Final Fantasy XV, the JRPG from Square-Enix, only just launched worldwide continuing the story set in the Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy movie. This movie is set a few years before the events of the Final Fantasy XV games and follows the story of an elite squad of commandos under control of the king of the kingdom of Lucis. This squad, and the protagonist Nyx, wield magic and do battle against the empire of Nifelheim to stop a plot to overthrow the kingdom of Lucis. Much like the previous Final Fantasy movie, The Spirits Within, this film is done completely in CGI, but unlike it, it actually has to do with a mainline Final Fantasy title.
Kingsglaive’s story is far from a vast philosophical tale, and instead moves in the direction that Final Fantasy stories have been moving towards for quite some time, and that is a theatrical storyline with memorable characters and a pathway to action sequences that seem to really bend reality, pushing the fantasy to the final limit (break). Nyx and his friends are a small group within the Kingsglaive, an elite group of commandos that operate in the defence of the kingdom of Lucis in strategic missions. Soon after the films beginning, we’re taken into a huge battle with the forces of Lucis needing to defend their main city from the attacking Nifelheim forces. It is here that we get a sense of the Kingsglaive’s casts personalities, and the films theatrical storytelling.
The main plot develops over the course of the film and follows Nyx’s path from a Kingsglaive front-line unit, to one that is reprimanded and put onto guard duty. While undertaking this new duty, he is assigned to guard an upcoming event involving a treaty between the empire of Nifelheim and the kingdom of Lucis. This is where the real meat of the plot comes into play, as the film becomes one of political rivalry and political/military power-plays that affect Nyx, as well as some other notable characters from the upcoming Final Fantasy XV game, such as Lunafreya. Of course, somehow, Nyx ends up finding himself caught in the middle of all of these political battles, making this a fun and action packed movie.
To be honest, I didn’t think that I would find Kingsglaive to be all that an enjoyable film, but, honestly, I really did enjoy it. From the outset, the idea of another Final Fantasy film was an iffy one, after-all, Final Fantasy The Spirits Within wasn’t exactly the most Final of Fantasies, having barely any similarities to any existing Final Fantasy at the time. Even more, the Final Fantasy anime series is barely even memorable, I literally only just remembered that it existed as I was writing this paragraph. But, outside of the iffy quality and pacing of the early movie, Kingsglaive strengthened itself the further along it went. It isn’t a cinematic masterpiece, but damn, it made me excited enough for the franchise to renew my hope that Final Fantasy XV wouldn’t be a symptom of a huge decline in the franchise. But I still can’t help but want Final Fantasy to go back to its medieval fantasy roots just a little.
Kingsglaive – Final Fantasy XV is a movie done completely in CGI. This seems a little weird at the beginning of the film with a bit of uncanny valley going on with characters expressions, but as the film progresses, the emotion shown in the CGI characters does actually increase exponentially. It kinda feels like the team got better at animating, but then forgot to go back and fix up some of the earlier sequences. However, despite this small issue that corrects itself as the movie progresses, the CGI action sequences are incredibly well done and somehow become the main draw to the film.
As I mentioned before, this is rather theatrical film with characters that often go for the theatrics. Quite often, you’ll see some exaggerated movements in the way the characters talk and behave during dialogue and combat sequences to make things look and seem cooler, or to emphasise a certain emotion or plot. This is a good use of animation and it’s something I like to see in films.
Character and set design is pretty important to the Final Fantasy mythos, with characters becoming more and more elegant as the main-line series progresses. What was interesting about this particular Final Fantasy story is that it takes place in a world that looks similar to our own for the most part. This comes right down to the Lucian kingdom being very reflective of a modern day Earth city. However, things start to look a bit more Final Fantasy when the Nifelheim appear, looking like a mixture of the soldiers from Final Fantasy XIII and the Garleans from Final Fantasy XIV. What was also cool was Ultros’ design in this, even if he wasn’t as silly as some of his previous incarnations.
Unlike anime, Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV only has English and a couple of other voice options, but no Japanese dub. I find this a bit strange considering that this is a Japanese production and fans of the games often prefer to play the Japanese language when it is available in games. But outside of that, the voice acting was pretty well done and the performances were believable. I also enjoyed the soundtrack, which had some pretty good moments.
Overall, Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV is a rather fun film that gets better as it goes along. It sets up the world of the video game Final Fantasy XV pretty well and gives you a nice background understanding of what’s going on. The battle sequences are pretty awesome and the story progresses interestingly.
Rating: Needs a little more Final Fantasy, but still worth a watch /10
Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV comes courtesy of Sony Entertainment. This review is based on the BD version of the film as provided by Sony for the purposes of review. The publishing of this review was held back to celebrate the launch of the Final Fantasy XV video game. You can purchase it in stores for ~$20, it is also available on iTunes.