Sam North and Carine Thomas
Cast: The voices of Ming-Na, Peri Gilpin, James Woods, Donald Sutherland,
Ving Rames, Steve Buscemi
- Earth 2065 -
a summer that has brought us a boys game playing fantasy girl
to life in the shape of Angela Jolie as Lara Croft, its one
of those curious things that in another game brought to the big
screen, Final Fantasy, the life in the girl is so much greater than
that exhibited by the leaden Lara Croft. Dr Aki Ross, the young
woman in question is the complete opposite of the TombRaider star.
She is intelligent, resourceful, calm, willful, a bio-scientist
who has absolutely no time for a shower. Despite the film magazines
showing her with her kit off, in this film the small boys are going
to be disappointed, Aki has to save the world and theres barely
time for a kiss.
The most remarkable thing about Aki is that she is an entirely CGI
creation. Final Fantasy is one of the first CGI films (the other
being Shrek which takes a cartoony direction) and it aims to recreate
as close as the current technology can a realistic humanoid experience.
The game Final Fantasy has been a consistent best seller for years
now and fans are obsessive, you only have to check the web to see
might quibble at the stock soldiers who form Aki companions. They are
still some way from being fluid humans and more attention could have
been paid to the dialogue. Its a typical sci-fi plot, Earth has
been invaded by ghostly aliens and all of humanity is doomed unless
Aki and her Dr Cid (played by Donald Sutherland), can find the eight
spirits that inhabit the planet which could possibly be used to defeat
the enemy. To raise the states a little, Aki herself has been infected
by the enemy and may die unless they can find these spirits.
The films creators and CGI artists have clearly demonstrated that they
have created a believable young woman with a soul. Someone we care about,
we feel for her and her face is so expressive, she out acts Angela Jolie
with ease. For this alone Final Fantasy is a water-shed movie. 20 years
from now when CGI characters are the only actors on Screen Aki will
be remembered as the first realistic step into films of the 21st Century.
This is not just a new art form, these are characters who can be anything,
anyone, will never ask for a bigger trailer, or money and can stay young
The plot of Final Fantasy may well be a rerun of The Day the
Earth stood still complete with mad Generals who just want
blast the aliens back into outer space. Indeed it is the same plot of
this years Evolution with the same mad Generals.
Final Fantasys mad General nearly succeeds in destroying all of
mankind, but Dr Cid, Aki and her would-be boyfriend Captain Gray (Alec
Baldwin) are going to save the day, even if they die in the attempt.
In a nice contrast to the crash bang wallop of TombRaider, Final Fantasy
is a sensitive film, going for a spiritual theme. Aki and Dr Cid use
logic and faith to firstly understand the enemy then defeat them. There
is little time as the aliens literally suck the very souls out of human
life (something borrowed from Philip Pullmans Northern Lights
trilogy where the Spectres terrorise the humans of a parallel world).
Breath taking, spectacular, the effects of the alien planet are particularly
beautiful, Final Fantasy is a remarkable film and a new standard to
follow. Perhaps not quite up to the imaginative level of Akira
or Ghost in the Shell, but compassionate and quirky. (Be good
to contrast this with Titan AE as well which was merely animation but
nevertheless an intelligent film)
Although not particularly promoted well in the UK and not as successful
as it should have been in the USA, this is an excellent film and one
of the few you can safely take the kids too and enjoy yourself.
Final Fantasy Details
HIRONOBU SAKAGUCHI (Director) has led the development division since
joining Square Co. Ltd. in l986. He has produced more than 40 million
units of computer game software worldwide, with his smash hit Final
Fantasy series selling more than 33 million units. At Square, Sakaguchi
was promoted to executive vice president in 1991. He recently entered
into an exclusive production arrangement with Square where he plans
to oversee the development of Square's future games as well as producing
other feature film projects.
MOTONORI SAKAKIBARA (Co-Director) was born in Tokyo and earned his BS
in Architecture from Musashino Art University in Japan. As an animator
and modeler, he has created various television programs and commercials
while working for Japan Computer Graphics Lab (J.C.G.L.), Namco Ltd.
and HD/CG New York, Kaufman Astoria Studios. He joined Square in 1995
to work on Final Fantasy VII, first as a chief 3D animator and modeler
and later as a director. Sakakibara is the winner of the ARTFOLIO International
Art Competition (1993) and the Japan Graphic Exhibition (1989), among
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