What did you think of Final Fantasy - The Spirits Within?

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#1 Posted by liquiddragon (3554 posts) -

I'm thinking about watching it again to form a fresh opinion. I only saw it when it first came out when I was in middle school and don't remember thinking it was bad but felt that it was something for ppl a bit older. I think I'll be able to handle the pacing a bit better and honestly, I don't think I knew English that well back then so I'll probably get a better grasp of the story as well. It'd be interesting to see how the CG has aged at least.

Also, did this movie really not get a Japanese audio version? I can't seem to find any info on it so Japanese ppl must've watched it with subtitles, weird.

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#2 Posted by Efesell (4635 posts) -

I suspect it is not something you just needed some years on you to appreciate, it's just a really boring movie. It was a very impressive looking boring movie but that doesn't help much.

I would be interested to see how it holds up technically but not enough to actually sit through it.

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#3 Posted by Onemanarmyy (4597 posts) -

I only saw it as a kid (8-10 yo i think) , but i was very dissapointed that the final fantasy name didn't produce a more interesting movie. Either i fell asleep on the sofa or i walked off halfway through.

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#4 Edited by Rahf (544 posts) -

Saw it as a teenager, soon after it came out. My impressions were deadly: bland and forgettable.

Some of the CG seems to kinda/sorta still hold up, but remember that some portions such as character emoting and voicework were poorly directed even back then.

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#5 Posted by Fezrock (732 posts) -

Joke answer: I want to see it on some tasty plasma.

Real answer: I only saw it once, when it was in theaters, and I super disappointed by it. At that point, I'd only played three FF games, the three PS1 ones, and I loved all three of them. I was really hoping for a two-hour cinematic experience that gave me the same feelings those games did. Instead I got an incredibly boring, trite story that I quickly forgot all about except for the lingering disappointment of what could've been. I strongly suspect that it is not some under-appreciated gem that will improve with a second viewing.

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#6 Posted by Nixamo (66 posts) -

Boring as all get out with the added bonus of poorly explaining the super-natural components leading to an ending that has no build-up.

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#7 Posted by Relkin (1222 posts) -

Saw it on a hotel TV some years after it came out; a few friends and I spent the whole movie clowning on it. Had a pretty good time. Not a good movie.

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#8 Posted by MonkeyKing1969 (7695 posts) -

I like the animation, characters, and the outline of the story. I think they executed the story very poorly; and very especially,I think the ending was a mess. With that said it is not the huge lemon most people say; it an interesting premise badly told. Moreover, 'an interesting story poorly told' something that can be said of 90% of video game narratives.

I think the mistake people make, is that they try to define the movie then watch it through 'preconceived' lens. The best thing to do is take the movie on it own, if you do that you see a very impressively animated movie with a main character she does go through a journey, and the whole more does have it own internal logic. Oh, it is still a weird story that is poorly told and it was a high profile flop. However, even as a flop, it was better than a lot of movies out that year - Heart In Atlantis, Black Knight, and Pearl 'fucking' Harbor. [I have a soft spot for David Spade, so I won't bring up Joe Dirt which while STUPID is at least 'Spade' funny.]

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#9 Posted by JasonR86 (10274 posts) -

I saw it once, maybe 7-8 years ago, and thought it was fine. I remember being surprised at how 'fine' I thought it was considering how bad I had heard it was supposed to be.

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#10 Posted by TheRealTurk (599 posts) -

I remember being impressed by the visuals and not much else. My distinct memory was walking out wondering where the "fantasy" in Final Fantasy was. I thought it was super lame that they set it on Earth and tried to make it all high-technology rather than focusing on more traditional Final Fantasy stuff like airships. I know they were trying to trade on the success of FFVII, but even that game managed to have magic and a distinct cyber-punk feel.

Spirits Within felt like they took a bad generic sci-fi script and decided to make the movie CG for some reason.

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#11 Posted by Gundato (369 posts) -

Saw it when it we had an HBO free weekend some time after release. So however long that was

I remember actively disliking it as a kid because "nothing happened". Thinking back through the years I am pretty sure I still dislike it.

But I think that it had interesting concepts and that it could be great as a book or a movie that actually went deep with it. The ghosts or whatever Alec Baldwin died to protect the proto-vocaloid from never really have a personality or purpose. Spending time investigating that and discussing it could have made for an interesting, if navel gazing, film/book.

So I suspect it was a case of "shit or get off the pot" in both directions. Either go full action spectacle or go full talking heads ruminating on pseudo-science.

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#12 Posted by someoneproud (669 posts) -

Pretty but dull.

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#13 Posted by not_a_bumblebee (153 posts) -

I remember some Comic Book Guy looking nerd walking out immediately after the trailer for the first Sam Raimi Spider-Man movie trailer.

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#14 Posted by Justin258 (15693 posts) -

I saw it at some point in middle school, I think. Might have been late elementary school.

I thought it was a pretty cool movie back then. I haven't seen it since and I bet it really doesn't hold up.

I do think it's a pretty good premise, though. Ghost aliens crash land on the planet and start killing everyone and people wind up stuck in Logan's Run-esque cities.

I don't think it's a long movie and I don't think it would be very expensive to get a hold of. I don't think that rewatching it is necessarily a total waste of time - but also, the vast majority of people think this movie has no redeeming qualities other than being pretty compared to other early 2000's CGI movies.

