ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Hironobu Sakaguchi

Starring:
Alec Baldwin/Grey
Steve Buscemi/Neil
Ming-Na/Aki
Ving Rhames/Ryan
5 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
Aki (Ming-Na) tries to save Earth from an invading alien force with the help of a down-and-gritty group of Marines. The Arrow feels nothing watching it happen.
THE LOWDOWN
I have never played the Final Fantasy game. I know nothing about the game. I am judging this movie as only that…a movie. So angry gamers, please stay out of my “inbox”.

The main thing that this film’s definitely got going for itself is it’s incredible visuals. Yes, computer animation has been taken to the next level here. Yes, it looks fucking great and yes, I was damn impressed. The textures, the colors, the movements…even Aki’s waving hair impressed the hell out of me. Great job!

Unfortunately, the story itself is fairly generic. You’ve got the Western influences with the "Aliens"-like Marines and the "Alien 3"-like state of our heroine. And you’ve got the Eastern influences with the spirit talk and the Gaya drivel. It’s kind of ironic that a fully synthetic movie tries to communicate human spiritual concepts, messages and emotions. Since the characters and their interactions didn’t connect with me at all, I didn’t really care about anybody either way. Therefore the spiritual vibe and the love story were totally lost on me. For anyone who ever feared that actors would one day be replaced by CGI characters, rest easy. No computer can ever reproduce the human spirit or the emotions that we convey.

The film’s action sequences were decent although I did want more of them and they did feel somewhat déjà vu. The dialogue was also corny at times and some of the more complicated situations seemed to get resolved a little too easily. Slap a token bad guy in there who will not reveal an ounce of humanity and an ending that goes on for way too long and all you're left with is a film that just left me cold. Once the awe over the visuals wore off, I became much like the characters in this film; I didn’t feel anything genuine. Will you find your Gaya?
GORE
People having their souls pulled out of their bodies. Gooey looking alien spirits or whatever the hell they were...
ACTING
Having the actors record their lines individually in a booth killed any chemistry these digital people could’ve had together. Alec Baldwin (Grey) just sounds like Alec Baldwin…that’s it. Steve Buscemi (Neil) has a few funny lines and it was weird to see his voice come out of a pretty boy body. Ming-Na (Aki) does great and since I don’t know her voice I easily blended it with her CGI character. Ving Rhames (Ryan) could be reading a Hustler magazine out loud and it would be interesting. What a voice! Donald Sutherland’s (Dr. Sid) voice works for his CGI character and isn’t as distracting as I thought it would be. What else can I say? James Woods (Hein) does evil good but why did his character always have a permanent frown on his face? Doesn’t this guy ever relax? Peri Gilbin (Jane) does fine and her character is all Vasquez from "Aliens".
T & A
Aki doesn’t drop her top. Digital tits would have been nice. She does have a fit derriere though…
DIRECTING
The film has a very slick look with great angles, beautiful image compositions, some slow motion and a decent pace. I loved the dream sequences.
SOUNDTRACK
A decent score by Elliott Goldenthal that knows when to go quiet and accentuate the mood of a scene.
BOTTOM LINE
Since I couldn’t get into the characters because of their synthetic nature, I just couldn’t get into the film on the level that I should have. Yes, it looks awesome but that was pretty much it for me. In my opinion, the human spirit can never be reproduced by technology, it’s just a whole different ball game. I didn’t find my Gaya here, that’s fer sure…
BULL'S EYE
Ming-Na (Aki) also did the voice for Disney’s Mulan and its sequel.
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