Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
  • Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
  • Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within

4.3 14
Director: Hironobu Sakaguchi, Motonori Sakakibara

Cast: Hironobu Sakaguchi, Motonori Sakakibara, Ming-Na Wen, Alec Baldwin

     
 

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Computer animation has sure come a long way since the film Tron was released back in 1982. At the time, it was state of the art. Then came Jurassic Park and its two sequels, James Cameron's revolutionary morphing techniques in The Abyss and Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and the countless lesser-known films and commercials that have utilizedSee more details below

Overview

Computer animation has sure come a long way since the film Tron was released back in 1982. At the time, it was state of the art. Then came Jurassic Park and its two sequels, James Cameron's revolutionary morphing techniques in The Abyss and Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and the countless lesser-known films and commercials that have utilized computer animation for aesthetic and practical reasons. But no one has used computer animation to the extent of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, the first full-length CGI film. And despite what you may think of the film's plot, there is no denying the film's plethora of beautifully stylized alien landscapes and dynamic science fiction visuals. Columbia-TriStar Home Entertainment's two-disc set of the film is packed with hours of extras and more than enough information on every facet that went into producing such a monumental production. The film itself has been given a wonderful transfer to disc, letterboxed at 1.85:1 (enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs), and has also been given a very robust English-language 5.1 Dolby Digital track and a two-channel one. A French-language two-channel option is also available. The picture looks excellent throughout and the film's visual richness and sense of detail really comes off nicely for the home environment. Disc one of the set contains the film and two feature-length commentaries. The first one contains comments from co-director Moto Sakakibara, sequence supervisor Hiroyuki Hayashida, sets and props lead artist Tatsuro Maruyama, and "Phantom" supervisor Takoo Noguchi. The track is not exactly the most enjoyable for the layman, but animation freaks should find more than enough insights to keep them interested. Track two contains comments from the animation director, editor, and the staging director. There is also an isolated score track with commentary by composer Elliot Goldenthal available. The disc also includes production notes, trailers, and much, much more. Disc two contains even more supplemental material, including a very fascinating interactive documentary on the making of the film, multiple workshops which include character bios and more, an alternate opening sequence for the film, and the ability to re-edit a particular scene which allows the viewer to gain an insight into the world of an editor. Also included is a very amusing easter egg which has the character of Aki replicating Michael Jackson's "Thriller." All in all, the set is fantastic and should be a welcome addition to either your science fiction or animation disc collection.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - R.J. Wafer
Inspired by the immensely popular Final Fantasy video game series, The Spirits Within is one of the most ambitious computer-generated features to date, a creative landmark that may be too eye-poppingly cool for its own good. Eschewing the cartoon approach of Pixar's Toy Story and A Bug's Life, Final Fantasy's creators render characters so realistically that one can't help but marvel. Ming-Na Wen, Ving Rhames, Alec Baldwin, Steve Buscemi, Donald Sutherland, and James Woods loan their voices to these screen presences, adding emotional depth to the digital facsimiles. The setting is a postapocalyptic Earth -- the result of an alien invasion rather than our own calamitous missteps. The enemies are phantomlike, able to shuffle loose human spirits from their mortal coils. All seems lost until the beautiful Dr. Aki Ross (Wen) and her mentor, Dr. Sid (Sutherland), discover that the energy behind eight significant Earth spirits is capable of restoring order. While fans may not find the story as epic as those in the game series, Final Fantasy still lives up to its hype and visually tops its interactive brethren. As a pure treat for the senses, it scores with intensely accurate detail, down to a gentle breeze ruffling a character's hair.
All Movie Guide
This thrilling and visionary fantasy -- with a high budget that included the cost of creating its new motion-capture technology -- was D.O.A. at the box office, proving once again that mainstream America is not ready for what it deems to be video game geekery. But this is hardly a film of limited appeal. While it does recall its more obscure anime roots in some of its spiritual themes, it has the grandiosity of the great sci-fi epics (comparisons have been made as high up the ladder as Star Wars), and the mind-blowing visuals alone are worth the price of admission. Not only are the photo-realistic humans a sight to behold, but the other details of this post-apocalyptic Earth are rendered with a fine-tipped brush, both natural and invitingly dreamy at the same time. The story has its share of underexplained moments, and it requires viewers to accept hokey concepts like "gaia" (the Earth's vital spiritual entity). But to extend the parallel with Star Wars, the Force was never too hard to swallow, and it gave that film the requisite mysticism to rise to the level of classic. Furthermore, Aki Ross is a heroine ten times more intelligent and worthy of worship than Lara Croft, the other prominent video game transplant from the summer of 2001. Ming-Na brings her compassionately to life, and the character's deadly affliction adds an extra gravitas to their earnest mission. Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within is a romantic adventure that doesn't cheapen either of those categories; in spite of its box-office failure, it can teach a lesson to the star-driven flops that studios churn out with none of the passion of this wondrous ghost story.
Chicago Sun-Times - Roger Ebert
The film tells a story that would have seemed traditional in the golden age of Asimov, van Vogt and Heinlein. But science fiction fans of that era would have wept with joy at the visuals.... Is there a future for this kind of expensive filmmaking ($140 million, I've heard)? I hope so, because I want to see more movies like this, and see how much further they can push the technology.

