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Final Fantasy The Spirits Within


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Final Fantasy The Spirits Within (Movies)
Final Fantasy The Spirits Within (Movies)
Final Fantasy The Spirits Within (Movies)
Final Fantasy The Spirits Within (Movies)
Final Fantasy The Spirits Within (Movies)
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Information about Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within is a computer animated science fiction movie by Hironobu Sakaguchi, the creator of the Final Fantasy series of role-playing games. It was released on Jul. 11, 2001 (19 years ago), in the United States by Columbia Pictures.

Although bearing the title Final Fantasy, the movie shares few aspects with the original Final Fantasy video games, establishing itself as a stand-alone movie instead. The story follows scientists Aki Ross and Doctor Sid in their efforts to free Earth from a mysterious and deadly alien race known as the Phantoms, which has driven surviving humanity into "barrier cities". They must compete against General Hein, who wishes to attack the aliens with the Zeus space cannon to end the conflict.

The movie received mixed reviews and was a box office bomb. The movie was the first attempt to make a photorealistic rendered 3D feature film.


Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within is set on an alien-infested Earth in the year 2065. The remaining humans live in "barrier cities" all over the world and attempt to free their planet from the Phantoms, an alien race. The only hope for the planet comes from the scientist Aki Ross and her mentor, Dr. Sid, who have a plan to destroy the Phantoms without damaging the planet, but a general named Hein is determined to use the Zeus space cannon to destroy the Phantoms—even if it means destroying the Earth in the process.

While the movie does carry the name Final Fantasy, it is only vaguely thematically related to Square Co.'s popular Final Fantasy series of games - It is worth noting that this follows the traditions of the game series, as each numerical entry features an entirely different cast and setting, with only thematic elements and the 'Final Fantasy' branding connecting the titles. However, Dr. Sid's Gaia Theory, relating to a lifeforce within the planet to which spirits belong, is highly reminiscent of the Lifestream/Mako in Final Fantasy VII. The plot, characters, and storyline were all created specifically for the movie although the character of Dr. Sid does continue the games' tradition of having a character named Cid appear in most Final Fantasy games, despite the Doctor's name being spelled with an untraditional "S".

The movie has and had several pacifist themes, as well as a general pro-environment attitude. Since the phantoms are the end result of an alien war in which the combatants literally tore their planet apart, they represent the unsettling self-destructiveness of endless warfare on an entire ecosystem and not just the inhabitants. Similarly, military solutions in the movie tend to be futile or only temporarily effective—often exacerbating the situations until a non-violent, spiritual alternative is discovered.


In the distant future an asteriod colided with Earth. The asteriod brought with it strange, ghost-like alien beings called Phantoms, ranging from vaguely humaniod to monsterously huge. These Phantoms conquered much of the Earth, as weaponary is ineffective against them and contact with a living being cause the being's soul to be removed, killing them. Worse, pieces of Phantoms can infect humans from the inside like germs.

Aki Ross and Doctor Sid begin searching for the eight life forms who possess spirits capable of defeating the Phantoms, though the details are not explained in full. The are also experimenting in ways to trap Phantom infection in humans, with Aki successful traping a Phantom inside her. The Phantom has begun giving Aki strange dreams of war. Searching for the Sixth Spirit in the ruins of Old New York, Aki is cornered by Phantoms. She is saved by the Deep Eyes squad who help her find the Spirit: a small weed. As she is brought to New New York, the captain of the squad is revealed to be Aki's ex Captain Gray Edwards.

When they return, Aki and Sid appear before the Council to discuss their findings and to object to General Hein's plan to destroy the astoriod crash site with the Zeus satilite cannnon, destroying a great number of Phantoms. Sid, a believer of the Gaia Theory which has gained strength due to the Phantoms proving all beings have souls, believes the cannon may injure the Earth itself and the Earth's spirit. Klein remains skeptical of the Gaia and demands action, but the Council refuses.

