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Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
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Customer Reviews:

  • Not bad...
    It's why SqareSoft failed and got bought be Enix, but I like the movie. Graphics are still impressive, the overall plot is good, though some of the dialogue is redundant, stupid an unnecessary....more info
  • This is a keeper
    OK so there are some problems with this movie in plot line, story and a disappointing ending, not to mention some bad (voice) acting. However I did enjoy the Gia story, I found it quite interesting as a philosophy. I write this review 8 years after the movie came out and it is still the reigning King of Computer Generated Graphic movies....more info
  • terrible
    this movie was terrible....I went into the theater skepical because I heard that the screenwriters were untested...well, this disastorpiece is what you get as a result. The movie did so poorly that it bankrupted Square Pictures.

    The dialouge was filled with one liners, wasted several talented actors like Donald Sutherland. The drama seemed artificial, and the story was just bad. What I did like about this movie is that it showed that adult-oriented computer animated productions are possible instead of the childrens movies by Pixar (Monsters Inc....which was actually FAR BETTER than this)

    This movie is just bad....avoid it...I want to see them make a movie out of Final Fantasy 6, which was the best of the series in my opinion...more info
  • Pretty good
    This is a really nicely done CG movie. The visuals are amazing. It's a pretty entertaining movie because of the CG alone. It does get a little slow at times though. Even the first time I saw it, I found my mind wondering during some of the slow scenes. Some people don't like the fact that this movie has nothing to do with the games but it didn't bother me cause I'm not a fan of the games at all. I don't understand why a game where you put in commands and watch the action rather than do it yourself, is so popular. But that's a whole different story. Anyway, if you can get this movie on sale, like I did, then it's a good buy....more info
  • In a class all its own.
    I had seen this movie several times on the sci-fi channel at home. I always enjoyed watching it and found the characters so interesting and so alive. I wanted to own it and I actually had a hard time finding it out in the real world. Amazon seems to be about the only place that has it. Matter of fact some store employees would look at me weird and have no idea what I was talking about. It will be a classic one day!...more info
  • Dont Get This
    If you are a final fantasy fanatic and have played the games since the ones on the nintendos, then this movie will only make you angry. this movie is not like the game at all and everyone knows the reason, "if it was like the game then everyone would be able to tell what happens." while this is a good arguement, it does not explain what happened to this movie. this movie is not a little unlike the game, it is a lot unlike the game. there is really no fighting, NO summons, and it was done by america, which means that it is not going to be as good as if it was done by final fantasy people. if this is the first time that you have seen FF, then this should be okay for you. if this is not the first time that you have seen FF and you are looking to see what you have seen in a game played out in a full lenght movie, then this is not the movie for you....more info
  • A Visual Ride
    This CGI film is a story of Aki Ross, a scientist working with fellow scientist Doctor Sid in year 2065 to free the Earth of an apparently deadly alien race called the Phantoms which has driven humanity to survive in cities under energy domes known as Barrier Cities. Aki and Sid are against General Hein, who wishes to fire the Zeus cannon from space to annihilate the Phantoms, while injuring the Earth's "gaia" or spirit in the process. This was the first film to attempt to create a photorealistic computer generated world with 3D characters and for the most part it succeeds with flying colors. This film is one of the most delicious films to look at for the characters are expressive and realistic and the effects and set pieces are magical and beautiful. The voice acting is great and the script is interesting, thought provoking, and entertaining.
    From the fantastical first few minutes of the film, I was immediately pulled into a sci-fi world that held so much eye candy I could barely stand it, seriously. The visuals are absolutely stunning and just looking at the screen, I wanted to see more. The action began at once and I assumed that the whole movie would be intense and action packed. But I didn't expect the movie would take to the typical Asian slow-paced storytelling as the movie progressed because the opening sequences were so incredibly awesome and engaging, though the story never got boring.
    The animation is excellent, especially the human movements. The character's faces however--well you know they aren't real humans. They are believable and lifelike, but the facial animations don't recreate those of a real human. It is never distracting though because there is just so much else to look at in the film. The female lead, Aki is beautifully done and her character is likable and watchable. In the story, Aki and Sid team up with the Deep Eyes, a group of military warriors to defend the survivors of this apparent alien invasion. They struggle to learn about these aliens and how they might be able to eliminate them. When General Hein comes into the picture, planning to blast the aliens away with the Zeus cannon, Aki and Doctor Sid warn him that doing so will injure the Earth's own spirit. General Hein does not believe this, and does not care because he is looking to kill these aliens out of revenge. The voices are well done by known American actors such as Alec Baldwin and Donald Sutherland to name a few.
    The story sometimes drags along at points, and just when you think the end is near, there's another thirty minutes to wrap things up. But it can be forgiven because it's thirty minutes more of glorious visuals and eye candy. Things never get too weird, either, like in some other Asian films, and it never gets too complicated. If it all seems complicated at first, it really isn't, if you read the main premise beforehand. Any problems with the story I found, the visuals totally made up for that. It was an amazing feat of a film Hironobu Sakaguchi made for its visuals alone. After the movie ended, I wished right away for another movie with similar technology to be made. There have been, but not to the exact degree of this one.
    Fans of the "Final Fantasy" video game series will most likely be disappointed by this film. It has nothing to do with the video games, and I am surprised it was titled as a Final Fantasy film. If you go into seeing the movie with no expectations then that is probably the best way to watch the movie. No, scratch that--you can expect an amazing, truly, truly amazing visual roller coaster, and an entertaining story to go with it on top. It is a very good film, and I loved seeing it, twice.
    8.9/10 stars
    ...more info
  • Definitely a gamers' movie
    Beautiful colors and brilliant animation with excellent voicings.

