Movie review of “Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV”: This installment, about a group of elite warriors fighting on behalf of a kindly king whose realm is under siege by an evil rival, is a mess. Rating: 1.5 stars out of 4.
For all intents and purposes, “Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV” is a big-screen version of the popular “Final Fantasy” video-game series from which it is derived — with one significant exception. There’s no interactivity involved.
With the games, of course, a player becomes an active participant in the action via the controller. With the movie, the engagement is strictly passive: You just sit and watch. And while sitting, and watching, it quickly becomes apparent that the narrative content of “Kingsglaive” is a barely coherent muddle.
It’s a construct of game-derived CG visuals, from soaring cityscapes and vastly ornate castle corridors to the human characters themselves, all of whom are computer-generated.
Movie Review ★½
‘Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV,’ with the voices of Aaron Paul, Sean Bean, Lena Headey. Directed by Takeshi Nozue, from a screenplay by Takashi Hasegawa. 115 minutes. Rated PG-13 for fantasy violence and action throughout. Sundance (21+).
The level of realism of the characters’ appearances is a considerable improvement over 2001’s “Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within,” touted at the time of its release as the first CG-animated feature with photorealistic characters. The characters, with their waxy flesh tones and oddly lifeless eyes, were constant reminders that this was a close-but-no-cigar kind of moviemaking. Small wonder it bombed.
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The characters in this latest “Final Fantasy” are much more realistic-looking, but the sense remains that there’s something off about their appearances. That telltale waxiness of flesh tones is still evident.
The world in which the picture is set is a bizarre jumble of fantasy elements where fairy-tale castles cohabit with zap-ray-firing rocket ships, where armored swordsmen have to dodge machine-gun fire and the attacks of giant alien insects.
The story finds a group of elite warriors fighting on behalf of a kindly king whose realm is under siege by an evil rival. Literal backstabbing takes place. There’s an icy blond princess to be rescued. Many of the characters speak in peculiarly posh British accents. There’s also a ring of power that everyone wants to get their mitts on. Frodo, are you lurking around here somewhere?
The whole thing concludes with the hero lying wounded in a landscape of rubble. It’s what the aftermath of chaos looks like.