|Final Fantasy - The Spirits Within [Blu-ray]
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Studio: Sony Pictures Home Ent Release Date: 08/07/2007 Run time: 106 minutes Rating: Pg13
Earth is a desolate wasteland in Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. Humanity has been decimated by an invasion of Phantoms, insubstantial aliens that extract and devour the spirits of living things. The few remaining humans have retreated to a handful of cities that are protected by massive bio-energy shields. The beautiful Dr. Aki Ross (voiced by Ming-Na) and her mentor Dr. Sid (Donald Sutherland) have discovered that the energy signatures of eight key Earth spirits can cancel out and destroy the Phantoms. With the help of Captain Edwards (Alec Baldwin) and his band of marines, they must scour the globe for the last two remaining spirits before General Hein (James Woods) manipulates the refugee government into attacking the aliens with an orbital laser that may also destroy the Earth.
Hironobu Sakaguchi's film is taken from the popular Final Fantasy video game franchise, which is particularly well suited to film adaptation with its series of original stories, but the movie features entirely new characters and settings. And like Toy Story and Shrek, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within is completely computer generated. Unlike those cartoon comedies, though, The Spirits Within is a serious science fiction drama with astonishingly human digital actors. Aki, the female lead, appeared in a full-page spread in Maxim magazine's Hot 100 list--and was indistinguishable from the real-life models. The setting and conflict make for incredible action, but it's the larger issues, character interaction, and human elements that really make the movie shine. The Spirits Within is not simply a science fiction movie, in the same way that Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is not simply a kung fu flick. The result is a fantastic summer movie with better action and more emotion than Pearl Harbor, and actors more lifelike than those in that other video game movie, Tomb Raider. --Mike Fehlauer
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
- Fantastic animation with flaws
I must admit I was really impressed with the CG in this movie. It seems great computer animation is steadily progressing. From Toy Story to War Planets then to Roughnecks:Chronicles of Starship Troopers, Final Fantasy takes the next evolutionary step. The lighting and level of detail in the animation is flawless. The humans are the most convincing you will find in a CG movie. There were 'actors' in some scenes were completely indiscernable from a real human being. I bet that if someone 20 years ago saw this movie they would wonder why the actors look so strange. It's that good.
I think one of the limitations of the movie is the strong metaphysical elements in the plot, which doesn't show its head much in American mainstream but is a lot more popular in Japan. The story in of itself is common fare in that aspect, and some people might find it canned. The technology portrayed in this movie is enough to get any sci-fi technie to drool. Holographic control surfaces, aerospace transports, domed cities, big guns, bigger guns!
The characters really flesh out the story. The voice actors did a great job all around. It's a real credit to their talents when you can connect with computer generated characters like you would with good actors. Some critics complain about the 'acting' being flat and not expressive. In a fair amount of scenes they are right, but I will marginally side with the animators on this one. When you start rendering the larger, more defined expressions that an actor would make, those real looking CG faces start lose a lot of what makes them look so real. The biggest failing point on that front is they didn't just go to real actors as models for the facial expressions. The CG artists depended on their own facial expressions, and since they aren't actors we end up with what I consider expressions that are way too subtle for film.
Sid, the human villian type, really annoyed me. James Woods did a great job bringing him to life, but the guy was just written so one dimensional. Plus he thwarts the heroes efforts to save the world one too many times for my taste. I mean really!! How many times are we supposed to sit and see the good guys just seconds away from victory only to have Sid screw it up by doing something stupid?!? I felt like pulling my hair. But I digress.
If you are going to get a DVD of this movie the Special Edition is the only way to go. For those of you into how CG movies are made there is so much information that it will make your head spin. For those who aren't so much into that you get some good featurettes too. There is even an outtakes featurette, which consists mostly of the animators goofing around with test footage, but it's fun to watch. Also you get an easter egg with our heroin, Aki Ross, playing Michael Jackson to a host of monsters reinacting the Thriller dance routine.
Final Fantasy is a really good movie. Impressive animation, memorable characters, unique alien menace, and all around style gives this movie a strong recommendation to those science fiction tech heads out there as well as people who want a unique movie experience. Just keep in mind the "acting" doesn't compare to other CG acting like Andy Serkis' Gollum in the Lord of the Rings movies, and the plot itself is not very engaging. Still with these flaws Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within is a very worthy addition to any sci-fi or CG fan's collection.
- 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
- Amazin' Animation!
