Running time: 106 minutes
Screenplay: Hironobu Sakaguchi, Al Reinert, Jeff Vintar, Jack Fletcher, Ramin Mebdy, B. L. Jurgens
Directors: Hironobu Sakaguchi, Motonori Sakakibara
Starring (voices): Ming-Na, Alec Baldwin, Donald Sutherland, James Woods, Ving Rhames, Steve Buscemi, Peri Gilpin
|Aki's dreaming again.|
The big thing about this movie was to show what could be done with computer technology, and the results were undeniably very impressive. Even now, they hold up reasonably well. It was a not-quite-but-almost successful attempt to render photo-real humans on screen. Before we get to the humans though, the gorgeous landscapes deserve special mention – particularly the final scene and the dream sequences, which look spectacularly, stupendously good.
On an Earth of the future, humankind is under threat from an invading force of alien phantoms. Much of the planet is uninhabitable, with survivors cowering behind cities encased in gigantic force-fields. Dr Aki Ross (Ming-Na) and her mentor Dr Sid (Donald Sutherland) are on a mission to find a peaceful solution before the sinister General Hein (James Woods) launches a massive attack on Earth to wipe the alien invaders from the face of the planet, likely along with the remnants of humanity as well. Helping Aki and Sid find the evidence they need in the dangerous wasteland outside of the protective walls is the Deep Eyes military squadron, led by an old friend of Aki's, Captain Grey Edwards (Alec Baldwin). Under the shell of flashy animation and action set-pieces lies a heart of spirituality. Peace is the key to saving all, and Aki and her team race to resolve the conflict before Hein destroys everything.
|Dr. Sid tries to press the case for peace.|
So the animation is impressive, including the landscapes, the action and the characters. The story, although not the top priority here, isn’t too bad either, if a little re-hashed, covering a number of emotional bases, including spirituality, unresolved love and sacrifice, with the obligatory ray of hope at the end.
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within doesn't seem to be quite as vilified as I had thought, if this review at Triple J and this one from Roger Ebert is anything to go by.