15 August 2006

Movie review: Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within

I've never been that good at playing video games, but I admire the craft of the ones made in the last ten years or so, particularly the really cinematic ones. As a result, I actually enjoy watching people play them, sometimes more than playing them myself. I can remember watching someone play some samurai adventure game on a PS2 once with a buddy of mine and being riveted. My buddy and I kept wanting to watch all of the expository video sequences between each level, much to the frustration of the poor player, because they're all like nine minutes long.

Watching Final Fantasy is like watching somebody else play a video game. If that sounds apppealing, this movie is for you. It's also fun if you like playing spot-the-celebrity-voice-actor, but if you're any good at it you'll nail them all in the first fifteen minutes. The plot has a lot of mystical mumbo-jumbo about Earth spirits and the like, which I generally kind of like, but after a while it drags a little. Overall it leaves a similar impression to that of Team America (the puppet movie by the South Park guys): "Wow, what an amazing technical achievement! Bummer about the script."

It reminds me of a time I was in college, hanging out in somebody's dorm room and a this dude's roommate rented some anime spy thriller called Golgo 13 (a title with which I was familiar, coincidentally, from its tie-in Nintendo game). About two-thirds of the way through the movie as the plot was beginning to grow a bit tedious, my friend turns to his roommate and goes, "Hey, I just figured out how you can get your money's worth from this rental: if you squint at the screen just right, it sort of looks like a real movie."

No comments: