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

4.3 14
Director: Hironobu Sakaguchi, Motonori Sakakibara

Cast: 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 utilized

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.

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.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/23/2001
UPC:
0043396062498
Original Release:
2001
Rating:
PG-13
Source:
Sony Pictures
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]
Time:
1:46:00
Sales rank:
57,759

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

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

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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Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this DVD had everything I wanted. It had a good behind-the-scenes section, character profiles, deleted scenes, and more. If you are wondering if it is worth buying, then don't wonder anymore. Yes, it is definitely worth getting. What's really cool is when you buy the DVD and the ''The Making of Final Fantasy'' book. Get both and you are all set.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Final Fantasy has always been about story and graphics. It is sad to see such a brilliant (and long in the making) effort fall short on the story. Unless you are a hardcore enthusiast, I'd recommend renting this title. The scenery is beautiful and matches toe to toe with Final Fantasy X's cut-scenes, but you're apt to be bored 20 minutes into the movie. The 2 disc DVD contains some great bonus material, such as, alternate opening sequence, making, and a way to edit scenes and paste them together. All things being equal, which is never the case, give this a spin from your video store...unless you are a die-hard.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie is excellent. It is less scifi and moreso fantasy, as the title dictates. You would like this movie if you like spirits or ghosts, as well as scifi outerspace type movies. I would also reccommend this movie to people who are into the whole space-time continuum thing. I would also reccommend it for a more intelligent audience who can decipher the plot. It can be distinguished by many age groups, I would know this because I'm only 13 years of age. Overall I give it a five-star for a mind-blowing film of staggering genius and an entricately developed plotline.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Original Creativity is the first thing that comes to mind after watchin' this flick'. The Graphics were so sweet. Michelangelo would have a serious appreciation for the colors and anatomy definition that were used in this movie(especially the skin pores & facial expressions). This movie ranks very high in my massive DVD Animation selectees. I have a in-house stadium seating theatre(seats 15). If you wanna' show out in front of your company drop this flick in the DVD Player(NOTE! your system must BANG!). The Sound Engineers for this flick' were on their jobs to the fullest. My wife said it felt like we were in space because of the background sound FX(rear center speaker a big plus). A huge ''Shout Out'' to the Director for not killing the Brotha' first, in addition to that, another huge ''Shout Out'' for not making the Brotha' sterotypical and off-balanced(I salute you). Ok my last shout out to the animators who put the still shot photos of ''my girl'' Dr. Aki Ross on the special features. And Finally, HURRY UP WIT' DA' NEXT FINAL FANTASY.......
Guest More than 1 year ago
Final Fantasy will not let you down. Great sound, excellent background information and features in this set, and the revolutionary animation just won't stop impressing you. You'll feel for the characters and care about what is happening whether or not you have a background knowing about the games and their plots. Don't miss out on this one!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie is a work of art. It's really a shame the movie bombed at the box office. It lost so much money they closed the Square movie studio. I really don't understand why nobody went to see it. The characters in the film are awesome and you can see every detail of their faces, even pores and small flaws in the skin. The voice acting is of the highest quality and you'll even recognize some voices of famous stars. The only flaw in the movie is the weak story line. Rent it or buy it, you won't be disappointed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a very cool movie. It is all 3-d. Some times you cant tell what is real and what is not real in the character's faces.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a huge fan of the video games. I was so excited when I heard they are making a movie. Now lets go over the games. All of the games have a different plot but they all deal with courge, friendship, fear, and loss and that is what the movie deals with. The one thing about this movie that everyone likes are the cgi actors. My personal favorite was Neil because he was funny and he seemed to be strait from a game because they all have a goofy comic relief. While I was watching the movie I felt good that I could just sit down and relax because in the games it is very nerve wracking to fight all the monsters and I always have balls of sweat dripping from my face. But in this you can just watch and don't have do a darn thing. See Final Fantasy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
People should see Final Fantasy: the spirits within because it displays emotion. The reason why I liked it was because the storyline seemed to catch me. The only reasons why this movie was not perfect in everybody's eyes was because it is somewhat different from the game series and those who haven't played the series were kind of confused about the story. This game proved that games that are made into movies can be great. It was also action packed and displayed that animation can work wonders in a movie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Its got good graphics, but besides that, its nuthin. i'm a big final fantasy fan, and i got ticked when i found out the movie wasn't based off any of the games. it would of have been MUCH better had they based it off one of the hit games.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I first read the plot and storyline for Final Fantasy I was skeptical. I couldn't imagine Squaresoft taking the concepts behind the Final Fantasy games and incorporating it into the setting of Earth. I mean the notion alone hindered me from seeing it when it was first released in theaters. Way back in 1998, when I first heard rumors about the film, i was hoping that the film was going to be taken from one of the games and I was anticipating it was going to be Final Fantasy 7 since it was and still one of the best Final Fantasy games. Well, needless to say, I bought the DVD and watch it. The movie is great. The story really captures the essence from the video game series. Though there's not the flare from spectacular character casting magic and swashbuckling swordsmanship, the stunning CG and action scenes make up for it. I highly recommend this film to anyone. And if you¿ve never played one of the games, its worth the money and time playing the latest installment Final Fantasy 10.
Heavy_Metal_Sushi More than 1 year ago
For it's time, this was a pretty groundbreaking movie, what with being shot entirely computer animated. It was at a time when computer animation & special effects was really starting to become a big thing in film making. Beyond that, I rather enjoyed this movie. It had been ages since I saw it, but I received it as a gift recently and gave it a watch, and I rather liked it. It had an interesting concept behind it, and the movie itself was pretty cool. There was some decent action in parts of it, and many great celebrities lent their voices to this. All in all, for all of you sci-fi/fantasy lovers out there who may not have seen this yet, I recommend that you check it out. I didn't quite see the correlation between this and actual final fantasy games, but I liked the movie for what it was. It was pretty cool. Check it out!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I saw this movie while on vacation with my sister in Canada. I thought it was great! I recommend it to anyone who loves sci-fi and animation. This one is definitely part of my collection.