Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within

Starring: Ming-na Wen, James Woods, Ving Rhames, Steve Buscemi, Donald Sutherland, Peri Gilpin, Alec Baldwin

Four years in the making, untold millions of dollars in animation, and a script even Miramax wouldn't touch.

As Chris Rock would say, "This movie's all about ass. It kicks some ass, has some fine ass, and the script takes it up the ass!"

Critics and moviegoers both have their heads up their collective, you guessed it, over this one. They’are divided. Hell, I'm divided. If Steve Buscemi said one more cliché, I was going postal. Let's state the obvious: Forget good, its awesome CGI—in itself worth the price of admission. Just so we can all say, its cool. Spielberg and Lucas are right (CGI replacing actors [less media hype] isn't that far away), and the obvious, they spent four years with that script?

And screw the critics. That's right. Don't listen to them or me or anyone else—just go see it for yourself. There, I said it. I've seen it twice and it's still love/hate duplicity. The story is fun, the characters are shallow, the adventure: purely juvenile, the animation actually falls short in a couple places (watch their lips and you'll realize how far CGI still has to go), and Pantheism. WTF?

What saves it? Apart from the animation—Action Action Action. The action is great. Definitely a guy flick here. And having a sexy lead female doesn't hurt, either. Although, one minor shortcoming, she doesn't exist. (a collective curse from guys everywhere who’ve seen the Maxim poster). The journey the characters make is cool though hardly unique, and you begin to empathize with their futility against overwhelming odds. The voices of Ming Na-Wen, Donald Sutherland, and Alec Baldwin are above average. James Woods could have been testing for Ben Stein's role as the monotone teacher in Ferris Beuller's Day Off. And Buscemi does what he does best, the cheesy sidekick, with lines so cliché they should be bronzed and retired.

But I kept coming back to the animation, realizing it was infinitely better than any cartoon, yet still shy of a live, physical set. Not too shy, though. Ultimately, had the crew who slapped the trailers/teasers/previews together actually put the film together, it would be one of the big summer blockbusters. But that's frequently the case & why I love previews.

It's definitely not your average cookie-cutter Sci-Fi. Fans of the FF series/games will appreciate the similarities, but may be left with that awful "where's the beef?"” sensation. Sci-Fi Action fans (read: geek adrenaline junkies) will dig it. Gimme the DVD already.

Go see it.

Rating: 4/5: Definitely worth seeing in theaters

5/5: Drop everything and go see it today
4/5: Definitely worth seeing in theaters
3/5: Easily worth the price of the matinee
2/5: Last Choice at Blockbuster
1/5: Keep your money, stay home & channel surf


Order from Amazon
Internet Movie Database Listing

main page ATTRITION feedback