We were all waiting for Final Fantasy XV in 2016. After nearly a decade, we were finally going to get another Final Fantasy game. But when? We’ve had no released date. Then we heard rumors of a Final Fantasy XV movie. Preposterous. Why would we get a movie before the game? That makes no sense.
Then we heard the announcement of Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV. It still made no sense.
Here we have a movie for a game which hasn’t come out yet? Why? I guess they needed to advertise the game somehow. But that’s what the movie was, an advertisement for a game. It was a feature-length film, of course. But it’s raison d’etre was Final Fantasy XV, which released even later in the year. Apparently, the movie made sense of Final Fantasy XV’s beginning. But some of us couldn’t see the movie, because it premiered in select theaters only.
Let’s say you did see it. How does this movie stack up against the previous films? Well, it looks better than Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within and Advent Children: Final Fantasy VII. Much better. But this should come as no surprise. Final Fantasy is always pushing the boundaries when it comes to graphics. Aaron Paul, Sean Bean, and Lena Headley were excellent. And the music is also solid, in that traditional generic “film score” sort of way.
But it made no sense.
Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV has a lot of narrative problems that lead to more questions. For example, why does Ravus hate King Regis when it was the Niflheim Empire that attacked his town? And why does Ravus join the Niflheim Empire to exact revenge on Regis? Was he angry that Regis left him behind? We don’t really know what his problem was, except for his hatred of Regis.
General Glacua was also Titus Drautos? How was one guy a top commander of two warring factions? I guess no one bothered to check him. Stupidly, Insomnia’s military lets Nyx walk through checkpoints without searching him. But do you mean to tell me no one was a bit suspicious that their respective leaders would vanish? No one spotted Titus crossing over into enemy lines and wondered why?
What happened to Crowe? She and Libertus were the two other people you see at the beginning of the movie. You’d think they’d be the main characters. But someone kills Crowe off-screen, early in the movie, in the weirdest way. What was she looking at in the distance? What are we looking at in the distance? The next time we see her, we cut to her dead body. Why? Sure, she was overly sarcastic. But what if her arc unraveled the psychology behind the walls she put up? Huh? Walls? Wouldn’t that play into a motif with Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy? Instead, we get Libertus. He joins a rebellion against the King, shocked to learn they plan to kill him. I wish we had Crowe.
Did we just see Ultros? That was cool, but they do nothing with him. Why is there a giant octopus in Insomnia?
Right before Luna jumps from a plane, she says “not all miracles are made of magic”. Thematically, this should be the most important part of the movie. It would illustrate to rely on oneself, not a convenient tool. Take a leap of faith. But instead, we never follow up with this, even when they lose their ability for magic. Why does she even need to say this if it plays no part in the narrative? Why does Nyx save her when she can clearly make the jump? Why is the movie undermining its main messages through action?
Why is Nyx taking into an earpiece that reveals their location? Throw it away. Why do some people die when they put on the ring, and others don’t? Why did some of Kingsglaive turn against each other, rather than fighting in a resistance? Why did Aldercapt try to forcibly take over the Kingdom of Insomnia, when they were signing a treaty? Why is King Regis’ Kingdom still named Insomnia?
And no matter how great the graphics are, the technical aspects are lacking. Facial emotions don’t translate well. The action scenes are all over the place. Why can’t I tell what’s happening in this scene? I put it in slow motion, and frames are missing. What’s going on here? Why do the characters in the movie look so much more different than they do in the game? The bros, by comparison, look like real video game characters. That was a moment of uncanny valley horror.
Also, the fade-to-black was disorienting. Normally, fading to black shows the passage of time. But many of the characters stay in the same spot after the screen fades to black. Why not just show what the characters are doing? What was the point of this technique? Just to do it? Don’t do this. You can fade to black in interesting ways, but they have to make sense.
At no point in this movie did Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV pique my interest in the game. Even though the game wasn’t out yet, I knew it wasn’t going to be about Nyx. Who is Nyx? He’s just some throwaway character who you’d love to play if the story wasn’t about Noctis. So, what sense did it make to put him in the movie?
Really, Kingsglaive missed a lot of opportunities. If anything, this movie advertised Comrades: Final Fantasy XV. It was more aligned with the theme. But at the time, I don’t think they knew what they were doing.