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Review: Final Fantasy

JonKatz posted more than 13 years ago | from the -making-movies-safe-for-humans- dept.

Movies 288

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within is really a technological fairy tale, the story of some software that wanted to be real actors in a real movie. Not so fast. It would take a platoon of Blue Fairies to take code this far. I've never played the game, but it has to be way more fun than this movie. How sad that the first studio film ever with human leads played by non-actors is so lifeless and plastic. The voices are out-of-sync like those Japanese sci-fi movies. At least the film could have had the decency -- give Tomb Raider some credit here -- to hire a real actor and have a little fun with itself. Dr. Lara Croft understood what she was created for -- to kick a lot of butt. Dr. Aki Ross, played here by some code with too much lip balm, is more like Enya, a new age scientist whose weapons are dreams and wiggly spirits rather than guns and bombs. Bring noseplugs to this stinker. And don't worry about the ending being given away here. I couldn't tell you what it was if I wanted to.

Yes, the animation is fine, occasionally terrific. There is no acting to speak of, and how could there be? There are only disembodied (like Godzilla) voices -- Ming-Na (Dr. Aki Ross), Alec Baldwin (Capt. Gray Edwards), Ving Rhames (Ryan), Steve Buscemi (Neil), Donald Sutherland (Doctor Sid) and James Woods (the evil General Hein).

The overall affect is cold and fake. Obviously, animation has warmed up the cartoon genre (Toy Story, Shrek) giving the characters color, depth, expression and dimension. But it has the reverse effect on traditional films, at least if Final Fantasy is any indication.

If software has given added depth to animated films, the characters in Final Fantasy don't quite make it to one-dimensional. They appear slow-moving, a click behind their own emotions, and utterly unbelievable and remote. The real actors doing the voice-overs are dramatic, almost desperate, to give the story some life. They can't. Beyond that, the plot is just stupid, a loopy, quasi-religious narrative that posits that aliens landed on the earth years earlier, and have since ferociously gobbled up most of its people and cities, for reasons that are never explained, and for that matter, are apparently inexplicable. Like seemingly every other sci-fi, game-based or techno-centered movie in the last decade, Final Fantasy takes place largely in a destroyed New York City. (Why is it always in a ruined Manhattan? The tall buildings?)

The ghostly aliens are squiggly, gummy, amoeba-like things (though some look like translucent dragons and serpents) that nobody on the Earth understands but Dr. Ross. They kill by contact rather than weaponry, swirling around their targets like mist. The nasty General Hein doesn't like science or scientists or people who are nice, and wants to blow the aliens all to Hell.

Dr. Ross's allies are her software-lover Capt. Gray Edwards, who makes Buzz Lightyear look like Robert DeNiro, and some heroic, cartoon cut-out soldiers. There's even a software kamikaze scene meant to be touching (nothing can make you care about these creatures.) Dr. Ross is attractive but never makes it to sexy. The coded characters all seem to have mastered the sad expression and the smile, but can't go any deeper. Dr. Ross and Dr. Sid exchange spirit mumbo-jumbo for nearly half of this movie's interminable 105 minutes. There isn't a single decent battle scene, for God's sake, blasphemy in a movie that purports to herald the ascent of the computer game over the traditional film.

Final Fantasy is bad news for moviegoers, but great news for human actors. It turns out there are still some things humans do a lot better than software.

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Re:Dear Katz... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#87299)

hey um... I've been playing FF games and stuff by Square in general since like 1990, but the "you havn't played the game so you can't understand the movie" excuse is the same lame one D&D fans used when that crap D&D movie came out(and yeah, I used to play D&D etc...). To tell you the truth, I wasn't impressed with the FF movie previews. On top of that, I think I'm outgrowing the typical Square storyline too. And I'm still nostalgic for those classic graphics from the first 6 FF's... Oh yeah, Chrono Cross came off as a bit of a dissapointment to me... oh well. I havn't seen the movie yet. Maybe I'll like it.

Re:Choosing sci-fi as the genre was a mistake (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#87300)

what do you expect. Americans created the human characters, of course they're gonna look like that. The creatures and backgrounds were created by japanese animators.

I'm going for the CG...period (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#87304)

Usually I want more meat with my movies, but being in the games biz I am treating this movie like a long Blizzard cut scene.

Did I see the same movie? (3)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#87305)

Because I was treated to something that was an awful lot like an anime. You know, sometimes it's not a bad thing that plot isn't fully discussed. You'll never see an anime where every character's relationship with the world and one another is fully explained.

On top of that, the CG was phenomenal, amazing, stunning and really freaking sweet.

Ben Affleck was more lifelike in this movie. (5)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#87306)

I thought Ben Affleck couldn't act after suffering through Pearl Harbor. I found his role in this movie much more lifelike. It's good to see actors taking on more challenging roles.

Re:I just realized.. (1)

Hitch (1361) | more than 13 years ago | (#87311)

actually, more to the point, the dissenters are those who speak out. if someone disliked the film, they'll probably refrain from posting unless they look at the posts of the people who are irritated and then decide to post a dissenting opinion. if someone liked the film, and liked it enough, they'll immediately post an angry reply.
----------------------------------------------
All that glitters has a high refractive index.

Re:Not seen the movie but ... (2)

Zachary Kessin (1372) | more than 13 years ago | (#87312)

Well part of the problem is that when you take a comic like X-men or a game like FF or D&D and make it into a movie, if you assume all of the viewers are familiar with your existing product you will fail badly. I liked Tomb Raider, despite having never played the game, I thought X-men was great, even though I never read the comic. On the other hand I get the distinct impression that I would not like this, since I have not played the game I would not get it.

So it is perfectly reasonable for a reviewer to say "Well I haven't played the game but the movie was lousy" as many of the people reading the review haven't played the game eather.

I don't play computer games at all due to a number of reasons.

Well, that does it... (2)

Millennium (2451) | more than 13 years ago | (#87316)

I'd been on the fence about this. But if someone who doesn't understand that amination is a medium and not a genre gives the movie such a negative review, I'm going to see it. I don't care how bad it is; I want this thing to succeed, and perhaps spread the word that animation isn't just kids' stuff.

And frankly, Katz, you disappoint me. It's obvious you don't get a lot of respect here; I was one of the relatively few who seem to be willing to give you a chance. But you lost it on this one. I expected so much better out of you; I actually liked many of your articles. No, I wasn't looking for a positive review. I was looking for a little respect of the technical achievements made in the film, though. And I was certainly expecting at least a little respect for animation, the opposite of which you exude in this article. For the author of the Hellmouth series to be this condescending and ignorant... well, perhaps it's just that I didn't see your true colors until now, or perhaps it's a recent development, but regardless, I very much dislike what I see.
----------

Re:It's Final Fantasy, not Final Fight (1)

Vermifax (3687) | more than 13 years ago | (#87319)

"he'd know that almost all of the Final Fantasy games (most of Square's RPGs in general) are a bunch of spirit mumbo-jumbo."

Hell he should have known that from the damn title.

The movie was awesome and it this review just made me turn on my no Katz articles setting.

Vermifax

Re:The games are better (4)

Genom (3868) | more than 13 years ago | (#87322)

They were both excellent games - but Sephiroth, IMHO, was much more of an *outstanding* villan than Kefka.

