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Specials
 Written by Kevin Stapf  on July 11, 2001

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within: A feast for the eyes and an adventure for the mind


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Kevin Presents: Masterpiece Aspect
Evolving from the creative minds behind the people that brought us the tremendously popular video game series Final Fantasy, is a visual masterpiece of epic proportions that takes us on wild adventure of a girl that sets out to save the earth while redefining our concept on all living beings. While the movie has been inspired by the Final Fantasy universe, it is truly its own unique story that not only sets out to entertain but expand our mind in ways we never thought before. Can this film break out of the traditional mold of poor video game to movie adaptations as we have already had the unfortunate pleasure of witnessing this year (cough?Tomb Raider?cough) or will it once again prove that video games have no place in the movie industry?

From the opening scene of this movie, through the use of CGI animation, we witness what may be one of the single greatest accomplishments in film making in the last few years. The computer-generated environments displayed throughout this movie look even more realistic then many photos you may have seen displaying the beauty of nature. This ability to warp the mind and fool the senses into thinking that these environments are actually real has been carried throughout the movie and leaves you in a state of awe. While the detail shown through the characters has yet to reach the lifelike qualities of the environments, they are still quite astounding. The realistic way that the characters talk, move and interact will leave you breathless.

The first fifteen minutes of this movie is packed full of action and suspense, but many questions arise in your head as you soon become very confused, but as the story progresses these questions slowly become answered and the story begins to unfold. The story revolves around a dying girl, Aki, and her determination to save the world from what are seen as evil alien phantoms bent on destroying the world. She sets out on her quest to find a less violent method in eliminating the alien threat, as opposed to the destructive means proposed by General Hein. Throughout her quest Aki teams up with a band of fellow soldiers to achieve her goal of peacefully eliminating the aliens, as she also struggles to stay alive.?

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Throughout the main course of the plot the writers attempted to introduce some very profound questions about life, trust, and the soul in all of creation, but to catch and understand how these subtle ideas affect the plot you must pay careful attention. Although the basis of these questions are introduced they never are able to reach their full potential as a result of the stale dialogue at key points in the film. At times the characters are instilled with life and even humor, but much of the time they fail to convey the sort of personality needed to promote this movie to the masterpiece status that it so desperately attempts to capture.

Though the movie fails in some aspects, it never falls short of pleasing the audience, either through its artistic gracefulness or its strong and complex story. While it is rather complicated and hard to follow, it showcases a very solid story line that is sure to please any science fiction fan, as well as many people who are not. This is one movie that everyone should go and witness because of its visual splendor alone, but throw in a decent story as well as some very good action sequences and you have what may be one of the best movies of the year.


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Derek Presents: The Dark Side
You can pretty much tell what's going to happen from the genre. It's not too far from your typical a sci-fi action. Science fiction because this kind of stuff obviously doesn't happen in real life; Action because that's about all there is to it. Shooting, explosions, a little more shooting and may be some more explosions.

FF: TSW had a lot going for it. One of the most successful video series of all time in the title attracts millions of gamers. The stunning computer generated environments and life-like characters make one of the greatest visual experiences ever. Plus, the original script was written by none other than the man who started it all, Hironobu Sakaguchi. So it had to be good, right?

Wrong. If you are expecting a revolutionary epic then you will probably be disappointed. I had high hopes for this film. But it's not a Final Fantasy. It's an action with a deceivingly beautiful outer shell.
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The characters are very clich? (ruthless general, macho captain, tough black guy, and skinny jokester). They start one way and finish with the same personality (with may be one exception). The comic relief is kind of forced and the attempt to add drama is almost pathetic. One scene about a little girl dying is almost thrown in there to try to jerk a few tears. The ending was predictable from the get-go, you pretty much knew what was going to happen and what they were going to say.

One of the best visual experiences, some good music to back it and the voice talents were cast perfectly. Too bad the film turned out to be another corny action flick. I was really excited that this could be my favorite movie but you just can't put the experience of a 30-hour game into 2 hours and expect a marvel. Nevertheless the best video game inspired movie and a lot better 8 bucks spent than Cats & Dogs.



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