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#15 Posted by AdamStambaugh (42 posts) -

I watched it just a few years ago with friends for a laugh. The uncanny valley is strong in the movie and the writing is lacking. It kind of has an interesting setup, but, between baffling leaps in logic and relatively emotionless characters, it just ends up being a very boring watch outside of a couple of moments.

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#16 Posted by atomic_dumpling (2579 posts) -

An excellent sleeping aid, almost at the level of the first Star Trek movie. It has kind of a smothering quality to it, like a cuddly featureless blanket. I admittedly have a soft spot for it since it was one my first DVDs and kinda eye-popping back then, but its simply not a good movie. It was never much more than a CGI showcase, and as such it is just not relevant anymore.

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#17 Edited by ToxicAntidote (1158 posts) -

I remember liking it back then, and I did re-watch it a few years ago and still thought it was ok. And I'm a person who likes most Final Fantasy games. I can totally see why so many were disappointed in it, though. It doesn't have any connection to any of the games, and I guess that's what all the fans probably wanted.

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#18 Posted by electricbarrier (38 posts) -

It's not a terrible movie by any means. It's very much "middle of the road", straight up 5/10 material. It's not good, it's not bad, it's just kinda there. It's mostly boring but I actually did kinda enjoy some of the action scenes.

I can't really remember what I felt about it when I saw it first, other than "what the hell was that?". Later on I formed the opinion it must have been horrible and it was shit cuz it wasn't final fantasy. But now I just think it's an incredibly mediocre sci-fi action movie.

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#19 Edited by redking56 (225 posts) -

I remember seeing it as a 10 year old in the theatres. I'd been a big fan of the FF series, although being from the forsaken PAL territories I had only expeienced the PlayStation trilogy thus far.

I don't really remember my initial thoughts other than I probably was confused and thought it was a weird film but even then as a 10 year old I did recognise some of the themes that related to FF, in particular VII. There are some other "fan service" references but they're pretty deep and not very noticable like General "Hein".

I did recently rewatch the film on blu-ray just out of curiousity to how impressive the visual fidelity of an 18 year old CGI film would be. In that regard, it definitely has it's moments but usually only when there's a certain lighting where you can really see their hair strands, eye detail etc.

Sakaguchi & Co in Hawaii where their render farm for the film was located
Sakaguchi & Co in Hawaii where their render farm for the film was located

Watching it again now older and more familar with Final Fantasy and creator/director Sakaguchi I can appreciate the ideas the film had in relation to Sakaguchi's own personal feelings on life and death, the nature of the "soul" and how he relates it to shared memories/experiences. Looking back I can't help but feel pity for how things turned out and how disappointing the whole situation would have been for Sakaguchi.

For me the best part of the film is Aki's dreams and the intro, the empty city at night with all the partical lighting effects really draws you in. But after that it just gets bogged down in "being a Hollywood film".

Overall the film is just cliché with too many film tropes to count, anyone who's seen a few films in their lifetime can guess outcomes and punchlines way before they happen. The characters are alright if a little stock but are decently preformed by their all-star case, Donald Sutherland puts in a great preformance somehow despite the script. All that aside, on balance I think this is probably the best video game film adaption there is (aside from the ones that are popular for their camp/b-movie qualities, looking at you Mortal Kombat.)

I give it 5.8 out of 10 spirit signatures.

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#20 Posted by Shiftygism (1129 posts) -

I don't care what anybody says, that's one of the lousiest sci-fi films ever made.

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#21 Posted by WMoyer83 (1051 posts) -

After I saw the film I thought “why is this called Final Fantasy?”

Now I think “why does this need to exist?”

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#22 Posted by hermes (2638 posts) -

It was pretty awful. Looked impressive at the time, but they clearly spend pennies in writing and the script compared to what they spend in graphic fidelity. The world is bland, the characters are poorly written and the whole thing is boring.

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#23 Posted by OurSin_360 (6227 posts) -

I was probably the most hyped i'd ever been to see a movie when i went to go see that, i think i was 15 or 16 at the time. Which is why i still think it was alright lol, didn't love it but didn't really hate it either like a lot of people. Haven't watched it since though.

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#24 Posted by vikingdeath1 (1312 posts) -

I think I got a DVD of that movie for Christmas, and I remember enjoying it.... But it has been quite a long time since then!

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#25 Posted by not_a_bumblebee (153 posts) -

At the time I thought it looked visually amazing but the story was dull and there was no Final Fantasy elements in a movie with Final Fantasy in the title. Like give me a chocobo, something with magic crystals, maybe Behemoth pops up, or some kid is holding a plushie of a Tonberry. Give me something vaguely Final Fantasy related instead of some story about killer ancient space ghost or whatever the fuck it was about. Doesn't even need to be "fantasy" 7 and 8 were very much more Sci-Fi then fantasy but again use fucking elements from the Final Fantasy series in your movie called Final Fantasy.

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#26 Posted by dudeglove (13794 posts) -

i even bought the dvd

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#27 Posted by Humanity (19046 posts) -

Never fully understood the hate - I guess if you were a huge Final Fantasy fan it did seem to have little to do with the white mage/black mage stuff you grew up with. As a standalone movie I kinda thought it was cool. I really like that type of sci-fi, kinda smooth, elegant but still mechanical. This is why I can watch an appreciate a movie like Oblivion because everything aside I just like the look of it.

Certainly not a great movie but people that go out of their way to make it seem like it's the Bloodrayne of movies are kinda pushing a lame bandwagon along.