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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE HIGH WATERMARK -Final Fantasy:The Spirits Within
Did you see the other movies that competed at the box during the summer of 2001? There was "Jurassic Park 3", "AI", "Cats & Dogs", "Tomb Raider" and "Rush Hour 2" -all unwatchable films. Seriously, these movies are like committee driven productions with very little originality. If you thought that any of these films were great, then stop reading here (it's obvious that...
Published on June 21 2004

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3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty to look at but don't forget there is a plot...
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within is a movie that could be either a Final Fantasy fans dream...or worst nightmare. For me it's a little bit of both. It's an impressive movie to watch because it looks incredible! But as I mentioned...there is a plot and that actually brings the movie down.
Aki is a scientists who must run around and collect spirits for professer Cid...
Published on March 10 2004 by S. Rhodes


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE HIGH WATERMARK -Final Fantasy:The Spirits Within, June 21 2004
By A Customer
Did you see the other movies that competed at the box during the summer of 2001? There was "Jurassic Park 3", "AI", "Cats & Dogs", "Tomb Raider" and "Rush Hour 2" -all unwatchable films. Seriously, these movies are like committee driven productions with very little originality. If you thought that any of these films were great, then stop reading here (it's obvious that what little brain space you have is needed for your basic survival and I wouldn't want you to actually 'think' for yourself)...
Then there was "Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within", a foreign film by a director, Hironobu Sakaguchi, who doesn't even speak english. And yet FF was absolutely original for a summer film; emphasis on story and character, post apocalyptic civilization coping with a mystery that has wiped out the majority of humanity, ghosts from another planet, a villian who is not a typical evil cliche -he's just trying to save the human race, a hero who may be infected by the spirits inside her and may subsequently be subverting a squad of marines, and the underlying theme of faith. All those elements add up to an underappreciated cult classic that Hollywood purposefully swept under the carpet.
Why was this film targeted with 0 marketing from the studio that distrubuted it, Sony Pictures? Cause the movie was totally financed by Square and Sony had no stake in it's success whatsoever. However, Sony was already in talks to create the cg for the all motion capture "Polar Express", a $100 million plus payday from Warner Bros to Sony for just making the graphics, disregarding the final outcome of the box office. That's a fat guaranteed paycheck. Check out this link regarding Tom Hanks public campaign to sink FF- (...)
(or just google "tom hanks digital actors") Hanks is quoted as saying that "I am very troubled by it" refering to the digital actors from FF! and this quote was in the trades around July 9th, the week before FF was released. He was worried that digital actors would replace actors, which is definately the case in "Polar Express" where Hanks plays most of the characters in the film!
So if you were Sony Pictures, would you market the hell out of FF and piss off America's most beloved actor or bury FF and then secure the deal to make "Polar Express"? Then, of course, Zemeckis and Hanks are now claiming that "Polar Express" is the first animated movie of its kind, which is not the case because Square did it first with FF.
So, check out the original.
"Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within" was a visionary film that scared the crap out of Hollywood and caused some major talent to emulate it. Don't buy the hype, "Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within" was not a Hollywood studio pic that was meant for summer blockbuster fare, it was a foreign film. And that said, how many foreign films have been so visionary as to create a new genre in animation?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Complete masterpiece, June 22 2004
This film is one of the best I have ever seen. Put simply, it is a work of genius. There have been a number of bad reviews about this film and it lost almost $60m at the box office (nevertheless, it still grossed a fairly respectable $45m). When I saw the DVD I couldn't understand why the film lost money at all.
The main prejudices against this film seem to be that it carries the "Final Fantasy" title. Excited fans of the gaming series were seriously dissapointed because this film has absolutely nothing to do with any of the games and is in a completly different style to them. This isn't surprising, because the games are incredibly complex and their stories would eat up hours of screen time. Fans of the game just did not have the foresight to enjoy it as a seperate movie. I had not played the games upon viewing and so could afford to be more impartial.
The rendered characters are incredible; for computer geeks it's worth buying the DVD to see Dr. Aki Ross's (the main character) hair blowing in the wind.
