Director: Takeshi Nozue/2016
Final Fantasy is one of the oldest roll playing, video gaming, and multi-media experience properties going today. Started in 1987, this series features a series of story lines, spin-offs, characters and the like providing people with many entry points in the various worlds that have been created through this franchise. Despite having been in junior high school when the series started, and having played video games from the days of Atari up until now, I never tried my hand in this world. I have certainly been aware of its existence, including a few forays into film, but have never stuck my toe into the proverbial waters to see what it was all about….until now.
Opening today at select theaters and wide on digital release on August 30, the latest Final Fantasy film offering is here. Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV is the story of a world at war. Niflheim, a military based empire that is seizing territory across the galaxy, has been after the land of Lucis, that is protected by a wall composed of a force field whose power is provided by the Crystal . Whoever wears the royal ring, granted by the spirits of the past kings, will yield the power of the Crystal in order to maintain the protection of the wall. They are also granted magic powers that are used to provide even more protection to its people. Equipped with such magic from the king are the elite soldiers called the Kingsglaive.
When Niflheim offers an uneasy truce, if Lucis’ King Regis’ (Sean Bean) son will marry imperial captive Princess Lunafreya of Tenebrae (Lena Headey), who was taken from her family 12 years earlier, and surrender all lands outside of the protected city, then there will be peace. Of course, there are political calculations, deceit, magic, demons, and adventure. Can a Kingsglaive soldier named Nyx Ulric (Aaron Paul) protect Princess Lunafreya from the sinister plan being hatched through this uneasy union?
As per other Final Fantasy films, and games, this is all computer-generated film making using motion capture technology, coupled with strong voice talent to bring a unique stand-alone world to life. If you are like me and had no other experience in the world of Final Fantasy, then you will be OK here. Apparently each story in this Final Fantasy universe are stand-alone stories unto themselves and do not necessarily relate directly to any other story that came before it, or that might become after it. That’s great news if you are worried about jumping in a film labeled “Final Fantasy 15“.
When I was in elementary school, I’d love to watch someone playing to high levels on Donkey Kong or Pac-Man. Now you can do that on your 70″ screen, and surround sound, from the comfort of your own couch.
The video game is known for not really pushing for high scores and the like at a time when that was all the rage. It was one of the first to care more about character development and world building. Deaths in this game had to mean something, and didn’t just provide a means to keep playing as in other video games. This series apparently seeks to combine a lot of different cultural elements as a re-imagining of our own world. Kingsglaive is no different. You will see ancient building structures as well as modern ones. Feudal dress and mannerisms along with knights and Kings next to sports cars, highways, televisions, and the best modern warfare weaponry.
The film is basically just a jazzed up video game without you assuming control of one of the characters. Imagine if someone is playing a video game in another location and you have gathered to watch the story play out. When I was in elementary school, I’d love to watch someone playing to high levels on Donkey Kong or Pac-Man. Now you can do that on your 70″ screen, and surround sound, from the comfort of your own couch. Visually, Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV is striking for its medium, but doesn’t hold a candle to the stop motion Dolby Atmos system utilized in Kubo and the Two Strings which also opens today.
The story is on par with a video game plot, with fantastical world building that use names that might have come from a mixture of King Arthur’s Camelot and the heights of the Roman and Greek Empires. The script suffers a bit from corny dialogue, and even some borrowed dialogue from the original Ghostbusters ,(“there’s something you don’t see everyday”). While the story and dialogue leave one a bit wanting, there is plenty of action to take your mind off of the other issues.
Kingslaive: Final Fantasy XV is pushing video game graphics into new levels, some of which are really amazing, but it still continues to lag behind other similar mediums of CGI. The director of the film has worked in the Final Fantasy world for 17 years and will certainly have plenty of references to the games tucked all throughout the film for fans hoping for a great film experience in a world that looks like the ones they have known and loved in this series. For all of those new to this world, as I was, it will serve either as a good primer, or as a good example of what you’re not missing.