The year is 2065 AD. The Earth is infested with alien spirits, and mankind faces total extinction. Led by a strange dream and guided by her mentor, Dr. Sid, scientist Aki Ross struggles to collect eight spirits in the hope of creating a force powerful enough to destroy the alien presence and pure enough to protect the planet. With the aid of the Deep Eyes Squadron, Aki must save the Earth from its darkest hate and unleash the final spirit. FINAL FANTASY is the groundbreaking new CGI film from the creators of the Final Fantasy Video Game Franchise.
The special edition DVD of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
can keep you occupied for hours. The first disc includes two feature-length commentaries. The first was recorded by co-director Motonori Sakakibara, sequence supervisor Hiroyuki Hayashida, sets and props lead artist Tatsuro Maruyama, and Phantom supervisor Takao Noguchi the day after the film was finished. They speak Japanese so you might have to read subtitles, but it's fun to hear them laugh as they enjoy the film. The second commentary, which is less giddy and more informative (and in English), is by animation director Andy Jones, editor Chris S. Capp, and staging director Tani Kunitake, who discuss technical elements of the animation, notes on the casting, and subtle details you might not have noticed. There's also an isolated version of the powerful score with infrequent but interesting comments from composer Elliot Goldenthal, and 11 scenes (81 minutes total) that alternate among storyboard, rough animation, and final film, with optional filmmaker commentary or subtitled factoids.
The bulk of the second disc is a 30-minute making-of documentary supplemented by numerous easy-to-find Easter eggs. There are also profiles of the seven major characters (including personal background, as well as voice actor and lead animator info), sketches and explications of three of the film's vehicles, DVD-ROM content, and an editing tool that allows the viewer to rearrange parts of the council-conference scene and play them back. Even the menu intros are interesting to watch! --David Horiuchi