Is it live or is it...computer animation? The line between a film composed of real people and one made up entirely of computer generated actors officially begins to blur with the release of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. As you watch this fascinating movie, you can tell that what you are seeing on the screen is entirely electronically produced...but just barely. It is some of the most convincing computer animation to date.
The story is fairly pedestrian science fiction, with the earth being attacked once again by alien beings intent upon taking over. Unfortunately, this is one of the movie's major downfalls. The other is that, while the film's otherworldly look is wonderful, the characters are particularly expressionless. The faces don't transmit any emotion and don't pull us in to relate to them. You are left with a fairly bland attitude about the whole film once it is over.
Still, see this movie for the fun of it. You'll be able to say that you saw the movie that started us on the road to "live-action" feature films that have no real actors on the screen. If you think about the importance of this fact, you'll see that it could change the state of movies as we know them in the not too distant future. Will actors need stunt doubles for dangerous shots in the future? With inventive sound work, some of the best actors in film history could return in feature-length films years after dying.
For more about Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, go to the movie's web site at http://www.finalfantasy.com/ . See the movie during its initial weeks of release and you'll be treated to the first official trailer for the upcoming Spider-Man feature film from Sony pictures, containing the first footage of the Marvel Comics super-hero in action. It's exciting stuff.