In the year 2065, Dr. Aki Ross (Ming-Na) and her colleague Dr. Sid (Donald
Sutherland) believe that all living things contain a spirit that might
possibly be used to repel aliens that have taken over the Earth. In their
quest to find the specific spirits that will have the desired effect,
they have found six of the eight spirits needed.
Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001)
Starring: The voices of Ming-Na, Donald
Sutherland, and Alec Baldwin
While searching the remains
of Old New York City for spirits, Dr. Ross encounters the alien force
-- called "Phantoms" -- and is rescued
by a group of Marines called "Deep Eyes." The Deep Eyes soldiers
are assigned to protect Dr. Ross as she hunts for the spirits. By coincidence,
the leader of Deep Eyes is Grey Edwards (Alec Baldwin), who is Dr. Ross'
ex-boyfriend. There's not much time for romance as Dr. Ross reveals that
she has been infected by one of the Phantoms and needs to find the last
two spirits to save herself as well as the Earth.
General Hein (James Woods) believes that no time should be wasted by
searching the Earth for the final two spirits. He feels that the aliens
should be blasted from above using a giant laser cannon. Dr. Ross and
Dr. Sid's scientific methods stand in the way of Hein's plan, so he plots
to sway popular support to his side through devious methods.
Fantasy: The Spirits Within is completely computer generated and
is supposedly based on the series of videogames it shares its name with.
In reality, the movie has absolutely nothing to do with the videogames
and seems to be using the brand name to attract an audience that might
like the type of sci-fi story contained in the film. While that's probably
not much of an issue to most people, some fans of the videogame series
might be disappointed that their favorite characters do not appear in
Some critics have berated the movie for being little more than eye candy
and not much else. I disagree. Sure, Final Fantasy looks great but, as
my regular readers should know, I hate movies that are more interested
in looking good than having a good story. Final Fantasy has a decent story
that actually makes sense. But, even though the story is stronger than
many other recent science fiction movies, it's not great. It's not particularly
innovative when compared to the stellar visuals that accompany it.
A strong cast of voices also
gives the movie a shot in the arm. Ming-Na is a perfect choice for the
voice of Dr. Ross. Donald Sutherland lends
a grizzled charm to Dr. Sid. Steve Buscemi is his usual sarcastic self
as Neil, although it's strange hearing his voice coming out of another
body. Alec Baldwin is fairly blasé as Grey Edwards though. Ving
Rhames and Peri Gilpin lend support as members of the Deep Eyes group.
It's one thing to do something with a movie that's never been done before,
but it'd be yet another to do something original with the effects and the story. Had the plot been a little stronger, Final
Fantasy would be
a classic sci-fi film. As it stands, it's simply an average one. In a
market that's sorely lacking quality science fiction movies, though, I'll
happily accept Final Fantasy, warts and all.
of the few connections between the movie Final Fantasy and the Final
Fantasy videogames is the character Dr. Sid. A character named Cid
has been included in most of the ten chapters of the game series.
Internet Movie Database)