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Just More Of The Same Thing

by Ersatz Sobriquet

Warning: Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within Spoilers

As Aki stands on some kind of transport device holding the lifeless Grey, we see a bird shown earlier fly off into the beaming sun, ready to explore all the newness the "cleansed" Earth now exhibits. And as the credits began to roll with the theme song for the movie being played, off to my side, I could hear a woman sniff, still lingering in the beautiful moment that was just displayed. After a considerable amount of credits continued to roll, I looked at my friend as he said, "My, that was just like playing the game."

And it was true. There were so many places and scenes that seemed like they were taken straight from Final Fantasy VI, VII and VIII. Now, this isn't so much as a rebuttal to Moux Cow Petau's editorial as it is a side comment. I feel that this movie was more closely related to the Final Fantasy series than most people think.

First off, aside from the obvious inclusion of Doctor Sid (his name is spelled with an S in this movie, right?) we had the whole planet/energy theme running rampant throughout the movie. In Final Fantasy VII, the whole game was all about the Lifestream, which was supposed to be the planet's life or energy. And supposedly, everyone had this energy within themselves as well. The same thing was evident in Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. Dr. Sid had constructed a theory about Gaia, how it has its own energy and how everyone has this energy within them. They also used the theme that we are continuing to injure the planet by our careless actions.

The second similarity I found was the whole army theme. Ever since Final Fantasy VI, there has always been an army in the game's series with central importance to the story. This movie was no different. In Final Fantasy VI, Kefka was controlling the army to do his evil bidding. In Final Fantasy VII, Shinra was basically the police of that world. In Final Fantasy VIII, we had SeeD. In Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, General Hein was using the army to fulfil his ultimate goal, which was to kill the spirits.

General Hein himself was an evil doppleganger of Seifer. Aki was the typical girl hero that is found in every Final Fantasy game. The only thing different about her is that they didn't label her as a princess, which I was thankful about. And also, they didn't nonchalantly throw in magic just because, like they did in Final Fantasy VIII. Gray was simply a staple hero, and the other three soldiers were just fills.

How else is this movie like the Final Fantasy series? There is the confusion and constant torment the main character constantly underwent. In Final Fantasy VI, Cyan was going crazy over the death of his wife and his son. Cloud in Final Fantasy VII continued to go crazy, not knowing why he was having the thoughts he was having. In Final Fantasy VIII, Squall continued to have the negative thoughts about his past childhood that he claimed, made him the way he was. And in Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, Aki continued to have the confusing, sometimes stress-filled dreams.

Aki was also infected with a spirit and fell sick. This is the same thing that happened to Terra in Final Fantasy when she was undergoing her first transformation. She became deathly ill and the party had to go out and find a cure for her. When Aki became sick, they went searching for the last two spirits even quicker than before.

There were more instances which truly showed that this was more of the same ol' thing. The only difference is that Square finally decided to just produce this as a movie instead of making it out to be a game.

Of course, as in the tradition of Final Fantasy, there were a few discrepancies in this movie. The whole concept of how the spirits even got to earth was absurd. The fact the spirits were attacking everyone in the first place (just why WERE they attacking anyone, ANYWAY?) How the spirits escaped out of Section 32 (was it 32?) and a few more details simply nag a person.

All in all, though, Square did two things with this movie that is a delight to most RPG fans. Despite the rumors of cringing to the general public's standards, they still kept the story high and moving, everything that an RPG fan could want. They also continued to give Final Fantasy a good name.

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