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It's not hard to see the connection to modern faith and spirituality. We are in a world where science and technology are more concrete and believable than a far off and seemingly distant God. People have always struggled with issues of spirituality.
-Review by Annette Wierstra

FINAL FANTASY
(2001)


This page was created on July 17, 2000
and was updated on May 23, 2005

Directed by Hironobu Sakaguchi
Story by Hironobu Sakaguchi
Writing credits: Jeff Vintar and Al Reinert

Alec Baldwin .... Grey (voice)
Steve Buscemi .... Neil (voice)
Peri Gilpin .... Jane Proudfoot (voice)
Ming-Na .... Aki (voice)
Ving Rhames .... Ryan (voice)
Donald Sutherland .... Dr. Sid (voice)
James Woods .... General Hein (voice)
Annie Wu (voice)

Produced by Jun Aida (producer), Chris Lee (producer), Hironobu Sakaguchi (executive producer), Akio Sakai (producer)
Original music by Elliot Goldenthal
Film Editing by Christopher S. Capp

MPAA: Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence.

TRAILERS AND CLIPS
Teaser
QuickTime 7.7 MB
Trailer
QuickTime 3 MB 8 MB 20 MB
RealVideo low high

Clip
QuickTime 6.1 MB

Trailer #2
QuickTime 37 MB 25 MB 11 MB 5 MB
RealVideo low high

Clip 2
RealVideo low high

Fantasy Becomes Reality

SYNOPSIS:
Set on Earth in the year 2065, destruction and confusion surround us. Cities are deserted, the population is decimated, and the precious few humans who remain must find a way to survive. In this world, we face death as we part with our loved ones. We begin to question what "life" and "love" are, and what is the philosophical definition of the "heart." After all in this world, science has analyzed life and death, expressing life as a form of energy. Beyond the riveting battle scenes, Final Fantasy will take you on a journey of personal discovery into both the real and fantasy worlds, drawing you deep into its characterizations and themes: love, friendship, dreams, adventure, life and death.

For Final Fantasy, the digital backlot is not where you would expect it to be, in Hollywood - but rather it is located in tropical Hawaii. Next to the beautiful Pacific Ocean, Square has selected Harbor Court in downtown Honolulu as the home to more than 150 computer graphic artists from all over the world, including Hollywood, Tokyo and Europe. There, surrounded by state-of-the-art computers and software programs, artists are able to transform their vision into reality set on a computer screen. It is in this environment where Square is producing Final Fantasy as a successful and entertaining film with the leading computer graphic technology.

This woman is created completely by computers. She is totally animated. Can you imagine?

First, Star Wars Episode One,
Click to go to THE PHANTOM MENACE
then Disney's Dinosaur,
Click to go to DINOSAUR
and now this!
Everything has changed.

The Final Fantasy:
The Spirits Within
Reviewed by Annette Wierstra

Click to enlargeIt's 2065, and earth is besieged by an alien race of phantoms that landed on the planet on a meteor. The humans that have survived the initial confrontation are living inside small barrier cities protected from the phantoms. Two factions of the ruling council are fighting over how to destroy the aliens. One wants to blow them to smithereens and the other, Dr. Aki Ross and her mentor Dr. Sid, want to free earth of the phantoms with eight spirits.

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within has grown out of the video game series Final Fantasy. The team that created the seven video games was given the task of creating a full length feature film. Their goal: to take computer generated images ? or CGI for the in crowd ? further than it's gone before. I think they've succeeded.

Click to enlargeIt's the first animated movie I've seen that successfully targets an adult audience. The animation is unlike any I've ever seen and I'm impressed. The backgrounds are good but it is the characters that really grab attention. From the hair, to the skin texture, to the movements, at first glance the characters are indistinguishable from a human actor.

Click to enlargeBut Final Fantasy works for more reasons that just it's excellent animation. The story is fast paced and keeps moving. While it's not complex, the plot is thought provoking and entertaining. The movie retains some of the feel of a video game.

The key to the plot is the struggle between science and technology and faith. On one side is the General Hein (James Wood) who wants to blast out the phantoms with the powerful Zeus Canon. On the other is Dr. Aki Ross (Ming Na) and Dr. Sid (Donald Sutherland) who are trying to prove that life has a spiritual element and are bringing eight spirits together to free earth from the phantoms without destroying the planet.

Click to enlargeMany people are not convinces the spiritual realm exists. It's easier to believe the phantoms can be blasted away with fire power. General Hein holds any spiritual discussion as nonsense. To him, waiting to use the Zeus Canon is wasting time. He believes mass annihilation is the key to destroying the phantoms.

Dr. Sid is persuading the ruling council to wait to fire the Zeus Canon. He believes that firing at the phantoms will not destroy them and only harm the earth.

