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Room for improvement
Overall I'd give this movie a B- (but only because I weighted the animation so highly). Before you read my review, that into account that I did enjoy the movie and will almost certainly pick it up when it becomes available on DVD.
The best feature of this movie is easily the animation. The level of detail and realism far exceeds anything I've ever seen before (other than technology demos). Since I focused most of my attention to the CG, I noticed a handful of faults - no sweat from vigorous activity, no tears from crying, extras wore masks (faces are very expensive to render). Had moisture been added to the movie, it would have greatly increased the amount of realism immensely.
The voice acting was atrocious at best. Ming-na and Alec Baldwin sounded like 1st graders learning how to read aloud for the first time. Emotion in the voices were lacking at times and often inappropriate for the line/scene when actually present. Donald Sutherland gave the best performance and he was mediocre.
If the voice acting doesn't make you plunge sharp objects into your ears, the script will. The lines are contrived, unrealistic, and well... cheesy.
The musical score lacked the luster I grew accustomed to in the Final Fantasy series (from the pre-Playstation games at least). Much to the dissatisfaction of many fans, none of the major songs from the series were present (Prelude, victory song, etc.). There were many points during the movie where the lack of music is noticeable - perhaps because it focused all of my auditory brain functions on the horrible voice acting.
Sound effects were very well done but nothing special. No complaints here unless you count the noise coming out Ming-na's mouth as a sound effect.
The plot was surprisingly decent though a little to similar in theme to FF7. The general premise worked well and most problems with the story stemmed from poor dialogue writing and the aforementioned sorry excuse for voice acting. Characterization was lacking somewhat - you need to depend on prenotions on how the various archtypes will act to get a decent fell for them. While this is usually a big downfall for most movies it is acceptable given the epic-style of the story (for the unaware, classically epics draw upon stereotypes rather than working on characterization).
overused plot + often abused style = best movie of the year
A man with no short term memory tries to solve a murder. The scenes in the movie are played in reverse. Sounds like yet another run of the mill comedy but in reality is one of the best suspense/dramas I've seen in years.
While some may claim showing the scenes in reverse is just an annoying trick to make a simple plot confusing and add a plethora of twists, I wholeheartedly disagree. Any good story teller knows it's not what you say, but how you say it.
By playing the scenes in reverse you experience the confusion Lenny undergoes throughout the film. Showing some of the scenes in chronological order (BTW, the use of B&W instead of color to make the time distinction was ingenious) creates suspense which builds as the two timelines converge. The somewhat rushed pace (compared to a written format) doesn't give you enough time to adequately analyze the events during the movie. This has two advantages: firstly you're going to talk about it after you leave the theater adding to experience immensely, and secondly you don't have time to think about what has happened (will happen) so you're experience better follows that of Lenny.
While many might find the movie rather confusing, it flows wonderfully for anyone familiar with writing styles that constantly jump around a timeline (e.g. Catch 22).