the stranger of these we've had in a while.
Rooster: Better than "where is the proof?" joke.
Chester: I still don't get that.
Channel Awesome tagline - Neil: That's amore, baby.
(The credits roll)