Kingsglaive: A Nyxed Bag

by September 5, 2016 0 comments

Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV was finally released for digital download on August 19, 2016 from a variety of sources including iTunes, and Google Play Store. Like most Final Fantasy films (and indeed, quite a few of their games) the film was very polarizing, some saying it was an astounding success and others saying it left viewers disappointed, to say the least.

We pride ourselves on our journalistic integrity and lack of bias… shut up, we do. So I have gathered three spoiler-free reviews from three of our community members to give you a full look at the film, each with a very different interpretation of the film. Hopefully this will give you an idea of what you’re getting into if you haven’t seen the film yet. Without further ado, here’s the reviews.

The Best Final Fantasy Film To Date!

by: Micah Rodney

This is easily the best Final Fantasy movie ever produced. While it continues the tradition of Final Fantasy films having a heavy focus on action over story, the story that we do get is actually incredible – the first half being mostly story and intrigue that will keep you guessing the entire way. Edge of your seat stuff and the leading cast is phenomenal, particularly Aaron Paul as Nyx who really gave life to the role.

The visuals were astonishing and people who have been following the FFXV story even enough to have just played the Platinum Demo will recognize some music cues, locales and persons which brings that sense of odd nostalgia for a game that hasn’t even released yet. For all its meandering, Final Fantasy XV does have a clearly defined aesthetic to which the movie keeps faith.

Long time fans of Final Fantasy will not be disappointed either, with obvious visual cues: such as the Demons who take a very “Diamond Weapon”-esque appearance, a large monster that bears an uncanny resemblance to a foul mouthed Octopus from FF6 and some of the later giant beasties resemble the Knights of the Round and other summons (I noticed in particular a very Yojimbo-esque figure). There are also the usual things: mentions of chocobos, gil, magic, Crystals and a villain duo who approaches dangerous levels of evil smugness. There is even an odd 4 second scene on a TV of a Ren & Stimpy-esque cartoon featuring an animated dog shoving a Malboro in a dog catcher van which I found alarmingly amusing.

The action is on point continuing its usual gravity-defying Dragonball Z fun, and they seem to be taking cues from Metal Gear Solid and Assassin’s Creed as well. It does wear on a bit though even when giant monsters are added to the mix as the last 30 minutes of the film are essentially one giant fight sequence (sharing that lovely trait with Advent Children).

My main criticism is I feel that the plot in general feels a bit rushed in favor of action as seems to be the general rule with most Final Fantasy movies. A lot of this does get wrapped up through the other FF staple of en medias res, but there are a few questions which we will presumably get answers to in Final Fantasy XV. That said, the core conflict resolves well enough, the characters are interesting and diverse and the resolution is satisfying (knowing that it is, essentially, a two hour long prologue for Final Fantasy XV). There’s even a nice little post credits scene which seems to go right into Episode Duscae and/or Brotherhood.

Will a general audience enjoy this film? If you’re not familiar with Final Fantasy XV in any capacity some things may seem confusing but the general story is told well enough. If you’re completely uninitiated to Final Fantasy in any capacity a lot will be lost on you. The main issue with a general audience view is that the intent is to kick off Final Fantasy XV with a bang so while the core conflict of the movie is resolved, the world’s main conflict has just begun.

If you are looking into beginning a love affair with Final Fantasy I wouldn’t want this to be your first outing, but there’s no better way to get you invested in the world of Final Fantasy XV if you’ve been ignoring this entry up to this point. Solid story, music, visuals, characters, all very impressive with a few issues.

Middle of the Road

by: TresDias

This is not a good movie. Let’s go ahead and get that out of the way. This is a bad movie that had aspirations to be worse but fumbled in the attempt, falling instead into a sort of middling status.

Unless you already call yourself a “Final Fantasy” fan or are at least planning to see this because you’re interested in “Final Fantasy XV,” then you can probably do yourself a favor by skipping this one. I’d be hard pressed even to recommend it to general sci-fi enthusiasts — though if you really don’t care about understanding what’s going on and just want to revel in some gorgeous CG-animated fight sequences that are pretty fucking insane (i.e. also completely bonkers cool) it might be up your alley.

Put simply, if you aren’t already an FF fan and aren’t seeing this because you’re interested in FFXV, then this movie isn’t going to change any of that. It will not convert you, it will not peak your interest in the world of the upcoming game, and it won’t make you a better lover. If you are an established FF fan, though, get your ass in a seat in front of this movie as soon as possible and have a hella good time. Unlike Square’s last two outings with entirely CG-animated films, this one isn’t the least bit hesitant about giving you the fan service you crave, those uninitiated folks out there be damned.

This being said, you’ve got to concede as much as the filmmakers here. If a beloved creature from past Final Fantasy games makes a staggeringly off-the-wall cameo in a place you wouldn’t expect them to be and you can’t immediately rationalize it, just enjoy it. Unlike “Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within,” this movie is not thought-provoking art, and unlike “Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children,” it doesn’t think it is. “Kingsglaive” is also a lot more fun than either of those movies, and it’s definitely popping with more color than that greyscale hellscape FFVII’s world was turned into for “Advent Children.”

