Movie News

Alexandra DuPont Weighs In On FINAL FANTASY!!

Published at: July 10, 2001, 4:46 p.m. CST

Hey, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab.

And they just keep rolling in... the reaction seems to be split fiercely on this one. I had a chance to go last night, but I'm currently fighting a bout of Black Lung, and at my age, I shouldn't risk it just for a movie. Instead, I stayed home and hooked up my Nyquil IV. Leave to to the lovely Miss DuPont to brave the screening and come back with the truth... or at least, her version of it.

"So much cinematic action, whether photographed or animated, is now indebted to computers that the old enmity [between animation and live-action] no longer seems to apply."

-- Anthony Lane, writing in The New Yorker [July 9] about "Cats and Dogs"

*****

I. INTRODUCTION and SINCERE PRAISE, followed by the word 'BUT'

Okay. So I just walked out of "Final Fantasy: The Sprits Within," then decided to peruse the online community's limited pre-release reviews of the film, which ranges from gushing (and occasionally PR-sounding) to mixed -- usually some comment along the lines of "AMAZING VISUALS!!!!" followed by a disclamatory "The plot was kind of incomprehensible and the characters were stiff and the dialogue was a bit hackneyed, but ... AMAZING AWESOME BETAMAX VISUALS!!!!"

So. Let me start by praising without irony the efforts of "Final Fantasy"'s design and animation team. Ladies; gentlemen; pour yourselves a drink. While your characters don't achieve that ever-elusive "perfect photorealism" (unless your definition of "perfect photorealism" includes stiff, too-skinny people who look like they've had extremely skillful, skin-smoothing burn-victim reconstructive surgeries), y'all crafted a consistent, frequently haunting aesthetic. Many little moments -- an eye blinking, characters kissing -- are positively eerie to look at, a glimpse into an alternate, freakishly tactile reality where everyone has Barbie-and-Ken proportions. And of course there are your near-quantum, obsessive advances in matters of skin detail and blowing hair -- not to mention some ginchy dream sequences with funky alien design. My highest praise for you technicians and artists may be that, as I was walking home from the preview screening, I found myself looking at everyday surfaces with a combination of nausea and fatigue, as if my world were no longer real and could be appraised as a series of texture maps. Your work is THAT skillful.

Putting it still another way: The "Final Fantasy" animation team is so good that it's finally opened the world of computer animation to a troubling rhetorical discussion -- a discussion about whether spending millions of dollars to create a photorealistic animal, mineral or vegetable is worth the trouble when you could just go pick up a camera and shoot a REAL rock, mediocre actor or plant and have it look exactly the same -- for 1/100th the cost. After all, wasn't this in some ways the inevitable end result of all this CG photorealism R&D? To create something utterly mundane using the most expensive rendering tools available? (It's a discussion best left to wiser technical philosophers than I, or maybe Slashdot, or maybe even, God help us, AICN Talk Back.)

Putting it another way, as I wrote in my long-ago review of "Titan AE": "... compared to ["Final Fantasy" director Hironobu Sakaguchi] and his crackerjack team of animators and technicians, those of us in the AICN Peanut Gallery are a bunch of swooning milkmaids. Total pussies. Really."

But:

And this is important:

And I disclaim by writing that mine may be the minority opinion:

Take away the animation, and "Final Fantasy" is a bloody TERRIBLE movie. I mean, like, weak-episode-of-"Voyager" bad -- a deadly-dull collection of quest-movie/sci-fi cliches mixed in with New Age namby-pamby and crap dialogue, then whipped together with so much machine fetishism and pseudotechnobabble that none of it makes any sense.

Here. I'll try to prove it. There will be spoilers.

*****

II. THE STORY ...

... will sound familiar to anyone who's watched a lot of Japanese animation, only "Appleseed" this isn't: A meteor laced with semi-invisible "Phantom" aliens crashed on Earth a few decades ago. These ghostly, apparently quite stupid and voiceless baddies (who we're told again and again are invisible, even though we more or less see them clearly for the duration of the film, as if CGI artists couldn't bear to NOT show you something) can kill anyone by merely passing through them.

Despite being ghosts, however, the Phantoms can still be killed by lasers -- or, I'm sorry, guns powered by "bioetheric energy packs" -- and so we get lots of stilted, "Aliens"-esque firefights featuring the "Deep Eyes" commandos, led by Gray (voiced by Alec Baldwin). So we have the Deep Eyes -- structured like the "Aliens" commando team, right down to a tough girl clearly modeled on Vasquez -- fighting invisible ghosts you can nevertheless see and kill with lasers: Are you starting to get an idea of the inconsistent set of internal scientific laws at play here, the way established rules are thrown out the window for the sake of narrative convenience?

Anyway. The Phantoms have driven humanity into a perfectly lovely dystopian glowing dome on Manhattan Island. One camp of survivors, led by the unfortunately named General Hein (voiced by James Woods) wants to blast the aliens using a big orbiting space cannon. (A big orbiting BIOETHERIC space cannon?) Another camp, led by the Sandra Bullock-looking Aki (Ming Na) and Dr. Sid (Donald Sutherland), thinks General Hein's perfectly reasonable plan will kill the Earth's living spirit -- yes, that's right, Gaia herself -- and so the Earth-worshipping good guys have a convoluted counter-plan that involves finding the "eight spirits" and creating a "waveform" that will, for some reason, cancel out the Phantoms.

During a glowing-hologram board meeting right out of "Return of the Jedi," when General Hein said something along the lines of, "With all due respect, the idea of gathering touchy-feely plants and animals to fight the Phantoms is nonsense!" I very nearly burst into applause. (Woods' character, you'll find, makes a lot of sense -- until he arbitrarily becomes "evil" for the sake of plot convenience about midway through the film.)

*****

III. THE CENTRAL PROBLEM(S)

The above is a rather over-elaborate -- though not unworkable -- quest plot frame. Still, it suffers from a few major conceptual problems. For one thing, the ultimate confrontation is not between man and alien, but rather between the life forces for entire planets --- a stately sort of glowing conflict between red and blue masses of energy that looks like nothing so much as the climactic glowing-entity battle in Jeff Goldblum/Alicia Silverstone fantasy thriller "Hideaway."

(BTW, for my money, "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" should have demonstrated once and for all that conflicts involving giant, inarticulate masses of energy are ultimately the least interesting conflicts in cinema. But maybe that's just me.)

Also, the film suffers from that most critical of flaws in science-fiction/fantasy: the arbitrary creation of rules and gifting of knowledge to characters almost at whim. I'll offer but two examples:

(1) Tiny bioetheric lasers kill Phantoms; but a gargantuan orbital bioetheric laser, at a critical moment, is suddenly found to make a Lovecraftian alien "game-level boss" stronger. Why? No explanation is given.