The storyline is as deep as you want it to be- it works on many levels, ultimately dealing with spirituality/life and death issues. On the other hand, it can be enjoyed solely as an action movie. Another great feature is the music, which is some of the best work I have heard- particularly the end credits/love scene piece "The Dream Within".
There is not a great deal of character development, and this upset critics. Nevertheless, there is still feeling and the viewer does get attached to most of the characters.
You simply HAVE to watch this film once. It really is nothing like anything that has gone before it. Although it has not proven to be the end of human actors as predicted, it has definately paved the way for other CGI (computer generated) films and has set the standard. Even if you are not interested in the spiritualist plot, you can simply be entertained by the action and humourous banter between the two army comrades, Neil and Jane.
Overall, this film is excellent. It was a real shame that it did not perform well at the box office, but in future years it will probably be looked back upon with respect and as a classic, it is such a trendsetter.
The DVD has some great features which help buff the storyline up a bit. I would definately reccomended this to all.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars GREAT MOVIE, May 12 2004
By 
"maxwell-house-78" (ZION, NOT THE MATRIX, WAKE Up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) - See all my reviews
I know people are made that the movie had nothing to do with the games. Everyone please remember that the games are all different in many ways. The movie for example is a completely new world, new characters, and theme. And you really care about the story and what happens to the characters. That is what makes a Final Fantasy. Not Cloud or Squall swinging swords everywhere. People have just forgotten what makes the Final Fantasy series so great and that the storys.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "...And Worlds End", Feb. 24 2004
By 
D. Knouse (vancouver, washington United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
As a feature for cutting-edge animation this film is a great success. I often gaped at the amazing visual textures and dazzling color mixed with inventive sci-fi scenery. However, the film is extremely cold with regards to emotional connection with the characters. While the creatures and ships and battle-gear were all pristinely drawn, the expressions and walk of the human characters are stiff and mostly emotionless. This makes for more of a cerebral experience along the lines of hard sci-fi rather than sci-fi fantasy. The overall feel of the film is icy and soulless, but the animation is truly exceptional. What saves this film from being completely frozen is one of the most underrated scores of the year composed by Elliot Goldenthal. I own the CD to the soundtrack and I often play it while reading something creepy. It enhances the movie with subtlety and provides much-needed lift to many of the otherwise spiritless sequences. The song "The Dream Within" sung by Lara Fabian was also written by Elliot Goldenthal and is remarkable, especially with Lara Fabian's glorious voice soaring over the music. But the real star of this film is the animation, which is certainly extraordinary. There were many moments during the film that I forgot it was animated, the human characters look so life-like. In summation: superb animation with a cerebral sci-fi yarn, but ultimately hollow and cold.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good movie...better is on the way!!!, Jan. 8 2004
By 
Brandon Colson "HD-DVD is garbage!!!" (Louisiana, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This was a good movie! The CGI folk looked very real and sometimes I too forgot it was animated! Anyhoo...a lot of people don't understand why this is named "Final Fantasy!" But, they're stupid! Because, the real question would be...Why is FF2 named "FF2" when it has nothing to do with FF1!" OR any other number...like 4..5..6-10...none of them have anything to do with each other, so just think of this as another game...same name...different people and story...and quit whining! And...X-2 is a sequel (And, it is NOT named "12") so that one deserves a number! Anyhoo...your prayers have been answered! The best game (FF7) is having a sequel (a movie) out in July! I suggest everyone purchase the game(15$) for PSone(50$) and get to playing before July rolls around! Subtitle is "Advent Children" Will be several times better than this movie!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty to look at but don't forget there is a plot..., March 10 2004
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within is a movie that could be either a Final Fantasy fans dream...or worst nightmare. For me it's a little bit of both. It's an impressive movie to watch because it looks incredible! But as I mentioned...there is a plot and that actually brings the movie down.
Aki is a scientists who must run around and collect spirits for professer Cid to study before the evil ghosts come and take over the world of Gaia. This doesn't sound so bad but it's rather amateurish when you compare this story to that of the games like FFVII or FFVI.
But I shouldn't compare it to the game. Overall the plot is weak no matter how you look at it. The villian is no villian and the movie isn't as much "Fantasy" as it "Sci-fi" which seems to have a selective audience of its own.
