FINAL FANTASY - The Spirits Within

With the voices of Alec Baldwin, Steve Buscemi, James Woods, Ving Rhames
Directed by Hironobu Sakaguchi

If you thought that the mind-blowing cinema version offered the speecheless audience was a phenomenal one, check out the double disc DVD.
The sheer brilliance of this feast for the eyes (& ears) flow both from its intensely wonderful narrative as well as the mind-blowing technical artistry. This digitally animated masterpiece gets so close to replicating reality, it almost surpasses it! You know the great pre-rendered animation you get in PlayStation or PC games that act as cinematic links? This has the same feel, but is just so damn slick, realistic, detail-ridden and dare I say it…perfect. With the original PlayStation series as its inspiration (currently at Part X on PS2!), one needn't have any knowledge of this engrossing gaming phenomenon to get completely caught up in this brilliant film. The creator of the game series decided to take it one step further and use the technology to its utmost degree, incorporating it into the world of film. It is the future and an army of threatening phantom-like alien life forms had infested earth when a meteorite struck the planet. While
Aki Ross, a lovely young scientist and her mentor Dr. Sid attempt to analyze and understand this phenomenon to try and destroy it without harming the planet itself, a warmongering militant bastard want total control from the senate to blow the meteorite to pieces with a newly developed weapon. The weapon can also destroy the earth's spirit, an (unproven) place called Gaia where all spiritual energy return once they pass on - from plants to human beings. Our scientists are in the process of collecting a range of spirits to fulfil their task. A quartet of special military personnel joins them in the exciting and dark quest to save humanity. Everything about
Final Fantasy is simply phenomenal. The music, the intensely serious and dramatically human & spiritual story, even the voice-overs are great…and then, the animation…Man, it's totally staggering. Skin texture, wrinkles, moles & blemishes, bone & veins under the skin, expressions, hair, movement and mannerisms, fabric, high tech machinery, lighting and the post apocalyptic, fantasy and futuristic surroundings - it has to be witnessed. It pisses me off when a masterpiece like this doesn't generate as much interest as it ought to when hitting the big screen - at least now with this pristine high definition DVD conversion it can be savoured and re-experienced. Final Fantasy is not just a work of art, but also a piece of history, even though it loses a bit of impact on the non-widescreen video rental, the DVD alternative offeres you the full widescreen spectrum, appreciating its full expanse.
The extras are stupendous on this double DVD set. Besides getting the
interesting and enlightening documentary including interviews with the experts, related sub-pods pop up during the revealing of the work that went into this masterpiece and you have a limited time to click these in order to garner additional info & clips, returning automatically to where you left off. The film has 3 commentary options from co-director & crew, animation director, editor & staging director plus an isolated musical score track with commentary by composer Elliot Goldenthal. Trailers, production notes, subtitled factoids, alternate scenes, character files, artwork, sets, props, vehicles, "outtakes" and a load of additional material makes this one worthwhile package with ages of mileage. There's even a clip where the characters do the
Michael Jackson Thriller dance routine! Incredible! Not to mention the multi angled scene you can edit yourself. A DVD-ROM extra also contains the complete screenplay, screensavers, weblinks and even a virtual tour of Square Pictures to be accessed via your PC.
With the wealth of enthralling audio-visual material in this DVD set, leave it up to a games developing company to revolutionize film-making and offer me with one of the most enriching DVD experiences to date, making full use of its capabilities whereas other releases merely offer a trailer or language option...
The future is here, lets hope more people will take advantage of it.

6 / A
- PB

1 2 3 4 5 6
A - B - C

never let a review decide for you, but for those who need a rating, see the Flamedrop scale below
6 - Volcanic
5 - Blistering
4 - Hot
3 - Smolder
2 - Room Temperature
1 - Fizzled
0 - Extinguished

A: Multi-Viewing Potential

B: Could Enjoy A 2nd Look

C: Once Should Suffice

© 2005 Flamedrop Productions