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Final Fantasy The Spirits Within

If you are a big fan of the Final Fantasy games you will probably like the Final Fantasy movie.  Not because it expands on the game itself, but because it is in the spirit of the game (pun not intended).

There are two remarkable aspects to this movie.  The first, I think is that it I about Ghosts in space.  Ghosts from space, I mean seriously, that’s about as good as peanut butter and jelly isn’t it.  Just two amazing things, that, when combined, become even more amazing.

Naturally, the idea itself kind of smacks of something that might have come out o the imagination of Ed Wood whose Plan 9 from Outer Space introduced us to Zombies from space.  But the creators manage to pull it off.

The plot of the movie is whatever.  It’s a lot like the 5th element in many ways, but again totally different.  Just go and see it, it’s like 3 dollars to rent and it’s not like you have anything better to do with your time.  And if you do, you shouldn’t be surfing the web wasting your time reading this stuff.

The second truly remarkable thing about the movie is its total use of CGI to create the characters and the setting.  As far as I know it is the first movie to try and do this and it should at least get credit for that.

It is extremely hard to make animated characters look real and in all truth, the characters in Final Fantasy don’t look real.  But, once in a while, when there are enough shadows and very little movement the characters do look real, and it looks great.

You kind of get the sense that it is only a matter of time before someone tries this again and they get it right. The kind of technology that went into Final Fantasy seems to build on itself and with each new program that gets developed the characters look more and more real.  Of course there are big challenges still to come. 

Hair is one of the biggest.  It is near impossible to simulate the movement of millions of strands of hair.  That’s why you’ll find a disproportional high amount of bald men and women with ponytails and super-gelled hairstyles in the movie.

With all of this said, Final Fantasy is not a great movie by any stretch, in fact by now it has probably already been forgotten by all but the most die hard of fans.  But when the next one of these things comes out, there is sure to be at least a footnote in media stories mentioning how Final Fantasy The Spirits Within was the first.