The characters also lack developement. Aki is stale and emotionless and because the movie is computer animated you don't feel for these characters the same way you would others when they lack that emotion.
The Final Fantasy games have great moments that this movie doesn't shine in as well. The characters aren't memorable and the story doesn't have the Final Fantasy feel. Where are the plot twists that blow you away? Where are the characters love for one another when they realize they're in it together? These things the game works so well on aren't as visible in the movie.
But as I said, the movie is pretty to look at. The characters are so detailed they almost look real! This in itself more than makes up for the mediocre story. The humor in the movie is fantastic as well.
So as I said. The movie is great to look at but when you see a movie you've also got to pay attention to the storyline as well. That is what Final Fantasy the Spirits within lacks at. In short, fans of the FF series will either enjoy it because it has the name "Final Fantasy" or hate it because it ruins the name "Final Fantasy" for them. If you haven't played the games because you're not a gamer or RPGer then you might find the movie intriguiing. I know for a fact that the story in the movie could've been more up to par with the "Final Fantasy" name. But it is better than most other videogame adaptations.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Take with a grain - no, make that a pound - of salt, Dec 31 2003
By 
Gregory Bartz "Gregorius" (San Jose, CA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
From the beginning, this movie seemed to have a lot of potential. The plot started out pretty intriguing, and I wanted very much to learn more about these alien creatures. However, by the end, it had basically resorted to a mix of horrible generic character stereotypes and gross negligence toward the laws of physics. On the "bad character stereotypes" end, there's the scientist that no one else believes, and in the end we find out he's right; there's the military commando guy who wants to nuke everything and refuses to listen to anyone else's opinion, and who lets the bad guys kill lots of innocent humans just to make himself seem important; there's the love interest whose attempts to save the lead female's life are met with an arrogant "stop trying to protect me, I can take care of myself!" attitude, even though the lead female would be dead at this point if not for his intervention. Etc., etc., etc. The pale crazy guy from Armageddon and Con Air lends his voice to a role that's pretty much identical to his roles from those movies (not that this is a bad thing, mind you). I don't think there's one original character idea in this whole cast. On the "writers obviously never went to Science class" end, there's this whole "earth spirit versus alien planet spirit" bullcrap routine that you'd have to be on LSD to believe is even remotely possible without changing half of the known laws of physics.
There is some good in this movie, however. The steady stream of increasingly bizarre and absurd revelations about the ghosts is quite entertaining, and the line about "negotiating with extreme prejudice" is alone worth whatever nausea you may or may not have felt during the rest of the movie. The character interaction and development isn't really bad per se, just lacking in the uniqueness area.
Overall, it's not The English Patient, but then, it's not Swordfish either. I don't feel like I've wasted two hours of my life in watching this movie - actually, I'm probably better off having seen it, not because it made me a better person or anything, but because I got to see something really wierd and different, which is part of the whole point of art (which movies count as) in the first place. Also, it made me readjust my standards for which sci-fi premises are too much to swallow and which ones are not, thus letting me have a greater appreciation for stuff like The Fifth Element.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A True Final Fantasy Movie!!!! Very Under Appreciated!!!, Dec 4 2003
By A Customer
I saw this movie when it first came out, and throughout my first experience its stellar beauty amazed me.
No doubt about it, this is a majestic work of art.
Many would say that it is not representative of the Final Fantasy video game series, but those that say this haven't really played any Final Fantasy video game, nor do they understand the essence of Final Fantasy.
Yes, Final Fantasy - The Spirits Within is a science fiction movie, but does that make it any less of a fantasy? The answer is unequivocally, no!!!! There are science fiction elements in every single Final Fantasy video game, from the very first to the latest, some of which have included laser guns, space ships, robots, time travel, mutants and so on. None of these sci-fi elements made any one of the Final Fantasy video game series any less of a fantasy, and no one should say that this movie is not a Final Fantasy because it includes these elements.