Kefka was indeed evil - but he was goofy-evil - the kind of evil where you're not afraid, or angry - you're annoyed. He made a great villan, but Sephiroth was...well...just so much more.

By the end of FF7, it was hard *not* to hate Sephiroth, be angry at him, and want to make him pay. He was always just that one step ahead of you - and he *knew* it. You came so *close* to fighting him throughout the entire game, but you were always denied - until the end. When the pseudo-dream sequence at the end happened, it was hard not to start cheering, yelling, and going nuts, because FINALLY you were giving him what he deserved. He was just an absolutely *perfect* character to have in a FF game - and Square hasn't developed a better villan yet, IMHO.

Wow...that was longer than I thought =)

Wow (5)

Genom (3868) | more than 13 years ago | (#87323)

I've seen Katz off-base before, but it's obvious he didn't understand a thing in the movie - nor, it seems, did he try to.

Perhaps the audio track was a bit off in the theatre he went to -- I don't know -- but in our theatre, the sound was synced pretty well -- there were a couple of spots where the sync was a *little* off - but not so much as to be the annoyance Katz makes it out to be. Buscemi's character seemed to get the worst of the desyncing, but again, it wasn't the bother Katz made it out to be.

The voice acting was pretty damned good, if you ask me - it may be that I'm an anime fan, and have suffered through hackdubs, and poorly acted voices more than most. I especially liked the fit of Donald Sutherland's voice to Cid - it matched VERY well (other than the "warm" line ;P )

Now - about the plot. Sure - it was a bit contrived. Some of the character development seemed a bit rushed - but overall, it wasn't bad. Katz missed the point of the plot - probably because he was so bothered by the sound - I don't know - but his analysis is pretty much totally off-base. I won't give it away - but if you've played FF7, you'll be wondering where Aerith is at the end ;P (I *think* the plot of the movie was conceived around the time FF7 was popular - and the influence shows)

The animation was phenomenal. It takes a *lot* to get *so* close to looking real. Some of the movement was a bit off (but very, *very* close - and some of the faces were a bit...strange (James Wood's character, the general, seemed to have been distorted into an evil mask - noone's that angry all the time ;P ) - but overall, they've pushed the envelope for realism in animation.

Especially the eyes. It's awesome to see animated characters whose eyes have real "depth" to them.

Now - all this being said, I think it didn't *quite* live up to the Final Fantasy name. DOn't get me wrong - it was a great movie - but there are a few Final Fantasy elements that were sorely missing.

First was the lack of medieval flair -- most (FF8 not included) Final Fantasy games all had a mixture of medieval swords & sorcery with high technology - that was part of what gave them their distinctive "flavor". This movie was ALL high-tech, and even a little bit on the military side -- kindof like a deeper Aliens movie.

A side note to this was the lack of Magic in general -- I was really looking forward to seeing Ultima being cast on the big screen - or even a couple Summons (Shiva? Ifrit? Bahamut?). Sadly, none made it into this movie, although one of the alien critters looked a bit like Leviathan...

The lack of Airships was bothersome - yes - they had the various spacecraft - and they were well-designed, but again, were lacking the flair of the grandiose FF airships.

The most glaring error, however, was the lack of a single, solitary Chocobo.

It's for these reasons that I think the movie, although very,. VERY good, didn't quite live up to the Final Fantasy name that was placed on it. Had it been simply called "The Spirits Within", I wouldn't have had a single problem with it.

Re:Dear Katz... (2)

Howie (4244) | more than 13 years ago | (#87324)

One of the first things you mention is that you haven't played the games.

You can't make a multi-million dollar movie aimed only at fans of a game. With the sort of costs this movie must have, you must appeal to people who haven't played the game. The movie industry is in it for the money, after all.
--
the telephone rings / problem between screen and chair / thoughts of homocide

Final Fantasy.. (3)

malkavian (9512) | more than 13 years ago | (#87333)

From the review, it seems that all Jon Katz things computer games should be is lots of shooting, explosions, and similar inane garbage.
Personally, I love the games that don't have lots of bangs and mindless stomping around.
Final Fantasy the games were all about looking deeper into things, and not fitting in with the norm.
I've not yet gone to see it, but I wasn't expecting to see a high adventure movie in the same vein as Tomb Raider et. al.
I was expecting something with a little thought, that I'd have to think quite deeply on, and look for the meaning behind.
I'll reserve judgement until I've seen the movie, but I think slating it, just because it's something different, not just the usual guns and regular modus operandi of killing things, is pretty lame.

so if the movie blows, (2)

woggo (11781) | more than 13 years ago | (#87335)

then how long before SGI retracts this masturbatory PR [sgi.com] ?

Seriously, SGI should have provided the plot line as well as the hardware: "See a successful UNIX hardware vendor, driven to irrelevance by demon possesion -- resulting in inexplicable plans to rely on M$! Watch in horror as it is destroyed from within by terrible university relations, the creeping spectre of mismanagement and a bizarre, not-quite-SVR3 operating environment. Will a hero come and save it? No."



~wog

Katz is right on (2)

Stiletto (12066) | more than 13 years ago | (#87336)


I was totally unimpressed [pompano.net] by FF. It felt like I was watching an hour-and-a-half long video game cutscene. Why is it that just because it's computer animated, we expect less from the story and characters? For once I totally agree with Katz.

Its kind of sad (1)

quantax (12175) | more than 13 years ago | (#87337)

Its pretty sad that they put 5 years of work into this, and and the best they could come up with story wise, was this. Right right, being in an art school for film, all we ever hear is about how story/plot comes first. Story is the foundation for the entire movies, without even the movie's best aspects start to dim and falter in light of the bleak and boring story. Great animation is good, but a great story is better. Even movies that story wise aren't that revolutionary (Star Wars, Shrek, etc) are good because they story (though they'be been done many a time before) was very well executed, and you don't feel like your watching the same old crap over again. Toy Story (1 & 2) was great, and not just because of the great animation, but because of the life those characters had and the story they all took part in. Most people claim FF3 to be the best FF overall, not FF7, 8, etc. And it wasnt because of the 'astounding' graphics (the original FF games were never that great graphic wise), it was because it had kick ass story line that kept you hooked and playing to the end. You cared bout those characters, and wanted them to live. Too bad, maybe next time they won't write the script as an after thought...

- quantax

Re:"I've never played the game"... (1)

ethereal (13958) | more than 13 years ago | (#87341)

Hmmm, perhaps it's time for a retread. Is this better?

Re:zerg (1)

ethereal (13958) | more than 13 years ago | (#87342)

Your post has given me a very scary though: a movie of Stranger in a Strange Land. I don't know whether to embrace the idea of such a mind-bending book becoming a movie, or cringe in fear at the travesty that would likely ensue. If Final Fantasy was too mind-bending for most people, Michael Valentine Smith is going to be way over the top :)

"I've never played the game"... (5)

ethereal (13958) | more than 13 years ago | (#87347)

...and it shows when you say things like:

Dr. Aki Ross, played here by some code with too much lip balm, is more like Enya, a new age scientist whose weapons are dreams and wiggly spirits rather than guns and bombs.

