At the core of the question “Are Final Fantasy Movies Related?” is a deeper inquiry into the filmographies of Final Fantasy. For those unfamiliar, Final Fantasy is a franchise of fantasy films, which have been released since 1987. Each individual film within this series is largely distinct from the films preceding it, sharing the same “brand” or “franchise” name, yet is otherwise distinct from those before it. The crux of the question is whether a recurrent relationship is present between films, enough to consider each a related entity.
History of Films
The first of the Final Fantasy films, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, was released in 2001, to critique of its use of CGI (computer generated imagery). A sequel to this, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within: Rise To The Challenge, was also released in 2004 to less critical success. Following this, another line of films within the Final Fantasy franchise were released, entitled Final Fantasy: The Radiant Collection which was released in 2008, 2012, and again in 2016.
Similarities Across Final Fantasy Films
Throughout these films, using motion capture and a combination of CGI and VFX (visual effects) technology, each Final Fantasy film develops a plot based on the traditional magical fantasy genre. Throughout these films, characters such as wizards, elves, and dragons are often used as plot devices and feature as characters throughout the narrative. Additionally, given its setting within the fantasy genre, physical and magical combat is also a primary focus of plot, with magical weapons and locations being often portrayed.
From researching various scholarly articles, in reference to the “Final Fantasy film series”, many sources allude to the recognition of a recurrent relationship between the films. This, according to these articles, can be seen in the continuity of characters, the use of ‘familiar’ plot devices and a general familiarity of the fantasy theme.
Analysis and Insights
When looking at the Final Fantasy films as a whole, it is evident that there is a common element that is shared between the films, which creates a sense of continuity throughout. One of the first noticeable similarities is the use of CGI animation, with some of the earlier films standing out as illustrative pioneers of the technology in cinema. Additionally, the continual use of a fantasy setting and plot device, with the presence of magic and mythical creatures, creates a continuity across the series. All of this has helped to create a recognisable ‘brand’ which fans can easily identify with.
The Final Fantasy series of films have been generally well received by the audience, garnering mostly positive reception within the fan community and beyond. This has been helped by the visuals, with the modern versions of the series heavily utilizing CGI, giving way to a much more immersive experience. Further to this, the general storyline of each film often connects well with the audience, drawing out a sense of empathy with the protagonists and the eventual triumph of good over evil. This is an essential part of the fantasy genre, helping to create an emotional connection between the characters and the audience.
The Modern Day Final Fantasy
As technology in cinema and animation continues to progress, the quality of the visuals and storytelling within the Final Fantasy series can likewise only improve. Let’s not forget, the Final Fantasy series has become highly successful, spawning novels, video games, toys and merchandise. This has helped to propel the series onto different platforms, connecting the stories with whole new audiences and reinvigorating the fan base.
In completing a full circle, the Final Fantasy movie series has also been jumping on the ‘cross-media’ bandwagon, developing new stories and franchises based on the already established world. In 2020, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles III was released as part of a crossover cross-media collaboration between Square Enix and Nintendo, hosted on the Nintendo eShop. This has been heavily acclaimed, showing just how far the franchise has come.
Merchandising and Promotion
To further continue the saga, production companies within the franchise also create a wealth of merchandise, toys and clothing to help promote the fan base and series. Through this, the franchise can generate income and promote its brand across a whole new array of media, creating a form of transmedia experience for the fans. This is particularly visible in the recent resurgence of the video game side of the series.
The Final Fantasy series of films carry a lot of cultural weight. The general use of magic and its appreciation of the fantasy genre has brought together a fan base who, collectively, have a marked respect for the modern versions of the movies. This has been seen in the recent resurgence of the game side of the series, with gamers new and old exploring a new adventure set within the world created by the film series.
In conclusion, the constant addition to the narrative of a series such as Final Fantasy has given way to a highly respected critical reception. By connecting the world of the movies to other transmedia platforms, the franchise has been able to extend its reach to both veteran and new fans alike. The critical success of the latest installments proves that the series is just as beloved as it ever was, with the technology and audiences of today enjoying the same story as before.