disclaimer: don't blame me if i reveal key plot details! you've been warned! don't read any further if you plan on seeing this movie!

when i saw the trailer for this movie a while back, i wasn't very excited to see it. sure, it adheres to one of my movie criteria, which is the inclusion of cgi. heck, you can't get more cgi than a movie entirely made through computer animation! although final fantasy wasn't high on my list, i was still curious to see it, if nothing else, just to witness how far cgi technology has progressed. will computer generated actors replace real actors?

  • so, will cgi actors replace real actors? run for your lives, run for your lives, the cgi's are coming, the cgi's are coming! no, of course not, or least not right now. from a technical standpoint, this is probably the best cgi movie i've seen that approaches real-life rendering, but it's still not at 100%. occasionally, there are snippets when you get a glimpse of when they (the computer animators) get it perfect, and for a brief second it starts getting scary, but that doesn't happen consistently. for example, all the character motions in the film were done through real motion actors. even so, sometimes the motion of the cgi actors are a little bit too perfect or too crisp. it's hard to explain, but reality is real because of its imperfection. cgi movies can only truly succeed and mimic live action films when it purposely adds imperfections to the cgi. and final fantasy does that, i'm not revealing anything new to these guys. but it's a little bit off. or maybe this elusive real life quality is unattainable.
  • aki, the main female character, the scientist infected by an alien that's been successfully suppressed yet lies still alive inside of her behind a special shield, she's voiced by ming-na wen. ming-na wen is one of my favorite asian-american actresses. there aren't that many, but she's one of my favorites. i loved her in single guy, and i was terribly upset when i learned that show was cancelled (there's always syndicated immortality though). anyway, i'm totally digressing, but what's the deal with her name change? why is she going with only her first name now? just ming-na. that's what it is in the credit. is she ashamed of her name? is she trying to be so sophisticated and cool that she only goes by her first name now? it bothers me. maybe i need to write her a letter asking her to change her name back to the way it was. maybe i just need to let the subject drop. i need another restraining order like i need another hole in the head!
  • grey, the main male lead, the soldier captain who's had a prior relationship with aki but they broke up, oh my god when he took off his helmet in the movie i swear he looked exactly like ben affleck! i was almost expecting to hear ben affleck's voice, but they opted with someone more masculine sounding. i couldn't quite place it, but when the final credits were rolling, i was surprised that it was alec baldwin doing the voice for grey.
  • is this a japanese made movie? it does seem to be a movie that would do very well in japan, and there are many japanese names attached to the crew of this film. for me it seems very catering to a japanese audience because the two heroes, aki (japanese name!) and grey, have a very hafu look: hafu japanese, hafu caucasian. if anyone's every been to japan, they'll know that japanese love hafus. they love stars like phoebe cates and keanu reeves. they look western, yet they also have a japanese look to them. likewise with the two main leads in final fantasy. coincidence? no way.
  • character development in the film is kind of basic. however, i didn't go see this movie because i wanted to see a good story. nobody had to tell me that the storyline would be weak. whenever any of the characters said anything cheesy, i just repeated this mantra to myself, it's a 3D movie but the characters are all 2D.
  • the aliens looked cool. they remind of those electron microscope photos of insects. they're even cooler in the movie though because they're transparent phantoms. i also thought it was really cool how the aliens attacked, by passing through people and pulling out their souls in the process.
  • if there's one thing i learned this summer, from films like evolution and final fantasy, it's DO NOT FIREBOMB THE ALIENS BECAUSE THEY WILL JUST COME BACK EVEN STRONGER! at least in this movie, unlike evolution, nobody had to crawl up a giant alien anus and deliver a poisonous enema. thank jesse!
  • as if to boast their own cgi prowess, aki's hair always seems to be fluttering in some invisible wind machine. "oh, look at us! we can do ultrarealistic hair effects! a million hairs individually rendered in painstaking details on our supercomputers! woohoo!" show-offs!
  • oh, this film also feels japanese because the big spewing monster in the end reminded me of the big spewing monster from akira. also, there's this natural world philosophy (living spirits, gaia, yadda yadda) that reminded me of princess mononoke and warriors of the wind (1984). other than that, i felt this was a pretty original movie. originally i had thought that it'd just be an aliens ripoff from the trailer, but it totally isn't.
  • OH! guess which two trailers i saw before the movie started? lord of the rings and spiderman! lord of the rings, eh, i'm not as excited about the movie as some people i know (i watched a flock of nerds crane their necks forward so they could more readily drink up every millisecond of the rings trailer. methinks some theatre seats were moistened). the only reason why i'd go see it is 1) all those lord of the rings battles i've been playing at game day, and 2) liv tyler. BUT spiderman! my heart was racing! MUST SEE MAY 2002! i'm already writing it down with a permanent marker on my calendar! spiderman swinging through the city did seem kind of fake (cgi fake), but i guess the logistics of making realistic spidey web swings is too daunting. or maybe sam raimi is no ang lee (oh no you didn't!).
  • i went to revere cinema to watch the movie, and i think this movie theatre could quite possibly rival fenway 13! concession stands? think concession plaza! the theatre rooms are really big too, and the seats tilt back and there's plush fabric on the seats and the armrests! there are also these animated lcd posters that display movie trailers, and widescreen flat plasma projection monitors mounted on the walls which play music videos (i saw an aerosmith and a corrs video). i bought two hot dogs and a small pepsi. i was hungry so the hot dogs tasted great, but the texture was a little rough (hard to break the skin, old dogs).
this is why you might want to see final fantasy. it's kind of stupid for me to write it down here after warning people who haven't seen it that they shouldn't read this review, but that's the kind of faulty logic i've been operating on for the past 27 years, and it's gotten me this far, so why mess with a tried and true system of organized confusion? ahem, continue: reasons why you might want to see final fantasy: 1) you're curious about how far we've advanced in cgi technology and you want to see a movie that uses cgi to attempt to mimic real life. this is no shrek, folks! keep your arms and legs inside the car, because although these cgi creations are not real, they do look real enough to bite and we don't want anybody losing an arm or a leg, do we? ahem, i digress, continue: 2) you like science fiction and want to see a pretty entertaining movie that'll have you talking afterwards. anyway, that's all the reasons i can think of. is this just a gimmick film? only time will tell. i heard it cost $110 million to make this movie, which to me seems like a lot, but i totally believe it after seeing the film and witnessing how much details went into its production. i hope this is the start of a trend for many more real-life-emulating cgi films in the near future.

some guys should never be allowed to live without some sort of female supervision. i suppose i'm guilty of stereotyping my own gender, but more often than not, guys' apartments are usually a battle zone compared to girls' apartments. that is the case with my friend alex wong! i haven't visited his malden apartment since helping him move some stuff late last year to his new place. back then, over six months ago, he didn't have a lot of stuff. now, he's had ample time to accumulate, so his entire apartment is just cluttered with things. books, videos, cd's, and then boxes and containers containing more books, videos, cd's. it's kind of scary because i think, if i lived on my own, will this happen to me as well? i like to think no, but my tendency as a guy is to never clean up and dirty up an apartment as quickly as possible. i guess we shall soon see.

there's still hope for alex though. i could still see the carpet. but if things don't improve, i predict in a few months nobody will know that his apartment has carpeting. and what does it mean when i feel this urge to help him clean? not that i like cleaning, but to see his place in such a sad and sorry state, it's almost like helping somebody out in an emergency. a house cleaning emergency! does this mean i'm anal retentive? but those who know me know that i thrive in cluttertopia. take my work area for example! right now it looks like somebody exploded a paper bomb and threw letter sized printouts everywhere!