I hear people say Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within was a good movie, but a terrible “Final Fantasy” movie. That’s weird. What expectations should we have for “Final Fantasy” in the title? The way I see it, it’s either a good movie, or it isn’t.
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within is a good movie in its own right. So then, having the name “Final Fantasy” in the title should it make it a good Final Fantasy movie, right? But apparently, no. Why? Since Final Fantasy is usually stand alone, shouldn’t we appreciate every Final Fantasy title on its own merit? I think if we look for specific “Final Fantasy” tropes, we’re expecting somewhat of a sequel.
Let’s come at it from another way. What makes something not “Final Fantasy”? Is it the lack of references or music? Well, Final Fantasy: Unlimited has an awesome OST with some songs by Nobuo Uematsu. It also has Final Fantasy references: Moogles, Chocobos, Summons, Cactaurs, a “Vincent Valentine” character (i.e. Kaze). Granted, I think Final Fantasy: Unlimited is terrible, but isn’t it Final Fantasy enough? Does it need more?
How about Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII? That game takes place in the universe of Final Fantasy VII, with characters and areas from the game. It actually has Vincent Valentine. But then again, it’s a shooter and not a JRPG. So, still not Final Fantasy enough? How about Advent Children? That’s a direct sequel. Yet many believe Advent Children doesn’t feel like a Final Fantasy since it isn’t the original.
Or a game.
If something Final Fantasy can appear to not be Final Fantasy, then what game can be Final Fantasy? Which begs the question, what makes any game Final Fantasy? Every Final Fantasy is different and usually self contained. But the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy were direct sequels (two of them hanging on direct cliffhangers). What about Final Fantasy XII, a mainline series that was based off of a spin-off which adopted the name? Or what even makes the upcoming Final Fantasy XV Final Fantasy?
Final Fantasy evolves. I think everything approved by Square Enix as Final Fantasy is a Final Fantasy. That includes the spinoff movies and games, so long as “Final Fantasy” is in the title.
But this is just what I think. What about you?