Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within

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Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within is a 2001 Japanese-American computer animated science fiction film directed by Hironobu Sakaguchi, creator of the Final Fantasy series of role-playing games. It was the first photorealistic computer animated feature film. It features the voices of Ming-Na, Alec Baldwin, Donald Sutherland, James Woods, Ving Rhames, Peri Gilpin and Steve Buscemi. The Spirits Within follows scientists Aki Ross and Doctor Sid in their efforts to free a post-apocalyptic Earth from a mysterious and deadly alien race known as the Phantoms, which has driven the remnants of humanity into "barrier cities". They must compete against General Hein, who wishes to use more violent means to end the conflict.

Square Pictures rendered the film using some of the most advanced processing capabilities available for film animating at the time. A render farm consisting of 960 workstations was tasked with rendering each of the film's almost 141,964 frames. It took a staff of 200 some four years to complete the film. Square intended to make the character of Aki Ross into the world's first photorealistic computer-animated actress, with plans for appearances in multiple films in different roles.

The Spirits Within debuted to mixed critical reception, but was widely praised for the realism of the computer-animated characters. Due to rising costs, the film greatly exceeded its original budget towards the end of production, reaching a final cost of US$137 million, of which it made back only $85 million at the box office. The film is blamed for the demise of Square Pictures,[1] and has been called a box office bomb.[2]

Contents

Plot

In the year 2065, a future Earth is infested by Phantoms: alien life forms capable of killing humans by physical contact. The remaining humans living in "barrier cities" all over the world are engaged in an ongoing struggle to free the planet. After being infected by a Phantom during one of her experiments, Aki Ross (Ming-Na) and her mentor, Dr. Sid (Donald Sutherland), uncover a means of defeating the Phantoms by gathering eight spirit signatures that, when joined, can negate the Phantoms. Aki is searching for the sixth spirit in the ruins of New York City when she is cornered by Phantoms but is rescued by Gray Edwards (Alec Baldwin) and his squad "Deep Eyes", consisting of Ryan Whittaker (Ving Rhames), Neil Fleming (Steve Buscemi) and Jane Proudfoot (Peri Gilpin). It is revealed that Gray was once romantically involved with Aki.

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