(2) One character suddenly knows he can channel bioetheric waveforms through another character's chestplate at a critical moment? Why? No explanation is given. It's the New Age equivalent of "Voyager"'s "If I can only re-route the whozit to the thingamajig, then we can create a deus ex machina!" conversation, and it is deeply, deeply insulting.

But "Final Fantasy" isn't even really ABOUT these glowing forces or arbitrary rules. As near as I could tell, "Final Fantasy" is about machinery and holographic computer displays -- things that already looked pretty good in PRE-"photorealistic" CG anyway, but admittedly look pretty swell here. Still: Director Hironobu Sakaguchi will let no opening door or landing strut or computer readout pass by his camera without stopping to linger on it lovingly in an insert shot; and characters spend a deathly amount of time sitting at terminals, saying things like the following:

*****

IV. ILLUSTRATIVE LINES OF DIALOGUE FROM 'FINAL FANTASY: THE SPIRITS WITHIN'

These are, sadly, quite evocative of almost 50 percent of the words spoken in this movie:

(1) "They're moving with the bioetheric energy flow!"

(2) "We can use the shield to project the wave!"

(3) "With the hope of new life has Gaia changed the Phantom within."

(4) GRAY: "I see you're giving me the silent treatment." AKI: "I'm scanning the city for the Seventh Spirit."

(5) DR. SID, CONFRONTED WITH RISING MAGIC ENERGY PARTICLES: "Awww... It's WARM." [The audience actually guffawed at this one -- arguably because it sounded like Sutherland was enjoying a dip in some heated bouillabaisse as he said it.]

*****

V. THAT SAID

The audience also applauded at the end of the preview screening, and for a sustained period, so maybe I'm wrong. The movie is indeed stunning to behold, even if most of the vehicle and costume designs ARE lifted from James Cameron. And a dream-sequence between warring, armored alien armies sort of looks like what you might imagine was in Heinlein mind's eye. Plus, the voice talent (particularly Sutherland and Steve Buscemi) generally acquit themselves nicely while saying some pretty drab words.

*****

VI. RECOMMENDATION

If you're into beautifully rendered technofetishism, Gaism, and "Starship Troopers" without bloodshed, do I have a movie for you. I'm sorry, but future advances in CG technology will render "Final Fantasy" far less of a spectacle and far more of a pile of poo. If it weren't neat-looking in a new way, you'd most likely hate it.

*****

VII. A FUN LINK

This was July 10's Cruel Site of the Day: a brilliant mini-essay by Gregory P. Dorr proving once and for all that Leatherface is a more moral being than Forrest Gump:

CHECK IT OUT HERE!!

Warmest,

Alexandra DuPont

Readers Talkback

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  • July 10, 2001, 4:53 p.m. CST

    Characters look stiff in the previews

    by CRM114

    Actors have nothing to worry about, but stuntmen ought to be sweating.

  • July 10, 2001, 4:57 p.m. CST

    Interesting point...

    by DarthSnoogans

    About how movies can physically affect you or your sensory perceptions some time after the movie is over. I myself came out of Armageddon feeling weak, headachy, and nauseous, with the distinct feeling that somewhere, deep down in places I don't speak about, I've somehow been violated. In Joel Schumacher's case, that's his intent for every one of his movies!

  • July 10, 2001, 5:13 p.m. CST

    Oh... it's warm

    by thecisko

    The audience laughed at that line too... but I think the consensus was that Dr. Sid wet his pants.

  • July 10, 2001, 6:17 p.m. CST

    THE IRON GIANT and the spirit within

    by Todd

    Animated films can lead us to levels of human understanding that are often at times out of reach of live action actors. The actors unknowingly become an obstructing factor from communicating in the simplest way the motivating emotional principles that inform human life and culture. Animation allows for the creative freedom of artist to render human traits into all kinds of non-human characters in a way that would other wise fail. After all would THE IRON GIANT have seemed as vulnerable, terrifying and innocent if left to the devices of a human donning a robot outfit? By forcing us to recognize within the non-human form of THE IRON GIANT, certain elementary human emotions, we as an audience participate in a heightened since of reality that otherwise could not be rendered if animation was not used. THE IRON GIANT in this ways shows us our humanity better then a real human would. He also becomes a worthy archetype for how to live a life out of compassion rather then self-interest. By doing so, animations has become one of the few art forms left where the mediphor is not entirely lost on the public. (Unlike our religions these days) In the case of Final Fantasy it would seem that the technical bar had been crossed with no problem yet that elusive aspect of human emotion that was so abundant in THE IRON GIANT somehow got lost.

  • July 10, 2001, 7:03 p.m. CST

    Much as I enjoy

    by Wino-Forever

    your reviews, Alexandra, (especially as compared to those dribbled out by this site's proprietor), you could stand to spend a little less time biting David Foster Wallace's style. The whole haughty-academic-jargon-juxtaposed-against-casual-colloquialisms thing, I mean. Gets a little precious sometimes.

  • July 10, 2001, 7:20 p.m. CST

    Hey, it's Todd!... again!

    by user id indeed!

    Todd, you come and go like a mall Santa in some sort of alternate reality when there is not one, but actually about a baker's dozen Christmases. But by the goatee of Harry Connick Jr., we loves ya. Don't go blowing yourself up hundreds of miles above the Earth, now! Ha ha ha! Whew! This has been a Moment with User ID Indeed!

  • July 10, 2001, 7:30 p.m. CST

    Replace Harry with Alexandria

    by Doc Brown

    Her(?) reviews are always great, detailed, and most importantly, ACTUALLY REVIEWS! This and the current Die Hard DVDs review up are great. Alexandria, take over Harry's position. Do it....do it!!!

  • July 10, 2001, 7:43 p.m. CST

    Heh-heh, she said poo.

    by Batutta

    I'm all for dumping Alexandra for Harry. Let's go start a new website worshipping all things Du Pont! We'll call it Aint-it-even-cooler.com!

  • July 10, 2001, 8:06 p.m. CST

    She's a sharp one.

    by YodaButter2000

    Ms. DuPont's reputation is well deserved. Have you ever played a modern videogame a few years after it came out? You'll be shocked at how primitive the graphics look compared to the games that have come out since then. However, a few games have virtues beyond purty graphics that make them worth playing again. But when a game is all graphics and whiz-bang yippee look at me, there's no reason to return to it, AND you feel like a proper idiot for enjoying it in the first place. I'm sure if we take a look at FF in 2003, we'll be shocked that anybody found any worth in it. Oh, and anybody who's ever played any Square RPG should realize that Square does not have the ability to craft an original story that is not filled with cliches and painfully bad melodrama. Recently they've added a healthy dose of crypto-confuso-mysticism and insultingly simple enviro-preaching. I was hoping that Square would surprise me with some talent (story and writing wise), but I guess that's too much to ask. *sigh* Are there any promising movies that are scheduled for 2001?