Hein, convinced the Phantom infection is controling Aki, has two men loyal to him placed with her as she and Deep Eyes squad travel to find the Seventh Spirit, which they find in a battlefield. The Spirit is found to be a micro-organism in one of the corpse's energy pack, but the group are attacked by Phantoms. As they escape, Hein's men, believing Aki's Phantom attraced them, order her arrest. As one is killed by a Phantom, Gray munities and kills the other, with Aki's chestplate being accidently damaged, while Aki becomes lost in another Phantom dream.

Convinced of the treachery of both doctors, Klein and his men gain access to Dr. Ross' dream recorder, and viewing the playback- see the images (wallpaper) of the aliens. He then uses those images (wallpaper) as a pretense to arrest not only Dr. Ross, but also the Deep Eyes squad, when made aware of the fact that they haven't arrested the doctor yet. After returning to the city, the Deep Eyes squad take Dr. Ross to Dr. Sid, who begins performing a procedure to repair her chestplate. Gray volunteers to join in Aki's dream to keep her alive. Inside her dream, Gray and Aki witness the complete dream, which makes clear the Phantoms past. The humanoid Phantoms fought a great war with each other that resulted in the destruction of their entire planet. The asteroid was a piece of their planet which the aliens traveled on, landing on Earth by accident. Not surviving the journey, the alien's ghosts awoke to rage and confusion, mistaking humans for invading interlopers. As Aki wakes, soldiers barge into the operating room and arrest everyone inside under the orders of the general.

General Hein is now desperate to gain clearance to fire the Zeus Cannon. He tells the operators of New York's barrier to lower the shields in a section of the city. Hein's plan is to sacrifice a small part of the population in order to convince the Council that the Phantoms can breach the shields, allowing him to take necessary steps. His plan backfires, as the Phantoms are able to use plasma conduits to travel through the rest of the city (under the assumption that Phantoms are living creatures, Hein believes it impossible for them to do this). Aki and the others are in a detention facility, with her explaining what happened to the aliens. The aliens were fighting a massive battle with one another, when one side detonated a weapon that destroyed their world. As their planet fractured, a large portion of it was thrown into space. When it crashed on Earth, the aliens didn't realize they were already dead (revealing that the Phantoms are ghosts), and have been attacking the cities and humans out of anger and confusion. Gray and the Deep Eye's don't really believe this, but they can't explain it any other way. Since Gray himself saw what happened through Aki's dreams, he's inclined to believe it- even if it does sound far fetched. The dentention center loses power because of the aliens attack throughout the city. As they flee the city, every member of the Deep Eyes Squad dies, until only doctors Sid and Ross, plus Gray- are left to flee using Ross' ship, Black Boa. Subsequently, Hein fled to his own personal shuttle and was about to commit suicide when he decides instead to proceed to the Zeus station. There, he receives a transmission from the Council, giving him authorization to fire the cannon in an attempt to destroy the phantoms at their heart in the Phantom crater.

Aki and Dr. Sid devise a plan to locate the 8th spirit by lowering Aki and Gray into the crater inside a bio-etheric shield vehicle. The pair locate the 8th spirit, a phantom, when an energy beam from the Zeus station crashes into the crater, seemingly killing the Phantoms on the surface, including the 8th spirit. The beam leaves the vehicle shieldless and exposed to the Phantoms (which were only made stronger by the attack beam), which are now spreading to cover the crater in response to the attack. Gray leaves the vehicle to protect Aki from the Phantoms.

Meanwhile, Aki has her final vision in which a Phantom tells her that the spirit within her is in fact the new 8th spirit. When Aki wakes up, she calls Gray in to use his OVO pack battery to project the completed wave pattern of the eight spirits. As the projection begins, another Zeus beam penetrates the atmosphere, completely obliterating the bio-etheric shield vehicle, and triggering a massive reaction from the Phantom world's spirit, which resides in the crater. This attack, however, overloads and destroys the Zeus cannon, killing General Hein.

With the vehicle destroyed, Gray sacrifices his own life to distribute Aki's wave, using his body to transmit it directly to the Phantom world spirit. The Phantoms all turn into bright floating orbs which return to space, and the end scene is of Aki holding Gray's body and looking into the newly liberated world.