Dr. Sid has come up with the Gaea Theory which believes that every living thing has a spirit. Together with his prot?? Aki, he is searching for the eight spirits that will combine and neutralize the phantoms without harming the earth.

They team up with a the military squadron Deep Eyes headed by Aki's old friend Grey Edwards (Alec Baldwin). Aki and Dr. Sid are in a race against time to find the final two spirits to complete the weapon. The objective is complicated by Aki's terminal infestation of a phantom. The six spirits already captured are the only thing keeping her alive.

It's not hard from there to see the connection to modern faith and spirituality. We are in a world where science and technology is more concrete and believable than a far off and seemingly distant God. People have always struggled with issues of spirituality.

What's interesting about Final Fantasy is that science and faith aren't completely at odds. Aki and Dr. Sid are using it to find and bring together the spirits and to keep Aki alive.

Aki is fighting the phantoms on two levels. She is fighting them in the external world but she also struggles with the inner phantom. It is an interesting way of looking at the our inner struggles with good and evil, obedience to God and sin. It's the basic struggle of Christians, do we follow God and strive for good or do we fall towards our human nature.

Another aspect I appreciated about the film was that General Hein was misguided rather than villainous. He came to conclusions about how to deal with the phantoms and he truly believed that what he was doing would be for the good of the human race. His weakness was that he wasn't open to the other possibilities. Final Fantasy doesn't paint the characters, not even the phantoms with a wide brush of black or white.

Final Fantasy will appeal to more than just video gamers. The plot and characters are better than many summer blockbusters making it a good evening out. Regardless of the story, the movie is worth checking out just for the CGI effects.

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Sites

For the history of the Final Fatantasy, go here:
http://www.videogames.com/features/universal/finalfantasy_hs/

For information on the CGI animation:
http://starbulletin.com/1999/01/15/features/story1x.html

For offical web site, go here:
http://www.finalfantasy.com/

AN HISTORIC MOMENT, A TELLING METAPHOR
Subject: Final_Fantasy
Date: Sat, 25 Aug 2001
From: Paul

I have just returned from seeing Final Fantasy for the first time, here in Barcelona (and in Catalan!). And I must admit that, as Jase wrote below, I, too, left the theatre with very strange, mixed emotions.

First off, I loved the movie for all the reasons already cited. But beyond that, I feel it safe to say that the movie should be, and will be, regarded as a defining moment in cinematic history. Perhaps as important as the moment sound entered Hollywood and the "talkies" displaced so many silent-film stars... If I were Tom Cruise, I'd be seriously worried: the digital actors have arrived, and boy are they GOOD!

The mixed emotions come from the awareness that the movie represents an historic moment, as well as from my own attempts to understand the ramifications of it all. As Jase so correctly says in his post, these characters were not "acting" - they WERE in their reality.

And in closing, this visually rich film also led me to think about the fact that the existence of SIN on Planet Earth could be readily likened to the "infestation" of the phantoms portrayed in the movie. As we later see in the film, the Earth is finally "cleansed" and renewed (I won't reveal too much, don't worry!). This led me, as a Christian, to remember the promise of God in Revelation where He says "Behold, I make all things new" as He creates a new Heaven and a new Earth.

This "final cleansing" of SIN from the Planet is also possible due to a miraculous "cure", as in the movie: the shed and holy blood of Jesus Christ on Calvary. We need it more that ever: to cleanse ourselves and to renew the Planet. I appreciate this site immensely, by the way. Thank you David for your vision, and for all the interesting people who contribute to the forums! I hope you'll have room to post this message.
Paul Fleming
Barcelona, Spain

THOUGHTS ON THE FILM
Subject: Final_Fantasy
Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2001
From: Jase

A very interesting Film indeed. At first I was stunned to see the level of detail in the imagery, to the degree of reality to the Human characters. Then, for a couple of Days after my experience (I call it an experience, not a viewing) I was haunted by a feeling of melancholy and a deep inner pain that I still find hard to explain, or understand.

The core of this result is the fact that these characters in this Film, as realistic as they are, are completely fictitious, they simply do not exist. I know that most people have felt that sense of feeling very close to a fictitious character, a cartoon or such as a child. In this film, the people are so real, you find it difficult to accept that they do not exist, and are left with a feeling of loss inside.

There are a lot of things involved here, one is that this is the closest thing we have had to simulated Humans on screen, and so we dont have the usual separation of the Actor and the Character. You feel for the character in the Film, but you have the knowledge afterwards that it was a film and not reality. With Final Fantasy, the characters are in their reality, they are not Actors, even though they do have Human Actors providing the voices, you still don't get that psychological separation. This is the core of my melancholy and I would love to know if others have had the same after effects.

There is more I would like to say on this matter, even as a form of self analysis and therapy of sorts, as I slowly work out exactly what it is that disturbed me so much about this Film.

