A prodigiously underrated movie
by Furious D on 10/22/2001
<i>Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within</i> is a cinematic masterpiece. It is too bad that nobody else thinks so. <i>Final Fantasy</i> was the first and is the only movie to ever create, let alone attempt to render, a realistic human form. The backrounds are amazing, the action is intense, but to look at faces and movements of the CGI characters is simply breathtaking. Many critics and moviegoers alike praise the animation but complain of the films lack of story. Who are these people that think a film must be completely original for it to be any good? Sure, the concepts of the plot were not entirely original but there was enough innovation in it to warrant it to not be called unoriginal. Final Fantasy offered a great mix of action, philosophy and utter beauty. Plus the actors brought in to do voicework were top notch. Who doesn't love Alec Baldwin. Also there is Steve Buscemi, a personal favorite of mine, Peri Gilpin, Ving Rhames, James Woods, and Donald Sutherland. How can you go wrong with that line up? You can't, and they didn't.
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by firstname.lastname@example.org on 10/26/2001
Have you ever gone to a movie really wanting to enjoy it, but when the house lights come up, you find yourself walking up the aisle, feeling somewhat let-down by the experience? I have. More often than not, actually. And it doesn't have anything to do with how attractive the date sitting next to you was. (Although, admittedly, had I been sitting next to a gorgeous red-head I probably wouldn't have been so interested in what was taking place on-screen)...<i>Final Fantasy</i> was yet another in a depressingly long line of films with great potential that somehow never quite manage to achieve greatness. Don't get me wrong, the almost photo-realistic visuals are stunning. An absolute cinematic marvel. And the sound effects and music were adequately matched. It is obvious that years of painstakingly detailed effort were applied to the making of the visual aspects of this film. I found fault with the writing, the direction, and the acting. Three very integral parts of the film that obviously were deemed less important by the filmmakers. I can understand the writing part; it is enormously difficult nowadays to produce a big-budget, special effects-laden film that comes from a witty, genuinely intriguing screenplay. I mean, this was based on a series of Japanese video games! Not exactly Homer or Shakespeare, to be sure. But the writing was bland. This criticism can be applied to both the plotline and the dialogue. An action-adventure/sci-fi/fantasy (not to mention animated) film needs to have a script with loads of action, a swift-moving plot, cliffhangers galore, and characters we in the audience really care about and identify with. This was lacking in the film, to be sure. I wish filmmakers would spend more time on writing quality work. Then worry about the visual aspects. But enough about the writing.
Next comes the direction. The only way for a voice actor in an animated film to convey the story to the audience is through, you guessed it, their VOICE. When casting a role for animation, you need someone who SOUNDS the part of the character(no real criticism from me in the casting department), and then the character must come alive through the voice of said actor. And THAT is where this director failed. Like Titan, A.E., and countless other animated films, the voices were bland and there was a black hole of a void where the emotional content was supposed to be. And it brought the whole film down about 5 notches for me. Everyone's got to have a gripe about something - and that was mine. As far as the actors themselves go, I believe they were all capable of more. Again, it goes back to the director being able to push them and, well, direct them, in order to get the optimum performance. In order to best tell the story to the audience...
But don't let my comments deter you from buying this film. I'm going to buy it myself. It is a landmark motion picture for the visual aspects alone, and well worth being added to a film buff's collection. I just hope that in the future more time and effort (and talent) will be poured into the development of story and character, and that the director will treat the actor and the character as an integral part of the filmmaking process. Then, it truly WILL be a great film.
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