Some say that because this movie does not have the Chocobos, and Moogles, which were not in the original video game by the way, that this is not a true official Final Fantasy, who the hell do these people think they are, the creator of the Final Fantasy series, Hironobu Sakaguchi made this movie, how much more authentic can you get. This movie is a representation of everything that is Final Fantasy, you just have to be observant, look at the subtext, understand the hidden meanings and see the essence that is Final Fantasy. One of the meanings is that within this world, there are elements of nature, all stemming from a source, known as Gaia. Every video game from the first one, mentions that humanity must have a balance with nature, the name of the source of all life may change, but this is an underlying theme of the entire series. The most popular of all the Final Fantasy video game series, Final Fantasy 7 deals with the themes of the life stream, and besides this movie, deals the most, with its source, Gaia. In that video game the main theme was life, in The Spirits Within it is transcendence. A person who watches this movie merely for a cheap thrill, or expecting their vision of what Final Fantasy should be will not see the intricacies and complexities of this masterpiece, which is at its core very true to the series.
This movie may be considered a prequel to the Final Fantasy video game series, as every video game takes place on the same planet, our own Earth, also known as Gaia and other names sometime far into the future. Final Fantasy 1 taking place somewhere in the near future after the fall of civilization, and every other Final Fantasy video game following there after. Why do you think they are sequels in the first place?
This movie still impresses me, even today by its originality, and I am surprised at the number of people who dismiss this wondrous work, do they even look at the movie.
Some even call this movie a cop out; the only cop out was that Kingdom Hearts video game. A great Disney game, but a horrible Square Soft video game, and a disgraceful use of Final Fantasy characters, Square Soft just threw them in there for no apparent reason, that was selling out big time, what the hell happened there!!!!
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2.0 out of 5 stars Stunning visuals, but a weak, cliched story., Aug. 21 2003
This review is from: Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (Bilingual) (DVD)
FF, The Spirits Within, is an impressive demonstration of what can be accomplished today with computer animation. I found myself completely immersed in the movie's gorgeous action scenes. At times, completely forgetting I was watching computer animation. The highlights for me were the opening in New York, and the getaway later on in the futuristic humvee.
Unfortunately, the movie is also a demonstration of how great visuals can't make up for a really weak, unoriginal, predictable, poorly written screenplay. The cliches just didn't stop:
Beautiful heroine, unexpectedly reunited with past love interest during the middle of a crisis. Wow! That's never been done before.
"Race against the clock" (With a countdown timer! You've gotta have a countdown timer!) by heroine to save hero from death.
"Good", white uniformed government research team vs. "bad", black uniformed military team. Yeah, it's pretty heavy on the symbolism there.
Government research team and military team arguing their positions in front of an "esteemed council".
The heroine recounting the death of a young child, all while sappy piano music plays in the background.
"Bad" military general who intentionally allows the enemy to penetrate defenses, loses control of the situation, and utters the cheesy line, "What have I done?"
Requisite love scene between hero and heroine, just minutes after each has witnessed the horrifying death of several close friends. I know that would put me in the mood.
In the end, what could have been an impressive sci-fi movie is just reduced to a long demonstration of what the very talented people at SquareSoft are capable of. Maybe next time they'll spend less time worrying about making the CGI countdown timer look realistic, and more time questioning the existence of the countdown timer in the first place.
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4.0 out of 5 stars CGI with a real story, Aug. 17 2003
By 
OK, first things first. I'm not a game player, I don't own a playstation, X-Box, Nintendo etc., and I have never so much as had a sniff off the Final Fantasy games. I bought this DVD simply because I fancied watching the film. Before this, I was an FF virgin.
With that said, I can go on and say that this film blew my mind. On the first viewing it was the CGI that did it for me. I have some experience in this area, and was amazed at the realism acheived, particularly with Dr Sid, who at times, is so realistic it's almost creepy.
Since I was so distracted by the technical accomplishments of the film the first time, I was forced to watch it a second time, during which I was able to fully appreciate the story itself. It's got everything you could want; Action, mystery, romance, and a real sense of philosophy.
The film doesn't, like so many games conversions, insult the intelligence either. You are led through the story in a competent and compelling manner, and eventually, everything that seemed so confusing at the start is explained, and the plot slots neatly together in time for the final showdown.
This is certainly a film I'll come back to often.
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Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within  (Bilingual)
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (Bilingual) by Motonori Sakakibara (DVD - 2002)
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