Guest Author - Lesley Aeschliman
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within was released as both a two-disc DVD set and as a Blu-ray Disc. This review focuses on the Blu-ray release of the film.
The film is set in the year 2065, and the main character is a scientist named Aki Ross. She has been recording dreams she's had about the Phantoms, a mysterious alien race that took over the Earth after they crash-landed on the planet. At the start of the film, Aki is on a mission to find the sixth spirit, and her search takes her to Old New York City. She runs into some Phantoms, and a military squad known as Deep Eyes arrives on the scene and saves her. Even though Aki is informed she is under arrest, Aki runs off to find the sixth spirit; the sixth spirit turns out to be a plant. After Aki gets the spirit, Deep Eyes takes her to a transport.
It turns out the captain of Deep Eyes is Gray Edwards, an old acquaintance of Aki's. When the group returns to a "barrier city," everyone except Aki is scanned for Phantom contamination. Gray is found to be infected, and Aki saves his life by performing bio laser surgery.
Aki also meets up with her colleague, Dr. Sid. They determine the plant Aki found is indeed the sixth spirit. During their meeting, Dr. Sid tells Aki they must destroy all of their notes and anything about their research that can be used against them, because their ideas are unpopular.
Aki and Dr. Sid attend a Council debate, where General Hein is trying to make an argument that the Zeus cannon (a weapon that was designed to destroy the phantoms) should be used. Dr. Sid argues against using the weapon, because it would destroy Gaia, the spirit of the planet. Hein mocks Dr. Sid and asks for proof. As proof, Aki reveals that she has been infected by the Phantoms, but is still alive due to a procedure that Dr. Sid carried out on her.
The film then goes on to show Hein trying to access the Zeus cannon and use it himself, while Aki and Deep Eyes search for the seventh spirit. The two stories intersect, and ultimately build up to the climax of the film.
The packaging for the Blu-ray is rather "bare bones." There is no booklet or insert with information about the film itself included. Instead, all you get is an insert playing up other titles that Columbia Pictures has released on DVD.
As for the video quality, I have to admit that I didn't see a lot of difference when I compared it to the DVD copy of this film I had viewed previously. However, this doesn't mean that it's a bad picture quality on the Blu-ray; all it means is that I personally didn't see any significant differences. According to the box, the main feature is 1920 x 1080p full resolution high definition picture with uncompressed PCM audio.
When it comes to the bonus features, it appears that all of the extras included on the two-disc DVD pressing are also here, including the two Easter eggs; it appears that nothing new was added. The bonus features include documentaries, "character files," "vehicle scale comparisons," "trailer explorations," "The Gray Project," "matte art explorations," and more.
If you enjoy Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within and haven't added it to your home video collection yet, it might be worth it to purchase this Blu-ray release if you have the capability to watch Blu-rays. If you already own the two-disc DVD set and have the ability to upgrade to Blu-ray, the main advantage of the Blu-ray would come in regards to getting the film and bonus features all on one disc.
I wrote this review after watching a copy of this Blu-ray that my husband and I purchased.