As always happens in cinematic history, a movie idea comes along that sets (and in some cases, even raises) the bar for other movies to follow if possible. "Final Fantasy - The Spirits Within" (Special Edition) is one such movie, following in the footsteps of such science fiction greats as "2001: A Space Odyssey", "King Kong", "Godzilla" and the mother of all the "trapped in space with a pissed off extra-terrestrial" flick, "Alien".
"Final Fantasy" takes the science fiction animated movie and places it in class so amazing that it's hard to believe you're watching animation at all. My students tell me this was a video game first which would help my understanding of the plot; that may well be, and with me being "video game challenged", I can vouch for that. But, as an art teacher, I can say that the way in which this movie was put together is truly something to see. Visually, it is stunning, with the CGI images so realistically rendered, that you can see each hair on the characters heads, faces and bodies, not mention how the hair on the female characters swishes so beautifully as they move their heads. I found myself thinking "hmmm...I wonder who does her hair?"
Specific physical characteristics aside, the movements of the characters also defy animated logic. While a tad stiff (which may have been done on purpose, since it is a fusion movie of anime', typically stiff anyway, animation, and other techniques), the movie has a flow that overides any "pixelated" movement problems. I mean afterall, if you wanted to see that much realism, why not just see a movie with live humans in it? Eventually you forget that the characters are animated, and lending the very distinctive voices of such eloquent actors as Donald Sutherland, Alec Baldwin, Ving Rhames and Michael Ironsides to the mix doesn't hurt either.
The story, like the coloring is dark, gritty and a bit confusing (again, those of you who played the video game have a distinct advantage over the rest of us cretins who have no idea what the core of the storyline is really about). The use of space and inter-gallatic war as a backdrop is just stock material, but done well, giving you a familiar point of departure to hang the rest of the story on.
The characters are pretty generic; you've got the honery hero (Alec Baldwin), the kindly old scientist/ doctor (Donald Sutherland), the evil-doer (Michael Ironsides), the good ole boy sidekick (Ving Rhames), and the lovely female protaganist, a newcomer, whose name escapes me at the minute. She, however has a secret; she has some connection with these spirit aliens that have the power to take over human bodies and/ or suck-up their spirit energy or something like that...I told you it's confusing.
All in all, it's a pretty cool movie for it's genre and one which almost anyone from ages 12 and up can watch and enjoy....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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Great to look at and Great original story!
I would rank this movie as one of my favorite. It's a shame it has not been given the credit it deserves. The story itself is a breath of fresh air from all the other Sci-Fi movies that assumes that people do not have a spiritual belief in everyday life. This movie dares to explore that part of us that most people in this world believe. The fact that so many movies in the US avoid this topic is more of a matter of political eliteness than what people really do and enjoy. I noticed that one comment even dared to say that the movie did not do too well was because it contained spiritual aspects. That analogy couldn't be furtherest from the truth.
I remember when the movie was advertised. It was one of the worst advertising I have ever seen for a great movie. Sony may have spent a lot of money but they wasted it. Whenever I show this movie to people (and I have shown it to quite a few), they all really enjoyed it and were impressed by it. Many of them had not even heard of it (due to bad advertising).
This movie is a great classic. It was unfortunate that it was not presented or advertised correctly. Someone should definetly create a sequel to it.
By the way, a great movie does not need to be made from a video game.
On the contrary, a video game based on this movie would be excellent.
Rent the movie and watch it with friends and you'll see that it is better than most of the movies you have probably watched and you will most certainly will want to buy it. I won't say it will be the best but it does rank up there in the top which is why I give it five Stars - *****...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.
- Lager than life!
Just superb,many others have said it befor me, so yes the product ended superbly, when you see the countless hours of computation that was necesary to produce this film, (...more info
- Pretty Good, but doesn't follow the video games at all
This movie was pretty good on a level of graphics and original storyline. If you are a big fan of the Final Fantasy games though, do not see this movie. It doesn't follow the games at all and you will be wondering why they even call this movie Final Fantasy. It has no relevence at all to the video games and fans of them will be wondering the whole time, What the heck is this?!?! It is all new characters and none of them have ever been seen before from the video games. The storyline isn't anything like the video games at all either. It is pretty much a whole different movie that just happens to have the name Final Fantasy in it.
So, if you haven't played the Final Fantasy video games, then this movie might be pretty good. If you have played the video games before and are a fan of them, then this movie will seem really bad, because it is not at all like the video games and is not what you are looking for in a Final Fantasy movie that is supposed to be based on them. If you are looking for a good Final Fantasy movie based on the games, rent Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children....more info
- Misunderstood? A huge mistake?
