The latest Final Fantasy cinematic release, titled rather awkwardly Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV, sits in the Fabula Nova Crystallis universe first explored in 2009’s Final Fantasy XIII. If that opening sentence doesn’t float your boat, I’m afraid things are about to get a lot worse.
The storyline concentrates on characters we’ve previously seen in animated web series Brotherhood, and who will be the main stars of the upcoming Final Fantasy XV games that will hit the shelves in just under a week from now. It is set on Eos, an earth-like planet divided into six regions based on their historical ownership of various crystals. Central to the plot is Nyx Ulric (Aaron Paul), the main protagonist in this film but only a bit-part in the upcoming game. He is a member of the Kingsglaive, an elite guard that channel the mythical powers bestowed on them by the ruler of Regis Lucis Caelum CXIII (Sean Bean), ruler of Lucis. The military-rich Niflheim are at war with Lucis but a treaty is offered that includes as part of the bargain the marriage of Regis’s daughter to Lunafreya Nox Fleuret (Lena Headey) to Noctis Lucis Caelum (Ray Chase), the main protagonist of the upcoming game but scantly featured here.
Still with me? It sounds complex on paper but in reality the film’s pace and tendency towards action ensures it isn’t another fantasy bore fest. With a rich cast of individuals that do their best to pepper the script with flavour, it is actually a surprisingly enjoyable experience.
One aspect that is particularly impressive is the match up of the audio to the movement of the mouth, which is usually a huge problem with foreign films being dubbed into English. CGI motion capture is perhaps the only medium where this is possible and it makes for a much less distracting experience.
With all films like this, the market is very niche. A single screening in the East Midlands in a small screen and reduced price still didn’t lead to a sell-out, though this could be blamed on the fact it has been on available on Blu-ray for the last month or so.
If you get chance to see this before playing the upcoming game then it will definitely provide an engrossing way to get used to the background to the plot. If you’re not a fan of the series and don’t plan the 100-hour slog that will inevitably be demanded by the RPG, then it probably won’t give you much enjoyment.