A scientist makes a last stand on Earth with the help of a ragtag team of soldiers against an invasion of alien phantoms.A scientist makes a last stand on Earth with the help of a ragtag team of soldiers against an invasion of alien phantoms.A scientist makes a last stand on Earth with the help of a ragtag team of soldiers against an invasion of alien phantoms.
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.
- bob the moo
- Jun 6, 2004