There isn't a single decent battle scene, for God's sake, blasphemy in a movie that purports to herald the ascent of the computer game over the traditional film.

I have played the game(s), and a lot of the point was deciphering what the "real" plot was. In the beginning it often did seem to be a simple "the mad Queen must be stopped", but always there were multiple layers of truth and reality that had to be peeled away to reveal the true motivation of the game. And there was lots of questing for things along the way too. I think you're reviewing the wrong movie if you didn't expect it to be somewhat confusing to the newbie viewer, full of seemingly contradictory versions of reality, and ultimately solved by heroes that rely more on their innate abilities and their relationships to each other than on any amount of military hardware. Winning a war through pure shoot-em-up style mayhem has never been the plot of a FF game - it's like the difference between a "foreign" (non-US) movie with actual plot, characterization, and open endings, and the usual U.S. fare of "Legally Blonde", "Tomb Raider", and "Pearl Harbor". Maybe you should have just reviewed The Matrix or Tomb Raider again, Jon, and given this one a miss.

I can't comment on your other points, since I haven't seen the movie yet (maybe this weekend?), but it wouldn't surprise me that the voicing and the expressions aren't perfect. After all, this is the first time something like this has been tried. It's still a huge advance over the animation of the humans in Toy Story or even Shrek, though - maybe your negative comments are because the animation was close enough to looking real that the remaining slight failings were especially jarring?

Oh yeah and one more thing:

(Why is it always in a ruined Manhattan? The tall buildings?)

I can answer that - I'd destroy New York City in a heartbeat, and I'm not even a malevolent alien race :)

Re:Katz hates it? (3)

wirefarm (18470) | more than 13 years ago | (#87353)

Anyone else notice that Jon Katz is sounding more and more like that entertainment critic from The Onion - Jackie Harvey?



MMDC Mobile Media [mmdc.net]

Katz hates it? (4)

Overt Coward (19347) | more than 13 years ago | (#87355)

Then I gotta go see it... it should be great.

--

It was amazing (5)

irix (22687) | more than 13 years ago | (#87358)

Why did I expect Katz would toe the line with this review?

I thought the CG was simply awe-inspiring. Sure, it isn't perfect, but this was simply the most beautiful piece of work ever shown on the big screen.

The story was not amazing, but it isn't as bad as some people (read: Katz) make it out to be.

I hope we get to see more of this genre. Do yourself a favor, go see the movie and then form your own opinion.

huh? non-actors? (4)

novarese (24280) | more than 13 years ago | (#87359)

the first studio film ever with human leads played by non-actors

What does this mean? Does he mean this is the first movie with animation instead of "real" photographs of "real" people? Um, that's pretty obviously false, so he must mean that the people who did the voices (Baldwin, Southerland, Woods, etc) are "non-actors" - either way, it's beyond moronic.

Thought it was very good movie but expected more. (2)

DevNova (24921) | more than 13 years ago | (#87362)

Somehow, after the trailers, I expected the CG to be a bit more advanced/better. Some bits were incredible, but overall, I thought it would be more impressive.

Where it really lacked was in the lip movement. Everyone seemed stiff. I guess it was too hard to CG pursed lips 'cause they don't exist in this movie. I think that's what made everyone's speaking seem unnatural. Probably too much deformation to still look real or something.

Re:"I've never played the game"... (1)

rossarian (31967) | more than 13 years ago | (#87366)

in the beginning it often did seem to be a simple "the mad Queen must be stopped", but always there were multiple layers of truth and reality that had to be peeled away to reveal the true motivation of the game.

In the case of Final Fantasy games however, those layers of, ah, truth tend to work like this:
1) The mad queen must be stopped!
2) No wait, the mad queen is just a pawn of her advisor, the creepy one in black!
3) Oh no! The advisor is actually your brother! *gasp*
4) Oh no! Your brother is being controlled by an ancient alien evil from the moon!

Having multiple layers can be great - when the layers are good. In FF's case though, it's more like unlocking a box and finding a ball of mud.

katz doesn't know what he's talking about (1)

grub- (37837) | more than 13 years ago | (#87368)

wow, i have to say that katz is way off the mark on this one. the cg was simply amazing. i cant see how things like hair could possibly done better as it just seemed perfect. my one and only complaint was with the animation of the characters talking. their faces are expressionless and their jaws just move up and down with no expression or other facial movement. seemed silly that so much else in the movie would have been done so well and then this would have been so half-assed looking. sure the story wasnt perfect, but i'd go see it again just for the visuals.

grub

Re:Ben Affleck was more lifelike in this movie. (1)

boarder (41071) | more than 13 years ago | (#87369)

Ben Affleck isn't in the movie. Check IMDB [imdb.com] . Maybe you mean Alec Baldwin's voice, even though the character looks a lot like Ben Affleck.

Re:Ben Affleck was more lifelike in this movie. (2)

boarder (41071) | more than 13 years ago | (#87370)

Alec Baldwin's character looked like Ben Affleck and Donald Sutherland's looked like Ben Kingsley, but they aren't the Ben's. Check IMDB [imdb.com] .

Choosing sci-fi as the genre was a mistake (2)

caffeineboy (44704) | more than 13 years ago | (#87371)

The impression that I got from the film was that a different genre ought have been chosen. If you are going to do Sci-Fi, you've got to at least have a decent plot... If you are going to be light on plot and acting talent, then you had better choose horror...

The characters were the most grotesque anime stereotypes that they could have been... The fragile, empath female, the square-jawed bullshit white male hero, a big, strong, black male expendable character of few words, and a skinny italian to boot... I guess that there are not a lot of hollywood movies that are more challenging than this but the damn hamfistedness of this was really noticeable... Also, they made the bad guy a little too evil...

So overall, expect this movie to tank after the first week. The CGI is pretty amazing, but you'd better have at least an interesting plot if you're going to try scifi.

Gee, I liked the movie. (1)

CokeJunky (51666) | more than 13 years ago | (#87372)

Compared to tomb raider, it had a story (which imho wasn't too bad), it managed to be orriginal as opposed to cliche, and the animation was best in class.

I am sorry that you want to tear it appart on technicallitys because I think it does what a movie should do: It told a story.

Sometimes, a movie is just a movie. Enjoy it for what it is, not what you thought it should be.

7 and misc (1)

EricFenderson (64220) | more than 13 years ago | (#87377)

Katz's review obviously comes from someone who has never played and does not understand Final Fantasy. It's not about big-boobed-Lara-Croft kicking butt. It's about Enya-like new age characters trying to decipher a confusing world. And maybe stop a crazy tyrant while they're at it.

The focus isn't the battle - In the games, battle is important because *you* are controlling it. That makes a big difference - you can't do that in a film. I think it was a good decision to cut battle from a series that makes battle interesting through control. Film is a passive media Katz.

On thing a friend of mine noticed, that I initiallity objected to, was the similarity to FF7. The more I think about it the more he's right - it's bizarre how many key moments in the movie matched key moments in 7. If you've played 7, definately go see the film.

My only regret about the film was that I didn't bring a notepad. There were so many interesting things that occured to me during the film, most of which I forgot.

