The video opens with Griffin (Kanye West) running down a road in a forest with his shirt unbuttoned, followed with a narration by Nicki Minaj in an English accent. A phoenix (Ebanks), appearing as half-woman and half-phoenix, crashes down to Earth as a meteorite and Griffin crashes his MTX Tatra V8 in the forest. This scene, according to GQ, echoes West’s car accident that was the inspiration for “Through the Wire”. While the car explodes in the background, Griffin carries the phoenix in his arms and brings her home. The phoenix comes into contact with objects from the human world, including a news display on a flat-screen television and a porcelain teacup. After she dances to a remix of “Power” that Griffin plays on an MPC2000, he takes her to see different sights, including a carnival with a papier-mâché bust of Michael Jackson, a marching band, and fireworks in the desert. “All of the Lights” is heard during this sequence. Griffin falls in love with the phoenix and they attend a formal dinner party, during which “Devil in a New Dress” is heard. The disgusted guests appear to exchange negative comments about the phoenix. An upset Griffin responds with a performance of “Runaway”, backed by an interpretive dance sequence with ballerinas in black tutus, followed by a slow-motion sequence where lead dancers perform solos to an Auto-Tuned continuation of the song. The diners toast to the lyrics saluting the “douche bags” and applaud Griffin’s performance. The dinner ends when the phoenix, horrified, screams in anguish at the revelation that the main dish is a large turkey, driving the guests away from the table. After the dinner, the couple is seen sitting outside under the stars (in a scene reminiscent of Jackson’s Moonwalker) where they chat about the creation of sculptures. The phoenix claims they are phoenixes that have been turned to stone by society. She comments on the repressive nature of his world, declaring, “Do you know what I hate most about your world? Anything that is different you try to change.” She then tells him she must burst into flames to avoid this fate, and thus, return to her world. Griffin, however, cannot accept this and they make love to “Lost in the World” (featuring Bon Iver). He wakes up the next morning on his apartment roof, only to find the phoenix ascending into the sky, donning a gold breastplate. The film ends back in the forest scene from the beginning of the film. –Wikipedia
A film that's overstuffed with the themes that ran through the album the film is connected to; narcissism, social alienation, and the struggle to believe in yourself whilst the world questions the decisions you make. In many ways it is a perfect encapsulation of Kanye West in 2010, though perhaps not a perfect film, and a demonstration of the world that West lives in, as retold by West.
What's this bullshit about it being all style and no substance?! I can understand that critisism when applied to movies, I too have critized movies for being too consumed with style without any concern to story and character psychology. But this is a fucking music video! An extended music video, yes, but still a music video. And music videos can disregard substance and only look good. And this looks fucking great!