    That's it. That's about all you can say about this rewarmed pot-boiler. Hackneyed plot, nonexistent character development, unsatisfying conclusion.

    This is a film that will appeal to gamers and fans of anime. Everyone else can find better use for their ticket money....more info
  • Good Movie, Bad rep from gamers. (3.5 stars)
    All I want to say about the movie, seeing as how it already has been touched on by 670 something people before me is that this film is beautiful and deep and entertaining. The negative things that people say are unwarranted i.e. "The faces have no emotion" actually they have alot of expressions, the cgi is exceptional and there is a fine range of emotion. The biggest complaint people have is that the movie isn't "Final Fantasy", this is of course coming from those people that love the RPG games and think anything attached to the "Final Fantasy" title has to have "swords and potions". I'm just trying to tell you guys that this film explores a beautifully animated and completely realized world and alot of work was put into the film. Almost anyone with an open mind is bound to enjoy this movie and acknowledge how hard the filmmakers worked to bring it to the screen. ...more info
  • A considerable achievement
    This movie is a shape of things to come. Contrary to what the previous reviewer says, I believe the story is much more engaging then most sci-fi/action flicks out there today. And visually, it delivers 10 out of 10.

    This movie never claimed to be a pinnacle in story telling. It is not Clockwork Orange or One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. It is ment to show the future of movies. In as short a time period as 10 years, digitized actors will play a huge part in movies, even more then they are today.

    I'm not talking about CG robots or T-Rexes.. You'll be able to enjoy a new Marilyn Monroe or Dean Martin film released 50 years after they have passed away and you will not be able to tell the difference.

    Being quite sure that the bluray version will deliver all the goods %100, I give this movie 5 stars and would highly recommend it. (I'll update my review once I have it)

    ...more info
  • A Classic!
    One of the best examples of CGI made movies ever made. And the sound is great. Even has a fairly good plot to it too. Once you start watching, you just have to see it through to the end. Great Movie!...more info
  • Fun!
    I watched this movie twice, once, I went to actually see the movie (on friends' initiative) at the cinema with some friends, about half way through we gave up on trying to watch it, so being that apparently we were the only ones who didnt get the new that this movie sucked, we ran around inside the unsupervised and otherwise unfilled movie theatre (yes, we were the ONLY ones)
    the second time was knowing that no one wud come and we just skipped the "trying to follow" bit....more info
  • Exceptional animation displaying a nerdy script
    This film was supposedly built on a game. And as with most films that are game oriented they fell short of the game and of a good film. This is one of those films that it would be better to watch the DVD extras and find out what they where trying to accomplish. Otherwise the story will seem even lamer than it is.