Re:Dear Katz... (1)

Tsujigiri (77400) | more than 13 years ago | (#87385)

You can't make a multi-million dollar movie aimed only at fans of a game.

You can when the game is Final Fantasy. This game has a MASSIVE following in asia, they go nuts over it. I imagine this film could have only been screened in asia and easily turned a profit.

"I'll take the red pill, no, blue. AAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH........"

Re:It was amazing (1)

ovapositor (79434) | more than 13 years ago | (#87387)

I agree. It simply went in and took it for what it was, a marvelous technical achievement! As far as the plot goes.... big deal. I have not seen a new movie in recent memory that had a decent one. Therefore, I refuse to deduct points from this film.
I guess Katz doesn't let his kids hear fairy tales either. They don't have enough guns in them.

Hmmmmm (1)

morgewan (84946) | more than 13 years ago | (#87390)

Tell us how you really feel Jon...

Re:Katz hates it? (2)

Mononoke (88668) | more than 13 years ago | (#87394)

Looks to me like you agree with Katz where he says the animation is fine and occasionally terrific.

Katz's point was that the rest of the movie's elements (plot, acting, script) sucked.
--

Re:Wow (4)

SDuane (90331) | more than 13 years ago | (#87397)

Near the beginning of the movie I noticed something was wrong with the mouth movement and sound. I thought it might be unsynced but if you really pay attention you'll notice it is lined up just fine. It took me an hour to put my finger on what was wrong. The mouths move perfectly to form the words but the lips never really meet to create the percussive articulation associated with "p", "b", "m", etc. sounds. After a while though, you get used to it and I didn't even notice once I was engrossed in the film.

Steve

Re:Did I see the same movie? (1)

lunatik17 (91135) | more than 13 years ago | (#87398)

You'll never see an anime where every character's relationship with the world and one another is fully explained.

How about Kare Kano? It's completely character-driven, and focuses on nothing but their relationships with each other. Sorry, but anime is too broad a medium to make such sweeping statements.

Aki Nude (1)

w00d (91529) | more than 13 years ago | (#87399)

There's a pic floating around of the Aki character, butt-nekkid. Anyone know if it's legit? Looks like a real render from Square, but it could just be a Poser/Maya body with her head on it.

Re:Ben Affleck was more lifelike in this movie. (1)

w00d (91529) | more than 13 years ago | (#87400)

Ben Affleck isn't in FF, dude.

Re:It was amazing (2)

Tiroth (95112) | more than 13 years ago | (#87403)

I'll second that. The story was just good, but combined with the amazing CG it really turns into a great movie.

Seriously people, this movie is worth the price of admission solely on the basis of the visuals. What's great is that it actually turns out to be a good movie as well.

Re:Just Like Dune, eh? (1)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 13 years ago | (#87404)

What the fuck?

I saw the original Dune movie before I ever read the books. I could follow the movie, I even thought it was good. I still think it is... as far as movies go. However, as far as being an adaptation of the Dune story, it sucked ass.

After reading the book, I was quite unhappy with the major changes made to the story in the movie. The whole throwing away of the kris knives and giving the frememn "voice weapons" wtf was that?

As for FF... ive played the games. I like the games. However, I know the games, so I expect the plot to be thin and corney as all hell. (though I have to hand i tto square, in FF7, the plot wasn't too corney until around the point where you actually meet laguna)

-Steve

Not seen the movie but ... (2)

Christianfreak (100697) | more than 13 years ago | (#87407)

"I've never played the game, but it has to be way more fun than this movie."

Which is probably exactly why you hated it. Why do we have a person reviewing a movie based on a game when that person hasn't ever played the game. Wouldn't it follow that the person would not be able to understand the plot. And rather just say that make generalizations in order to try to make people believe they know what they are talking about?

Then of course 90% of Jon's articles are that way :)


"One World, one Web, one Program" - Microsoft promotional ad

Thought it was a good movie but expected less. (1)

jonnyq (103252) | more than 13 years ago | (#87410)

Perhaps that is why I liked it. I went into the film with expectations properly primed on the wealth of other high quality movies-from-video-games as a base to judge from. After such gems as Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, and Tombraider, I suppose it might be impossible for the movie to suck so bad that it lived down to my expectations.

As for Katz, I don't hold much stock in using the same judgements for every genre. It's the first of its kind. The acting in the first traditional films sucked too.

Re:Did I see the same movie? (2)

dead sun (104217) | more than 13 years ago | (#87411)

Well you see, Katz has that attention deficit thing he was ranting about a while ago, and can't fucking sit still for 5 minutes to try to figure out the plot. There was one there, and it was fairly strong if you could follow it.

That said it was quite anime like, and things were a little warped around. Somebody with an IQ of 60-70 like Katz probably couldn't follow it. Sorry Katz, not a movie for kids. Grow up and you might enjoy it.

Damn, I wonder if Katz is really trying to be flamebait. Stupid shit.

FMV Sequence (1)

JojoLinkyBob (110971) | more than 13 years ago | (#87415)

Maybe seeing this movie is too close to what it feels like to watch the FMV scenes while playing the actual game. Often, we want to skip it and start playing again. Only watching it in the theater there's no joystick and it's one long-ass FMV scene.

Re:Final Fantasy.. (1)

Satai (111172) | more than 13 years ago | (#87416)

From the review, it seems that all Jon Katz things computer games should be is lots of shooting, explosions, and similar inane garbage.

Oh, but if there weren't games that encouraged kids to kill, we never would have had "Voices from the Hellmouth." The way I see it, JonKatz is just lookin' out for job security.

Re:Dear Katz... (1)

Woko (112284) | more than 13 years ago | (#87418)

I don't see the advertisments and previews with a disclaimer saying "For FF Fans Only"

---

Graphics great, humaness lacking (1)

Ghoser777 (113623) | more than 13 years ago | (#87420)

I was completely amazed by the first few minutes of FF; the graphics were absolutely stunning - you could barely tell it was fake. The only problem was that the chracters didn't always seem to express the appropriate emotions. There are hundreds of muscles that have to be contorted to capture the essence of a human smile, grin, smirk, snort, etc. They just didn't model enough of them. I didn't personally see the problem between voice and mouth movements; I thought they did that fine. It just didn't look human. But this was SquareSoft's first real big CG movie - I expect they'll get better.

The other thing I didn't like was some parts of the plot. Forgetting the fact that it can be considered sacreligious (although it's a story, so it can get away with it - it's a Fantasy afterall), it didn't always make sense. These big phantom things can go through poisonous pipes that no living thing could survive through, and yet bullets hurt them. And why the heck are the phantoms eating souls? Is there a reason? Finally.... what happened to nuclear technology? Why didn't the try that? It is 2056, so I'd assume they've got some pretty sweet fission bombs.

Oh, and why did most of the characters die? That's so unlike the FF series. Usually the core group of 9-12 characters have a final show down with some big monster and they all live. Sure a couple may die along the way, but most characters live.

Oh well, I thought it was an overall good step in the right direction, and will defintely see the nex Square Picturers movie when it comes out.

F-bacher

IIt's all about Anime (3)

Kagato (116051) | more than 13 years ago | (#87421)

If you like Anime, chances are you'll give FF a passing grade. If you're not a big Anime, I'd expect a so-so reaction. I say screw Katz, I want to know what Taco thinks of it.

