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Monday, 6 August, 2001, 16:00 GMT 17:00 UK
Final Fantasy: Press views
Dr Aki Ross (voice by Ming-na Wen
Impressive animation but where's the plot?
Press reviews of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within.

The Guardian

Weird fantasy creatures are fine, and CGI recreates a lot of the inanimate stuff now anyway, but solemnly realist human faces look shriekingly phoney precisely because they're almost there but not quite. The story is adequate, if familiar, but after half an hour relapses into cliché.

The Independent

I didn't mind watching Final Fantasy, and certain sequences - the opening search-and-rescue mission, Aki's nightmares - achieve an arresting phantasmagoric creepiness. It's a shame, though, that a film that reaches for the stars on a technical plane can bear to deal in so slapdash and meagre a way with the pleasures of narrative and character.

The Daily Telegraph

It's an amazingly extravagant feast for the eye (the stunningly detailed backgrounds are, in their way, just as impressive as the faces), but, with its mumbo-jumbo dialogue and completely unfathomable plot, it starves the brain to the point of blackout.

The Observer

My wonderment had abated after the first two sequences - a mysterious dream in which the heroine thinks she's on an alien planet, and her venture into a blitzed and abandoned Manhattan. Thereafter, the characters fall between two stools. They're neither flesh-and-blood people we can respond to nor are they animated figures that we take to heart the way we do Bambi, Dumbo and the inhabitants of the nursery in Toy Story.

The Sunday Times

Sure, the animation is impressively realistic by previous standards, but it's still not enough, on its own, to sustain the interest of anyone but the nerdiest computer geek. If an exciting plot had kicked in at some point, things might have been different, but the story line has less power and dynamism than a ZX81. I'm all for experimental movies, but Final Fantasy is just one big experiment, and nobody's idea of a movie.

London Evening Standard

Save for a little too much symmetry, a buffed-up smoothness, a flattering of physiognomies, the "cast" look more credibly organic than many a Star Trek-type turn-out. Writer-director Hironobu Sakaguchi's team of Japanese animators have outdone Dr Frankenstein in the creation of lifelike humanity.

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