Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within

FFSpiritsTitleMing Na-Wen as Dr. Aki Ross
Alec Baldwin as Capt. Gray Edwards
Ving Rhames as Ryan
Steve Buscemi as Neil
Peri Gilprin as Jane
Donald Sutherland as Dr. Cid
James Woods as General Hein

Let’s face it; if you recognize the video game series in the title, you have probably already guessed that this movie won’t be highly rated. It’s cool today to blame Uwe Boll, but they were bad before he ever took up filmmaking. Much as I believe that if Hollywood wouldn’t insist on half-assing these movies and crapping on the source material (is it really much less worthy than scientifically laughable superheroes), they’d be fine, the track record makes me surprised that they keep coming. The financial success rate isn’t good and the quality rate is about 1-for-20. That is not an exaggeration.

FFSpirits1

This rippling effect is kind of like the one that rare exception makes.

What’s unique about Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within is that the company that made the games that it’s “based” on is actually strongly involved in it. After Final Fantasy VII became one of the most beloved games of all time, Squaresoft decided it was time to expand into motion pictures. Perhaps inspired by Pixar, Square’s new movie studio, Square Pictures decided to make it CGI. The possibilities were endless, Square thought! Alas, the movie proved to be as inept as if a 100% Hollywood entity had made it.

First up, this movie does not bear even a vague resemblance to any Final Fantasy game, nor does it have any character from any game, unless you count the fact that like many of the games, there is a character named Cid. Admittedly, every FF is its own entity, and trying to link them together is an exercise in futility. But why not just pick one, stick with it, and make it clear in the trailer and TV spots which game the movie will be based on?

Stormtrooper wannabes are a calling card of bad sci-fi.

Stormtrooper wannabes are a calling card of bad sci-fi.

Instead, we have a generic sci-fi plot about some incorporeal beings trying to take over the world. There is also dabbling into the horror genre, but his movie particularly fails as a horror flick, as it’s not remotely scary.

Voice-overs aren’t horrible, but it’s too pedestrian and bland to be good, Despite Square having gotten a few names in the cast, it’s below average.

The story actually isn’t too bad. What ruins it are the lousy characters. Most are either lame or annoying. As far as the annoying characters go, think Jar Jar Binks or Cait Sith here. The first time I watched this, I actually cheered when a bunch of the main characters, in true horror fashion, died. Somehow, I doubt that was the reaction Square was looking for.

FFSpirits3

Why you shouldn’t let yourself be cut underwater.

I noted that many of these films bomb at the box office. Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within not only sucked, it bombed epically. It played a part in Square’s merger with rival Enix (henceforth called Square Enix) because Square was in such dire straits after it wasted so much money on this awful movie. So despite not being worth your time, Spirits Within did make quite an impact.

Overall: 3 out of 10

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