Re:zerg (4)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 13 years ago | (#87424)

Square has promised the shareholders that they will never FINANCE a movie again. They'll gladly make them if somebody else is signing the cheques. :-)

zerg (4)

Lord Omlette (124579) | more than 13 years ago | (#87426)

They call me "Master Cat Herder" cause I managed to get myself and 15 friends to see the movie opening night. Suffice to say that almost everyone hated it. I don't know why, but I was completely floored.

The movie reminded me alot of Heinlein novels... You either love them or hate them, but either way they're an incredible read. And I've yet to find anyone with a middle view... People either said, "AWESOME!" or "WTF is this crap?". No one said, "eh".

People are getting mixed signals though: the GIA is reporting that Square has more films in the works, while at Square's shareholder meeting, the brass apologized profusely by the losses incurred primarily as a result of making the film. IF this was indeed only a test run THEN holy shit we ain't seen nothing yet.

Bottom line: just go see the movie.

Peace,
Amit
ICQ 77863057

I'm now a believer... (1)

whizzird (129373) | more than 13 years ago | (#87429)

For years I've read comments to Jon Katz stories pointing out what a moron he is...now I understand why.
Just because one person doesn't 'get' the most original storyline I've ever seen, doesn't mean it's not good. It simply means the movie wasn't intended for simple minds that think Tomb Raider was a good movie.

Re:Dear Katz... (1)

CptnHarlock (136449) | more than 13 years ago | (#87433)

How many final fantasy players do you think exist in the world?

If you consider how many copies of FF games have been sold (6+ million just FF7 [www.sol.no] ) and that each copy is played by more than just the buyer then: many millions have played the FF games.

Only a complete moron makes a blockbuster movie for .0001% of the population

That's about 600000 people worldwide. Id guess like .01% and that's ok. Considering a large part of the people in the world don't have the money to go to movies... And I still think it is largely aimed at the FF players who hopefully will drag their friends to the thetre too. That should make a lot of viewers.

What I do find interesting is that you imply that Jon (or anyone else) has no right to review the movie because they didn't play the game? That's crazy.

Well, I was a bit pissed.. :) .. He has the right to review but he should try to view it from several angles but his own. He is reviewing for the community of which I think many have played FF7 or are interesten in CG. What I'm trying to say is he should be a bit more openminded.

If any slasdot readers can be passionate about something and unbiased at the same time

*lol* .. :) .. I don't think it's a /. thing. How many passionate/unbiased people do you know.. ;)
--
$HOME is where the .*shrc is

Dear Katz... (3)

CptnHarlock (136449) | more than 13 years ago | (#87434)


Katz, Im not usualy a JonKatz basher but at times like this I really understand them.

One of the first things you mention is that you haven't played the games. If you had you'd have had something to relate to. In the last games (since Vii) they have had lots of _nice_ pre-rendered CG wich has gotten better for each game. Every FF player has probably played with the thought of how this could be made into a movie. And now it is. Most of us compare to the game and the games pre-rendered sequences. And most of us love it. At least what we've seen on the www and on trailers. Many of us will go just for the eye candy. If I wanted real actors, I'd demand real actors. I want to see how much we can do without real actors... And I can't help you with the lipsync. I betcha there will be better syncs on other languages. Or just wait and buy the DVD with english subtitles. Let the fans deside if it's bad - the film is made for them.

You are behaving like a /. reader who hasn't read the article but still has a lot to say about it. Those dudes are irritating...

Cheers...

--
$HOME is where the .*shrc is

I just realized.. (2)

big.ears (136789) | more than 13 years ago | (#87435)

...that the only way for the upcoming LOTR movie to get a good response from ./ posters is if Katz doesn't like it. Seriously, I have never before seen a scifi/fantasy movie reviewed here that people claimed to like, but as soon as Katz says its crap, everyone and his brother is singing the praises of the movie in a unified voice.

Re:"I've never played the game"... (1)

kableh (155146) | more than 13 years ago | (#87443)

I went on Wednesday with some friends from work, mostly geek types (engineers, programmers). We all enjoyed it for the most part. Based on the comments I saw the other day on the other FF thread, I went into it not expecting much except eye candy. Some people had described it as having an anime kind of feel, and I would have to agree. It had that anime attention to detail while not fleshing out a lot of parts. The plot is secondary to the visuals, but it was still entertaining. If you dig anime and can deal with the plot not being spoonfed to you, you probably will dig this movie. I just let myself sink into it, and after a few minutes, forgot I was watching CG =).

Re:It was amazing (1)

Warloch (156203) | more than 13 years ago | (#87444)

Katz must have better eyesight than I do b/c I had to remind myself in several scenes that it was CG. I was a little hard on it at first, but the CG got a lot better from there. The lips were pretty scynched, I thought. The story is decent.

At least they tried... (3)

HiQ (159108) | more than 13 years ago | (#87445)

but great news for human actors

Well, at least they tried. What should they do according to you? Keep trying until it's really perfect? In that case you would have to wait quite a few years. But I really think that in a few years time actors *will* have a difficult time, because animation will be a lot better then. Maybe the lead roles will not be played by animated actors, but smaller roles will (especially roles that are too dangerous to play, I think an animated actor/stuntman is a lot cheaper than a real actor).

Star Trek (1)

trip11 (160832) | more than 13 years ago | (#87446)

Watching this movie kept reminding me of the origonal season of Star Trek. The cheesy lines, slightly 'off' reality in filming. Esp when they were standing on the hill in the desert looking down. Though the fact that an animated movie can come close to what we were filming in the seventies is amazing in my book.

Re:It's like porn (1)

joshsisk (161347) | more than 13 years ago | (#87447)

The movie had a GREAT plot and astonishing animation.

The animation was pretty good (except the facial expressions)... But, sorry. The plot was terrible. It was boring. There was very little action. There were very few cool scenes and the characters weren't especially cool or interesting. The single best part of the movie was at the beginning, before we even know the story (when the Deepeyes come to take Dr. Aki out of the wastes).

They spent too much of the movie trying to show off the acting chops of their digital people... The problem was, their acting sucked. They should have gone for more action, more eye candy because everytime they went for a close up of Aki being "sad", they really lost it for me.

Josh Sisk

Final Fantasy not at all like Tomb Raider (1)

Hugh Kir (162782) | more than 13 years ago | (#87454)

Much in the way the various Final Fantasy games all take place in different worlds with completely different characters, the movie in fact is not in any way based off of any of the games. The only thing they have in common is the name Final Fantasy, and the fact that the movie looks a lot like one of the FMVs for the more recent games. So it's nothing at all like Tomb Raider, which is actually based on the plot of a video game. It can't really have "fun with itself", because it's not just some cheesy video game plot brought to life. It's an original, standalone feature film. If you don't like it, that's fine, but don't try to compare it with a movie like Tomb Raider, Mortal Kombat, or Street Fighter, all of which actually are based off of video game, because this one is not.

Re:Katz hates it? (2)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 13 years ago | (#87460)

It was fantastic. Katz is trying really hard to get "in" with the geek crowd. He expects the geeks to really hate anything made by computers cause it isn't "perfect." Well, I'll be damned cause I thought the movie was perfect.

