Will Kingsglaive prove to be third time lucky for Square? When it comes to CG films the makers of Final Fantasy don’t exactly have a great track record. The Spirits Within all but bankrupted the company, forcing them to merge with rivals Enix, whilst Advent Children failed to impress as a movie – even if it was packed with cool FF7 fan service. Sadly I am sorry to report that Kingsglaive continues the underwhelming trend. This prologue to Final Fantasy XV feels like an extended cut scene, which would put Hideo Kojima’s Metal Gear interludes to shame, as it clocks in shy of two hours. Visually the whole thing is spectacular, and at times could be mistaken for a live action flick, but when it comes to characters/story the narrative’s lack of substance lets the stellar production values down.
Apart from celebrity deaths, 2016 will be remembered as the year when some protracted video game projects finally completed their development cycles. Not only has The Last Guardian seen the light of day, but also Final Fantasy XV has been released after a decade in the making. To commemorate this joyous event CGI animated movie Kingsglaive was produced, which will introduce players to the world of Eos prior to them tackling Square’s much-anticipated RPG. Kingsglaive chronicles the war between the technologically advanced kingdom of Niflheim and the magically adept nation of Lucis. After many years of conflict Niflheim proposes a truce, to cease the hostilities, but can they be trusted? Probably not – their ruler does resemble Saruman after all.
Kingsglaive is the name of the elite group who guard Lucis from invasion. Their troops are enhanced with magical power bestowed upon them by monarch King Regis, who is voiced by Sean “always dies” Bean. One of the team’s cooler abilities allows them to instantly teleport to wherever their hurled daggers land, akin to Sombra’s (Overwatch) translocation grenade. The squad’s leader is a heroic chap named Nyx, who is the type of protagonist that willingly flaunts orders to protect those he cares about. When the Chocobo poop hits the fan, due to the above-mentioned treaty crumbling, it falls upon Nyx to rescue Final Fantasy XV love interest Princess Lunafreya from incarceration and prevent the enchanted ring she carries from falling into Niflheim’s clutches.
My rating for Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV is a two out of five. The movie has been well received in some circles, but for me it was all style and no substance. State of the art special effects and an all-star voice cast, which includes the likes of Lena Headey and Aaron Paul, cannot mask the script’s shortcomings. I almost walked away from the film, around the thirty-minute mark, due to the messy storytelling and dull politics that reminded me of Final Fantasy 12’s plot (aside from the bunny girl and sky pirate that game sucks.) Thankfully things improve once the action kicks off. That said, like a Michael Bay Transformers movie the fireworks, which were initially impressive, overstay there welcome and begin to feel tiresome after the onscreen battles wage on for over an hour.
Corny dialogue and some questionable character motivations, which I am unable to delve into due to spoilers, are also a factor in my low score. If you can turn off your brain, and bask in the flashy spectacle of it all, Kingsglaive may however be more to your liking. Fans of the game might also rate Kingsglaive higher than me, as it fleshes out the Eos universe. At the very least Final Fantasy diehards will enjoy the brief appearance of franchise creatures such as Ultros and Diamond Weapon. Did watching the movie make me want to splash out on the console game? Not really. It did make me want to buy an Audi though. With so much automobile product placement financing the film it’s safe to assume that this feature won’t drain the Square coffers like previous animated DVDs have.