I’ve seen the future, folks, and it’s not pretty. If the world described in the movie “Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within” is what humans have to look forward to, then we’ve got a big problem.
In the year 2056, the Earth is almost completely leveled, save for a couple of areas — New York City and Tucson being two — where humans can safely live without the threat of alien danger.
In these barrier cities, humans live only to dream of how the world once was and to periodically venture out into what is left — a wasteland where life once thrived.
A giant meteorite is the culprit, which also brought translucent phantoms that come in all shapes and sizes.
This is the setting for the visually stunning motion picture. It’s animated, and the people and scenes are too realistic.
If not for the discrepancy between the characters’ mouth movements and their speech, one could easily forget that.
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Dr. Aki Ross, voiced by Ming-Na, and Dr. Sid, voiced by Donald Sutherland, are two scientists on a quest to find the eight spirits that will help rid the Earth of the presence of the phantoms and restore the spirit and life of the Earth.
The phantoms, of course, make it tough on them, as does the evil General Hein, voiced by James Woods. He does not believe that the Earth has a spirit and would just as soon quit pussyfooting around and blast the aliens with a powerful laser.
But Ross and Doctor Sid know that the laser has the potential to destroy the planet, along with the pesky aliens.
The question is, as it is with most sci-fi plots, can they save the earth in time?
While the storyline is similar to other science fiction movies, the real story is how animators created the stark world to give the viewer a rather troubling depiction of our future.
In one scene, Ross is in a dream world — a Dali-esque diorama of craggy rocks and wasted trees that she visits every time she sleeps. In another, she tours what’s left of Times Square, where cars and taxicabs are seemingly frozen in time.
The movie is being billed as the Hollywood event of the summer and “Final Fantasy” game creator Hironobu Sakaguchi certainly has taken computer graphic technology to a different level.
While we may not have an Oscar winner on our hands, the movie is a refreshing change from the teeny-bopper movies that are flooding the market these days.