REVIEW: KINGSGLAIVE: FINAL FANTASY XV

Starring

Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad)
Lena Headey (Game of Thrones)
Sean Bean (The Martian)
Adrian Bouchet (The Last Kingdom)
Trevor Devall (Avengers Assemble)
Wendee Lee (Masked Rider)
Tony Oliver (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers)
Lex Lang (Spider-Man: Into TYhe Spider-Verse)
Michael McConnohie (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Kirk Thornton (Ninja Scroll)
Masi Oka (Heroes)
Adam Croasdell (Reign)
Gil Darnell (Bones)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)

Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV (2016)During a visit to Tenebrae, Regis and Noctis—who is recuperating from a near-death experience—are targeted for assassination by Niflheim. Tenebrae is subsequently attacked, and in the invasion Queen Sylva is killed by Niflheim’s General Glauca. Regis attempts to flee with Lunafreya, but she decides to stay with her brother Ravus; both become subjects under Niflheim’s rule.Lena Headey in Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV (2016)Twelve years later, the Kingsglaive fight to protect Lucis’s borders from attacks by Niflheim’s Magitek army and Daemons, unnatural monsters tamed for military use. During one such operation, Nyx Ulric defies his orders to withdraw to rescue his friend Libertus from a Daemon. Regis, whose magic powers the Wall and is growing weaker due to advancing age, accepts Imperial Chancellor Ardyn Izunia’s offer of peace. This causes dissension among the Kingsglaive, who feel Regis is abandoning their families. Two days before the treaty is to be signed, Kingsglaive member Crowe is sent on a mission to escort Lunafreya to Altissia to meet Noctis, but is killed en route. Her death causes Libertus to leave the Kingsglaive and join a group of Lucian rebels. At a party dedicated to the signing of the treaty, attended by both Regis and Niflheim’s emperor Iedolas Aldercapt, Lunafreya meets with Nyx before being secretly abducted by Glauca. Nyx discovers this and finds that Niflheim has stationed their army outside Insomnia.Aaron Paul in Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV (2016)Regis agrees to deploy the Kingsglaive, although their commander Drautos has disappeared. While Nyx succeeds in rescuing Lunafreya, many of the Kingsglaive turn on him; Nyx, Lunafreya and rebel leader Luche Lazarus escape as the ship disintegrates. At the treaty-signing ceremony, the Niflheim delegation springs a surprise attack and kills the ruling council, while their army enters by destroying the Wall with help from the rebels, who are subsequently massacred. Lunafreya and Nyx reach the Citadel just as Regis is battling Glauca. During the fight, Glauca cuts the Ring of the Lucii from Regis’s hand. Ravus attempts to put on the Ring and claim its power, but it rejects him and destroys his arm before he can remove it. Nyx, Lunafreya and Regis retrieve the Ring and flee with Glauca in pursuit. Regis forces the two to go on without him, dying in his ensuing battle with Glauca. Aldercapt and Ardyn—having successfully stolen the Crystal—leave Insomnia to be destroyed by Niflheim’s Daemons.Aaron Paul in Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV (2016)Summoned to the city plaza by a call from Drautos, Nyx and Lunafreya are cornered by Luche, who reveals himself to be Crowe’s killer. Luche almost kills Nyx before being tricked by Lunafreya into putting on the Ring, resulting in his death. Drautos then appears, but is attacked by Libertus, who reveals that Drautos is in fact Glauca. Just as Glauca is about to kill them, Nyx puts on the Ring. He is confronted by the spirits of the past kings of Lucis; initially rejected due to being not of their bloodline, his resolve and the threat to the Crystal persuade them to allow his use of their power at the cost of his life. After fending off Glauca, Nyx returns the Ring to Lunafreya before entrusting her to Libertus, telling them to flee. With the Ring’s borrowed power he engages Glauca in a titanic battle throughout Insomnia, animating the city’s statues of past rulers, known as the “Old Wall,” to combat Niflheim’s Daemons. Their fight ends as dawn approaches, with Nyx mortally wounding Glauca; Nyx dies shortly after as payment for using the Ring’s power, wishing for Noctis to rule well in the future. In the aftermath, Libertus escorts Lunafreya out of the city, but she tells him to stay behind. Lunafreya then leaves with the Ring to find Noctis. In a post-credits scene, Noctis and his companions are en route to Altissia when their car breaks down, leading into the opening scenes of Final Fantasy XV.Kingsglaive:Final Fantasy XV Adrian Bouchet as Capt' DrautosCharacters are relatively well done, especially the ones with famous names. Usually the dubbing in English for such production looks jarring, but here Lena Headley’s or Aaron Paul’s voice is implemented properly. The lip sync is fine and there’s a boon on having fantasy oriented voice for the cast. A minor flaw would be the dialogues or sound effect don’t convey the sense of urgency at times, but it’s mostly understandable. The visual ramps up as the battles progress. These are very hectic occurrences, the fast cut can leave audience wandering on what transpires on the screen since there are many effects and motions cramped into brief composition of scenes. However, when it retains the focus or follows the action, it is arguably one of the most eye-popping spectacles from animated movie. The sheer graphical prowess produces an entirely captivating world, even though it stumbles on overly complex narrative or overly fast editing.