  • July 10, 2001, 8:07 p.m. CST

    Massawyrm had it right...

    by The Killer-Goat

    Seeing as how this was, for all intents and purposes, "japanese animation", it really should have been promoted as an Anime flick. The advertisers could have really pushed that, but how to appeal to an American audience? I mean, LOOK at the damn movie, it's completely saturated with all the formulaic Anime components! Everyone keeps clumping this movie with Shrek, Toy Story, et al, because of the CGI, and that ain't right. Pretty soon critics are gonna add "CGI" as another film category along with "Horror", "Scifi", etc, etc. In a cool way, I think ANY reviews this movie gets are just adding to it's profile in a positive way. Great because it reflects how much coverage this film is getting compared to your standard Anime fanfare. (Remember, not all movie sites cover Anime as a regular staple --AICN is one of the exceptions) And Todd, you are the man. First for bringing in Iron Giant for comparison, and second for calling the focus back to appreciating the stepping stone of what the Final Fantasy movie is bringing to audiences internationally: pushing the technical animation envelope, people, that's what Anime production teams are constantly trying to do. It'll only get scarier as they advance. I give this one MUCH more respect than 'Pearl Harbor', and level with 'Phantom Meanass'.

  • July 10, 2001, 8:20 p.m. CST

    Todd?

    by VaderVoice

    Who is Todd and why is he noticed by people here? Do you have sex with the iron giant?

  • July 10, 2001, 8:24 p.m. CST

    One of the rare times I prefer another critic's review to Alex's

    by The Killer-Goat

    Massawyrm hits all the right flaws and elements by comparison of Eastern and Western audience perspectives, without the spoilers. Alexandra's review comes off as American through and through --not a bad perspective, but very one-sided.

  • July 10, 2001, 8:48 p.m. CST

    'Eastern' is not the problem.

    by twindaggerturkey

    A- 'Eastern' encompasses such diverse religions and philosophies as Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Shinto, and (depending on who you ask), Hinduism, Islam, and Maoism. They don't ALL have to do with warm, fuzzy earth spirits, glowing beams and such. B- The plot disorders described here are characteristic of FF games, not Asian movies as a whole. Watch any Johnnie To movie and you'll know what I'm talking about.

  • July 10, 2001, 8:52 p.m. CST

    Nice review, Ms. Dupont.

    by MordorTourist

    As always, a very interesting and objective review; thank you. The last few posts have made me feel like I'm in Cheers and some drunk wandered in and started insulting Norm and Sam... if you don't know User ID or Todd by their posts, then just keep your questions to yourself until you've read a few more of these. Thanks!!!

  • July 10, 2001, 10:13 p.m. CST

    I'm glad to see we all know who is the most spectacular woman on

    by Ms.DupontsLover

    Ms. Dupont, that's who.... I can not call her Alex, for she is more than a woman to me. She is my mistress.. I am her willing, affectionate and worshipful slave. Ms. Dupont is.. she's a goddess, through and through. She should have so much more to do with this site, much more involvement-- it would increase the quality, ten fold! Are you with me, men? I LOVE you Mistress Dupont, where ever you are. I think we all do...

  • July 10, 2001, 10:28 p.m. CST

    About those darn lips!

    by AtomoPrime

    I think, if my perceptive mind is working after the liquid abude I put it through, that the 'poor' lip movement may be on purpose. Being a hybrid of both Asian and American film makers, perhaps the lip movements are suitible for synching with different languages. We have seen in TOY STORY and SHREK (not to mention the multiple CG animated cartoons) that lip synching has been done for english based movies. Either way I will be seeing this at the AMC Burbank in almighty digital!

  • But, if anyone notices these three efforts were more cartoony animation than FF. Which is probably why I liked them so much. I didn't have to strain to try to catch every little CG detail on the screen. No need to. While I am going to go see FF this week, more for the Spiderman trailer - but also because I am so thoroughly curious to see how the CG can maintain my interest. Quite frankly, I am bothered by all the CG in most of this summer's films. And now I can see why. It seems so much work goes into the CG and takes away from plot and character development. I don't care what anyone says, if ya don't got plot, the audience will lose interest. And I have to say while I was so enamored with the quality of animation in "Ghost in the Shell", the dialogue left me baffled and eventually I lost interest in the plot and got bored. which is probably why I haven't added to my DVD collection.

  • July 10, 2001, 11:37 p.m. CST

    Oh and thanks Miss Dupont for another great review!

    by Smugbug

    You and the Mighty Joe Hallenbeck always provide me with trust worthy reviews. Thanks!

  • July 10, 2001, 11:43 p.m. CST

    the DuPont lovefest

    by CRM114

    you'd think she's the only female type who writes on this site... D'oh! "Computer games don't affect kids negatively; I mean if Pac-Man affected us as kids, we'd all be running around in darkened rooms, munching magic pills and listening to repetitive electronic music." -Kristian Wilson, Nintendo, Inc, 1989

  • July 10, 2001, 11:45 p.m. CST

    P.S. SHE WON'T SLEEP WITH YOU YOU FUCKIN GEEKS

    by CRM114

    Why do I read talkbacks?

  • July 10, 2001, 11:54 p.m. CST

    Todd's a misunderstood genius (in an Autistic Savant kind of way

    by LlGHTST0RMER

    Not trying to be a smart-ass. Just bringing you new fish up to speed. Lightstormer out.

  • July 11, 2001, 2:37 a.m. CST

    TRAILER!!!

    by Pr_Frink

    I agree that the story is crap, but everyone should still go to see it for two reasons; 1. The visuals are indeed amazing 2. The most important reason, an astoundingly cool Spider-Man trailer!!! It kicks ass! Everyone should go see this trailer!! WOO HOO!!

  • July 11, 2001, 2:59 a.m. CST

    Anime, FF, and "Eastern Philosophy"

    by PistolPete

    Not to brag, but I've read thousands of pages of "Eastern Philosophy". Vedanta, Tantra, Jainism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Vajrayana, Shinto, and, of course, Zen. I only mention this to establish that I know what I'm talking about when I say: Anime is not "Eastern Philosophy". Or more accurately, anime is to Eastern Philosophy what "Davey and Goliath" is to Western Philosophy - a warmed over, dumbed-down heap of flotsam spewed by people who barely got through the local cultural equivalent of pre-teen Sunday School theology. Don't be fooled about how "deep" anime seems. It's no deeper than that rapture movie would have been, or "Touched by an Angel". Once in a while, someone rises abover the muck with something intelligent: Akira - though tersely - *does* explain why Tetsuo becomes a universe (not a star) in the end. You just have to watch for it. The Shirow Masamune manga "Ghost in the Shell" was also quite good in this regard, though the anime was ruined by the director's masturbatory languidness. But saying "It's anime, and if you don't get it, it's because you just don't get the wisdom of the East" is both insulting and ignorant. I understand the wisdom of the East as well as possible without wearing the saffron robes, and anime has only an untrained layman's sentimental bastardation of the wisdom of the East.

