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Aug 292012
 

The video game franchise of Final Fantasy is well known for taking place in epic fantasy realms, like the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but Final Fantasy – The Spirits Within isn’t like that at all. It’s more of a sci-fi story that takes place in the year 2065. A space fleet encounters phantoms that have destroyed most of Earth’s life forms and fatally infect anyone who touches them. As it turns out, Dr. Aki Ross (voice of Ming Na) is already an infected victim who is dying and the cure is to find a total of eight life forms that are left on Earth, despite what anyone else thinks.

So far, Aki has already found six. The first was Aki herself. The others were a fish, a deer, a bird, a plant, and a dying girl. Next, with the help of the space fleet led by Captain Gray Edwards (voice of Alec Baldwin), she finds the seventh spirit in the Tucson Wasteland, which is a dead soldier’s energy filled backpack. Unfortunately, it becomes a rough escape from those giant phantoms before getting back to base.

The video game versions of Final Fantasy are also known for their battle scenes being shown by the numbers showing how much damage is being dished out. In a way, I’m a little surprised it’s not like that in this film.

I can also see a Captain Power comparison here. Cities are run down and the phantoms glow all over, much like the targets you would shoot with the XT-7 jet. Of course, that’s nothing compared to the Zeus cannon. Sheesh, you’d think one blast would be enough.

The eighth and final spirit is a phantom spirit, which is very tricky to get because it’s in an impact crater with a whole bunch of other phantoms. Chances of anyone surviving there are slim, but Aki must take the risk because she has nothing to lose.

This is good CGI animated movie. However, because it’s nothing like the video game versions I have seen, I find it a little disappointing.

Aug 272012
 

“It’s showtime!” The horror comedy Beetlejuice takes on a whole different look at the afterlife. Married couple Adam (Alec Baldwin) and Barbara (Geena Davis) Maitland drown in a car accident and end up as ghosts, who are confined to their house. All they have to go by is a handbook called Handbook of the Recently Deceased. A lot of help that is, since it reads like stereo instructions.

Soon after, a family called the Deetzes moves into the house. Adam and Barbara try to scare them away, but it doesn’t work because nobody can see or hear them. Then all of sudden, Adam and Barbara hear about Beetlejuice (Michael Keaton) the bio-exorcist on a mysterious TV commercial. Could it be a coincidence, or a trap?

Here’s an interesting twist. The Deetzes’ daughter Lydia (Winona Ryder), a gothic girl, can see Adam and Barbara and follow the handbook.

Adam and Barbara soon find themselves in a waiting room filled with other deceased people. It’s easy to tell how they died based on their appearances, but Adam and Barbara still look the same after they had drowned. That used to confuse me.

Adam and Barbara soon find help with Juno (Sylvia Sydney) a caseworker and she warns them that Beetlejuice is a troublemaker and cannot to be trusted. How bad could he be?

Well, Beetlejuice turns out to be a comedic pervert with amazing powers, but fears the sand worms. I don’t blame him. They’re as dangerous as the graboids from the Tremors films.

Nevertheless, the Deetzes don’t get scared away. Interior Designer and paranormal expert Otho (Glenn Shadix) decides to hold a séance to summon Adam and Barbara, but it doesn’t go as planned. Lydia summons Beetlejuice to save them. I could tell that Beetlejuice has feelings for her. I’m sure that’s why he agrees to the task, if Lydia agrees to marry him.

This was a good movie with neat effects, humor, and Harry Belafonte music. I still have the Beetlejuice action figures with detachable heads and expressions. Does anyone remember these?