DVD Movie Review | Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV (Lights, Camera, Action!)

By Drew Hurley 19.09.2016 12

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Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV (UK Rating: 12)

Final Fantasy XV is so much more than a game; it's being built up with plenty of side projects to enrich and flesh out the universe. This entry in the series takes places alongside the start of the main Final Fantasy XV adventure. While Prince Noctis and his brothers trek out on their quest, Noctis' home, father, and his betrothed are all seemingly facing certain destruction. Available for digital viewing now and getting a physical release on 30th September, this is Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV.

Like most Final Fantasy stories, a great crystal is at the heart of this one, and also at the heart of the great and powerful kingdom of Lucis. In this world, Lucis is the final kingdom left standing as the technologically advanced conquerors of Niflheim march across the land, subjugating all nations and kingdoms beneath them. With the power of the crystal and the magic of King Regis of Lucis, the kingdom has been able to fight back against Niflheim, thus far. Along with two great "walls" defending the crown jewel of Lucis, its capital city, "Insomnia" is also defended by an elite fighting force called the Kingsglaive, a team who receive magic passed to them from King Regis himself, the magic handed down through the bloodline of the Lucian Kings.

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The story first gives a glimpse of a pivotal point in the war - King Regis taking his eight-year-old son Noctis to the land of Tenebrae for healing by the Tenebrae royalty. Niflheim jump on the opportunity to wipe out the Regis and his family but fail, instead killing the Queen of Tenebrae and taking her two children - Lunafreya and Ravus - hostage. Jump to 12 years later and the war is not going well for Lucis; every battle is costing them more ground and the elite Kingsglaive is no match for the demons of Niflheim, and then suddenly Niflheim offers a peace treaty to Lucis, and a generous one at that. If Lucis gives up all of its lands outside of its capital city of Insomnia, it will be left to rule independently from Niflheim in peace, although they also ask for a marriage between Lunafreya and Prince Noctis to seal the bargain.

The main story is mostly centred around the hero of the Kingsglaive soldiers. A man named Nyx Ulric, saved by King Regis himself at a young age, is fully dedicated to his King and his brothers in the Glaive. The story follows Nyx from the front lines to the capital city and against some impressive foes. He's certainly up to the task, though; the magic granted to him and the other Kingsglaive members allow him to use various spells familiar to any Final Fantasy player, along with giving him the ability to "warp" to his sword, a familiar sight from the gameplay glimpses seen of Final Fantasy XV. Final Fantasy stories are often critiqued for being hard to follow or overly convoluted. This is not the case with Kingsglaive as it's a simple "Damsel in Distress" style story with some basic political machinations.

Nyx and Luna get a decent amount of screen-time and development, but the rest of the cast is somewhat one-note, making it difficult for the audience to care much about their plight. They are, however, setup with interesting glimpses into what their future may hold. Luna's brother holds a considerable grudge against Noctis' family, the mysterious Ardyn is almost certain to be a memorable and charismatic villain, and, hopefully, various other characters from Kingsglaive will make an appearance in the main game.

Whilst the character development is rather lacking, the world building is superb and really whets the appetite for the main adventure to come, perfectly marrying the fantastical, fantasy vibes, and near-future technology. Insomnia has plenty of vibes of Midgar at points. The universe built for FFXV is an impressive one and has tons of potential. Of course, there are also plenty of Easter eggs and nods to keep long-time Final Fantasy fans happy. Fans will find themselves grinning as characters complain their food tastes like "Chocobo Turd," noticing a familiar jingle from one of Nobuo Uemetsu creations, or annoying their friends explaining that the giant Octopus monster thing is an Ultros.

It's difficult to convey just how good Kingsglaive looks. It is by far some of the best CG ever produced in games or animation. Character designs are not photo realistic and instead a unique blend of realism and anime-esque design, which makes for a signature and stunning end product. Faces and expressions perfectly capture and convey the feelings of the characters. Where the visuals shine the most, though, are during combat scenes. This is where the visuals become a spectacle, brilliantly directed and choreographed to make for some amazing battles. From the opening of the movie, which feels like Tarantino, Starship Troopers and Dragon Ball Z had a baby, to the climax that manages to include a huge Kaiju battle sequence, which causes more collateral damage than a Marvel movie.

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Voice acting is not the easy gig many seem to think it is; many voice actors have such iconic voices it's impossible not to hear them instead of their character. Nyx does not suffer from this, as Aaron Paul's performance is one that is wholly original, with no trace of Jesse Pinkman. The other major voices here are hit and miss; Lena Heady, for instance, has some moments where she truly becomes Princess Luna, whereas at other times she seems to lose the Princess' voice and returns to her familiar dulcet tones, a voice that sounds far too old for the character, and just begins to sound like Cersei Lannister. In these moments, the Princess' lines feel emotionless and flat… it's very strange. Sean Bean's King Regis is great, though, with lines delivered perfectly. Weirdly, however, the lip synch seems to slip from time to time. It's not regular enough to majorly impact the movie but it is noticeable at points. It will be interesting to see if the Japanese dub suffers from the same synch issue and how the Japanese voice actors compare.

