Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
There's one tiny appealing aspect to this computer-animated film, which is discovered using the following mathematical formula: if A=B and B=C, then A=C. The computer-generated characters look very, very human and suggest that one day, computer-generated characters might, in fact, be able to replace real actors in films. Alec Baldwin voices one of the characters, Captain Grey. Therefore, computers are very close to replacing Alec Baldwin. Furthermore, because Baldwin is the pinnacle of Baldwin acting, computers are closing in on replacing all the Baldwin brothers with computer-generated characters. Hallelujah!
That being said, the filmmakers make a horrible mistake in not casting other bad actors as voices for the computer-generated characters. Ming-Na voices Aki, the woman in search of the eight spirits that might help save Earth from ghostly invaders in the very near future. Obviously, this voice should have been done by Melanie Griffith, after feeding her a wheelbarrow full of pain killers. Aki's mentor, Dr. Sid, the one who actually comes up with the "Gaia as spirit" theory, is voiced by Donald Sutherland. I would have gone with Charlton Heston. The evil General Hein, who opposes them, is voiced by James Woods. I would have gone with Woody Allen or, what the hell, Dr. Laura. Now, imagine sitting in the theater basking in the sheer bliss of knowing that it won't be long before each of these wastes of flesh was about to be replaced by a computer simulation. Pure joy!
Unfortunately, nobody who made this film was that smart. Frankly, the fact that the voices are at all recognizable detracts from the film entirely, since the characters come onscreen and I instantly thought, "Hey, that's Ving Rhames (who voices a soldier, Ryan)!" or "Hey, that's Steve Buscemi (another soldier, Neil)!" And, of course, since Steve Buscemi is Steve Buscemi, his character is excellent at the verbal banter. But all I could picture was... Steve Buscemi.
I doubt that James Lovelock (the originator of the "Gaia" theory) imagined his philosophy would be turned into a blue liquid at the center of the Earth and a bunch of flying spirits that look like rejects from the "Aliens" storyboards. This movie is part "Starship Troopers" part Julia Butterfly-Hill sermon. When it was finally over, I felt like I had been given the lecture about how I should jump into a hemp outfit and rush out to buy an electric car, lest the Earth rise up and jam its proverbial thumb up my ass.
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