  • July 11, 2001, 4:58 a.m. CST

    Virtual Reality

    by vertigo93

    What's the big deal with virtual reality when reality is more fun? The characters in this move too fluidly for 'real' life. Ok so we can do all these whizzy CGI doohickies now, but do we actually need to? Just a thought. I just like CGI to enhance aplot rather than be its reason for being.

  • July 11, 2001, 5:07 a.m. CST

    so this doesn't get five stars?

    by tongxinglian

  • July 11, 2001, 6:35 a.m. CST

    filming tangible vs. cgi created.

    by PowderKeg

  • July 11, 2001, 6:35 a.m. CST

    Reply to caracass9's "And does the member called "user id indeed

    by user id indeed!

    Well, caracass9, I do is indeed trying to be humoristic, but my humor is used in is a completely un-normallistic pattern, you see. I is posting here most oftenistic, and as far as I is seeing, people seem to think I'm is pretty damned humoristic. Plus, I is liking making people confusistically-minded. Thank you for your query, and is there if I can does anything else, please does say so. Thanking you. This is been a Momentically Moment with User ID Indeed!

  • July 11, 2001, 6:38 a.m. CST

    I think you crossed a line

    by I Wuv Fanboys

    Just for the future, could ya'll please not hinge the punchline of a joke on the phrase 'burn victim'? It's offensive on so many levels. I mean, geez....

  • July 11, 2001, 6:53 a.m. CST

    filming tangible vs. cgi created.

    by PowderKeg

    two things I thought of while reading this: Yes right now its super expensive and seems like overkill to create something like this, but I see it as a stepping stone in graphics evolution. The exponential rate that processors and technology are advancing related to the cost would prety much lead up to someone being able to make this movie in their basement by 2004. This whole medium has all kinds of room to improve, too. Cel animation is pretty much maxed out as to where else it can be taken (but it's still great if done right). Anyway, just a thought. second thing: Sure it'd be cheaper to film a plain ol' rock. But if you digitize a rock, you can have any color, size, shape, amount, etc. You like a particular shiny rock you've created? Make it a talking one and make him the heavy in the next Segal comeback movie! Landscapes can be precisely the way the director wants, no waiting for the exact Ansel Adams moment. Apply that to the animal kingdom as well. No more poo-flinging monkeys on the set. CGI 'em! Hooray for technological nightmares!

  • July 11, 2001, 8:40 a.m. CST

    Twindagger, not sure if your post was a reply to mine...

    by The Killer-Goat

    but I wasn't addressing "religion" as a perspective. Only the difference between Asian[Eastern] and American audience receptions to what I consider an Anime film. Anime prioritizes the medium quality of their films as much as the story. In this case they SHOULD have made a smarter film, but they focused on the technical side with a light story, likely to make it more accessible to a broader international audience (age-wise). It's enough that people have to digest the fact that this is yet another entirely-CGI film, with the distinction of attempting an entirely HUMAN photo-reality environment, and that's jarring enough to your average Joe-moviewatcher. It's not a great excuse, but given our recent summer film-fare, this one sounds like it achieved it's goals better than most.

  • July 11, 2001, 8:48 a.m. CST

    Pfah

    by Nick15

    Final Fantasy is NOT an important piece of film. Bull shit. .... So what's all this talk about CGI animation being pointless just we can film a rock rather than waste the money to make a CGI rock? Sure we can film a CGI rock, but I also don't recall anyone being able to fit into a convincing Iron Giant costume for the movie. Do you know of anyone THAT skinny and dumpy to play it? .... Calling FF's use of CGI "pointless" and "unnecessary" is a steaming pile of congealed monkey vomit. Just because we can't see the immediate implications of it (ie a better CG movie) it doesn't mean it was a bad movie. Sound like a bunch of Creationist-stype bull shit. "If I don't see it, it doesn't exist." Or in the case of FF; "If I don't see a good CGI movie this summer, the work put into FF was pointless." ... Even though it's overkill to have 3 actors play the part of just one character, it does provide a sort of steping stone for further animation. Without "test" flicks like this, it would take forever to perfect realistic CGI-actors. Think of it like FF was a martyr for the cause of CGI-animation (or animation in general). It gave up it's script quality and so forth to help evolve the genre to new and greater... grearer... uhm... things. ..... And about FF taking concepts from Cameron, et al... who gives a shit? Like you reviewer could make a better movie. [flashes back to the episode of the Simpsons where the Comic Store Guy said Itchy & Scratch "owed" him for making a bad show] Pfah.

  • July 11, 2001, 9:51 a.m. CST

    I saw it last night

    by Black Jesus

    and it kicks ass... anybody who says this movie isn't "final fantasy" is a moron... i'm a big fan of the games and i've played all but 3 of them and while the movie has not swords or magic, it's central themes are very much "final fantasy"... the characters seem fairly wooden and unemotional, but it honestly didn't bother me at all... i really like the characters and the story... and of course the animation kicks ass... this is no oscar caliber movie (in story and acting anyway... if it doesn't at least get nominated for a technical award i'm going to murder somebody) but it's a fun movie and it's definately worth going to see

  • July 11, 2001, 10:42 a.m. CST

    Animation and CGI-

    by madmaxmedia

    First of all, I thought that was an EXCELLENT post by Todd. Second- regarding CGI and creating photo-realistic rocks and grass and such... CGI technology is best used to create shots and scenes that are not possible through live action. If this is not done in FF, it is the fault of the filmmakers and not the technology. CGI is only a tool, and more powerful tools are useful in the right hands. I guess that sorta analgous to what Todd was talking about anyway (from a more artistic standpoint.)

  • July 11, 2001, 12:09 p.m. CST

    Alexandra and her review

    by EmperorCaligula

    Hum, well. First, Alexandra is definitely a female name. Then it barely means anything since USA have brought plenty of weird names for both sexs. Yet she's usually referred to as "her" by AICN officials blokes. That said, I don't have definitive proof she's a "she" neither have you, funky monkeys. So you may well declaring your love to a guy, or to Harry himself, who in a weird day after he was on crack decided he shouls "create" a female reviewer for AICN :D No offense, Mrs Du Pont, I basically believe you're female and I assume you'd be pretty annoyed and pissed of at someone doubting it. Just trying here to make a point about the non-reliability of the net. Now, about WHO is Mrs Alexandra DuPont. Well. It's pretty obvious who she is, what she really does, and why she posts here. Which makes me expect with some eagerness her reviews of LOTR, Matrix and SW, for instance. But of course for once you'll have to think and read more carefully some of her past reviews to read between the lines ;-) Valete, mortales.