From the beginning of the movie, where you can see a closeup of the lead actresses... her hair movies perfectly (I believe they traced each hair folicle differently), you can see the pores on her skin, you can see -blemishes- on her skin. Its not like a perfect human, but a -real- human. Even the subtle expressions on the faces showed the perfect amount of emotion. Another impressive part was after a butch marine chick was fighting a battle with the "phantoms", she had hard nipples. Talk about attention to details! ;-)
I was in awe from the beginning to the end. Nothing said "fake" or "plastic" to me, I, actually, had to keep telling myself that this was made by computers, because it was so unbelivably good. Watch for physics mistakes, or fluid dynamic mistakes. Everything worked like it should of. I felt the lip sincing was on, animation was spectacular, and everything fell into place. Katz was just trying to predict everyone's feelings (and failed like normal).

--

Re:Aki Nude (4)

DrunkenSmurf (175891) | more than 13 years ago | (#87466)

and it can be found here [stileproject.com]

Re:Dear Katz... (4)

bk1e (176877) | more than 13 years ago | (#87472)

The movie was lip synced to English, not Japanese. The Japanese version will be either dubbed or subtitled (with original English dialogue), and will not have Japanese lip sync. Also, Japan will have to wait several months to see the movie, since it was released in the US first.

Re:huh? non-actors? (1)

dark_panda (177006) | more than 13 years ago | (#87473)

It really doesn't make any sense. Has Katz ever seen a cartoon? Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't cartoons usually use non-actors to represent human leads? Like, drawings and shit?

J

Re:Dear Katz... (2)

cnkeller (181482) | more than 13 years ago | (#87477)

One of the first things you mention is that you haven't played the games. If you had you'd have had something to relate to.

Let the fans deside if it's bad - the film is made for them.

You take a very interesting point of view. Completely wrong in my opinion, but interesting.

How many final fantasy players do you think exist in the world? How many millions were spent on the making of the film? Only a complete moron makes a blockbuster movie for .0001% of the population as witnessed by the Tomb Raider, Mortal Kombat, and Street Fighter debacle. What I do find interesting is that you imply that Jon (or anyone else) has no right to review the movie because they didn't play the game? That's crazy. Although I don't play the game (nor plan to see the movie -- it looks stupid -- graphics aside), I'd be interested in seeing an unbiased post from a game player, if any slasdot readers can be passionate about something and unbiased at the same time.

At least it was short... (1)

Happy Monkey (183927) | more than 13 years ago | (#87480)

The review, not the movie.
___

Wow... (1)

Caraig (186934) | more than 13 years ago | (#87482)

A movie that Jon Katz totally panned! I think that's a first for /. =)

I'm looking forward to seeing Final Fantasy, partly because of the excellent animation techniques (for anyone who's familiar with the difficulties of character modeling and animation: OMG! THE HAIR!) and partly because I rather like a side of mysticism with my order of sci-fi and Biggie hard-SF shake.

Of course, after reading Jon's review, I'll probably slate seeing Final Fantasy for a matinee than an evening showing.

---
Chief Technician, Helpdesk at the End of the World

Re:Wow... (1)

Caraig (186934) | more than 13 years ago | (#87483)

I admit, I'm one of the ones who likes some of what Jon Katz writes. I'll also admit that a good deal of it may not be "News for Nerds, Stuff that Matters." Actually, I think he could do well on Kuro5hin, [kuro5hin.org] and this isn't meant as a flame.

I am still looking forward to Final Fantasy, though. =)

---
Chief Technician, Helpdesk at the End of the World

You expect too much and over analyze (1)

rute_1 (190676) | more than 13 years ago | (#87486)

I saw the movie the other night with my son. I've never played the game, in fact I don't normally play video games. Anyway, I thought the movie was very good. It's a great improvement over what I grew up with, "Heavy Metal". I think the sync problems were with your theater as I didn't notice any problems with the voices. Of course, I didn't go to the movie to critique it. I went to get some enertertainment. That's what this movie is, entertaining.

Steve

It's like porn (2)

gtada (191158) | more than 13 years ago | (#87489)

The story was so-so, but the eye candy was fabulous.

Re:At least they tried... (1)

Jodrell (191685) | more than 13 years ago | (#87490)


What should they do according to you? Keep trying until it's really perfect?
Heh. If we applied this rule to Linux/GNOME/[insert open-source project name here], we'd end up waiting quite a while... ;)

Personally, if someone's made their best effort with the tools at their disposal, I'm impressed.

Galileo's discoveries may seem simplistic compared to modern physics, but he's no less a genius because of it.


Re:The games are better (2)

LordKariya (195696) | more than 13 years ago | (#87499)

This has been a common response to the Final Fantasy movie - that the games' plots are deeper. Guess what, give Square 70 hours of gameplay to develop characters & storyline and they're going to create something spectacular, as they have in the past. The movie is around 1:45. You really can't compare the two.

Well, Katz has the guts to voice his opinion (1)

Cliffton Watermore (199498) | more than 13 years ago | (#87501)

Give Katz a break. Critique is not an easy job in the best of circumstances, let alone on Slashdot :-)

The games are better (1)

kaldari (199727) | more than 13 years ago | (#87502)

I have to agree. I can think of quite a few video games with deeper plots than this movie (Final Fantasy 7 comes to mind). The only thing interesting about this movie is the animation.
---

Movie is good if you cut it some slack! (1)

Sp00nMan (199816) | more than 13 years ago | (#87503)

As I saw this movie, I can't believe Katz trashed it so much! It wasn't a 5 star movie, but geez, give it some slack. Granted, it didn't have too much of a plot, but I think the CGI was quite incredible, and that in itself entertained me for 1hrs 42mins. I didn't expect it to be perfect.. I mean geez.. just because their voices weren't perfectly matched sometimes is no cause to trash the hell out of it. The is the first time this has been done with simulated people. With Toy Story, there was plenty of "off voices", but that was "forgiven" cause it was cartoony. Try to stop looking at the bad and look at the good. This was a great effort to create a pseudo-real movie with some incredible animation. Definitely a turning point for the movie industry. Totally worth going to see.. Don't expect walking out of there going "Oh my god, that was the best movie I've ever seen".. but expect to go "Wow.. that was entertaining, and the animation was great.. did you see the hair and pores on the peoples faces? Very cool!" I know people who code or are graphic designers will definitely be in awe of this movie, and appreciate it for what it is, a work of art, not necessarily a plot-driven movie. Ignore the plot, go see it for the visuals.. (Matinee if you are really cheap.. did you do that Katz?)

Enjoy it... (1)

Starbreeze (209787) | more than 13 years ago | (#87507)

I thought the cgi was pretty damn good! The plot was enjoyable. You have to let yourself enjoy movies Katz... if you walk in knowing you want to find something to be critical of, you'll never enjoy anything. The only exception was the scene where Aki is crying/pouting? in the Captains arms. They animators did a very poor job of relaying that she was crying. In fact, she showed no emotion and if it weren't for the whiney sobby noises I would have thought she was apathetic. I really enjoyed everything else though.

