Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within

A Worthy Vanguard

Main Cast: Ming-Na, Alex Baldwin, Donald Sutherland, James Woods

Director: Hironobu Sakaguchi

Made entirely on computer, with lifelike human characters, this is a bold and mostly successful experiment to continue to fuse computing and storytelling together in a new medium.

The story is just deep enough for the subject: another Earth, slightly in the future, where citizens live in protective domes and aliens roam outside. We meet Doctor Aki Ross (Ming-Na), who believes the aliens can be defeated by channeling eight “spirits” into Earth, or Gaia- the living planet. Her mentor, Dr. Sid (Sutherland), set her on this path and hopes to see her through, although he is more wise to the machinations of politicians and warriors. We meet two of the latter: Gray Edwards (Baldwin), an old “friend” of Aki, and General Hein (Woods), who believes that the aliens can only be destroyed by a massive new weapon he has developed.

I won’t spoil anything else for you about the plot. The movie is a joy and wonder to behold. The developers (who spent over four years and $140 million) have created a marvel. The characters are incredibly life-like and unique, and the scenery is exotic and full of intricate details. The aliens are different in an exciting way, and Aki and Sid may be right about the living Gaia.

I hope that there are more movies like this one. As the first, it succeeds admirably. I recommend Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within one without reservations. You’ll be amazed and surprised at the technology at work.

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