One thing that I rarely find with a game from Square is a bad story. Sure Final Fantasy VIII had its detractors but the story was quite intriguing and under that terrible translation was a really interesting story in Final Fantasy Tactics. But these and others took a long time to develop, little nuances and development over the course of a good 30-40 hours. Well Spirits Within clocks in at around an hour 40 and while the story is kind of interesting, there was a lot of missed opportunities here.
It's 2065 and mankind is nearing extinction. A meteor crashed on Earth, bringing with it strange creatures named Phantoms. Scientist Aki Ross and her mentor Dr. Sid try to collect 8 special spirit waves which will actually defeat the phantoms. However, there is some problems as a General Hein is hellbent on destroying the Phantoms, even if it means the planet in the process.
Another thing you'll always find in Square games is their knack for sweet FMV's or cutscenes. Ever since Final Fantasy VII introduced them to the series, they've gotten better and better at making really amazing scenes come to life(such as Galbadia vs Balamb Garden in VIII, the Black Waltz chase in IX, practically any FMV in X). The animation here is quite stellar, and although I noticed some faults, such as some odd looking artifacting on Hein's coat, this is quite something. It's not entirely perfect as character expressions still look kind of robotic and characters look kinda creepy, especially the eyes.
How's the rest of the film? It's kind of meh. While the story has a good premise, it's marred by bad dialogue and a certain detached feeling. I never really cared about the people's spirits getting munched, I was just like "wow, that looks cool!". And I can't count how many versions of "let's get out of here" I found, then there's the "city is lost" line and countless others. Now maybe it's just my background in anime and games but the story isn't confusing and convoluted, in fact I could understand it perfectly so all that talk about it is really people who probably prefer Armageddon-type plots. Oh wait, that didn't have one either.
This is clearly a 50/50 film where half of you will love it and find it underrated, others will find the poor box office was a reflection on the movie. Whatever the case, it at least warrants a watch, just a more open minded one....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
- I would have preferred a live action version of one of the games...
I will admit, I don't own this DVD. This review is based on having seen it in the theaters.
I was excited to hear about this movie being released, because I enjoyed the games, I had played up through FF8(I don't even remember if 9 was out yet) and I was excited to see my favorite games on the screen. I asked myself, "This is going to be cool! What storyline are they going to come up with this time?"
Unfortunately, I didn't get any indication from any of the reviews in the papers. They all preferred to focus on the novelty of taking computer animated characters and making them all look perfectly real like this was going to be the end of live acting in Hollywood once and for all. Movie reviewers now were debating the pros and cons of computer animated "actors," and I'm sitting there going, "Oh, to hell with that! What's the story about?" Because that's what I loved about the games.
Finally, I saw the movie. And for someone expecting to see a new Final Fantasy-esque storyline on the silver screen, my expectations were not met. First off, after being taken to such places as Baron and Figaro and Midgar and Balamb, why does the movie start off in New York City? Don't get me wrong, I love New York-it's just not Final Fantasy.
Next, the movie is literally all dialogue. Nowhere do you have the random battles, the strengthening of characters in battle, and the preparation for the final face-to-face showdown at the end of the movie. In fact, there was no final face-to-face showdown. The good guys are all on Earth while the bad guy is up in the space station, and he blows himself up.
Square got so hopped up on using the technology that they neglected the plot. They should have started out by creating a storyline using their familiar formula, and then if they wanted to use computer actors to make it, then great. Or if anything, they should have majorly polished the plot they had before handing it to the animators(and if they had done that, they should have used a title other than Final Fantasy)....more info
- Final Sci-Fi
"Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within" is a computer animated feature, which I remember got a fair bit of hype about the way it was made. I liked it, but not so much for the animation really.
It's 2065 AD and the world is at war with a variety of creatures known as "phantoms", who both kill and infect people with themselves. Dr Aki has been infected, but her associate Dr Cid has it under control, using a method that might free the Earth from the phantom invasion. Since the infection, Dr Aki is haunted by strange dreams, which she struggles to find a meaning to. Will she figure out what they mean? Will the struggle against the phantoms soon be put to rest?
My brothers are big fans of the Final Fantasy series, so I've seen a bit of the video game this film takes its name from. Doesn't seem to be that much of connection, but I wasn't really thinking about that when I was watching it, more on the story, which is fairly entertaining piece of sci-fi. I wasn't thinking much about the effects either, though I do like the animation of the more transparent phantoms, like the dragon sort of ones the fly about.
There's quite a few special features in the special edition: an audio commentary from the Japanese crew, an audio commentary from the English crew, a commentary/music only track from the composer, original theatrical trailers, cg "outtakes", a couple of making of featurettes, and a few other things.
Worth a look for fans of sci-fi and computer animation....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