Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within

posted by rkumar
D
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Profanity:Brief mild language
Nudity/Sex:None
Alcohol/Drugs:None
Violence/Scariness:Scary monsters, major characters in peril, many killed
Diversity Issues:Inter-racial characters with mutual trust and respect, strong black and female characters
Movie Release Date:2001

In “A.I.” we had a real boy, Haley Joel Osment, playing a robot. In this movie, we have computer animated figures playing real people. This is the first computer-animated movie to “star” actors. Instead of giving us glossy surfaced-toys or imaginary ogres, this movie gives us human characters, with pores in their skin and beard stubble, and they are so real that at moments you can forget that they are made up of pixels and not DNA.

Those are usually moments when they are not talking or expressing emotion. The movie’s effects work best when the “actors” are moving, because their movements are based on that oldest of animation techniques, rotoscoping (real actors act out all the movements for the animators). The characters’ movements do not interact with their environments very much, but since this is science fiction and they are sometimes weightless anyway, it is not as much of a distraction as it could have been.

They do less well when it comes to talking and, well, acting. While leading lady Dr. Aki (voice of Ming-Na) may have more facial expressions than some real-life actors (Monica Potter, for example), the very realism of the features underscores the disparity between computer animation and real life. In more standard animation, the conventions allow for a level of exaggeration and omission that allows us to project human-like reactions onto a character like Buzz Lightyear or Simba. But when we see something with so little difference from humans, it just makes clearer how important that difference is. Movie fans might also find it distracting to hear such instantly recognizable voices (James Woods, Ving Rhames, Peri Gilpin, Alec Baldwin, Steve Buscemi, Donald Sutherland) coming from faces so incongruously different from our associations. The dog Baldwin voiced in “Cats and Dogs” seemed more suited to him than this Ben Affleck-clone of a leading man.

Still, the technology is stunning. The monsters are extraordinary creations, somewhere between dinosaurs, dragons, jellyfish, and squid. A scene with a soaring eagle is breathtaking, genuinely touching. The post apocalyptic-settings are complex and believable. The dialogue is passable, delivered with panache by first-rate talent (Buscemi, as always, is a highlight). The problem is the script, which reads like a Pokemon reject, confusing gibberish about the earth’s spirit that does not do justice to the beliefs of environmentalists or pantheists.

Parents should know that the movie includes brief strong language and extreme prolonged peril, with the violent death of many major characters.

Families who see the movie should talk about whether the vision of the future it portrays could possibly become reality, and about how the discoveries of important scientists have been considered heretical. They may want to talk about the motivation of the General. Was he just acting out of rage at the loss of his family?

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy the Star Wars – Episode IV, A New Hope… trilogy and might like to see the first major studio science fiction movie, Forbidden Planet to compare the technology and the ideas of that era with ours.



Previous Posts

23 Blast
23 Blast is the name of a football play, and "23 Blast" is based on the real story of Travis Freeman, a high school football star who lost his sight, but, with the help of a courageous coach and committed teammates, was able to keep playing. The real hero of the movie is the coach, played by "Ava

posted 3:57:18pm Oct. 23, 2014 | read full post »

Trailer: Little Hope Was Harson, Story of Church Burnings
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/EYk-EU9Ydyw?rel=0" frameborder="0"] Available in select theaters and nationwide VOD beginning Nov 21! For more info, please visit: http://littlehopewasarson.com. January 2010: In the buckle of the Bible Belt, 10 churches burn to

posted 1:00:10pm Oct. 23, 2014 | read full post »

Trailer: The Avengers: Age of Ultron
[iframe src="http://www.movieweb.com/v/VI0Fjch2c6ld24/embed_video" width="400" height="225" frameborder="0"] I'm very excited about the next Avengers movie, coming out next spring, and it's a great trailer with the bleak images, random ballerinas, and creepy re-do of the classic song from "Pinocc

posted 8:38:38am Oct. 23, 2014 | read full post »

Interviews: "Art and Craft's" Sam Cullman and Jennifer Grausman
The documentary "Art and Craft" is the extraordinary story of two men.  One is Mark Landis, an artist who created counterfeit paintings and then disguised himself as various philanthropist perso

posted 8:00:06am Oct. 23, 2014 | read full post »

Is This the End of Television?
Last week both cable giant HBO and broadcast giant CBS made announcements that signal the end of television as we know it.  Both responded to the clear message of the market and said that they would make their content available in the form and via the delivery system consumers prefer -- the interne

posted 3:24:08pm Oct. 22, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.