John J. Wald
December 5th 2001
Animation Workshop I
Animated Film Critique
After watching "Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within" on DVD, I can assuredly say that I was very impressed. This feature length animated story used the latest technology in modeling, design/creation of characters and sets, lighting, special effects and motion tracking, all for the purpose of creating a very new kind of narrative story. Based on the story line of the highly popular game "Final Fantasy" this movie involved the battle between a dying human race and the invading "phantoms" - energy beings that came from a meteor that crashed into the earth. Led by strong characters and sequences that conveyed real emotions, this visually spectacular production proved that done right, computer generated 3D animation and visual effects can compete with the narrative power of traditional filmmaking.
The sets in this production were quite impressive. Through the advantage of the DVD documentary, I got to hear the animators express how large scale of a production this was.
One supervising environment animator spent 2 years with his team on just 120 shots for the film. That is a lot of team meetings, meshing creativity, excruciating labor and countless hours of revisions to get every shot just right. The landscapes and city areas, as well as the space ships all looked impressively real, but not quite photo real. You could get the sense that by the coloring, animation, and lighting the producers were going for something fantastically realistic. It had to be real enough to make you buy into it, but in many ways it had to strive for imperfection in order to keep it from being boring. An example of this is that the luminosity settings on many of the objects is higher than if it were to...