Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001)

PG-13  |   |  Animation, Action, Adventure  |  11 July 2001 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 70,153 users   Metascore: 49/100
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A scientist makes a last stand on Earth with the help of a ragtag team of soldiers against an invasion of alien phantoms.

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Complete credited cast:
Doctor Aki Ross (voice) (as Ming-Na)
Ryan (voice)
Neil (voice)
Jane (voice)
Dr. Sid (voice)
General Hein (voice)
Council Member #1 (voice)
Council Member #2 (voice)
Major Elliot (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Additional Voices (voice)
Steve Alterman ...
Additional Voices (voice)
David Arnott ...
Additional Voices (voice)
Additional Voices (voice) (as Andrea Taylor)
Additional Voices (voice) (as Catherine Cavadini)


In the year 2065, the next great assault against an invading race of phantom-like aliens is about to be launched. Dr. Aki Ross, a brilliant young scientist, races to find the invaders' secrets, not only to save the planet, but herself as well after her body is infected by alien particles. She teams up with the prestigious Deep Eyes military squadron, led by her old friend Grey Edwards. But as Aki, her mentor Dr. Sid, and Grey work toward a peaceful end, the scheming General Hein devises a plot to eradicate the aliens in one swift, destructive blow...even if it destroys the Earth right along with them. Written by H2F

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Enter a new dimension, beyond all you imagine, where fantasy becomes reality. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

11 July 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Final Fantasy  »

Box Office


$137,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$11,408,853 (USA) (13 July 2001)


$1,448,087 (Italy) (7 September 2001)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| | (8 channels)


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The day and month shown after Aki's first dream (13 December) is director Hironobu Sakaguchi's wife's birthday. See more »


Deep in the Gaia crater, Gray tries to fend off Phantoms, and shoots a group of them to his right. After a brief cut where he stops shooting, he's pointing the gun to his left. See more »


General Hein: [after letting the phantoms into New York City] What have I done?
See more »


Referenced in The Last of Us (2013) See more »


The Dream Within
Written by Elliot Goldenthal and Dick Rudolph (as Richard Rudolph)
Produced by Elliot Goldenthal and Matthias Gohl (as Teese Gohl)
Performed by Lara Fabian
Courtesy of Columbia Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

An OK sci-fi despite not being able to really deliver the potentially complex plot it could have had but it looks good and is passable entertainment for sci-fi fans
6 June 2004 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

It is the year 2065 and Earth has been invaded by a race of phantom-like aliens that kill with a single touch. Under the tutelage of Dr Sid, young Dr Aki Ross is searching for spirits that can combine to counteract the life force of the aliens – a situation made even more urgent by the fact that she is infected by the aliens herself and experiencing strange dreams as a result. Ross joins the elite military unit Deep Eyes to finish her quest, but General Hein is determined to convince the ruling council that the best solution is the use of a weapon that will destroy the aliens despite Sid's protests that it could destroy the Earth in the process.

This film got a lot of publicity about the fact that it was billed as the film that would trigger a whole new type of movie – those with no human stars (well, apart from their voices). Sadly this seemed to be all the discussion about the film amounted to and I think it put people off that nobody talked about the plot or whether it was any good or not – I know it put me off from bothering to go and see it. Another thing that put me off was that most people just assumed it was a kid's film because it was animated and was quickly dumped in matinee slots – even when I saw it on TV it was in the slot on Sunday afternoon used for mostly kiddie fare. Anyway, let me just say that I have no knowledge of the games, never played the games and will likely never play the games but I had no problem picking up the rough story (even though I'm sure the wider FF universe has so much more story in it that this film does). I would have quite liked a greater understanding of the story, the characters and the aliens but it did enough to support the film's plot as was.

As a sci-fi film it works reasonably well but is not as intelligent as it clearly needed to be to support the story – if it had only aspired to be a good guys/bad guys story then fine but it wanted more and it isn't well enough developed to do it. I still enjoyed it to a certain degree but it is evident from the film that the script writing and plotting took a backseat to the development of the computer graphics. Of course these look great for the most part and the film has delivered a visually impressive series of spaceships, desolate cityscapes and blobby aliens. The only things that don't work (ironically enough considering the film's boasts) are the human characters. CGI has yet to manage to make characters that look and move as naturally as humans – we have seen it in Matrix Reloaded, Blade 2 and also here. Admittedly it matters less here because we can get used to the characters looking like effects (unlike, say, Matrix 2 where we are not meant to notice the difference between real and effect). Suffice to say though, that this is an animated movie rather than the movie that triggers the onslaught of computer generated characters in films.

The voice cast are pretty good and they do well to add a bit of a human touch to characters that, for all the money spent on them, still look and movie like computer game characters in an expensive cut-scene between levels. Ming-Na hardly has that distinctive a voice and she is rather bland at times but she does OK. Baldwin is a strong voice and suits his character well. Sutherland is always welcome despite his small role and typical roles are filled by the likes of Steve Buscemi, Ving Rhames, Keith David and a typically untrustworthy performance from James Woods.

Overall this is an OK sci-fi film but not any more than that. The plot is OK but it isn't as good as it thinks it is and certainly isn't good enough to support the slightly complex themes/ideas that it wants to deliver. It is good for older children and teenagers (who will happily ignore the plot details) but outside of that sci-fi fans may find it a bit lacking in bite and generally to be more about the graphics than anything else.

19 of 36 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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