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Final Fantasy

 

 

Final Fantasy is considered the Final Frontier by fans of the animation genre. With its claim to be the apex of CGI technology, animation buffs have been frothing at the bit for its arrival. They wont be disappointed. Every detail around the "cast" faces, from the wrinkles, which looked natural, to the hair, which bounced believably about, was detailed perfection, and awe inspiring.

But, unlike many of the digitally ingenious "cartoons" we've seen in the past few years, Toy Story (1&2), Shrek etc, FF lacked a soul and had no character. For all it's brilliant animation tricks, ominous digitally breathtaking landscapes, liquid monsters and fancy space-age gizmos, the "people" were too mannequin-like to really feel like you were watching anything but an un-interactive video game you parlayed at Best Buy in the new arrivals bin.

The story takes place on a bleak dismal Earth, 2065. We've been invaded by phantom spirits from outer space that enjoy feasting on souls or nesting in our bodies, hoping to later, feast on our souls… creep-o-rama central! One brilliant scientist, Aki Ross, is working with her mentor on the key to the spirit sucking aliens' destruction- without having been familiar with the role-playing game the film's based on, I think I needed a degree in metaphysics to follow the theory the two are engineering.

Aki is searching for eight spirit specimens hidden around the world that will implement their "world saving" plan when she bumps into an old flame, Captain Gray Edwards (voiced by Alec Baldwin). Gray looks as if his animators "borrowed" quite a bit of pixel DNA from fleshy actor, (scrumptious) Ben Affleck. The handsomest cartoon I've ever seen. He's a Laura Croft for the gals, if you will.

So now while we are trying to decipher the where and whats of the spirit aliens and scientific jargon being spat at us faster than popcorn's being shoveled into our confused hungry faces, we have a silly love story between the two in blossom as Armageddon heads Earth's way.

Snore.

FF delivered what it had promised; luring crowds this weekend with it's state of the art super-rich animation. But, after the haze of "ohs" and "ahs" dissipated, the storyline thinly entertained leaving you feeling as if you didn't quite get your games worth. I can always stay home and pop in a CGI game for a visual treat, here I expected a little more depth in character and I'm not referencing the DPIs either. Think of FF as the Ying and Yang of movies; completely visually stunning, while utterly mentally mundane and you'll enjoy it.


I like Warner Bros. and The Pink panther so I'm no expert on animation. I prefer happy, slappy cartoons to dark end-of-the-world schtuff like this. Besides, the world they "painted" was so miserable and depressing who'd fight one second to stay alive. No malls, no cinemas, and no Wolfgang pucks!! What's the point then I ask you?

Snack Recommendation: Uber large popcorn and Junior mints.

Starring the voices of: Alec Baldwin, Steve Buscemi, Peri Gilpin, Matt McKenzie, Ming-Na, Ving Rhames and Donald Sutherland

Directed by: Hironobu Sakaguchi

 

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