Voice cast

  • Aki Ross by Ming-Na
  • Doctor Sid by Donald Sutherland
  • General Hein by James Woods
  • Gray Edwards by Alec Baldwin
  • Ryan Whittaker by Ving Rhames
  • Neil Fleming by Steve Buscemi
  • Jane Proudfoot by Peri Gilpin
  • Major Elliot by Matt McKenzie
  • Council Member 1 by Keith David
  • Council Member 2 by Jean Simmons
  • BCR Soldier/Space Station Technician by John DeMita
  • BFW Soldier by John Di Maggio
  • Space Station Technician by Alex Fernandez
  • Space Station Technician by David Rasner
  • Space Station Technician by Dwight Schultz
  • Little Girl/The Fifth Spirit by Annie Wu


Square accumulated four SGI Origin 2000 (20 years ago) series servers, four Onyx2 systems, and 167 Octane workstations. The basic movie was rendered at a home-made render farm which consisted of 960 Pentium III-933MHz workstations. The render farm was made by Square pictures (wallpaper) located in Hawaii. The movie had cost overruns during the end of production.

Prior to the film's release, Square had indicated plans for the Aki Ross "synthetic actress" to appear in other films, possibly even interacting with live actors. A sample of what this might have looked like can be seen on the introduction to the second DVD (Digital Versatile Disc) in the Special Edition release, which shows Aki "breaking character" after filming a scene and walking through the studio, interacting with both CGI and real people. Chris Lee, the producer of Final Fantasy, defended his use of animation, stating that live actors often cannot physically accomplish what computer characters easily can, citing his experience from making Starship Troopers and Godzilla. Lee also noted that the difference between the CGI and live action footage can be jarring for viewers when the movie requires heavy use of computer effects in almost every scene.

The model used for the characters were of high detail: each of 60,000 hairs was separately and fully animated and rendered, at a render farm consisting of 960 Pentium III-933MHz workstations that took 1.5 hours to render each frame. The Aki model is estimated to be made up of around 400,000 polygons, as are the other main characters of the movie.

Aki Ross's voice actor, actress Ming-Na, says she feels like she "has given birth with [her] voice to a character" and that it was a little "eerie". She added that it was difficult to work without the presence and spontaneity of real actors; however, she gradually accustomed herself to this feeling, and noted that the voice-acting work did not take much time, as she would just go into the studio "once or twice a month for about four months" with no need for make-up and costuming sessions. She continued to play in the TV series ER during the works on Final Fantasy.

The story for the movie was written by director Hironobu Sakaguchi. Al Rienert worked on multiple screenplays during the early years of production, until the studio brought in Jeff Vintar as a three-week "script doctor." He re-shaped the screenplay with Sakaguchi into a workable movie script. It was Vintar's draft that landed the high-profile voice cast, including Alec Baldwin, James Woods, and Donald Sutherland. Unfortunately, the screenplay tinkering continued through the long years of production, with new drafts by voice director Jack Fletcher (who would receive an "additional dialogue by" credit), closely overseen by the non-English speaking Sakaguchi, resulting in a confusing final product that sounds translated from the Japanese. As several Japanese movie critics took great joy in pointing out, the film-makers clearly believed they knew more about English than the English-speaking screenwriters.


  1. "The Spirits Within"  
  2. "Race to Old New York"  
  3. "The Phantom Plains"  
  4. "Code Red"  
  5. "The Kiss"  
  6. "Entrada"  
  7. "Toccata and Dreamscapes"  
  8. "Music for Dialogues"  
  9. "Winged Serpent"  
  10. "Zeus Cannon"  
  11. "Flight to the Wasteland"  
  12. "A Child Recalled"  
  13. "The Eighth Spirit"  
  14. "Dead Rain"  
  15. "Blue Light"  
  16. "Adagio and Transfiguration"  
  17. "The Dream Within" (performed by Lara Fabian)
  18. "Spirit Dreams Inside" (performed by L'Arc-en-Ciel)


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