Lucien’s Review: Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV

kingsglaiveFor those of you who know my thoughts on the film Final Fantasy VII: Adventure Children, you may see where I’m going with this.  Only this time, instead of a film that just assumes that we know all the characters and the struggles of the universe it is set in based on an established franchise, we get a film that assumes that we know all the characters and struggles of the universe of a franchise that hasn’t even been established yet.  If you went into this without knowing a single thing about Final Fantasy XV and the lore surrounding it, you will be VERY confused.  But it does looks pretty amazing.  Let’s talk about it.

The plot of the film is pretty much a prequel to the game, but this time with more extravagant outfits.  Okay.  We have King Regis, voiced by Sean Bean.  Make your “when does he die” jokes here.  This is weird, because as I understand it, he isn’t in the game.  Why have him in this movie?  Then we have Luna, voiced by Lena Headey.  This is also weird.  Partly because as I understand it, she is also not in the game, but then there is the fact that her voice does NOT go with this character.  She is clearly well into middle age, voicing a character who is supposed to be in her younger years.  It does NOT go well together.  You have Aaron Paul doing the voice of one of Regis’ soldiers, the Kingsglaive.  They are charged with fighting the invading Nifelheim army to hold them back.  It’s a useless battle, since the invading force is vastly more powerful.  Seeing defeat as inevitable, Regis is making an effort to sign a treaty.  However, this gets wrapped up in a very dull plot about betrayal and action.  Lots and lots and lots of action.

To this movie’s credit, the visuals are nothing short of incredible.  This film is a testament to the power of whatever visual software Square Enix is using.  It truly is incredible.  And this film is infinitely more colorful than the studio’s last work in Advent Children.  So the colors get more of a chance to pop.  When it isn’t so ridiculously over the top with fight sequences that never end, this movie can look pretty damn amazing.  Too bad I got so little chance to take any of it in.  Maybe because the film decided that it wants to be wall-to-wall action without end.

Now we get into my gripes.  For starters, why are they using voice actors that aren’t even in the game?  I know for a fact that neither Sean Bean nor Lena Heady are in this game.  Aaron Paul did his best to sell his performance.  Since none of the characters were particularly interesting, I enjoyed his role the most.  At least there I could tell that there was a genuine enthusiasm.  Sean Bean sounds bored.  As does Lena Heady.  The whole cast sounds like it couldn’t possibly care less about anything that was happening in the film.  There was this weirdly level thing about everything that everyone said.  Even when it was supposed to be very emotional, everyone is monotone.  Oh how I hope the game this is supposed to be a prequel for isn’t like that.  Otherwise it will get really old, really quick.

And that’s another thing – this movie took ZERO time to world-build.  They talk about refuges and parts of the world, none of which we get to see.  We don’t get why there is this huge intolerance of the refugees, or where their little catch-phrase comes into play.  I really would have liked it if we could have taken some time to get to know ANY of the world that Noctis and his chums get to explore in the game.  I mean, we are watching this movie to get a taste of the game, right?  Is the entire game just nothing but over-the-top action non-stop?  If so, then to be honest, I’m a little nervous.  But then I remember – Advent Children was much the same.  So hopefully I have nothing to worry about.

This film exemplifies everything that armchair film critics say about modern blockbusters.  There was hardly a quiet scene one.  In fact, the whole movie was basically just going from one crazy set-piece to another with only a minute or two of quiet time.  This film doesn’t give you time to breathe.  And since it wants you to care a great deal about these characters that we are stuck with, it would help if at least one of them was fun to be around, or if we knew them beyond a name.  The action went on WAY past the point where it should have ended.  There was this moment toward the end of the third act where I saw a perfect chance for the film to stop.  It was when King Regis died.  It was actually pretty emotional.  It had everything for a powerful and depressing climax.  We all knew that there wasn’t going to be a happy ending here.  So why not stop there?  Oh, right, we have an even bigger and even more insane battle sequence that never ends to go to.

All things considered, if you are able to completely turn off your brain and enjoy the pretty lights and watching things blow up (I mean more than with a Michael Bay film), or if you are the ultimate die-hard fan of the license, then I guess that this is the film for you.  For me, I was just really bored throughout most of it.  I was hoping to see some of these characters and get to know them better.  But nope.  It’s just endless explosions and fighting.  What’s more, they are hinting that the whole film is really just a story about an evil nation trying to take over the world.  So is that going to be the game?  I kind of hope not.  I mean, sure, I figure there will be some fantastic elements of world-saving, but I am also hoping that the central focus of the story is Noctis and his comrades fighting to reclaim his throne.  That was what I always thought it would be.  Am I wrong?  Let’s hope so.  This isn’t a bad movie.  It’s just boring.  Very, very boring.

Final Verdict
5 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

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