Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV (2016)

As Dr. Dinosaur would say,

Crystals!

Somehow it is hard to define where to file this one:  It starts with flying vehicles battling each other, robot war machines – and, of course, that giant crystal from which the Lucian’s draw the magical power they use to defend the city against the onslaught.  And don’t forget that the Imperial army they’re fighting has weapons based on Magitech!

Meanwhile, the world this is taking place in has a lot of very familiar elements in it, as if it is our world gone slightly astray, complete with Audi sportscars and other obvious product placements.

Of course, the Final Fantasy games have always had magic in a central role – and many of them have combined SF elements to one degree or another.  Even their first movie, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, while often seen by fans of the series as being magic-free, invokes a supposedly scientific “bio-etheric energy” to power its Phantom hunting weapons (but we all know it’s just magic with a fancier name, right?).

I should note that this film is visually stunning.  At times it is almost hard to believe that what we are watching is CGI, not real.  Certainly the lighting, the detail and the textures all represent a serious investment of time and effort.

The film’s sense of design is noteworthy as well, with each location in the story clearly defined visually by color palettes and architectural aesthetics.

The action is well staged, and the characters and basic plot are interesting.  Unfortunately – as in Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (or, frankly, somewhat more so) – it overstays its welcome a bit, with far too many climaxes at the end.  Admittedly, this is far too common in videogame movies as the games tend to be very episodic and driven by the need to frame exciting action sequences.

I found the ending somewhat unsatisfactory as it finishes on a decided low note and leaves most of the plot’s threads unresolved.  It came as no real surprise to me to learn that it is more or less an hour and forty minute promo for the new online game, which merely sets up the situation for future online gaming.  Even a simple question – like whether one of the major characters actually dies – may not be resolved for a very long time, perhaps even years.

It’s not as good as their first film, although it is far better than their second, Final Fantasy VII:  Advent Children, which had the impossible task of somehow shoehorning all of the fan favorite elements of an existing game into the film (and started feeling long somewhere before the halfway mark).

Ultimately, Kingsglaive is entertaining, even exciting at times, but, sadly, won’t leave much of an impression behind.

But I suppose that is too much to expect, anyway.

 

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