  • July 11, 2001, 2:29 p.m. CST

    What a waste of an afternoon... and that stupid cartoon chick is

    by JefferyLebowski

    I snuck into FF today to catch the Spiderman trailer. Which wasn't even that great. I decided to stay and catch the main attraction, and I was bored to tears. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Those goddamn cartoons didn't fool me for one second. Not once during FF did I: a) believe i was watching an actual human being b) care about any of the characters or the outcome of their efforts c) remotely understand the story that was unfolding Somebody give me a goodman story, please! I DONT CARE WHAT YOU CAN DO WITH CGI. Save your stupid cartoons for the day when a real screenplay comes along. This so-called film made me want to storm up to the manager and demand my $0 back. Anybody who spends an actual cent on this POS is telling Hollywood "keep pumping out more ridiculous CGI bullshit!! I dont know what Im watching or why i should be interested or whatever happened to movies being used to reflect the human condition- all I know is it looks cool! Here's my ten bucks!!"

  • July 11, 2001, 6:14 p.m. CST

    My review of, uh, what was this movie again?

    by Xocxoc

    Guess what Summer blockbuster movie has this plot: Seemingly evil force invades Earth, Weird scientist has crackpot theory that will make evil force into good, thick headed General does not believe crackpot theory and thinks we should just destroy it. Weird scientist turns out to be right in the end. -- OOHH DR.DOOLITTLE 2! -- No this one has computer graphics -- I KNOW, EVOLUTION! -- No, let me give you another hint, this movie is fully animated and looks really good! -- OF COURSE! ATLANTIS: THE LOST CONTINENT -- Oh, forget it! -- I ALREADY DID!

  • July 11, 2001, 7:31 p.m. CST

    Caracass9, I dub thee "pot".

    by user id indeed!

    Kettle. Nice to meet ya. See, that "is" and "istic" stuff? That was me basically mocking you. See, I even quoted it in the subject header. "And does the member called "user id indeed!" is trying to be cool or humoristic?" See how you said "does", and then the subject of the sentence, and then "is"? That... that is bad grammar, chum. And "humoristic" is not a real word. See? See what I was doing? And then you say I should learn English, obviously missing the whole point of the thing. I am thruly sorry. There, I did it again! See what I did there? You used the term "thruly" (about five sentences before you said I should learn English), which does not exist. You must have meant to say "truly", unless of course you were trying to say "thrush" and were REALLY off. As you can see, the English language is quite roughly. THERE! I did it again! You said "Of course the storyline and characters are quite roughly"! See?! YOU SEE?!? Hmm. Well, mull over that for a spell. Also, when you say "ugly worms".... that hurts, caracass9. Truly. It hurts right here. I'm patting my heart right now, indicating that it's hurting my heart, and that it's hurting me emotionally. Have a nice day! This has been a Moment with User ID Indeed! Spiral notebooks for everyone! Ha ha! HA!! HA HA!!!

  • July 11, 2001, 8:03 p.m. CST

    i liked it

    by Bumb48

    why make a rock with a computer rather than shoot it on film, cause that rock shot on film would look rather silly when next to a huge cg scene that just couldn't be done with sets and other stuff. there is no way that movie could have been done with anything other than all cg. i really liked it and sure it's not the best movie ever made, but i thought it was great for it's genre, rivaling even the almighty aliens. and to compare it to starship troopers just isn't right. maybe i appreciated it more cause i've been in love with the games ever since the first final fantasy and while the movie doesn't have all that much in common with the games it does echo some of the theories in the games, especially ff7. anyway good movie. i don't see why everyone is all down on it.

  • July 11, 2001, 8:39 p.m. CST

    The drama, the tragedy, the fantasy.

    by Gelnika

    I am proud. Let me say that again. I am proud. I am so very proud of this animation. I am breathless by the fantasy which I have just seen. Hironobu Sakaguchi and the whole of Square are deserving of the highest praise for this work. First, let me address the CG and the very nature of CG. We are reaching a precipice where we can spend $200 million to render a rock that looks like a rock and a bird that looks like a bird. At the same time, we could simply take a real rock or a real bird and film it for substantially less. So, why CG? There are two reasons. First, it is to show our prowess. It is because we can. We are god creating ourselves anew. Through bodies stored in computers, we have become the Creator. It is human nature. The second reason for CG is the elevation of life. It is the praise and beautification of life. It is the replication of the menial and common place. Transformed with CG, these dirty things become holy. We see them for the first time. We appreciate them for the first time. They become the higher, emotional essence that we so hope exists. They are testament to the idealized reality we want. They become art. They become the soul. We are not animals. We have feelings and thoughts. And, a CG rock or a CG bird is the world transformed. The animation's very makeup makes you grow cold in awe. But, listen to me very closely, it is not about the CG. There is great duality to this statement. This story could not have been told without CG, but the story is not about CG. The sweat and toil of the animators allowed for the freedom of the drama, the tragedy, and the fantasy. From the very first moment Aki Ross enters the screen, it is no longer about CG. Instead, it is about people. The story is about real people. They have hearts and souls and you care for them. They exist as much as you and I do. I am not speaking of the CG, rather I am talking about the story. I am talking about characters in relation to their world and the drama, the tragedy, and the fantasy. I love them. In our short time together, I loved them. I loved the strength of Ryan. I loved the wit of Neil. I loved the courage of Jane. I loved the devotion of Hein. I loved the compassion of Sid. I loved the dedication of Aki. I loved the soul of Gray. They are all very real to me. They are proud and beautiful creations, and I cannot thank them enough for all that they have done. At the center of Final Fantasy is a message... A reassuring dream. In this world, we face death as we part with our loved ones. We begin to question what "life" and "love" are, and what is the philosophical definition of the "heart." After all, in this world, science has analyzed life and death, expressing life as a form of energy. At the heart of Final Fantasy is a very strong statement. All life is the same. From the trees, to the salmon, to the deer, to the stars, everything in the Universe is a part of the Universe. All life... All things... Everything is a part of Existence, and we all share a common soul. We are the Universe. We are god. The beautiful idea carries an ironic message when you place it in the context the CG world. But, within the world, the "Gaia theory", as it is called, is not a religion believed by everyone. Hardly. The Gaia theory is the belief and the faith of Doctor Sid, and he is persecuted for it. There is an explicit comparison with Galileo Galilei. Galileo was imprisoned and died for his ridiculous belief that the Earth revolved around the sun. There is a very Japanese quality to the animation. There is very Japanese message to the story. It is about balance. It is about respect. There is also a suggestion of an anti-nuclear sentiment. Hein strives to use the Zeus Cannon, a giant orbital gun, to bring salvation. Zeus, the ultimate weapon, is the future's atom bomb. But, this suggestion is really made clear by Aki's dreams and a distinctive mushroom cloud. The beauty to this statement against the overuse and dependency on technology is that this movie is purely CG. And, technology is ultimately the chariot of the soul. Ovule-Paks are quasi-ectoplasmic ZERO-POINT energy. Zero-point is rightly stressed; it is the very real energy that exists in infinite amounts in every point of the Universe. Science and religion are one. I loved Final Fantasy. It went well above and beyond any possible predictions and expectations I had. To take a moment to be selfish, it was damn tragic, and that will always win you an extra point. But, I feel like I must bring up the question of if Final Fantasy is "Final Fantasy". And, the resounding answer is yes with a glorious, glorious smile. Final Fantasy is not about chocobos or airships. But, for those who want tradition, one could say the whole of the animation is spent searching for a summon. Every Final Fantasy is unique and self-contained. It would be unfair to say this animation was based on a game. It was inspired by the series and deserves its independent place in the line. There are themes of life and love that are so very strong. Sakaguchi has said that he took from Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy IX thematically. And, within the animation, the scene between Aki and Gray aboard the Black Boa seems to be a nod to Rinoa and Squall aboard the Ragnarok in FFVIII. And, the final awakening of the Earth's spirit is most definitely from the finale of FFVII. I absolutely loved Final Fantasy. Forget everything that you think you know. Put all the promos and trailers out of your mind, for they are selling a different movie. Final Fantasy is not about marines fighting aliens. It is not an action fire-fight. Final Fantasy is a drama. Final Fantasy is a tragedy. Final Fantasy is a fantasy. I have constantly and consciously referred to Final Fantasy as "animation". I am not speaking directly of the CG, rather I am referring to the presence as a whole. Final Fantasy is the most technologically advanced anime ever created. And, I will prove this point. Anime is based on manga. Manga comes from Japan's historic silk panel paintings. For all of Nippon's history, it has told visual stories. Final Fantasy is the latest evolution of this continuing past. Anime and manga are visual. At their best, they can tell a story without words. One only needs to look at the pictures to understand. Final Fantasy is a visual story. Dialogue is essential to explain the Gaia theory, but, beyond that, the magnificent visuals tell the tale. I don't expect everyone to feel this way about the animation. A great deal of my feelings are personal. I have followed this film for four years, and I had a lot of myself tied up in it. Now, having seen Square's complete masterpiece, I am in absolute awe of the drama, the tragedy, and the fantasy. I pray Final Fantasy succeeds; Square's fate is bound to it. It is a wonderful story that I absolutely hope attracts many to see. Some will feel betrayed. Some will feel let down. But, I know in my soul, that any fan of anime will appreciate this accomplishment on some level. I do not know if you will like it at much as me. I wish you could feel my joy. Sakaguchi's story was very close to my heart and affected me very deeply. Ultimately, we will all see the animation. What we get from it... What we come away with... It comes from ourselves and what we bring in and give to the story. If you are willing, you will take a lot with you as you exit the theatre, but if you enter with your arms crossed, you will leave without nourishment and unchanged. I loved Final Fantasy. I can only give it the highest recommendation and praise. You may see it and feel differently. You could like it, you would hate it, or you could be ambivalent. The animation that we see will be the same, but what it does to us is personal, emotional, and spiritual. The drama, the tragedy, and the fantasy all depend on you. Your reactions, the answer, and its meaning come from within.