    The only thing saving this "movie?" is all the extra goodies on the DVD's. However those goodies can only count for so much. The animation is impressive, maybe not as impressive as advertised but impressive none the less. The characters look like they must have sucked their thumbs as children. Unfortunately the story is not so impressive. It looks like it was contrived just for the graphics.

    What was the buzzing in the background? On it was someone's idea of background music that played over and over (sort of cartoonish it's self). I would be more elaborate but there is not too much to elaborate on. A better title would have been "Gag me Gia" or "Ghost Toasties"

    In a last ditch effort to save this dog, it has been issued on Blu-Ray. We have already established that it is not the graphics that need improving.

    Planet Earth - The Complete BBC Series [Blu-ray]...more info
  • Incredible animation for its time
    Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within is a science fiction film by Hironobu Sakaguchi, the creator of the Final Fantasy role-playing games. This film was the first attempt to make a photorealistic rendered 3D feature film, and was released to theaters in the United States on July 11, 2001. Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within is only vaguely related to the Final Fantasy games. Dr. Sid's Gaia theory (a lifeforce within the planet to which the spirits belong) is reminiscent of the Lifestream/Mako in Final Fantasy VII. Also, Dr. Sid continues the tradition of having a character named "Cid" in the Final Fantasy games (although his name is spelled "Sid" instead of "Cid").

    The first disc in this set contains the film, theatrical trailers, and production notes. The second disc includes two Easter eggs: one is for a storyboard of a scene that's not in the film, while the other shows what appears to be a physical bust of Aki that is digitized. The documentary on the DVD runs for about half an hour, and it talks about the animation, an explanation of the Gaia theory, the process for the 3D animation, the audio, and the music.

    There are "character files" for Aki, Gray, Dr. Sid, Hein, Ryan, Jane, and Neil. For each one, there is footage of the character with a robotic-sounding female voice-over who provides information on the character, as well as the lead animator and voice actor for that character. The "vehicle scale comparisons" is in the same style as the "character files," but instead covers the following vehicles: Bandit, Black Boa, and Quatro. The "Final Fantasy Shuffle" allows you to re-edit the conference scene and to learn background information from the animators. However, I couldn't quite figure out the point of this feature. It appears you can only re-organize the footage from the film; there are no alternate angles to choose from.

    "Trailer Explorations" talks about putting together the teaser and the trailer for the film. "The Gray Project" is a five-and-a-half minute piece which shows some footage that was put together as they were figuring out the designs for the characters. "More Boards/Blasts" has storyboards, footage from the film, and animatics mixed together. "Matte Art Explorations" shows the various mattes the animators used. "Joke Outtakes" are a series of "bloopers" that runs for almost two minutes. "Compositing Builds" shows the details of all the animation elements for one scene in the film.

    The original opening that is included is very different from the scene that opened the film. Aki's dream is different, Aki's design is different, and she also already knows what her reason for the dreams are. Personally, I think the opening scene in the actual film is much better than this. "Aki's Dream" takes all the footage of Aki's dreams and puts them together into one continuous piece. "DVD-ROM Content" explains the DVD-ROM content on the DVD. Also, there's a hidden video of the characters from the film dancing to an instrumental of Michael Jackson's "Thriller."

    The 3D animation in this film is very well done; there were times I had to remind myself the characters on the screen were animated, not real people. The film has pacifist themes, and military solutions tend to be either futile or are only temporarily effective. The film is also very pro-environment. The film tells a decent story, and is worth adding to your DVD collection if you enjoy this kind of a science fiction story.

    ...more info
  • wmschmitz
    This is a great movie !!!!
    The cgi work is amazing !!
    If you like cgi art this is the movie for you.
    All other cgi movies should take notice of the work done in this movie.
    ...more info
  • Bigger than life
    This film is not technically perfect, but it is a taste of the future of filmmaking. My first thought was that great stars of the past might be "resurrected" using this sort of computer generated animation. The story is classic scifi, but the characters are much more three-dimensional than most in this genre. Well worth the viewing...more info
  • Underrated gem of a film
    Final Fantasy has long been a watershed videogame series since its start, but did not get its due praise in the United States until series' first foray into 3D territory with its seventh installment, Final Fantasy VII. seeing the game's worldwide success, it didn't take long for Hollywood to start looking for a way to capitalize on the Final Fantasy name. A Final Fantasy movie was announced and went into production.

