I always struggle to take computer generated movies seriously. Sure, the voice acting is almost always on point, but I find it difficult to find any emotional connection with the characters.

That in itself is an odd thing for me to say seeing as I’m an avid gamer that preaches about the importance of emotion and storytelling in games. But then, I suppose you’re playing through that story rather than simply watching it play out.

Having watched Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, there are no hallmarks that make it a bad movie. However, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I hoped and that has to be attributed to it being a computer animation.

When you’re watching a live action movie, it’s not just the words that hold stock. It’s the facial expressions, the displays of emotion and even just the fact that you’re watching real people. All of those things drag you into the story whereas that isn’t a luxury computer animation can provide you.

Instead, the only things that can really bring you into the fold are the words and the storyline and sometimes that isn’t enough. That’s certainly the case with The Spirits Within.

The Spirits Within is basically a computer generated Princess Mononke. Misunderstood spirits, misunderstanding humans, a beautiful ending. These themes run through the core of both movies but they’re just not landed as well in The Final Fantasy version.

The story simply didn’t grip me. It wasn’t difficult to follow by any stretch of the imagination but it just felt as if nothing really happened. That’s a massive shame considering the opening was so strong. The scenes leading up to and including Aki’s rescue really set things up wonderfully but once they were back at the Barrier City, things seriously stagnated.

What could have been a great philosophical action movie was bogged down in politics and attempts at character development that can’t really work in something that’s computer generated.

Sometimes, the visuals themselves can form the character development and that’s something that really worked well. The bad guy wore a long, black, leather coat. The council were all relatively older and easily swayed to a course of action we know isn’t right. Our heroes were run of the mill, normal people that you can relate to. And yes, there’s romance.

If you’ve seen Alec Baldwin’s BT Mobile adverts, you’ll find yourself chuckling at certain points. His ‘dramatic delivery’ is there almost every time he speaks and whilst it definitely works in the movie, it’s still funny. So thanks for that, BT.

When I think about what I just watched, I don’t remember an awful movie. It’s kind of like, if you cook a chilli and whilst it’s cooking, you have a little taste. Sure, it tastes alright but it’s not the best chilli you’ve ever made. There’s something missing. Is it a bit of tang that it needs? A bit of heat maybe? That’s the feeling I have with The Spirits Within. It just needs a little more tang.

3* - I watched this movie because my bus…was late.

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