The Japanese Film Festival for this year opened with an anime from the wildly popular Final Fantasy series. No, not that atrocity from the USA which premiered almost 5 years ago - the US somehow likes to remake Asian movies, but adds its own 2 cents worth to classics until they become almost unrecognizable, apart from its name. Take Godzilla for instance, that US Godzilla is NOT Godzilla. Doesn't look, move, or act like the big lizard.
If I recall correctly, this movie was recently released on DVD here, and follows the events after those that transpired from the computer game. Back during school days, I had many classmates spending their time with the games and having a field day discussing tactics. My limited knowledge of the game and characters, was just on the lead character Cloud, with his HUGE sword like weapon, which can be combined and combined some more to increase its size and functionality.
Given its heavy and rich history, watching this movie without any prior knowledge will leave you with two options - be totally confused about the plot as it contains plenty of references that cannot be covered in under two hours, or forget about those and concentrate on what is currently the present, and to admire the aesthetics of the graphics.
In a nutshell, the plot contained elements like strange viruses, the recluse hero, a multi-national corporation plundering earth for its minerals to generate power, and those who are against some environmentally unfriendly ways to make profits, super soldiers and their search for a mystical "mother", and moments which parallel Harry Potter and sequences involving his Voldermort. While the opening credits allowed you to enjoy the excellent songs featured in the soundtrack, and endless showing off of Cloud and his custom built bike, credit must be given to attempts to bring an audience up to speed with a quick summary of what had transpired in the games.
So if you don't get it, don't fret, you can click on this link, which will arm you with the necessary background knowledge to enjoy this movie, the only one with a repeat screening, scheduled for this coming Tuesday night.
Despite its slow introduction and confusing plot, you might opt for the second way to appreciate the movie, and that's the graphics. I will not quibble, they are beautifully rendered. Character movement is extremely fluid, and there are enough moments during battles which are filled with tension, and things kept open ended most times in deciding who will turn out victorious. However, although the action is slick, they are too fast, and if you should blink, you'll probably miss the combo executions that the characters inflict on each other. To slow it down would mean the forgoing of pace, but to keep it as it is, well, depends on your mind's ability to decode images seen by the eye in record time.
Keeping to the theme of friendship, this movie has its share of chest-thumping moments were camaraderie comes alive. However, I would still go for the fact that only true-blue fans will come to enjoy this movie, as primarily, this is made for them.