ninth symphony films - movie reviews


DIRECTOR  -  hironobu sakaguchi

RATED  -  pg-13

GENRE  -  animation

LENGTH  -  106 minutes

RELEASED  -  11 june 2001

DISTRIBUTOR  -  columbia pictures


ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $137,000,000
final fantasy - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from final fantasy at

buy the dvd from final fantasy at

based on the popular series of video games.

final fantasy games sell out within a day in japan.


picture from final fantasy


three out of four possible stars

Final Fantasy . . . it's a video game that's sold millions of copies and has the drawing power of fans that are slaves to their computers. So what caused the filmmakers to spend millions of dollars making a movie about a video game that would probably only draw the fans of this video game? Well, its seems that the filmmakers have succeeded very well in creating a film that is appealing to more than just the over-weight-glasses-wearing-nerds that everyone associates with video games.

This film does not have the live action stylings of Angelina Jolie, like in Tomb Raider, but it does not really matter. This film really creates its own genre in that with it's *almost realism* it attempts to create a film that's not really a cartoon, but not really a live action film either. That it hovers somewhere in the middle is no matter. It's something new and that makes it interesting. Just try not to pay attention to some of the dialogue, because sometimes it feels like the characters are telling the audience exactly what they're going to do a few minutes later.

And when they talk about the "Gaia" and all the in-depth plot aspects, it just feels as if as the filmmakers are telling us too much right before they show it. And sometimes they try to justify too hard what the story is about. Like the filmmakers were afraid of what the audience might think if they didn't explain every single little aspect of the plot. But that's really not that big a deal. Because there's a lot more to this film than just the plot. it's amazing how the animators were able to make it seem as though these animated characters had real feelings and were able to think.

What the makers of Final Fantasy have accomplished is to create a film appealing not only to the standard 18 to 35 male audience, but also to those guys' girlfriends. And this film also reaches out beyond those borders into younger and older audiences. It balances its requisite action sequences with the unusual elements of story and character very well. And neither the brainless part of the film, nor the brainy part of the film overtake the story. It has something for everyone.

One of my only complaints on the film would be on the marketing strategy for it. I saw it with my family and I really had to drag everyone into the theater. From the television spots and the trailers, the film looked like nothing more than an animated Tombraider. Or something that only a 17-year-old computer game junkie would enjoy. But it ended up being something much more interesting and entertaining than that.

This perhaps stems from the fact that the film was made by a Japanese crew (well, mostly Japanese). Japanese films, especially animated ones, usually contain an element of mysticism or spirit that the traditional American action thriller lacks. It's like they're able to plant a brain in the head of the film without it becoming something only a scientist from Harvard would understand. Which is exactly where a film like Tomb Raider fails.

That film tried to hard to appeal to a wide audience, but gets bogged down with its complicated story telling and all-around sappy story. final fantasy, on the other hand, achieves this important balance very well. It won't leave you bored or confused with a plot that's worthy of a David Foster Wallace novel, nor will it make you wish you never saw another high-powered futuristic gun ever again. This film is an all-around fun time at the movies and definitely worth seeing on the big screen.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

content 2000 - - ninth symphony films - photographs columbia pictures 2001
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