    With the exception of Final Fantasy X-2 and the series of media based on the world and characters of Final Fantasy VII, each game in the Final Fantasy franchise bears all-new characters, settings, and stories, though themes and aesthetic aspects do recur throughout the series. And The Spirits Within carried on this tradition. This of course garnered criticism, since fans of the games preferred to see some of the characters and settings they loved from the games on the big screen (this complaint was remedied by the release of fanboy-friendly film Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children a few years later). But from a storytelling standpoint, creating a story completely independent from the games was likely the most logical choice in order for the film to appeal to a much broader moviegoing audience that would likely be unfamiliar with the games. And since each game in the series takes hours upon hours of gameplay to complete, being able to encapsulate one of the games' stories in a 2-hour film would be impossible. The film also received criticism from "old school" Final Fantasy fans because it shared science fiction elements similar to some of the more recent installments of the game series rather than the medieval "sword and sorcery" elements of the franchise's earlier games. Some even complained about the film's overall lack of magic and monsters, aspects found in all of the games.

    The film is set in the year 2065. Strange ghost-like alien creatures called Phantoms have seemingly invaded Earth, sucking the life force from anyone and anything they encounter. The planet is reduced to a barren wasteland, and humanity's remaining survivors fortify themselves within cities protected by enegry barriers to keep the Phantoms out. Aki Ross, a doctor working for the military and her mentor Dr. Cid work to complete an energy wave that will eliminate the Phantoms without the use of force, but the trigger-happy General Hein believes that the only way to defeat the Phantoms is by firing all available weaponry at them, even it may destroy the Earth in the process.

    Though the film took several years and $140 million dollars to make (due to the fact that the technology used to make the film wasn't created until the movie went into production), the film only made back rough $40 million of its budget and is considered by some to be one of the biggest bombs in film history. Reviews were tepid, though some, like reknowned critic Roger Ebert, applauded the film's attempt at telling a deep story and melding of Westerner and Eastern philosophy and storytelling. The film's lukewarm reviews may have to do with the film's plot, which centers around the Eastern philosophy of the "Gaia Theory" that Western film critics and moviegoers were mostly unfamiliar with. The film's photorealism also came into question, since characters would look startling real at one moment, then more like dolls the next.

    The Spirits Within marks the first time CGI (that's Computer Generated Imagery) was used to create deatailed, photorealistic human characters, right down to Aki's hairs. It also marks the first time (and as of the moment this review is being written, the only time) a Final Fantasy story is set on Earth, though a futuristic Earth. previous works in the Final Fantasy franchise were set on fantasy planets that were Earth-like in nature only. Our Earth was likely used at the film's setting so it would be unnecessary to explain a whole new world to the audience.

    Though it is remembered by many as a failure (the film production company created by the game developers to make the movie went bankrupt from the $100 million dollar loss), it is much easier now to look back on the film as one of the better films to be made from or inspired by video games, and to appreciate it for its technological achievements and its attempt to tell a very un-Hollywood kind of story....more info
  • A little too realistic. Do we really need CGI to give us bad drama?



    "A special effect without a story behind it is a pretty boring thing." --George Lucas

    Case in point, Final Fantasy - The Spirits Within.