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10
The main purpose of Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV is to get people interested and invested in the upcoming game, and it succeeds completely. It establishes a world and sets the pieces in motion, leaving viewers eager to get their hands on the RPG adventure and to find out how this story plays out. Not only that, but it looks superb while it does it. Any fans of Final Fantasy or those planning on buying Final Fantasy XV need to see this. 29th November for Square Enix's latest can't get here soon enough!

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I actually noticed the slightly out-of-sync lip-syncing in the trailer, which surprised me. Looks good. I never watched the long preview segment they released, but the short trailer in this article looks impressive, and it sounds like it turned out alright. Better than The Spirits Within, would you say?

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

Better than Spirits Within by far, but, worth turning your brain off and just enjoying the spectacle Smilie

I didn't mind Spirits Within at the time... Don't remember much about it, but I think me and the missus actually went to the cinema to see it. She's gone off 'animated' movies in recent years, though, but I'm hoping to get her to watch this at some point.

It's not too focused on leading into the game that it can't be viewed independently, right? Or is there a big cliffhanger that basically says "For the conclusion be sure to buy FFXV!" because that'd be very annoying...

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

Been speaking to a fellow fan about all this FF15 media, and they've assured me the anime and movie aren't essential to understand/enjoy the main game, but are just ways to offer extra background, which is how it should be. At the same time tho, I feel like I should be watching them if I want to invest and immerse myself into the game as much as possible...even though I can't be bothered.

It's a weird situation to be in, having to decide on watching movies and anime episodes before getting the game you're interested in. I feel it should be the other way around. The game should make me a fan of the lore and characters enough to then watch/read future media, not watch movies now to make me buy the game. But I guess better this way than the original plan of multiple games/sequels for a title that may not even deserve them. And I am curious to see how much better it looks than FF7 Advent Children; the clips I have seen look pretty incredible really.

I never considered how the movie might hold up from a movie buff's point of view tho. If you're not a fan of games or don't plan to buy FF15, would you enjoy Kingsglaive on its own? I wonder.

Advent Children! How could I forget about that?! Smilie I enjoyed that quite a lot (if I recall correctly).

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

It was a great spectacle, but crappy story, and pretty much where they established the mopey and needless version of Cloud Strife, which they've run with for too long. I hope they bring his life and character back in the remake. Yeah, AC was a pointless movie in the FF7 universe really, but some of the fights were great.

Yeah, I don't even remember the story part...just lots of great action and a very fiery Sephiroth.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

Funny enough, I watched this with friends and two of which hadn't played FF since FF9, they had no interest 15 and thought this was "Okay." That the action and visuals were enough to watch it for and that the characters had no time to develop.

I'm really happy with all the media they've done for this so far. The anime episodes are great and though I've not watched this yet, it looks fantastic (though I would've preferred them to use the game-voice actors instead of glamming it up with "celebs". Just to maintain some continuity anyways).

I had very little interest in FF15 to begin with but after watching the anime, I already feel quite invested in the characters so it'll be interesting to see how I take to game.

Ifrit XXII said:
I'm really happy with all the media they've done for this so far. The anime episodes are great and though I've not watched this yet, it looks fantastic (though I would've preferred them to use the game-voice actors instead of glamming it up with "celebs". Just to maintain some continuity anyways).

I had very little interest in FF15 to begin with but after watching the anime, I already feel quite invested in the characters so it'll be interesting to see how I take to game.

Is that the case? I don't like that. If it's a movie/game made a couple of years after the previous media and they couldn't get hold of the VAs again due to other commitments etc, I would understand, but that just sounds silly.

Yeah you've got Sean Bean as the King and Lena Heady as Luna in the movie but professional voice actors in the game. I think they just wanted big names to put on the Bluray cover.

The character Ardyn is played by the same dude in both though for some reason.

( Edited 20.09.2016 18:40 by Ifrit XXII )

Well, going off the post-credits scene...

I finally go round to watching this and the action kept me going, but Luna was such a wishy-washy character and not developed in any way. I came away thinking that the female mage that was murdered early on actually had more personality and would have been a better lead!

Honestly, though, even Nyx was extremely forgettable. And I have to say that it just sounded like Aaron Paul throughout. Drew, I know you said he did a good job of masking his voice, but I don't like the actor anyway because I always feel he's too 'generic' and never sounds any different, or is even that good an actor. For this he was just 'okay' - not really giving anything special to what was already a bland character.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

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