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Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
5 out of 105 out of 105 out of 105 out of 105 out of 10 Rated: PG-13 read
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Current Voter Rating: 8.256 (297 votes) vote on this movie Other Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within links (links)
picture from Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within

This movie really broke some major ground in the digital animation arena. Breaking from the traditional "kiddie movie" mold of both Pixar and Dreamworks, Columbia brings us a science-fiction thriller intended for a bit older crowd. So instead of seeing toys, or bugs, or ogres, or monsters, we see, for the first time in a major motion picture, real people (or, to be more clear, digital animations meant to portray real people). This is something even George Lucas had said that he would never even attempt.

So how did they do? Wonderful! There were close-up shots of some of the main characters, which revealed individual pores in their skin, and hairs on their head. I was particularly impressed with a certain scene in which the main character, Dr. Aki Moss (voiced by Ming-Na), was standing in a desolate, alien world as the ground started to shake and her hair began to billow in the wind. Each hair on her head seemed to have its own movement. I never imagined that such a thing could be digitally created. It was simply amazing. See below for a still-shot from this scene (which doesn't quite capture the movement, but does reveal some of the detail).

picture from Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within

They also did a great job of creating a futuristic world, complete with planets, spaceships, weapons, technical devices, medical devices, armor, and clothing. What was also very neat to see were translucent phantoms and ghosts. Another aspect of the film that was quite interesting was the fact that it featured many well-known voices as part of its cast (such as Alec Baldwin, Steve Buscemi, Ving Rhames, James Woods, and Donald Sutherland), yet the characters looked nothing like those behind the microphone.

Sadly, however, while this movie was extremely advanced in its special effects, it was quite backward in its storyline and plot. And perhaps this is because it was based on a video game. You know, that should be a warning sign right there. I have never seen a great movie that was based on a video game. The worst was probably Wing Commander, while one of the better ones may have been this year's Tomb Raider. Now that I think of it, a movie which might actually make it could be one based on The Legend of Zelda, but to my knowledge, this has never been attempted. Actually, I just looked it up. It looks like several movies based on Zelda were actually created in Japan but never released elsewhere. Oh well.

picture from Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within

In any case, the plot is extremely simplistic and the story doesn't add much to get us emotionally involved. We see the future of our human race, decimated and under attack by mysterious alien phantasms. In order to "save the world," Dr. Aki Moss and her friends must find the eight spirits and combine them to create a super-weapon which can then be used against the aliens. So the movie follows the search for the eight spirits and the creation of the super-weapon. And, of course, there are other humans who don't believe or trust her and serve as a second set of villians. Along the way, we do get to see some character development as we learn a little bit about Dr. Moss. However, it is hard to get to know her due to her proclivity to isolate herself from others and her constant serious demeanor (of course, you would be pretty serious too if the future of the human race depended upon your success).

picture from Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within

thumbs up!Simply awesome digital effects! This pioneering movie takes a HUGE step forward in the world of special effects, and is worth seeing just for that fact alone.

thumbs down!I just wish there was a better story to go along with it.

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So far, the average rating for Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within is: 8.256 (297 votes)

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