    It begins as so many Hollywood sci-fi movies do: with the success of a video game. Then a flimsy movie plot is formed in the way so many Hollywood sci-fi plots are: from a gross misinterpretation of a sceintific concept, in this case, the Gaia theory. From there, we the audience should expect nothing more or less than a mindless mess of brain-candy. To our surprise, this time, what do we get? A lot of bad drama, performed by computer animated people. Wha? Where did we go wrong?
    Seeing real people do bad acting is hard enough, but it's worse when a team of CGI animators try to get you to take their art seriously by creating CGI soap-opera.
    This film was marketed as the cutting edge of CGI, promising to dazzle everyone with the level of realism achieved. The trailers wowed us with animations that looked, wow! Like real people!
    But this begs the question: So what? Who needs animated people that do the same things real people do? The characters in this movie aren't flying around like Superman, aren't dodging bullets like Neo in "The Matrix," and aren't amputees like Captain Dan in "Forrest Gump." They are just behaving like regular old bad actors in an insufferably bad B-movie. CGI has apparently gotten a little too real. We get more than enough bad drama from real actors already.
    Of all the reasons I can think of to use CGI actors instead of real ones (budget considerations, convenience of not having to worry about human problems like acne, illness, death of actors), none of them have anything to do with why I, as an audience member, should want to sacrifice my time and money to sit through what the filmmakers are selling.
    Sure, the CGI effects are impressive. But are impressive special effects enough to hold me for two hours?
    No. Ten or twenty minutes, maybe. A half-hour if the effects are reeeally dazzling. And that's an important point. When I go to a fireworks display or a laser show, I expect a mind-blowing array of light and sound. Maybe Final Fantasy would have been more entertaining if the creators had tried a little harder to give a good light show as opposed to a serious drama. By trying to have it both ways, they wound up with a mediocre effects show and a dull story. Why? To try to give computer animation an air of legitimacy? Who knows? And ultimately, who cares? Bad drama is bad drama, and it's even worse when it's CGI bad drama.
    CGI is useful for aiding a story. If the story sucks, all the CGI in the universe is not going to change that. A special effect without a story really is a very, very boring thing. ...more info
  • Totally unappreciated movie.
    This movie was awesome. I really, really don't care what anyone says, this movie was cinematic gold. The only problem people had with it was that it 'wasn't Final Fantasy.' While I do agree that it shouldn't have been called a Final Fantasy movie, it was amazing either way. I saw it back in theaters when it first came out, and back then I had the 'Final Fantasy fan!' mentality so I didn't really dig it, but I went back and watched it again just recently and can't believe I even had a time where I didn't really like it. I should slap myself. This movie is amazing. End of story....more info
  • Spectacular CGI
    I just wrote a review for the latest FF Movie FF - Advent Children. I said that the movie is not for people who are not familiar with the Final Fantasy Game series.

    I can not say that about this Final Fantasy Movie. It has a great story, was well done and is for everybody who enjoys great entertainment regardless of the genre (Sci-Fi in this case).

    The Animations are breathtaking. I forgot from time to time that you look at an animated movie all together. The animations look so real from time to time that you think that you are watching a live action movie.

    Too bad that the movie did not so well at the box office, but it got rewarded with huge DVD sales afterwards, when people discovered the movie. I bet that the movie would have been a Box Office hit as well, if they would have market it properly. I am a FF Fan and didn't even realize that they created a movie long after the fact.

    I am certain that you will not regret buying this movie. If you are uncertain (like I was), rent it first and buy it if you enjoy it (like I did). ...more info
  • Amazing
    This movie was one that eventually led to the closing of Square Pictures and lost Square Enix almost 120 million dollars. The movie was love by critics and was given "Two Thumbs Up" by Ebert & Ropert, yet it failed to excite fans of the game and other people alike.
    With a simple plot that pretty much anyone can understand, top-notch acting, animation, and detail, as well as some of the greatest action sequences ever seen in a movie, not to mention the really neat ending that no one wants to happen, the movie should never have lost that much money.
    The game series is the greatest ever created, and with the series' creator, Hironobu Sakaguchi, writing, directing, and producing, it is nearly impossible to fathom how in the world the movie failed like it did, I don't know, I loved the movie and the games, and I think that even if you haven't played the games you'll like this movie, but it helps if you like the games....more info
  • Great animation, not a particularly good movie
    FF: The Spirits Within is an entertaining enough movie. However, it lacks any real thematic depth and comes across as cartoonish, without any of the humor that is part of a normal cartoon. Ming-na's and Baldwin's performances are both pretty flat and without energy. Except for one scene in which the viewer finds out that the villain's family was killed by phantoms, he otherwise seems an uninteresting bloodthirsty caricature. Every invading alien/war movie cliche is eventually displayed in the movie, and by the end of the movie I didn't really care what ended up happening to any of the main characters.

    On the other hand, the animation still looks state of the art even in 2009. The Phantoms are exceptionally creepy and well-designed. I'd check this movie out free from a library, but there are much better animated movies to spend one's money on. A better movie using this particular type of animation is "Beowulf." ...more info