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Title: Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV

Movie: :3stars:
Video: :4.5stars:
Audio: :4.5stars:
Extras: :2stars:

HTS Overall Score:79

For those of you who are into videogames, the delay of Final Fantasy XV from months earlier to late November was the instigation of much concern in the gaming community. The game has been anticipated for quite some time and it was heavily disheartening to have to wait for several more months to get my PS4 into a non-stop state of use for the next 6 months. However, the powers that be decided to make a prequel film to the game, much like how “Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children” was made some 6 or so years back. Hardcore fans of the games many not find the movie as engaging and exciting stories told within the very complex game world, but it makes for a fun little animated adventure companion material (much like the Sony animated “Resident Evil” films do. The movie goes on a bit too long at times, but still carries more than enough popcorn entertainment to be enjoyable.

The Kingdom of Lucis was once a great kingdom, but years ago the Empire of Niflheim strove to take the divine crystal (the heart of the Lucis’ power) and drove the once powerful kingdom back in near defeat. Using the giant crystal, King Regis (Sean Bean) raised a great magical wall around the city of Insomnia, effectively halting the advance of the Niflheim’s technologically advanced war machine. Still, the war has raged for 12 years, with the Lucis Kingdom refusing to give an inch, but suffering great casualties along the way. Now the war is about to be over as the Niflheim Emperor has sent over an envoy with a treaty of peace. If they will accept marriage between the capture princess Lunafreya (Lena Headey) and the son of the king, there will be peace. Well, that and granting the land around Insomnia back to the Niflheim Empire, giving all of the people inside over to another lord.

As with many medieval style treaties, there is to be no peace. The Emperor has set a trap for Regis, and the city of Insomnia is about to be attacked in a way that was though impossible up to this point. The Kingsglaive (a special group of special troops who feed off of the magical power that King Regis provides) has betrayed the city and only one of their own, Nyx Ulric (voiced by “Breaking Bad’s” Aaron Paul) has the will and the way to save the city and his friends from ultimate annihilation.

“Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV” is a technological marvel that needs no explaining. The advances in computer generated cut scene technology has come a LONG way from the days of the original Playstation. Now without the limitations of a game’s minute cut scenes, Sony was given full reign to take that incredibly detailed and gorgeously looking technology and turn it into a full length feature film with a bigger budget. The results are nothing short of spectacular. The ability to make digital animation and motion capture technology looks so photorealistic is enough to make any picture quality nerd drool with envy. The movie is gorgeously cut and animated to the point where you sometimes forget that you’re watch an animated piece of fiction. It’s a fantastically nuanced work of visual art and one that brings the game world to life on the screen, but there are some flaws along the way.

The problem with the movie stems from the fact that it’s TOO dense. The movie tries so very hard to stuff in backstory and plot devices for the game world and just ends up feeling overstuffed and under developed because there is not enough time to adequately flesh out the material needed to bring everyone up to date. Characters feel under developed being that you know so little about their backstory, and the movie seems to act like the casual viewer should know exactly who these characters are and what their motivations are. It’s a curse of having only 2 hours to tell 5 or 6 hours’ worth of material that should have been included to be as impactful as it could. The history of Lucis is easily told, but Nyx, the Niflheim general, the dark wall, it all wreaks of information that is known in the game world through expository telling, but just assumed to be the status quo in the movie. It’s a fun bit of entertainment, but one that feels like too much information and plot devices were included without the proper steps taken to keep the audience up to date which makes it a little less enjoyable.


Rated PG-13 for fantasy violence and action throughout

Video :4.5stars:
Digital animation has come a long way in regards to mimicking human looks and behavior. I remember when “Final Fantasy: Spirits Within” came out we all marveled at how lifelike things looked. Now looking back the animation seems rather cheap and video game like. Now video games have gotten almost to the point of being semi photorealistic in their cut scenes, and “Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV” mimics that fluidly animated look quite nicely. The 1080p encode looks simply fabulous on the Blu-ray as the kingdom of Lucis comes to life. The colors are a bit on the cool side, with strong primaries and the like, but a heavy dose of blacks and light blues dominating the spectrum. Saturation is impressive, and while the colors aren’t overly bright and vibrant, they maintain a healthy, glossy look that is simply marvelous to behold. Black levels are strong, and the shadow detail doesn’t suffer one bit, although some VERY mild banding does show up (it’s hard not to in high motion digitally animated films), but otherwise there is no major artifacting to mar the movie. Fine detail is incredible, with the Glaive’s leather outfits looking intricately drawn, and the little lights and reflections off the crystal magic that the King uses is VERY impressive if you look at it.

Audio :4.5stars:
The 5.1 DTS-HD MA audio track is nothing to poo poo either. Aggressive and fierce, the track’s main ingredient is a liberal helping of unrelenting bass that just pounds away nearly every second of the film. Dialog is always strong and clean, with no major distortions, and even with the heavy duty LFE channel going nuts, there is still quite a bit of time where front heavy dialog centric scenes take precedence. The high flying magical action is where all the surround and fun comes from, with the cacophony of battle lighting up all 6 channels with a ferocious and well nuanced audio experience. The surrounds get a lot of play with the sounds of shrieking metal during a ship wide explosion, or the whistling of Glaive’s knife cutting through the air before a transport. Immersion is very high in this release, and creates a singularly impressive audio experience that really makes the decent movie that much more fun.

Extras :2stars:

• A Way with Words: Epic and Intimate Vocals
• To Capture the Kingsglaive: The Process
• Fit for the Kingsglaive: Building the World
• Emotive Music: Scoring The Kingsglaive
• Previews

Overall: :4stars:

“Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV” is a solidly entertaining animated companion piece to the games, but don’t expect it to be some legendary standalone film. A lot of the enjoyment will come from knowledge of the universe and the world of Final Fantasy XV, but it also is just a simple popcorn movie for those who aren’t initiated into the backstory. It drags on a bit too long for its own good, but overall the experience was more than satisfying for what I was expecting. Especially with the incredible animation that the Final Fantasy world is legendary for. Audio and video on the Blu-ray itself are exemplary, but sadly the extras are a tad anemic with only a few extras on the disc and a digital copy. Still well worth a rental if the trailer appeals to you.

Additional Information:

Starring: Aaron Paul, Lena Headey, Sean Bean
Directed by: Takeshi Nozue
Written by: Takashi Hasegawa
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, French, Portuguese DTS-HD MA 5.1, Thai, Japanese, Spanish DD 5.1
Studio: Sony
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 116 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: October 4th 2016

Buy Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV On Blu-ray at Amazon
Buy Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV Limited Edition Steelbook On Blu-ray at Amazon

Recommendation: Entertaining Watch

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