In terms of music, this movie delivers what you’ve come to expect from Final Fantasy. Perhaps partly because of that, though, there’s also nothing here that you’ll be jonesing to hear again and again. It’s a perfectly serviceable score, mind you, and it’s genuinely good. It just won’t demand space on your music storage device of choice. Meanwhile, the voicework here also isn’t as strong a triumph as the visuals, but it’s not nearly half bad either. It ranges from fucking great to acceptable. I doubt the voice cast will be what gets anyone to try this movie who wouldn’t have otherwise anyway, but it also shouldn’t be a deterrent. There’s some excellent work here.

And the sentiments of that last paragraph can probably be extrapolated to the film as a whole: There is some truly great stuff here, and then there’s a lot of stuff that just gets the job done. Coming at it as a Final Fantasy fan of 20 years, though, it will make you smile and you’ll have a good time. Speaking for myself, that’s really all I was looking for, so I’m satisfied with the movie — and I guarantee I’ll be watching it many more times in the years to come, if only because of the cool fight sequences and because I appreciate being pandered to.

In A Word: “Meh”

by: Carlie

Final Fantasy doesn’t have a good track record when it comes to movies. They sacrifice plot and characters in favor of action and visuals. Now it can’t be denied that they are fantastic in what they focus on, and Kingsglaive is certainly no different. As mentioned by the other reviewers the action scenes will most likely excite any Final Fantasy fan. The problem for me was that the movie failed to hold up to my average expectations of plot and characters and I mostly just found the movie boring and forgettable.

Now I think Kingsglaive is a more enjoyable movie than Advent Children (original and complete). One of the many problems that Advent Children has is that it is far too sour and lifeless. However Advent Children has the advantage of having a cast of characters that we already know and care about, whereas Kingsglaive does not. With the movie’s focus on action is hard to care about the majority of these characters. Yes some like Nyx (who I would very much like to trade as protagonist for Noctis), Regis, and the Emperor of Niflheim were pretty memorable. Most everyone else was not. And then there’s Luna. She is in the uncomfortable position of having replaced the popular Stella and because we don’t actually know her, we’re left with our own ideas of what she would’ve been. Now the movie was supposed to be Luna’s moment in the spotlight yet so far she’s a rather linear and one dimensional character, which is a shame because she showed flashes of potential. But as for me what little I saw from Stella was more interesting that what I saw from Luna in the movie.

I’ll admit part of the reason why I didn’t like this movie was the voice acting- which had some good to great performances from Aaron Paul (Nyx), Sean Bean (Regis), David Grant (Emperor) and Lena Heady (Luna). But the rest of the voice cast went from forgettable to “how did Liam Mulvey (Libertus) even managed to cast for this movie?” He was terrible. He’s definitely on the list of Worst English Final Fantasy Miscasting along with people like Mena Suvari (Aerith), Lance Bass (Sepiroth) and whoever was voicing Noctis in the first demo.

Aside from voice acting I have to say one of the most memorable things about the Final Fantasy series is their soundtracks. And while XV undoubtedly has a lovely one, the way it was used in this movie was weird and amateurish. And then there’s the plot that was just all over place. Now as mentioned before the movie obviously sacrificed plot for action but they still made the recurring video game movie (and Zack Snyder) mistake, which is trying to cram hours of storyline into a 2 hour movie. They had so many ideas, yet their focus on action and the fact that they had only 2 hours just made the end result an unfocused, disjointed mess. If your movie is going to focus on action you need to simplify your plot, such as in Pacific Rim – a movie which while not great, I enjoyed.

In the end I think Kingsglaive would’ve been much better served as a mini-series. That way they still would’ve delivered the action they wanted while having the opportunity to more fully delve into their plot, while also exploring and developing their characters (which would have given the audience more time to care about them). For what I was expecting out of Kingsglaive it gets a 7/10, not good, not terrible. Not a movie I have any particular interest to see again. To describe it in one word: “meh”.

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  1. Stephen Pollard
    #1 Stephen Pollard 7 September, 2016, 16:26

    I find all of these reviews bizarre for the fact that they talk about the emphasis on action over plot. This was certainly an issue with Advent Children, but aside from the opening minutes of Kingsglaive and then the lengthy fight at the end, there wasn’t really much action. Crowe’s presumptive fight for her life wasn’t shown on-screen, and when Nyx barges past all the guards to reach King Regis, literally not a single one actually tries to stop him. I expected to at least see a punch thrown there, but he weirdly just shoved past them and they didn’t alert anyone or give chase.

    Another thing I’m surprised none of these reviews mentioned was the godawful product placement. I’m sorry, but this is a fictional world. Including product placement from actual, real-world brands just kills the immersion for me. It’s a very bad reminder that this is an artificially-crafted world.

    I will say I also found the movie mostly boring, because there was action in the beginning and end and just a ton of exposition in the middle. It felt poorly paced. There were definitely some great elements to the film, and I didn’t think the plot was bad or particularly convoluted (at least for Final Fantasy), but all in all, I wasn’t impressed.

    This is also coming from someone who actually enjoyed Advent Children for what it was, so take my opinion for what it’s worth.

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  2. Blade
    #2 Blade 21 September, 2016, 21:25

    Tres being Tres, I can’t help but point out he rarely says much good ABOUT MOVIES in general, so take his review with a tongue in your cheek.

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