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Final Fantasy


Aki RossI entered the theatre with excitement and apprehension. Final Fantasy VIII is one of my favorite games of all time and this movie had to prove itself to bear the same name.

At first glance, the visuals made my jaw drop. Movies before, like Jurassic Park, Star Wars and Pearl Harbor have scenes that were computer enhanced and Toy Story was the first purely computer generated movie. But there were only toys in that movie in a mundane house in a mundane suburb.

Nothing prepared me for the visuals of Final Fantasy. Never before has anyone attempted to render real people up close in a movie. I could see the heroine, Aki Ross's freckles, and individual strands of her hair moving to the wind and I could almost feel the texture of her clothes. Sometimes the illusion was so real, I thought they substituted real people.

The movie's futuristic earth, from the decaying New York City to the desert landscapes were even more convincing.

During the many action scenes, I couldn't help but acknowledge that this movie's monsters and explosions were the most beautiful I have ever seen.

Anyone will enjoy the movie for the visual spectacles alone.

Then there is the story-a quest to save the world from an alien force and an overzealous general-that is borrowed from other video game adventures. The main characters are typical hero fare. They are lovers who are unfortunately caught up in the world's problems. The supporting cast led by wisecracking Steve Buscemi is more endearing. Even the villain general who sacrificed an entire city and even the entire planet was not without heart-a quality of previous Final Fantasy villains.

The movie was only about an hour and a half long but it managed to make my eyes water when a character died and end the story in a way that is neither happy nor tragic. The songs played during the end credits were also enchanting.

Other Final Fantasy fans may find the movie fall short of the epic games they enjoyed. I am sure though that they will consider it as a movie to be quite good. Final Fantasy newcomers should see it as well because it is one of the few good fantasy movies in recent years.

To filmmakers who have future plans for video game to movie translations, they should learn from this one and learn which games to choose.

July 2001

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