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Final Fantasy - The Spirits Within (Special Edition)
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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. 2016 release The year is 2065. A meteor has crashed into Earth, unleashing millions of alien creatures who roam the planet, decimating field and city alike, threatening to extinguish life itself. Prepare to be spellbound by an amazing woman, the brave individuals at her side and an astounding mission to save the Earth.
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
- Aspect Ratio : 1.85:1
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- MPAA rating : PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
- Product Dimensions : 7.5 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches; 5.55 Ounces
- Director : Hironobu Sakaguchi
- Media Format : Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Dubbed, NTSC, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen
- Run time : 1 hour and 42 minutes
- Release date : October 23, 2001
- Dubbed: : French
- Subtitles: : French, English
- Producers : Chris Lee, Jun Aida, Akio Sakai
- Language : Unqualified (Dolby Digital 5.1)
- Studio : Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
- ASIN : B00003CY5D
- Number of discs : 1
- Best Sellers Rank: #75,333 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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I've always viewed this story in the same vein as FFVII, but you have the military trying to destroy the planet instead of a corporation, and the scientists have the lead roles in the good guy camp, rather than mages and fighters, even though Dr. Ross has her band of fighters, they just all die.
If you have not seen this, give it a shot. What do critics know anyway?
Overall a mediocre sci-fi flick with not much thought put into the writing. The CGI work was amazing for 2001 and it's passable today in 2019, the textures and lighting were great but the characters move too stiffly and with subdued facial reactions; considering it was made in the early days of motion capture when a lot of animation still had to be done by hand it's a job well done but no longer up to today's cinema standard.
This movie is only good for nostalgia or curiosity for the state of CGI in it's early days.
Where Anime has a long history of attracting sizable adult audiences to theaters in Asia, even its most popular films like Ghost in the Shell or Akira had been met with limited interest in the west. Square thought that by leveraging audience fascination with CGI, this was the moment when they would change all that, so they set about making the first big-budget animated Hollywood movie aimed solely at adults. Square had reason to be confident too, armed as they were with the biggest fantasy game series in the world, a ravenous fan base, and visionary director Hironobu Sakaguchi on tap. They signed a deal with Columbia/Sony and vowed to deliver the world’s “first virtual movie stars”- a bar so ludicrously high that nearly 20 years later we still haven’t cleared it. Indeed, the task they set themselves proved so challenging that the studio soon found itself hemorrhaging money, and before the film could be completed the budget had ballooned to such a degree that outside financing had to be sought to finish it, and Square Pictures found itself on the ropes.
So, did their gamble pay off? Well no, but it is, for all the reasons outlined above, at least an interesting failure. While you can’t help but admire the ambition, it’s ironic that despite Square’s lofty goals, despite all their hard work, and despite the tens of millions of dollars spent, the decision to go hyper realistic backfires spectacularly. The filmmakers were tripped up at the starting line by the insurmountable technological limitations of the time, with all the hallmarks of bad mocap present and accounted for: the dead, lifeless eyes, the floaty weightlessness, the mushy acting lacking punch or definition, the distractingly busy hair simulations. Issues that were further compounded by a dogged refusal to push (much less exaggerate) facial expressions, ultimately producing characters incapable of conveying anything approaching a convincing emotion.
But as South Park proves, one can live with jank if the story is strong enough. Unfortunately Square needed this to be a gargantuan hit which, one can only assume, is why the choice was made to play it so safe with the story. Apparently taking the approach that the game universe of Final Fantasy was too niche for mainstream audiences, the filmmakers instead opted for a paint by numbers Aliens knock-off replete with obligatory space marine cannon fodder, nefarious back-stabbing politicians, and put-upon self sacrificing heroines. Characters are reduced to archetypes, which in combination with mocap that lacks any measure of personality, ends up having to rely on the voice casting alone to do all the heavy lifting (it’s Roz from Frasier doing pvt. Vasquez! It’s Marcellus Wallace doing Bill Duke! It’s Steve Buschemi doing Steve Buschemi!). The net result of all these compromises is a film profoundly incapable of achieving the pathos it was so clearly designed to deliver. Anyone who undervalues the importance of character animators, or has the misguided notion that expensive voice talent add value to anything other than the marketing campaign, should be forced to watch this on repeat.
But even with all its flaws, I don’t hate this movie. Would I recommend it? No, but the film does sport some truly astonishing imagery (especially in the final act) that hint at what these filmmakers were capable of if let off the chain. Also, the sweeping, majestic score by the extraordinary Elliot Goldenthal builds magnificently on his superlative work on Alien 3 to breathtaking effect, and firmly underlines that he is arguably the most criminally underrated composer of the last century. Seriously, even if you hate this movie you should buy the soundtrack.
I have finally broken down and decided to upgrade my copy to blu-ray based on a friends recommendation. I heard it was missing some of the special features that the DVD had, but to be honest I don’t usually take the time to check out any of that stuff anyway, so not a deal breaker for me by any means.
I’d recommend this to anyone who is a fan of sci-fi, whether they care for animation or not. The animation of this movie is of such quality that at times you kind of even forget that’s what it is (well maybe that’s a stretch!). Because I saw this movie back when this technology was pretty new, it holds a special place for me. The newer generation would probably still like the movie, but I don’t think they’d be as blown away as I was as a kid.
2 star: jumped my way to the end for the ending. Unwatchable, but interested in how this turd ended.
3 star: watched it all, but not happy about it. Nothing better to do.
4 star: I watched it, liked it well enough. Would never watch it again.
5 star: Great moving picture show! I'll watch it again, and maybe again in a few years.
I watched about half of it before backing out. It wasn't my kind of movie. Live would have been better.
Top reviews from other countries
Highly recommended, and probably not what you would be expecting (that is a good thing.)
I think it is a solid film if a little off. The CGI doesn't hold-up anymore, but it is still fantastic.
The plot is basic and it moves a little too fast sometimes. I don't feel like the film is long enough to invest in any of the characters.
It is great to hear some of this voices though! Familiar but authentic.
A good watch, but not as deep or as awe-inspiring as I had hoped. Still, it is something something.
- Amazing Graphics
- Lots of extra's in the double DVD set
- Sid! (though usually we call him Cid)
- Storyline, if they had chosen the storyline using more of the 5th spirit which they intended then I really think it would have done alot better
- No chocobos, ok I know its a really serious film, but Chocobo's fit in most places
I would buy this if you are hardcore Final Fantasy fan and need everything in your collection - but if your just a general movie obessive - I wouldn't - you will only critise it - its had enough of that
I would like to comment on the b-ray presentation, Picture quality is nigh on suberb unfortunately, I did notice several scenes littered throughout the movie where backgrounds suffered from posterization. Now, I'm not sure if these flaws were present in the original picture or not. Scenes like Aki's ship landing in the opening 3:20, in the council chambers at 21:07 etc. For me that cost the review 1 star.
Sound quality is faultless.