  • July 11, 2001, 8:48 p.m. CST

    The drama, the tragedy, the fantasy.

    by Gelnika

    I am proud. Let me say that again. I am proud. I am so very proud of this animation. I am breathless by the fantasy which I have just seen. Hironobu Sakaguchi and the whole of Square are deserving of the highest praise for this work. First, let me address the CG and the very nature of CG. We are reaching a precipice where we can spend $200 million to render a rock that looks like a rock and a bird that looks like a bird. At the same time, we could simply take a real rock or a real bird and film it for substantially less. So, why CG? There are two reasons. First, it is to show our prowess. It is because we can. We are god creating ourselves anew. Through bodies stored in computers, we have become the Creator. It is human nature. The second reason for CG is the elevation of life. It is the praise and beautification of life. It is the replication of the menial and common place. Transformed with CG, these dirty things become holy. We see them for the first time. We appreciate them for the first time. They become the higher, emotional essence that we so hope exists. They are testament to the idealized reality we want. They become art. They become the soul. We are not animals. We have feelings and thoughts. And, a CG rock or a CG bird is the world transformed. The animation's very makeup makes you grow cold in awe. But, listen to me very closely, it is not about the CG. There is great duality to this statement. This story could not have been told without CG, but the story is not about CG. The sweat and toil of the animators allowed for the freedom of the drama, the tragedy, and the fantasy. From the very first moment Aki Ross enters the screen, it is no longer about CG. Instead, it is about people. The story is about real people. They have hearts and souls and you care for them. They exist as much as you and I do. I am not speaking of the CG, rather I am talking about the story. I am talking about characters in relation to their world and the drama, the tragedy, and the fantasy. I love them. In our short time together, I loved them. I loved the strength of Ryan. I loved the wit of Neil. I loved the courage of Jane. I loved the devotion of Hein. I loved the compassion of Sid. I loved the dedication of Aki. I loved the soul of Gray. They are all very real to me. They are proud and beautiful creations, and I cannot thank them enough for all that they have done. At the center of Final Fantasy is a message... A reassuring dream. In this world, we face death as we part with our loved ones. We begin to question what "life" and "love" are, and what is the philosophical definition of the "heart." After all, in this world, science has analyzed life and death, expressing life as a form of energy. At the heart of Final Fantasy is a very strong statement. All life is the same. From the trees, to the salmon, to the deer, to the stars, everything in the Universe is a part of the Universe. All life... All things... Everything is a part of Existence, and we all share a common soul. We are the Universe. We are god. The beautiful idea carries an ironic message when you place it in the context the CG world. But, within the world, the "Gaia theory", as it is called, is not a religion believed by everyone. Hardly. The Gaia theory is the belief and the faith of Doctor Sid, and he is persecuted for it. There is an explicit comparison with Galileo Galilei. Galileo was imprisoned and died for his ridiculous belief that the Earth revolved around the sun. There is a very Japanese quality to the animation. There is very Japanese message to the story. It is about balance. It is about respect. There is also a suggestion of an anti-nuclear sentiment. Hein strives to use the Zeus Cannon, a giant orbital gun, to bring salvation. Zeus, the ultimate weapon, is the future's atom bomb. But, this suggestion is really made clear by Aki's dreams and a distinctive mushroom cloud. The beauty to this statement against the overuse and dependency on technology is that this movie is purely CG. And, technology is ultimately the chariot of the soul. Ovule-Paks are quasi-ectoplasmic ZERO-POINT energy. Zero-point is rightly stressed; it is the very real energy that exists in infinite amounts in every point of the Universe. Science and religion are one. I loved Final Fantasy. It went well above and beyond any possible predictions and expectations I had. To take a moment to be selfish, it was damn tragic, and that will always win you an extra point. But, I feel like I must bring up the question of if Final Fantasy is "Final Fantasy". And, the resounding answer is yes with a glorious, glorious smile. Final Fantasy is not about chocobos or airships. But, for those who want tradition, one could say the whole of the animation is spent searching for a summon. Every Final Fantasy is unique and self-contained. It would be unfair to say this animation was based on a game. It was inspired by the series and deserves its independent place in the line. There are themes of life and love that are so very strong. Sakaguchi has said that he took from Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy IX thematically. And, within the animation, the scene between Aki and Gray aboard the Black Boa seems to be a nod to Rinoa and Squall aboard the Ragnarok in FFVIII. And, the final awakening of the Earth's spirit is most definitely from the finale of FFVII. I absolutely loved Final Fantasy. Forget everything that you think you know. Put all the promos and trailers out of your mind, for they are selling a different movie. Final Fantasy is not about marines fighting aliens. It is not an action fire-fight. Final Fantasy is a drama. Final Fantasy is a tragedy. Final Fantasy is a fantasy. I have constantly and consciously referred to Final Fantasy as "animation". I am not speaking directly of the CG, rather I am referring to the presence as a whole. Final Fantasy is the most technologically advanced anime ever created. And, I will prove this point. Anime is based on manga. Manga comes from Japan's historic silk panel paintings. For all of Nippon's history, it has told visual stories. Final Fantasy is the latest evolution of this continuing past. Anime and manga are visual. At their best, they can tell a story without words. One only needs to look at the pictures to understand. Final Fantasy is a visual story. Dialogue is essential to explain the Gaia theory, but, beyond that, the magnificent visuals tell the tale. I don't expect everyone to feel this way about the animation. A great deal of my feelings are personal. I have followed this film for four years, and I had a lot of myself tied up in it. Now, having seen Square's complete masterpiece, I am in absolute awe of the drama, the tragedy, and the fantasy. I pray Final Fantasy succeeds; Square's fate is bound to it. It is a wonderful story that I absolutely hope attracts many to see. Some will feel betrayed. Some will feel let down. But, I know in my soul, that any fan of anime will appreciate this accomplishment on some level. I do not know if you will like it at much as me. I wish you could feel my joy. Sakaguchi's story was very close to my heart and affected me very deeply. Ultimately, we will all see the animation. What we get from it... What we come away with... It comes from ourselves and what we bring in and give to the story. If you are willing, you will take a lot with you as you exit the theatre, but if you enter with your arms crossed, you will leave without nourishment and unchanged. I loved Final Fantasy. I can only give it the highest recommendation and praise. You may see it and feel differently. You could like it, you would hate it, or you could be ambivalent. The animation that we see will be the same, but what it does to us is personal, emotional, and spiritual. The drama, the tragedy, and the fantasy all depend on you. Your reactions, the answer, and its meaning come from within.

