Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
2001, Square Pictures
A highly-anticipated video game adaptation, Final Fantasy turned out to be a box office bomb that ultimately sank the studio that produced it. They concentrated so hard on the visuals, and invested so much in the technology, that they neglected the story. Consequently, their top-drawer voice talent, including Alec Baldwin, James Woods and Donald Sutherland, were wasted.
The producers' goals were clearly misplaced: they openly broadcast the fact that they intended to create the first "artificial actress," Aki Ross, with plans to "cast" her in multiple films. They even submitted a bikini shot of her to Maxim magazine to generate some additional buzz. To their credit, they did manage to create CGI characters that weren't totally dead-eyed (The Polar Express being the poster child for that problem). Ultimately they they wound up investing over $135 million in a 106-minute snore-fest that recovered all of $85 million.
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children
2009, Visual Works
I'm not even going to try pretending I can understand anything about this totally incomprehensible mess. You can blame that on either or both of the following: 1) I know nothing about the video game on which its presumably based, and I don't care to find out. 2) Not being Japanese, I'm ill-equipped to appreciate the film's cultural sensibilities. Viewing it created the sensation I was in a hospital room recovering from head trauma suffered during a serious car accident, and vainly attempting to understand what was playing on the television as I struggled to regain consciousness. That it was dubbed in English didn't provide any help; I could have watched it in its native language, and the effect would be the same.
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