REVIEW: FINAL FANTASY VII: ADVENT CHILDREN

CAST (voices)
Rachael Leigh Cook (She’s All That)
Steve Burton (The Last Castle)
Wally Wingert (Family Guy)
Quinton Flynn (Ultimate Avengers)
Crispin Freeman (Digimon)
Dave Wittenberg (Spaceballs: The Animated Series)
Fred Tatasciore (9)
Steve Blum (The Boxtrolls)
Beau Billingslea (Star Trek Into Darkness)
Liam O’Brien (Planet Hulk)
Mena Suvari (The Cape)
George Newbern (Justice League)
Wendee Lee (Masked Rider)
Setting
Advent Children takes place two years following the events of the 1997 role-playing video game Final Fantasy VII, during which the antagonist Sephiroth attempted to absorb the Lifestream (the lifeblood and soul of the planet) and be reborn as a god. He was defeated by Cloud Strife and his companions but Sephiroth’s final spell, Meteor, destroyed the city of Midgar.
Since the end of the game, the survivors of Midgar founded the new city of Edge where Cloud and his childhood friend Tifa Lockhart now run a courier service and are the caretakers of orphans Denzel and Marlene. Cloud is still haunted by his role in the death of Aerith Gainsborough, who was killed by Sephiroth. In addition, both he and Denzel are infected with a mysterious new ailment known as “Geostigma”, which has no known cure. When the film opens, Cloud has recently moved out and isolated himself from his friends.
Story
Cloud is contacted through Tifa and summoned to a meeting with the Shinra Company’s former president Rufus Shinra, who was presumed killed in Final Fantasy VII.Rufus asks for Cloud’s help to stop Kadaj, Loz, and Yazoo. The trio are physical manifestations of Sephiroth’s surviving spirit, and are seeking to resurrect him using the remains of the extraterrestrial villain Jenova. Cloud refuses to help and leaves. Meanwhile, Kadaj and his colleagues are recruiting children infected with Geostigma. Denzel falls in with the group, attracted by their promises of a cure for the disease. Loz follows Tifa and Marlene to Aerith’s church, where they had gone looking for Cloud, and attacks them. Tifa is knocked unconscious in the fight and Loz kidnapped Marlene. All the kidnapped children are taken to the ruins of the mystical Forgotten City, where Kadaj embraces them as brethren and announces his intention for them all to be reunited with Jenova. When Cloud arrives to rescue them, he is overpowered by Kadaj’s gang, but is rescued by his old comrade Vincent Valentine. Demoralized by his failure, Cloud asks if sin can ever be truly forgiven, to which Vincent nonchalantly replies that he has never tried to forgive. Cloud decides to keep fighting and returns to the city, where Kadaj has summoned Bahamut SIN and other monsters to terrorize the population.[4] With the help of his companions from Final Fantasy VII, Cloud engages and defeats the monsters.
Kadaj confronts Rufus Shinra, who reveals he possesses the box containing Jenova’s remains. He attempts to destroy it, but Kadaj manages to save it and flees the city with his companions. Yazoo and Loz are apparently destroyed along the way by an explosive planted by Shinra’s agents. Cloud chases Kadaj down and engages him in battle, ultimately subduing him. Outmatched, Kadaj opens Jenova’s box and fuses with its contents, transforming into Sephiroth. He then tells Cloud that he will be able to use the life essences of Geostigma sufferers to achieve complete domination over the planet.[5] He and Cloud then fight, and throughout the whole encounter Sephiroth appears to have the upper hand, flinging Cloud repeatedly into walls and finally impaling him through the shoulder. He asks Cloud to tell him what he most cherishes, so that he can have the pleasure of taking it away. To this, Cloud replies that he cherishes everything, then pulls out Sephiroth’s sword and deals him a hail of devastating blows. Sephiroth’s spirit departs, leaving behind the mortally wounded Kadaj. As he lies dying in Cloud’s arms, a healing rain starts falling across the land, curing the people of their Geostigma. Yazoo and Loz appear and confront Cloud; he charges at them, and they set off a massive explosion engulfing the three.
Cloud has a vision of his deceased friends Aerith and Zack Fair, who say that his time to join them has not yet come. He then awakens in the church, healed of his injuries and surrounded by his friends. Behind them, he sees Aerith and Zack leaving the church and hears Aerith’s voice say, “You see, everything’s all right.” He agrees: “I know. I’m not alone… not anymore.”
People will ask whether you need to have played the game to understand the film? Well, I would say it would help if you want to understand everything, because it can be left quite vague. But that doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy the movie if you haven’t played the game. There is lots of action, and some of the best animation seen yet, and it’s been done wonderfully. There is also a Reminiscence section in the bonus features which tells you the entire story of the original game if you wish to see it. All in all, this is a package you don’t want to miss.

