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Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within  (32 ratings)

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TitleFinal Fantasy: The Spirits Within
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Submitted by Zane W. Olesen 
(Dec 12, 2002)

Final Fantasy
The Spirits Within

In what is sure to be the standard in the CG animation industry “Final Fantasy” arrived in theatres with high hopes. A film that has reportedly cost between $100 and $140 million dollars carries the dubious distinction of having the largest price tag for an animation feature in Hollywood history.

Based on the hugely successful video game of the same name, “Final Fantasy” is written, produced, and directed by the games creator, Hironobu Sakaguchi. In a Wall Street Journal interview Sakaguchi commenting on the huge price tag said that it (Final Fantasy) was a huge risk that could affect not only his company but Japan as whole.

So Sakaguchi’s day of reckoning has arrived as American audiences turned out in droves to view “Final Fantasy”.

For the record, I’m not a video game enthusiast and I will review “Final Fantasy” strictly as a movie.

My first impression was one of awe. The detail in the animation was freaky but totally cool. My eyes reveled in the rich and exquisite visual nuances of the outstanding CG animation. With out a doubt there is nothing out there that can compete with the quality of “Final Fantasy”.

There turns out to be down side when the animation gets so perfect and close to the real thing. And that is after a bit you can almost forget that you are watching an animation and then you find yourself judging the movie as if it was live action. And where that was apparent is during the dialogue. The timing and depth of some facial expressions did not match naturally with the spoken dialogue. A very subtle thing that human actors, and audiences take for granted, but to create it in animation some subtle responses makes for a mild uneasy cadence between speech and action.

Wow, I can’t believe how picky that sounds. But Sakaguchi has blurred the boundaries between live action and animation on a level to where our eyes are seeing what once was only visible to our imagination. Naturally the human eye will do what it has always done, and that’s try and see what’s real.

The story takes a back seat to the animation. The main character Aki (Ming-Na) is a research scientist who is embarked on project that hopefully will save the earth. The futuristic earth has been struck with a Meteor that possesses evil phantoms that can absorb the life force out of humans. Also these phantoms can pass through solid walls and objects and come in a myriad of shapes and sizes. Perplexingly bullets, or what ever the humans are shooting out of their guns can destroy these phantoms.

Most of the civilized world has been destroyed and mankind lives inside these protective domes that keep the phantoms out. The military has this huge space cannon and General Hien (James Wood) is jazzed about using this cannon on the meteor and tries to convince the earth’s council to let him blast the meteor with the cannon.

However Aki and her mentor Dr. Sid (Donald Sutherland) espouse a theory based upon the spirit of the earth the “gaia” (not sure about the spelling but it’s pronounced, -guy-ya). So the Dr. thinks that by using the natural spirits of the earth he can find away to deal with the phantoms. Aki thinks there is something more to the phantoms then just aggressive evil and she worries what affects the space cannon will have on the meteor and it’s resident phantoms.

The story relies on a lot metaphysical components from Japanese and Native American lore. I think this bogs the story down a bit. Nevertheless I must applaud this story because it is as far removed from traditional Disney animation features as the space shuttle is from the Wright brothers flying contraption.

I think “Final Fantasy” over shoots it’s target audience considerably. But I must recommend that if you are any kind of movie fan or science fiction buff you owe it to your self, and the genre, to check this film out. I think its important to support pioneering efforts like “Final Fantasy” because it may help hasten, the advent of some the greatest sci/fi stories ever written, to the silver screen. At the very least I would like to see more of this quality of CG sci/fi animation.

Submitted by mikichan@junkjungle.com 
(Aug 21, 2001)

Main bad guy: I hate the monsters, I'll fire my big penis in space that them. I like my big penis is space it is the bestest ever.Main Girl: Don't fire the big penis at the earth it is TOO BIG and could hurt my earth!!! Lets hug animals and plants, my boob will save the worldHero guy: I don't know what is going on but I will go along with what the girl with the glowing boob saysScientist: I have a bunch of theories and they are better than guns. I like being a scientist with the main chick because even if I am too old for her I get to check out her T&A all the timeAliens: We don't know what the hell we are doingBasically the world has been invaded by some sort of alien beings that came in on a comet that left a crater on earth. If they pass through your body you emit a blue spirit and die (blue = good guy red=bad guy aliens). The main girl is someone infected with alien cells but has a thing built into her rack that keeps the alien cells from killing her. She must collect spirits to build a wave that will get rid of the aliens. The aliens turn out to be ghosts from a planet that was destroyed. Somehow the main guy dies to save the earth but it does not make any sense. The movie was kind of silly. Oh the big penis is space wasn't nearly as bad as everyone thought it would be, it didn't seem to do very much and then it blew up. Well that was my summary: Big Penis, vaginal hole in the world it is shot into, good guy dies and somehow saves the world in a way that does not make any sense. Oh there were tentacles too.



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