Fantasy: The Spirits Within is a movie that look set to
redefine CGI. "I've always wanted to create a new form of
entertainment that fuses the technical wizardry of interactive
games with the sensational visual effects of motion pictures,"
said Hironobu Sakaguchi, who created the Final Fantasy
video game and directed the film. "The idea of Final Fantasy
came about several years ago when I thought of making a fully-CG
movie on the theme of the human spirit. In particular, I wanted
to tell the story of life and death using lifelike CG characters."
story of Final Fantasy takes place in 2065, shortly
after a meteor crash has brought an invasion of invisible
but deadly alien beings known as Phantoms. Aki and her colleague
Dr Sid are working against time to develop an organic solution
to the Phantom menace, while military strategist General Hein
lobbies for the use of the Zeus Cannon, a space mounted weapon
whose destructive potential may have unintended consequences.
and Sid are aided in their efforts by Captain Gray Edwards
and his elite command unit, known as The Deep Eyes, who help
the scientists gather life form specimens whose 'spirit signatures'
they believe can be combined into a wave of energy that will
defeat the Phantoms. Aki's quest is also a personal one, as
she has been infected by an alien spirit. While this infection
is normally fatal, Aki and Sid have managed to stop the spread
of the contagion. However, they know their improvised solution
will not last forever.
the launch of the Final Fantasy video game series in
1987, the animation and graphics in the game have become increasingly
sophisticated, with each release setting a new standard for
CG realism. "It's a natural progression to bring this style
of animation to a feature-length motion picture," said producer
Chris Lee. The research and development process for the film
began nearly four years ago, when production company Square
Pictures, began recruiting what would eventually amount to
more than 200 CGI artists and nearly 30 programmers from all
over the world to staff its production studio in Honolulu,
film stands as a testament to the overall vision of Sakaguchi
and the efforts of the many artists whose work has been seamlessly
incorporated into a whole. Although animated films have made
use of digital technologies for many years, either mixing
traditional cell and CG animation as in Titan AE, or
remaining entirely digital, as in A Bug's Life, Final
Fantasy is one of the first animated films to attempt
a realistic reproduction of complex human characters.
have created technology to expand the envelope of what is
possible for computer-generated human characters," said Lee.
"None of us is saying that we're making photo-real people.
But here, there's no disconnect between reality and the computer-generated
images. This is a chance to tell a great human story within
a completely different medium."