Phallic fantasy flick fully fails

“Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within” hit movie screens across the country last Wednesday with a certain amount of expectation and anticipation. The buzz being buzzed was all about the new graphics provided by the hottest SGI (Silicon graphic ink) machines around. Graphics to die for. Graphics that could bless the Pope. And the graphics, the albatross around the neck of the rumored $140 million production costs of the movie, are nothing less than superb, magnificent and incredible. But, at that price tag, who the hell wouldn’t expect them to be? Unfortunately, though, the best part of the movie is the glorious eye candy.

Go and simply watch Final Fantasy, but plug your ears anytime one of the characters speaks, so you won’t have to listen to the likes of Alec Baldwin, Peri Gilpin (Roz from Fraser), James Woods and the rest of the all-star voices ranting and raving. Do it mostly so you won’t have to listen to them extrapolate about the spiritual ramifications of the “Gaia theory,” “angry alien souls” and the phallic power of the “Zeus cannon.” Mr. Hironobu Sakaguchi, the film’s producer and director, went way overboard with the amount of inane, unnecessary and overtly complicated exposition. Besides, who really goes to movies like “Final Fantasy” to be subjected to what amounts to nothing less than a bad, very bad, Depak Chopra lecture?

Basically, the plot goes something like this . . . it is the year 2065 and the earth has been overrun by aliens which feed on the spirits of living creatures. The aliens are actually the angry, sinister ghosts from a planet destroyed during a war. The comet they arrived on is what’s left of their planet, and it contains their planet’s “gaia” or soul. Needless to say its soul has soured during the exposure to galactic space and is simply just pissed off about everything. This is where the babe of a scientist, Aki Ross, enters, attempting to destroy the alien by collecting “life forces” to create an identical wave pattern of the alien entity which will… blah… blah… blah… blah… blah. Who really cares? Just blow something up, shoot some aliens and get on with it, ya know?

And, worse than the plot, is the obvious and trite symbols of male vs. female, West vs. East, love vs. evil, portrayed by the huge space phallus of the “Zeus cannon” and the Earth’s gaia spirit infected by the cankerous comet.

Perhaps in time fantasy movies will be linked to social, spiritual and intellectual movements, but for now “Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within” is in another galaxy, a galaxy of graphics, graphics, graphics.