Saturday, December 5, 2015

redvsblue Season 9

Season nine of redvsblue kicks off the third major story arc in the RvB universe, Project Freelancer (trailer. This far into the RvB saga, the lore and mythos behind the freelancers and their respective AIs is almost as complex as the Metal Gear Solid canon. At the end of the season eight, we saw Church (Burnie Burns) realizing more of his true nature as he rediscovered himself back at good ‘ol Blood Gulch, and season nine marks the first season shot entirely in the Halo Reach engine, so expect a few tweaks to the famous multiplayer map and a nice coat of paint to spruce up the scenery a little bit.

Shortly into season nine you realize Church (Burnie Burns) has once again stumbled back in time. Instead of constantly jumping into different timelines however and repeatedly failing to fix the past like in season three, Church is now locked in this version of the past. This one appears to take place in an alternate timeline as the events that transpired here are similar to the very first season of RvB, although things are a little different. Sarge(Matt Hullum) is now a laid back superior, and Grif (Geoff Ramsey) is a super hard working trooper who refuses to take a break, seriously, and Simmons (Gus Sorola), well, he is still Simmons. Tex (Kathleen Zuelch) makes another emergency fill in situation for the Blues, and Church has a whole new destiny waiting for him. Since this is a prequel of sorts that means Donut (Dan Godwin) is back in the mix too, and I absolutely love his character this season.

Most of the characters on Blood Gulch in season nine end up in the same spot or as the same character as they did by the end of the first season, just the path they got there is a whole different, amusing journey. In a weird way as I watched this season it kept reminding me of the final season of Lost and how things were all kinds of messed up with their flashbacks, flash-forwards and flash sideways and then by the last season they had time travel integrating between all these timelines to keep you scratching your head throughout. The end of this season on Blood Gulch completely came out of left field for me and has me on my toes for the events of season ten.

That is not everything that happened in season nine as we have duel prequel timelines this season bouncing back and forth throughout its just under two hours runtime. One timeline is the Blood Gulch prequel, the other is a prequel involving the Freelancers. Their timeline opens with them performing a routine seize and escape mission, but you can tell the Freelancers are crumbling throughout as the Director (John Reed) is manipulating a scoreboard ranking them all in his own twisted version of Darwinism.

Remember how last season was the first to implement motion-captured animation? In season nine, the animators at Rooster Teeth kept the super slick looking motion-captured animation exclusive to the Freelancers timeline of this season. It is probably the right call because there are a handful of very detailed action sequences with them on their action-filled missions. The animators take it up another notch with most of the Freelancers removing their helmets and we get some well crafted facial animations throughout this season, with very top-notch animated lip syncing, and we are not talking about of the Vic-quality either in the early RvB seasons.

However, I cannot help but feel a little off at RvB looking this….professional looking. The way the animators pulled off some of these elaborate gunfire exchanges and chase scenes looks so well done, that it feels a little too good for the web series that until the previous season had a charming DIY vibe. If there is anything to take away from these exquisite motion-captured scenes it is that a couple of them overstay their welcome as they went a little too overboard with the Freelancers kicking ass and I just wanted them to move on already.

The standard extra features accompany season nine. There are five short deleted scenes, with one of them standing out as it features cameos from two characters that since they are regulated to this deleted scene wind up with no actual involvement in season nine. There are four behind-the-scenes features tallying up to just under a half hour that are worth checking out as they are really well shot interviews with the cast and crew. Back to Blood Gulch has the cast answering fan questions, while Meet Project Freelancer has the cast and crew pretty stoked about doing a prequel. RvB Visual FX is a in depth look at how Rooster Teeth handled the detailed animation on the Freelancers side of the story I recommend checking out if you are just the tiniest bit curious on how they pulled off the animation. Finally, there is a commentary that I recommend not skipping over as it features the series creator and director Burnie Burns with a rotating cast of guests throughout to keep the conversation on point and nonstop references to RvB lore, and little nods to the fans of certain scenes and even more details on how they pulled off their animation.

I will give props to Rooster Teeth for shaking things up a little bit with part one of Project Freelancer as the dueling prequel timelines is a fresh way to mix up the storytelling of the RvB universe. I dug the whole alternate ‘how did we get here’ aspect of the Blood Gulch timeline, especially with its cliffhanger at the end, and the Freelancer’s timeline helped give a lot of back story on Tex, The Director and a few other freelancers we have seen throughout the seasons. I am intrigued to see how it all ties together as Project Freelancer wraps up with season ten, so make sure to join me next month for my coverage of it here!

Past redvsblue Blogs

Season 1
Season 2
Season 3
Season 4
Season 5
Season 6
Season 7
Season 8

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