Final Fantasy: the Spirits Within

Image of DVD cover (74k gif)

Released by: Columbia Tristar.
Region: One. (released in region four though.)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 (anamorphic)
Disc 1:

Disc 2:

Phew! Just a few features on this disc set. As you can see the packaging, visual quality and sound work on this film are absolutely top notch. So they should be too with the amount of money spent on this film. Final Fantasy : The Spirits Within marks the first photo-realistic theatre film created entirely digitally. It is a groundbreaking piece of work too with fluid animation and an attention to detail that is amazing. Combine it with a very extensive set of extras on the DVD and you have a package any self-respecting anime fan should be chomping at the bit to get.

That said the film plot itself suffers perhaps from being a little too derivative of other works. You can see smatterings of Aliens, Starship Troopers (the movie), possibly some Terminator 2 and a few other classic staples of science fiction lurking in the background. To make it worse one character is overly hell bent on being stupid. After creating one major disaster is it too much to ask the character to be a little less sure of himself when he comes to the next pivotal decision he makes in the film?

Apart from these minor flaws you have a pretty capably told love story set against the background of an endangered Earth over-run with ghostly invaders that nobody is sure exactly what to do about. Distinctly Shinto resonances abound in the film and the story follows largely the course you expect it to.

Don't let that put you off. It may not be stunningly original but it is extremely well done with the voice actors putting in an excellent performance. Combined with a comprehensive extras package and you have a DVD that should be in most collections.

About the one technical grumble I have is that the scaling down of the image for DVD release has robbed some of the texture work of their power. Having seen the film in the theatre the clarity and detail used was stunning. An especially good place to show it up is in the closeups of Dr. Aki's eye during the dreamsequence. In the theatre you could see every fleck in the iris of her eye and a detailed skin. The DVD version of the scene isn't quite as finely rendered. This is purely a limitation of the DVD medium though so can't really be held against the disc.

Philip R. Banks
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