Final Fantasy

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finalfantasy.jpg

Unleash a new reality.

2001

Genres:
Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Action, Animation

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

Summary:
In the year 2065, the earth has been conquered by ghost-like aliens called Phantoms. Large groups of humans are still left, but they are essentially prisoners within their own compounds unable to venture out of their protective structures lest they become "absorbed" by the Phantoms. In fact these aliens are so virulent to humans that even a few particles from the Phantoms can infect and rapidly kill a person.

Dr. Aki Ross and her mentor Dr Sid are intensely researching a solution to the alien threat. Aki has been infected by Phantom particles, but she has been able to contain them using a theory about life forces. She and Sid believe that the key is tied to the energy that all life contains. Each organism contains a specific wavelength, and Aki and Sid are searching for the seven organisms that will reclaim Earth from the Phantoms forever.

Unfortunately, convincing the rest of humanity of their mission's importance-- even its plausability-- remains a challenge. Their every move is thwarted by General Hein, a miltary leader who advocates killing the aliens by using a large orbiting weapon that itself poses a threat to Earth.

Along with her old flame Grey Edwards and his loyal soldiers, Aki sets out to find the last few life forces that will save the planet...and herself.

Response:
I have to admit, the only reason I was excited about this movie was because I used to play the videogame with my brother when we were little. Now I'm not talking about the new impressive sequels here. I'm talking the first old school few...you know, the ones where the graphics were still 2-D?

Anyway, I was a bit put off when I found out that the movie was computer animated. I didn't think it would be realistic or impressive. I was wrong.

Excluding the animation, Final Fantasy is a fairly standard action/sci-fi flick. You've got a post-apocalyptic Earth with invading aliens, mysterious dreams, soldiers and scientists. There's a main quest that's explained with a small shred of factual science and a whole lotta of mysticism.

However, when you add the fact that Final Fantasy is wholly computer generated, this movie becomes a remarkable standout not only in science fiction, but across all genres. Forget the 2-dimensional characters of Saturday morning cartoons. Forget the cartoonish look of Toy Story. Final Fantasy uses established cgi programs to create characters that could actually make the replacement of real actors believable. Aki Ross was actually featured in FHM and other men's magazines, and we all know they would never use anything but a totally real woman.

These characters have facial imperfections and show real emotions in their eyes. They move fluidly, and for a nice change, their hair and clothes move with them. I was actually dreading the kiss scene between two of the main characters, but I found it almost as realistic as between two real actors, if a bit more awkward. In fact, I realized at the end of the movie that I had stopped viewing this film as animation and instead related to it as live action. Live action with awesome special effects.

Because it is, after all, and animated film, the panoramic shots, dream sequences, and various alien views are all impressive. As odd as it sounds, nothing looks fake because it all is. The is one of those movies where you can honestly say the only limit was imagination.

The animators didn't slack on the detail and just aim for mind blowing visual effects. Part of Final Fantasy's special effects appeal is in its subtlety. The attention to detail is absolutely stunning...there was actually dust drifting across light and shadow in one scene.

Ok, so the ending was pretty sappy...at least is wasn't completely sterile and happy. I still hold that this is one of the few movies that is worth seeing solely for its special effects, in this case the computer animation.

Point Blank:
You can go ahead and watch this one. Or you can wait for the copycats that are sure to come.