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Product Details

Release Date:
10/23/2001
UPC:
0043396062498
Original Release:
2001
Rating:
PG13
Source:
Sony Pictures
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]
Time:
1:46:00
Sales rank:
9,481

Special Features

Digitally mastered in high definition using the filmless digital files; Anamorphic widescreen presentation; Audio: English 5.1 [Dolby Digital], English, 2-channel [Dolby Surround], French; Subtitles: English, French; Two feature-length commentaries: co-director Moto Sakakibara, sequence supervisor Hiroyuki Hayashida, sets & props lead artist Tatsuro Maruyama, phantom supervisor Takoo Noguchi, animation director Andy Jones, editor Chris S. Capp, staging director Tani Kunitake; Original interactive documentary: "The Making of Final Fantasy"; "Final Fantasy" thriller music video; Mini-movie: "Aki's Dream"; Two face wraps [Aki, Dr. Sid]; Character morphs; Mattte art explorations; Compositing builds; Multiple workshops including: seven in-depth character files, three vehicle scale comparisons [Bandit, Quatro, Black Boa], trailer explorations, sets & props; Isolated score with commentary by composer Elliot Goldenthal; Storyboard/playblast selects with optional filmmaker commentary; Subtitled factoids; Interactive animated menus: featuring GGI intros created by Square Pictures; Scene selections with motion images; Theatrical trailers; Production notes; Alternate opening sequence; Final Fantasy Shuffler: become the filmmaker by re-editing a pivotal scene from the film; Interactive animated menus; DVD-ROM exclusives: interactive film exploration, complete screenplay, virtual tour of Square Pictures, screensaver, weblinks

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Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Ming-Na Wen Aki Ross
Alec Baldwin Gray Edwards
Ving Rhames Ryan Whittaker
Steve Buscemi Neil Fleming
Peri Gilpin Jane Proudfoot
Donald Sutherland Dr. Sid
James Woods General Hein
Keith David Council Member #1
Jean Simmons Council Member #2
Matt McKenzie Major Elliot

Technical Credits
Hironobu Sakaguchi Director,Cinematographer,Original Story,Producer
Motonori Sakakibara Director,Asst. Director,Cinematographer
Jun Aida Producer
Christopher S. Capp Editor
Chris Lee Producer
Jack Fletcher Casting
Elliot Goldenthal Score Composer
Al Reinert Screenwriter
Richard Rudolph Musical Direction/Supervision
Akio Sakai Producer
Randy Thom Sound/Sound Designer
Jeff Vintar Screenwriter

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Scene Index

Side #1 -- Disc One
0. Scene Selections
1. Start [3:42]
2. Lifeform Search [6:18]
3. Surrounded by Phantoms [1:03]
4. "I Am Dr. Aki Ross." [2:03]
5. Phantom Infestation [4:19]
6. Dr. Sid [3:38]
7. Council Meeting [6:36]
8. The Six Spirit Waves [7:13]
9. Tucson Wasteland [2:19]
10. The Seventh Spirit [:44]
11. Incoming! [3:20]
12. An Incident [2:00]
13. "She's Dying." [3:15]
14. Spiritual Support [4:25]
15. Phantoms Explained [1:38]
16. Security Breach [2:23]
17. Evacuation Facility [2:05]
18. Rough Riders [:57]
19. Extreme Prejudice [5:18]
20. Dr. Sid's Plan [10:07]
21. The Phantom Crater [2:50]
22. Zeus Fires [2:15]
23. Emergency Landing [1:13]
24. Hitting It Again [2:42]
25. Not a Good Place to Be [:57]
26. The Spirit Finds Aki [2:55]
27. System Overload [3:56]
28. "Death Isn't the End." [1:44]

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