 

REVIEW: FINAL FANTASY: THE SPIRITS WITHIN

CAST (VOICES)

Ming-Na Wen (Agents of SHIELD)
Alec Baldwin (Mission Impossible 5)
Ving Rhames (Julia X)
Steve Buscemi (Ghost World)
Peri Gilpin (Frasier)
Donald Sutherland (The Hunger Games)
James Woods (Another Day In Paradise)
Keith David (Picth Black)
John DiMAggio (Futurama)
Dwight Schultz (The A-Team)

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001)After the runaway success of Final Fantasy VII on the original Playstation, Sony greenlit a Final Fantasy movie. The final result, The Spirits Within, didn’t appear on movie screens until 2001, the same year as Shrek. However, unlike the unfunny green ogre, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within failed to generate any meaningful business at the box office, and it was the biggest bomb in film history up to that point. It’s admirable for its sweeping alien vistas and imaginative space-age designs, but the story just doesn’t have enough in it to keep the audience’s interest.Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001)The film follows Doctor Aki Ross (Ming-na) as she and her mentor, Dr. Sid (Donald Sutherland) attempt to discover a way to clear Earth of a strange race of alien beings known as Phantoms. These Phantoms have made Earth uninhabitable, aside from a few protected cities. The film opens with Aki dreaming of an alien world, only to wake up on a space shuttle. She takes the shuttle down to Earth to find remnants of organic life. However, she’s soon trapped by Phantoms, determined to kill her, when she’s saved by a group of space marines, led by Captain Gray Edwards (Alec Baldwin), Aki’s former lover. It’s soon discovered that the plant Aki was after was part of a series of organisms that Aki and Sid are collecting to assemble a spiritual wave that they believe will counter the alien infestation at its source (a giant asteroid from which the Phantoms spawn).Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001)Their theory is not a popular one, however. The human government still has armies, and their general, Hein (James Woods), has erected a giant space cannon which he intends to use to blow the asteroid to smithereens. Sid and Aki contend that this would irrevocably damage the planet, but without further proof, their protests fall on deaf ears. Now it’s up to Aki, Sid, Gray, and his team to find the remaining organisms so they can finish the wavelength before Hein uses the cannon. And Aki keeps having these strange dreams.Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001)Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within feels like what Aliens might have been like had James Cameron been into New Age philosophy. The space marines (voiced by Steve Buscemi, Frasier’s Peri Gilpin, and Ving Rhames) are reminiscent of those more famous marines in Cameron’s film. The overall design feels like it could have been in line with that world, and the idea of the Phantoms infecting you and taking you over from the inside feels very similar to the parasitic nature of Alien’s xenomorphs. In point of fact, the one thing it doesn’t feel similar to in any way, shape, or form is the Final Fantasy series of video games from which it derives its name. Dr. Sid is the most notable callback, as in almost every Final Fantasy game there is a character named Cid. Also, some of the other character names vaguely resemble those found in the games. The Gaia theory posited in the film is very similar to the Living Planet of Final Fantasy VII, but to no real effect. I can understand wanting to create a fresh story that newcomers and old fans alike could enjoy.Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001)The film’s half-baked idealistic philosophies, combined with its often groan-inducing dialogue probably killed the movie more than any lack of resemblance to the video games. The whole conceit of the wavelength, while explained repeatedly and in excruciating detail, never quite gels. Similarly, Hein’s Zeus cannon doesn’t seem like a much better alternative, and it doesn’t help that he’s a terribly written villain. Of course, you have to respect James Woods’ ability to chew the scenery even when there isn’t any actual scenery to chew. I mean no disrespect to Mr. Woods, as he’s one of my favorite actors, but he’s so over the top here it hurts.The rest of the cast fare marginally better. Ming-na has a respectable voice acting pedigree that serves her well, as does Peri Gilpin (most recently heard in the animated Hellboy projects). Steve Buscemi and Ving Rhames don’t take their roles too seriously, which works to their advantage. Alec Baldwin, aside from being a great actor, lends his voice to one of the most memorable cartoon characters of recent memory (that of Leonardo Leonardo from the Clerks animated series), but he plays it straight here and is fairly disappointing. It doesn’t help that his character is animated to look exactly like Ben Affleck. I’m not kidding. This movie’s worth renting just to see how meticulously the filmmakers recreated every facet of Affleck’s face–only to give him Baldwin’s voice.Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001)That does bring up an important point, though. Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within was meant to be the first in a series of computer generated films that were photo realistic. And while it’s clear the film is CGI, it still looks damn impressive. The character models are exquisite, making the more cartoony offerings from Pixar or Dreamworks just seem amateurish by comparison (and I know that Pixar and Dreamworks aren’t striving for realism, I’m just saying how one looks against the other). The environments are amazingly detailed, and the movie is just a beauty to behold. Unfortunately, the film’s complete and utter financial failure bankrupted Square Pictures, although they did manage to make The Final Flight of the Osiris for Warner Bros. Animatrix project before closing shop. Square returned in 2005/2006 with Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, which looked even more spectacular than Spirits Within, but did not see a U.S. theatrical release.Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001)Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within deserved a better fate than it got at the box office, but that doesn’t mean it’s a great movie. While it certainly was a great technological breakthrough, it didn’t have the story or characters to make it work.