Re:huh? non-actors? (2)

update() (217397) | more than 13 years ago | (#87511)

Does he mean this is the first movie with animation instead of "real" photographs of "real" people?

No, he's making a distinction between traditional animation, where you're expected to think of the characters as creations, not as actors, and FF which you're expected to experience as a live-action film although the actors are generated.

Like the New York Times review said, Pearl Harbor probably also fit the bill as "human leads played by non-actors ."

Unsettling MOTD at my ISP.

Just Like Dune, eh? (5)

mr.nicholas (219881) | more than 13 years ago | (#87513)

I absolutely disagree; Final Fantasy was an excellent movie that pushed the boundaries of technology and story telling.

The plot was captivating, even to someone who only has the faintest recollection of the video games: for those who played the games a lot, it was superb. Much like the original production of Dune: if you knew the books, it was one of the best movies made. If you didn't, you were lost. Though in the case of FF, being lost wasn't anywheres as bad as with Dune.

But something that came to my mind while watching it was the format: full CG. It allowed the movie to have special effects that didn't break the mold of the movie. Let me try to explain myself here.

It's like the video game, Metal Gear Solid. MGS never breaks from the format that you play it in: it's a continuous flow of action and graphics that is extremely smooth. The makers didn't break the format to go into "Cinemagraphic Sequences". Everything was in the same mode as game play. This created a suspension of disbelief that never needed to be broken.

It's the same thing with Final Fantasy. Most movies, when special effects are added, LOOK like the effects are, well, ADDED. They are a second layer that is obviously ON TOP of the live action. Not so with FF! Because the ENTIRE movie is animated, the special effects don't have to break with the flow. The result is a movie where neat effects and the actors are lumped together into one unbreakable chain. The movie has a flow to it that you simply CANNOT imitate with live action.

The actors(:) were amazingly smooth (though the opening sequence wasn't as good as I had expected it to be), the effects non-intrusive, the voice-overs excellently done.

It of course does not rival live action (did you expect it to?), but in fifty years, when animation DOES 100% imitate life, people will look back at FF and say that THIS was the true beginning.

In a case like this... (1)

zeus_tfc (222250) | more than 13 years ago | (#87515)

It might be interesting to try and pay attention to what you DON'T see. This may sound nonsensical, but bear with me. I have not yet seen FF, so I can't say much about it, but here's another example:
On of my favorite fairly recent movies is Chicken Run. (pause as people laugh at me) I'm a Wallace and Gromit fan, and also a claymation fan. I've watched the movie several times, and began to realize just how much detail was put into such an endeavor. Think for a moment about just how much is going on that you pay no attention. How do the characters interact with the environment? Lights, objects, and gravity are not offen done well is such situations. What about "Camera Work?" How were the scenes laid out? These are the types of things that, if done well, draw no attention whatsoever.

As I said, I haven't seen FF yet, and probably won't for a while, so maybe someone who HAS seen the movie could let us know how well this movie did in this regard.

Zeus_tfc

Wow (2)

Abnornymous Howard (227643) | more than 13 years ago | (#87516)

And I'm still nostalgic for those classic graphics from the first 6 FF's.
Lets hope that next FF movie will use the 8bit Nintendo characters!

What's the big deal? (1)

LtFiend (232003) | more than 13 years ago | (#87521)

I don't understand what all the hype is about. Final Fantasy the Movie was out years ago. It was called Final Fantasy 7.

Bunch of Lemmings, all of you! (5)

Xibby (232218) | more than 13 years ago | (#87522)

Firts, thanks to Katz for having an opinion that is actually his own and not born of the group mentality every now and then.

I liked the movie myself. Generally disliked the character animations. They reminded me of Blizzard's. Dummies that got a breath of light but didn't oil their joints. The characters were not fluid at all, Mainframe make the Transformers look more fluid than these characters.

But this movie would not have worked at all if it was doen with real actors. The visual effects would have make the real actors seem completely out of place. So even though the characters looked great but moved like the Tin Man, they fit in with the world they inhabited.

The story was so-so. Mad general with loyal following who wants nothing more than to blow stuff up out of revenge, scientests who just know that blowing stuff up will destroy the world.

The main flaw with the story is that they had potential for a deep story, but they took a shallow sweep of a deep lake and only got the very top, freshest, smelliest stuff.

What exactly are the spirits? Life energies? Souls? Some sort of collective? A gift from Gia? Why are there only eight of them? What could you have done with your almost romantic sub plot/comic relief characters if you didn't kill them? Just how mad is this general and why didn't you animate some of his backstory to give him more depth?

Overall, this movie would have been better as say, a one season mini-series. The animation was great, and was the correct choice for the story. I'd give it an average over all. It didn't totally suck, but it didn't live up to what it could have been.

Plot (1)

Mn3m0nic (234085) | more than 13 years ago | (#87523)

I am hearing from alot of people that they couldn't understand the plot. Any two year old who has played any Final Fantasy game could grasp the plot without breaking a sweat. It followed the traditional game plot: "bad guy wants to blow up things and rule the world, good guys want to save the Earth for a dark force that no one can see".

Re:Katz hates it? (2)

necrognome (236545) | more than 13 years ago | (#87526)

expect ff to sweep the Oscars

Re:Aki Nude (1)

grammar fascist (239789) | more than 13 years ago | (#87528)

It's real. It's CG. AFAIK, it would be more difficult to put her head on a real photograph than to just render what they've got.

They've also got one of the male lead (I can't remember his name) in a swimsuit. They even got all the hair right. It's scary.

It's Final Fantasy, not Final Fight (1)

turacma (266828) | more than 13 years ago | (#87542)

If you were looking for an action movie, you went to the wrong theather, you might want to try Kiss of the Dragon.

... a loopy, quasi-religious narrative that posits ... Dr. Ross and Dr. Sid exchange spirit mumbo-jumbo ...

It's fairly obvious Katz has never played Final Fantasy, otherwise he'd know that almost all of the Final Fantasy games (most of Square's RPGs in general) are a bunch of spirit mumbo-jumbo.

And don't be too quick to judge the future of this type of movie Katz, this was mearly an experimental first step, there are bound to be slip ups along the way. My suggestion: go see the movie for yourself.

Re:"I've never played the game"... (3)

cavemanf16 (303184) | more than 13 years ago | (#87544)

Hmmm... That's an interesting viewpoint. My brother said it was a great movie too, and he's played just as much of the FF game series as I have (I've played through FF3, some of FF4, FF7, & FF9). This may be part of the reason why so many people are ripping the movie for its plot-line. If it IS based on the games closely, then I would expect it to contain the same elements of storytelling, which yes, to the uninitiated seem at first rather boring because of their simplicity, but usually get much more involving once the underlying stories come out.

The only thing I could see being a problem is not enough time in the movie to develop the story fully, as in the FF series which even when played at a breakneck pace, usually takes 20+ hours (and can take 100+ hours going at a more inquisitive, slower pace). But for its technical merits and attempts at 'new things' (60,000+ strands of Aki's hair rendered!!!) I think I'll go see it.