  • July 11, 2001, 9:09 p.m. CST

    Carcass(hole)9

    by BRAK

    I don't see how Japan is pushing any animation limits when the animators, who I've seen interviews of on TV, all seem to be American. Of coarse, these are the only CG animators left in America, as the rest are in New Zealand for some reason.

  • July 11, 2001, 9:37 p.m. CST

    I object to her remark about Voyager!

    by DarthSnoogans

    As bad as this movie was, it still beat the polyester pants of of most episodes of the retarded child of the Star Trek universe. Just a few comments...Alec Baldwin was COMPLETELY wrong for his character. He's kinda like Robert DeNiro. He can't play anything but himself, but it's usually enjoyable every time out. Alec Baldwin as a hunky twentysomething space ranger? Neh. The character looked exactly like Ben Affleck and should have been voiced by him. The movie had some snappy visual moments, but that's about it. Besides, what the hell do you expect from a movie based on a video game? With the possible exception of Mortal Kombat (and that's on VERY shaky ground), Hollywood seems incapable of churning out anything decent. Oh, and the Spiderman teaser makes me long for this dog of a summer movie season to be dragged out into the street, beaten with blunt objects, shot repeatedly, and burned to a crisp.

  • July 11, 2001, 9:44 p.m. CST

    Gee, ya think the guy above might have been involved in the movi

    by DarthSnoogans

    Or does the movie contain subliminal programming causing the viewer to worship it as a diety, and my feeble Western brain is too weakened by Cheetos and cartoons to process it? Nooch.

  • July 11, 2001, 11:38 p.m. CST

    Talk about your 'spiritless' wonders!

    by Shaolin_Dolemite

    Wow! As I was watching this trite, boring, cliched mess, I wondered to myself, 'How could anything this pretty be so dull and lifeless?' Let me preface any further comments by saying that I've been playing Square RPGs for years and years, love animation of all kinds, watch tons of anime (domestically released or otherwise), and enjoy comics/kung-fu movies/etc. I like geeky shit, needless to say. That said, this movie was a waste of my time, and unless it is a HUGE hit, a shitload of money and effort on the part of Sony and Square. I went in expecting an entertaining sci-fi film, and left feeling cheated. There were long stretches of the film (15 mins or more) where I felt NOTHING. I wasn't stunned, I just was numb. My brother said the same thing. This movie was all style, with no substance to back it up. While a noble experiment, if this is all the sci-fi FF had to offer, I'm sticking to the cutscenes in the sword-and-sorcery games. Maybe by putting it in my PS2, switching to the Japanese stdk, and editing a hell of a lot, I'll sincerely enjoy it. I doubt it, but it'll shure look purty! --- To the plant posting the merits of the movie in novela format: How's the weather on Bizarro World?

  • July 11, 2001, 11:47 p.m. CST

    A very underrated film.

    by sub-moxy

    This was not the epic fantasy quest it could have been, but I found all these complaints of cheesy dialogue and cliched story to be, for the most part, unfounded. Maybe it's a matter of taste, but I just thought this a beautiful film that ran much deeper than everyone claims. It was not strictly a sci-fi, and these TV commercials claiming "For centuries we've questioned whether or not we were alone in the universe - this Wednesday we will find out!" gave a very false impression that this was some Independence Day knockoff. This is a fantasy film with realistic and scientific elements thrown in, which is more than I had hoped for, even sans chocobos. I think taken in another direction this film could have been a masterpiece, but as is it's just a very well made and enjoyable film which I will want to see again in future. This is not a guilty pleasure, and I don't think it will be remembered as a bad film, whatever the majority of reviews claim. Here's hoping it cleans out at the box office so we get a second, completely unrelated film, which goes where this one strayed from.