I did love the Film and in twenty minutes from now, I will be seeing it for a second time, which is why I must stop my writing and submit this collection of thoughts right now. Thanks, hope to be back soon.
Jase

THE GAIA HYPOTHESIS
Subject: Final_Fantasy
Date: Tue, 17 Jul 2001
From: Alex

"Gaia" is the Greek goddess of the earth. Director Sakaguchi's Gaia is not original at all; rather, it is clearly based on the Gaia Hypothesis, made popular by James Lovelock in The Ages of Gaia (published 1989).

"What is the hypothesis of Gaia? Stated simply, the idea is that we may have discovered a living being bigger, more ancient, and more complex than anything from our wildest dreams. That being, called Gaia, is the Earth. More precisely: that about one billion years after it's formation, our planet was occupied by a meta-life form which began an ongoing process of transforming this planet into its own substance. All the life forms of the planet are part of Gaia. In a way analogous to the myriad different cell colonies which make up our organs and bodies, the life forms of earth in their diversity coevolve and contribute interactively to produce and sustain the optimal conditions for the growth and prosperity not of themselves, but of the larger whole, Gaia. That the very makeup of the atmosphere, seas, and terrestrial crust is the result of radical interventions carried out by Gaia through the evolving diversity of living creatures."
(Quoted from erg.ucd.ie/arupa/references/gaia.html)

This Gaia Hyposthesis is not Hollywood fiction; there are many people who actually believe that Gaia is the nature of reality on earth. Sakaguchi's account of Gaia is a clever (and entertaining) way of introducing the concept in a more palatable way to the general public.

Read more on the Gaia Hypothesis at: http://www.magna.com.au/~prfbrown/gaia.html or http://www.sprl.umich.edu/GCL/paper_to_html/gaia.html
or find a zillion different references by searching for "Gaia Hypothesis" under any search engine.

MY THOUGHTS
Subject: Final Fantasy
Date: Thu, 5 Jul 2001
From: Kevin Hooper

First things first, the movie carries a PG-13 rating, not PG as mentioned in the review under the cast listing. This is due to the violent nature of the film, as well as some profane phrases which were spackled into the script. Secondly, seeing as how none of the sequels of the game used any of their predecessors for back-story and were basically 9 (so far) mostly unrelated games, Brian's rant about the movie not being based on the games is rather a moot point. Thirdly, and possibly most important to the theme behind this site, is the fact that there is about a 99% chance that no pre-meditated Christian influence went into the screenplay for this movie. That does not say, however, that you cannot get something out of this movie that is relevant to our daily effort to walk with God. (This from a guy who once used Monty Python's "Dead parrot" skit for a group devotion). I am a huge fan of the games, and have noticed that, in all of the games, no matter how powerful the enemy, or how hopeless the situation, the Heroes always come out on top. Otherwise, how could you beat the game? Many times, the heroes cannot make it on their own, & have to put their faith in other things that were once strange to them, whether it is Espers, Gardian Forces, or whatever. Kind of familiar, don't you think? Many christians still cannot explain alot about their faith, & noone here on earth can ever know everything about God, yet we put our faith in Him, and through Him, we overcome obstacles that are much bigger than ourselves. Expect the same type of parrallel in the movie. Thank you for your time.
-Kevin Hooper

JUST THE BEGINNING
Subject: Final_Fantasy
Date: Tue, 03 Jul 2001
From: ictnet

Is not easy to speak about a film not yet aired. But my feelings are that this fila, as 7th art, will be among the good ones. Because the acting, the script, the story, the sound? and not because the actors are computer generated. This will be the success for this film.

I?m really waiting to see it. The trailer is exciting and full of promises. I hope those promises will become true too.

FANTASY BECOMES REALITY
Date: Mon, 5 Feb 2001
From: Vincent

I can't believe it; my dream since 1987 is finally coming true - they're making the popular Square video game series, Final Fantasy, into a cinemagraphic full-length feature movie! From Final Fantasy to Final Fantasy IX, each game was a masterpiece set in it's own world. The script I am already assured will flow like water, just as all their other great story lines have! If you have already experienced one of the video games in this series, you know that the writers at Square KNOW what they're doing! I hope that this movie will be easily categorised as a groundbreaking new angle, for not only the graphics, but also for a well-thought-out story line.

BASED ON OTHER GAMES
Subject: Will the Fantasy Continue?
Date: Sat, 2 Dec 2000
From: Brian

This film has boundless potential, and I am eagerly awaiting it. The one thing that bothers me is that this film is in no way based on any of the many games, but I suppose Square knows what they are doing... Thank you.

SWEET MOVIE
Date: Tue, 31 Oct 2000
From: PHAT

i think final fantasy is goning to be a sweet movie.i have the games and they r good too.i can;t wait for it. please post my comment please thank you


Final Fantasy © 2000 Columbia Pictures. All Rights Reserved.