Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within


Reviewed by: Symon Parsons

From the title, I assumed it was some sort of raunchy European thing and was disappointed to find no nudiness in it whatsoever. Having sat through the thing, I'm still unsure what relevance the title has.

Putting the story aside for a minute, "Final Fantasy" looks GREAT. I mean, it's simply astounding how far computer-generated animation has come. Some of the set-pieces and landscapes in this film are jaw-dropping and the humans are eerily real. Each strand of Dr. Aki Ross's hair was individually animated by computer.

Copy picture

But yet, somehow, they're not quite human enough. And that's where the film falls down. The computer sprites can't yet convey enough emotion for you to care about them. They're kind of like Thunderbirds Puppets Possessed By Satan, or the cast of Dawson's Creek. However, with this in mind you may still enjoy Final Fantasy.

The film takes place in the future after the population has been all but wiped out by Phantoms, which are these weird alien things of pure energy that walk through walls and suck the life force out of humans just by touching them. Nasty. What's left of mankind has to hide behind huge forcefields.

However, in humanity's corner we have Dr. Aki Ross (Ming Na) and Dr. Sid (Donald Sutherland) aided by some military muscle from Grey (Alec Baldwin) and his team (Peri Gilpin, Ving Rhames and Steve Buscemi). Together, they are close to finding a way to vapourise the nasties once and for all.

Unfortunately, as in all such films, there's always SOMEONE who'll mess things up to further his own Evil Ends. In this case, there's a rather shifty looking chap lurking about in a leather jacket and voiced by James Woods - uh-oh...

Given the film's background as a video game, it's a surprisingly thoughtful science fiction film, invoking James Lovelocke's "Gaia" theory, although possibly not in QUITE the way he meant it. (Gaia will be played by a Fuzzy Blue Light in this film by the way.) The action is muted and not particularly thrilling and in this way the film recalls the sterile first Star Trek movie.

Incidentally, I wonder how long it will be before we have the technology to create a whole NEW Star Trek movie with the original cast animated? Yikes! It's a scary prospect for actors. I can already imagine new movies in which George Clooney will star opposite John Wayne and telly commercials in which James Dean will advertise the new Volvo.

So Final Fantasy is without doubt a huge leap forward in filmmaking, and a glimpse of what the future holds. But then, so was Tron.

Reviewed on: 08 Aug 2001
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A select group of scientist soldiers search for earth spirit in devasted America after alien colonisation.
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Read more Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within reviews:

Angus Wolfe Murray ****

Director: Hironobu Sakaguchi, Motonori Sakakibara

Writer: Hironobu Sakaguchi, Al Reinert, Jeff Vintar

Starring: voices of Ming-Na, Alec Baldwin, Donald Sutherland, James Woods, Ving Rhames, Steve Buscemi

Year: 2001

Runtime: 105 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: US


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