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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The first feature-length motion picture to use computer-generated imagery to create not only effects, props, and environments but also the human cast members themselves, this lavish science-fiction adventure follows closely on the heels of another video game-based film, Tomb Raider (2001). Ming-Na provides the voice of Dr. Aki Ross, a female scientist in theSee more details below

Overview

The first feature-length motion picture to use computer-generated imagery to create not only effects, props, and environments but also the human cast members themselves, this lavish science-fiction adventure follows closely on the heels of another video game-based film, Tomb Raider (2001). Ming-Na provides the voice of Dr. Aki Ross, a female scientist in the year 2065, a time when Earth has been overrun by extraterrestrial phantoms borne of a crashed meteor. Humans have been pushed back to cities protected by barriers that keep the marauding space monsters away, but time is running out. Fatally infected by one of the ghostly beasts, Ross seeks information about their purpose and physiology, assisted by her mentor Dr. Sid (voice of Donald Sutherland) and the Deep Eyes military squad of courageous Captain Gray Edwards (voice of Alec Baldwin). Tension develops between Aki's quest to stop the alien onslaught through study and the more extreme solution favored by the vengeful, saber-rattling General Hein (voice of James Woods), who would destroy both the aliens and the Earth itself. Aki ultimately comes to realize that the key to unlocking the mystery of the invaders lies within her own dreams.

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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:
03/05/2002
UPC:
0043396063686
Original Release:
2001
Rating:
PG13
Source:
Sony Pictures

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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