Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
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Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within is a 2001 computer animated feature film of the Final Fantasy franchise. Produced by Columbia Pictures and Squaresoft under the subsidiary Square Pictures and distributed by Sony Pictures, the film was the first to use photo-realistic visuals and was the most expensive video game inspired film on release. Despite a mixed to positive reception, the film was a box office bomb that led to the demise of Square Pictures and nearly destroyed Square.
On a dystopian Earth of the middle 21st century, alien life forms known simply as "Phantoms" have descended from one of the Leonid meteors. From the impact crater they created, the aliens ravaged the Earth and destroyed most of its flora and fauna, including humans, by consuming their Gaia (spirit energy). Those humans that survived the relentless onslaught of these ethereal abominations erected Barrier Cities in many of the world's former population centers to keep the menace at bay. Dr. Sid, a prominent researcher in the field of bio-etherics, developed the technology that currently protects humanity from the Phantom scourge.
While on a routine investigation, Dr. Aki Ross, a scientist, became infected with Phantom DNA and now searches desperately for a cure. According to a theory proposed by Dr. Sid, bio-etheric energy of equal and opposite waveforms will cancel each other out. Ross must create a bio-etheric wave from eight specific samples of extant flora and fauna if she is to survive. The film opens with Ross experiencing as-yet-unknown visions of the world to come, just before she is to leave with the military's Deep Eyes squad to protect her as she hunts down the creatures to fill in her wave. She tracks the sixth spirit to a desolate area of Old New York City, where she is able to acquire it before Phantoms attack. Gray Edwards, the commander of the Deep Eyes, manages to rescue Ross and bring her back inside the Barrier City.
Some time later, Ross and Sid go before a government conference to present the wave theory they believe will neutralize the Phantoms, where they are met by General Douglas Hein, a veteran of the initial conflict with the Phantoms who has grown weary of the endless struggle. He intends to use the Zeus Cannon, a spaceborne superweapon, to fire directly at the impact site and destroy the Phantoms, but is denied when the conference learns that the weapon will only aggravate the Phantoms rather than kill them, while also injuring the spirit of Earth itself.
Ross collapses at the conference while revealing that she is infected with the Phantom DNA, forcing Sid to revive her with the seventh Earth spirit. While she was unconscious, however, another vision came to her of the aliens and their possible purpose on Earth. The meteors that landed contain the Phantom Gaia, which can only be dispelled by the energy of Dr. Sid's wave. Hein tries to make his case once more, this time casting doubt on Ross as Hein believes her to be corrupted by the Phantoms. He receives authorization to fire the Cannon when he hatches a plot to allow the Phantoms through one of the barrier cities. Though his original intent was to let a few in and merely spook the conference, the Phantoms run amok and force Ross and the Deep Eyes to fight them. Unfortunately, the souls of all but two are destroyed in battle.
Dr. Sid locates the eighth Earth spirit within the meteor crash site and lowers Ross and her onetime lover Edwards in a cablecraft to retrieve it, but as they approach, Hein's relentless laser fire vaporizes the Earth spirit and agitates a number of Phantoms in its wake. Hein continues firing, but the Zeus Cannon soon overloads, destroying the space base and Hein with it. As all hope seems lost, however, Edwards and one of the Phantoms sacrifice themselves to become a new eighth spirit and finish the Earth wave, canceling the Phantoms for good.
As souls dissipate into the heavens, Ross and Sid hold Edwards' lifeless body, looking toward a future now at peace.
- Wen Ming-Na as Dr. Aki Ross
- Donald Sutherland as Dr. Sid
- Alec Baldwin as Capt. Gray Edwards
- Peri Gilpin as Cpl. Jane Proudfoot
- Ving Rhames as MSgt. Ryan Whittaker
- Steve Buscemi as Neil Fleming
- James Woods as Gen. Douglas Hein