What were you expecting? (2)

WIAKywbfatw (307557) | more than 13 years ago | (#87546)

This is the first feature-length movie from people who are more used to producing interactive rather than non-interactive entertainment. So it's not going to be up for Best Motion Picture at the Oscars. So what? What were you expecting?

Very few artists who jump over to a media unfamiliar to them hit a home run first time round. There's this thing called learning the ropes. Final Fantasy the movie always was going to be about eye candy first and storyline second, so it's not surprising that it looks good but isn't necessary engaging. I wonder if Katz is an anime/manga fan, because I bet that, as well as FF gamers, they were their (cinema-going) target audience.

Off the top of my head, I can't think of a single video/PC game-to-movie crossover that wasn't panned by the critics. Super Mario Bros, Double Dragon, Wing Commander, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider aren't exactly amongst the most critically acclaimed movies ever made, so why expect any more from FF?

Re:huh? non-actors? (2)

portforward (313061) | more than 13 years ago | (#87547)

(Alec) Baldwin . . .(a) non-actor

hmm, well, come to think of it, that's about right.

It's a GAME plot, what did you expect? (1)

Jin Wicked (317953) | more than 13 years ago | (#87551)

I have been in love with the Final Fantasy series for nearly the entire second half of my life. These games all follow a very traditional, "hero, evil villain, save the world," type format, and I would EXPECT the movie to follow the same general theme as the video games. To have done anything otherwise would have been betraying and insulting the fans.

To even suggest this movie could have been done with anything other than CGI is insulting in itself. No live actor could ever accurately portray the darkness or surreality of some of the characters in these games. The name of the movie/game is Final Fantasy because it is precisely that -- a fantasy. The apocalyptic worlds and circumstances these characters exist in could just never be done justice any other way than completely out of the artist's imagination -- either with traditional artwork (the Amano FF illustrations), or CG. (I still remember crying when Celes threw herself off the cliff in FF3/6, while the opera house theme played...)

That being said, I think they did the best they could with the time and technology available. I am personally a bit disappointed they went more for photo-realistic, and didn't give the characters more of an anime-look, as in FF7. If you can't appreciate this movie for what it is -- a tribute to a long line of video games and a more in-depth rendering of the kind of "action sequences" its fans have been imagining for years, and watch it with that in mind, then I think you have no business reviewing it. I usually read your reviews and I often wonder just what criteria makes a movie good to you, since you seem to have some critical problem with everything.

Even Roger Ebert gave it three and a half stars, you big grumpus.

Re:I'm going for the CG...period (1)

mancxvi (319922) | more than 13 years ago | (#87552)

Speaking of Blizzard cut scenes, the ending to Final Fantasy is rather similar to the Death of the Overmind.

Re:Katz hates it? (1)

gray code (323372) | more than 13 years ago | (#87553)

I'm afraid this was pretty far from perfect, even just looking at the animation. Yeah, it was really good CGI. Really damn good, but there were problems. Their reaction times were off sometimes, such as in a certain scene involving plasma-sonic lasers going out, they were too fast on the uptake, in my opinion. There was one scene (i'm told, i actually didn't notice, but my girlfriend did) where the Dr. lady shouts, but her face doesn't take on the correct "mask" for someone who is shouting, the muscles don't move quite right. In the scene towards the end where Cpt. What's-His-Name is trying to get up, you can see a muscle in his arm that is totally wrong. I'm sure there were other rough spots. Yeah, i'm nitpicking, but you did say it was perfect...

KATZ..... (1)

Louis_Cyphier (452923) | more than 13 years ago | (#87560)

Well, I've come to the conclusion that I really prefer Dr Katz from the cartoon. What a pud wacker. He should've known that if he'd posted this negative review it would be nothing but flamebait. WTF was he thinking? The movie fuckin ' rocks and he can bugger the fuck off! Jag-off.

A few things (1)

MrAndrews (456547) | more than 13 years ago | (#87568)

A few things (beyond the animation, which can be summed up by saying "Please stop tilting your head from side to side because we KNOW you guys can animate hair!").

Firstly, the story wasn't quasi-religious. It was very religious, but not Western religious. I was pleasantly amused to hear the audience shudder and groan when they said "Gaia", because here that implies treehugging la-la googly eyed environmentalists. Really, it was an attempt to Americanize Shinto, and it suffered from bad translation.

Another thing that bugged me was that she was called "Aw-kee", when really the name is meant to be pronounced "Ah-kee". This movie will do bad things to my daughter's future school life in North America (same name). Oh well.

Re:I'm going for the CG...period (1)

pbaker (458394) | more than 13 years ago | (#87570)

Actually the characters in the Diablo II cutscenes showed more expression and emotion than in Final Fantasy. They should get some of the Blizzard artists to work on the next Square picture.

But that's all they really need to fix. Human facial expressions are the hardest to pull off. We are humans and we know what humans have to look like. If they don't look that way, it is blatantly obvious it's fake. That is why some of the best animated characters aren't humans. Take Bugs Bunny for instance. Do you know what a rabbit looks like when it smiles or laughs? No, that's why when you see Bugs do it, it's believeable.

The other thing that would have helped this movie would have been to have a real movie screenplay and a real movie director. The plot would have been perfect for a game. You basically follow the main characters around as they go and find spirits. Once they find all these magical spirits the world will be saved. They might as well have been trying to find the pieces of the Triforce so they could save Princess Zelda.
So I would give it 2 and a half stars. The CG is just amazing (except for the lack of expression in the faces) and that's basically all we care about anyway so just go see it, because if this movie doesn't at least break even it will be the last of it's kind.

Re:Well, that does it... (1)

Drizzten (459420) | more than 13 years ago | (#87571)

I'd been on the fence about this. But if someone who doesn't understand that amination is a medium and not a genre gives the movie such a negative review, I'm going to see it. I don't care how bad it is; I want this thing to succeed, and perhaps spread the word that animation isn't just kids' stuff.

I agree. I haven't seen the movie, nor have I read any reviews of it (skipped Katz's review as well). I don't want the experience to be spoiled by critics that cannot understand that animation is not a genre of movie, it's a way of acomplishing a theatrical goal in a different way. Any retorts that animation was a genre up until recently can go to Disney and complain about that.

Katz has got it all wrong (1)

fa098h23fra (462115) | more than 13 years ago | (#87573)

Not knowing anything about the film's purpose or direction, Katz has got everything mixed up. First of all, the movie was never intended to be Real. The filmmakers have stated all along that they were aiming for something on the border between realism, and fantasy. There is a constructive purpose to not using live actors in a film, but using animation instead. He complains about CG characters looking too "plastic" but have you looked at angelina jolie's rack? Final Fantasy is meant to be more like an anime film than western action'ers. I can see why Katz is confused, being the retard that he is. What's this about code? CG is not code. It's nature described using math. There are no for loops or if statements in defining that virtual booty. I could probably rant some more, but nobody is going to read this since most of us have already opted to not be subjected to Katz's BS. Gil.

Re:The games are better (1)

Commander Spork (463245) | more than 13 years ago | (#87574)

As far as plot goes, IMHO, 7 had nothing on 6.

Jon Katz Please Shutup (1)

CmdrDangerMouse (463901) | more than 13 years ago | (#87578)

Does anybody EVER care what Jon Katz has to say?
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