The sketch motion scenes really do add a lot of drama to the scenes, and do so even better than a fully fleshed-out FMV in my opinion. They’re kinda corny sometimes but still able to make you say “wow… cool”.
My favorite is Scorn in front of Twinmoon Temple. Scorn’s voice actor was ALWAYS awesome, but the thing I like best on this one is how while he’s talking, the camera flashes between his face and a slow revelation of the awakening Saruin (complete with purple necktie). It then shoves Scorn’s face in yours right as he says “Make no mistake they WILL be mine!” and the battle starts.
Another nice one is the Pirate Invasion one. It starts with a faded “pirate fleet incoming” scene with a faded version of the pirate music, then goes all serene with the Emperor surveying his capital, and the dots of ships start appearing on the horizon… and appearing… and appearing. It goes back to sketch motion mode showing the pirates cracking knuckles, brandishing knives, barely able to contain their lust for the violence they’re about to inflict.
Maybe I just like cheesy scenes, but these understated cinema scenes impressed me way more than any overstated, movie theater-pounding Final Fantasy FMV. I guess I just get impressed more when I see Jack Sparrow softly say something foreboding at the theaters than I do when the Jurassic Park t-rex is bearing down on the camera.
For instance, I thought the Mission Impossible movie with Tom Cruise sucked hardcore, but I -really- do like when he puts on the camera glasses in front of the renegade Jim Phelps, and the CIA officer who’s tracking Cruise’s character looks at it, smirks, and says “Good morning Mr. Phelps.”.
That’s the kind of powerful subtlety that I see in the Minstrel Song cutscenes.