  • July 12, 2001, 4:09 a.m. CST

    Shrek/Aliens/ToyStory2/PitchBlack

    by oldirtyaztec

    Put em all together and what do you get? Final Fantasy! Every 13 year olds dream! Watch the pasty faced cast run from orange aliens and blow up planets! Cowl as the big evil man in leather wants to put Dr. Ocki in jail. Come on now, her name was pronounced OCKY. I saw this film and wondered if a group of animators could sit around and debate using computer imagery to duplicate my nachos. They really went all out for the design of this film. But for what purpose ---> For a game company to milk their franchise in a huge gamble that probably won't pay off. And they won't even put characters in happy meals! The suits just might get dissapointed this summer. But forget the bad, props to whoever designed Cid, his CGI wrinkles more than made up for the twenty seconds I almost fell asleep.

  • July 12, 2001, 6:26 a.m. CST

    Amazing Lawrence...

    by user id indeed!

    ...okay, I'm crying. Does that make you feel BIG?! HUH?!? Oh, I HOPE so. I hope you feel so big you can't SLEEP at nights! You can just stuff your sorries in a sack, mister! I got my ID from my grandmother on her deathbed, and YOU! YOU come along, and suggest that I.... just MADE it up on the spot! After ten minutes of licking a saltshaker full of blow and orange juice! Well, HERE'S TO YOU, Larryboy! I'm sobbing like a teenage prostitute in The Land of Painful Bondage. Thank you for making me weep, Amazing MEANIEHEAD! This has been a Moment with User ID Indeed!

  • July 12, 2001, 8:26 a.m. CST

    Give it a break

    by crisp

    All these scathing reviews! Geez people

  • July 12, 2001, 9:06 a.m. CST

    Send Cameron another cheque

    by VooBass

    Xocxoc's put his digit on it: it's all been done before, over and over, and better, too. Why waste the technology and the money on such a crappy story. The ending was just garbage (how many more times do we need to see a story build up to an ending with a big amorphous tentacled 'shape' that throbs around in a really scary way? Did these guys just see Princess Mononoke and they couldn't get it out of their minds?) And, although Aliens is one of my favorite films ever, I'm tired of seeing it ripped off with every week's new release. Vasquez deserves better. James Cameron should be asking for royalties.

  • July 12, 2001, 9:17 a.m. CST

    If you are going to bother seeing this movie, do it the right wa

    by dudemanguy

    There are seven theaters in North America showing this movie using the Texas Instruments Digital Light Processor system, and I saw it last night at one of them. If you are within 20 miles of one of these theaters, do yourself a favor and make the trek. You will perhaps be dissapointed by the script and plot, but you will be blown away by the clarity of detail and the lack of motion-blur. I've seen the 'Monsters Inc.' trailer three times this summer, and seeing it last night was a fresh experience. I had no idea the characters had such subtle details and textures. When it comes out, you will find me at the Cinemark Legacy in Plano, Texas, on Central Expressway. There is a small caveat though - Since it is a digital projector, high contrast shapes with sharp edges will have obvious jaggies, and there is a bit of 'screen door effect', but you will not notice it after a while.

  • July 12, 2001, 12:33 p.m. CST

    Is everyone on CRACK?

    by nurb99

    This movie was historical BECAUSE of the fact that it was the first rendered film to involve realistic human characters. This is what I focused on the entire time, and the story was decent. When Toy Story came out, all the excitement about it was due to the fact that it was the first rendered movie ever. It was historical. The storyline was pretty funny, but if it had been a normal cartoon, nothing would have been said about it. Recognize this movie for what it is, instead of comparing it to past films. It is the first of its kind, and for that it should hold merit.

  • July 12, 2001, 1:48 p.m. CST

    I liked it!

    by Thora

    I agree that people are being way too hostile towards this film. I saw it last night expecting near-disaster and was pleasantly surprised to find myself enjoying the movie. I even checked my watch a few times, wondering how far along it was and at what point it was going to begin sucking as so many critics claimed. The theater was packed and there were people on the edge of their seats. It seemed there was sincere appreciation of the serious, somber tone as well as the humorous bits. Unfortunately, it is also true that the last 20 minutes or so did not live up to the rest of the film--the dialogue here was a little stilted and didn't sound like it was written by the same people and the explanation of just exactly what the eighth spirit was was confusing. Still, I enjoyed the experience and would recommend the film to anyone, especially younger teens and preteens who might be better able to watch the film without the cynicism adults will bring to it.

  • July 12, 2001, 11:15 p.m. CST

    Three Quick Points....

    by Turn_N_Burn

    To (S)He who wrote the review, I say good job! A well written review, you have my compliments Ms DuPont. I saw FF yesterday and I agree with your assessments. The movie is visually breath-taking, but was just that--all visuals. For me this movie lacked an essential ingredient: CONFLICT!! There wasn't anything in the film to make you root for the heroine. No seemingly insurmountable odds for her fight and overcome, no truly evil things were done by the villian to make you hate him. The one thing in the movie that could have stirred emotions,--death, was totally devoid of substance. I not saying that the deaths had to be gory, but just the "Oh I'm slipping away..." immediate, almost painless passing felt no different to than me gunning down a character in a videogame. Also the ending was extremely disappointing and very predictable. Secondly, the references to Cameron are correct, many of FF's scenes are lifted right from his movies. Some of the posters are quick to point out that Cameron lifted his ideas from others. No Shit, Really? Find me and original film idea now, after a century of movie making.. People sometimes fail to realize that the one thing that makes Cameron a great director (to me, anyway) is his absolute(ANAL) attention to detail. From duplicating Robert Patrick's every mannerism in T2 to using authentic designs on the plates in the Titanic, he will not skimp on the details because he realizes that even the tiny things that the moviegoers' eyes pass over get filed away in the mind along with the big obvious things to create true suspension of disbelief. LAstly, comparisons have be made between anime and Amerimation, east versus west, and that FF should reviewed using those sensibilities. I say that is wrong. FF doesn't stand up to great anime like Akira, Ghost in the Shell or Macross Plus. At best it would be considered mediocre anime-like. When I watch those films, I feel the emotions of the characters, empathized with them, and even felt a sense of regret when they died, not so in Final Fastasy. Those films transcended the so-called cartoon limits of the medium to tell a vivid tale, in much the same way Disney's earlier movies like Bambi did here in the US

  • July 13, 2001, 5:58 a.m. CST

    YodaButter2000 - So are you saying....

    by crisp

    that people 20 years ago shouldn't have enjoyed TVs because now we have digital TVs that blow the old school boxes out of the water? I get it, I'm not going to enjoy anything in life from here on out because I know that 5-10 years from now there will be something better. What a crock. The film is an amazing leap, and from the looks of it - they've got it so close now that it won't be much longer before it will be so real you won't be able to tell the differnce. How about taking a break from your self absorbed day and think about how much it took to put a movie like this one together. Could you have done anything remotely similar? Doubtful you know the first thing about CGI. I can't believe all these arm-chair critics like you aren't appreciative of what this movie is going to do for the CGI industry. *sigh*