[[quoteright:336:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/final-fantasy-the-spirits-within_5436.jpg]]
'''''Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within''''' is a computer animated science fiction {{film}} directed by Hironobu Sakaguchi, the creator of the [[RunningGag kitten-stranglingly popular]] ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' series of role-playing games.

In the year 2065, an alien infestation has overrun Earth; the remaining humans live in "barrier cities" all over the world while trying to free their planet from the spectral alien beings ("Phantoms") that devastate everything in their path. Dr. Aki Ross, alongside her old mentor Dr. Sid, hopes to unlock the secret behind these Phantoms and find a way to destroy them without harming Earth -- but General Hein has plans to annihilate the Phantoms using a huge space cannon, regardless of the damage it can do to the planet.

Although it bears the ''Final Fantasy'' title, this movie has [[InNameOnly close-to-zero connection]] to the [[Franchise/FinalFantasy video game franchise of the same name]]. ''The Spirits Within'' holds a place in film history as the first feature film to attempt photorealistic CGI characters.

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!!This film provides examples of:

* ActionGirl: Jane
* AfterTheEnd: At some point, the Leonid meteor crashed into Earth and dispensed its payload of Phantoms. Mankind has been reduced to a handful of cities around the world, and virtually no life exists outside these safe havens.
* AlienInvasion: [[spoiler: Subverted, as what the human authorities ''assume'' was a deliberate invasion is really just an accidental [[ColonyDrop collision]] between a huge haunted chunk of the Phantoms' home planet and the Earth.]]
* AllCGICartoon
* AlmostKiss: Aki and Gray in the elevator.
* AnimatedActors: Hironobu had intended for Aki to appear as a digital actress in a number of feature pictures. However, the failure of her debut film cut her career tragically short, though she did have a photo spread in Maxim magazine.
* ApocalypseHow: Earth has ''already'' suffered a Class 4 before the movie even starts, and the Leonid meteor is revealed to be the result of a Class X.
* ArmorIsUseless: The soldiers wear heavy armor when the Phantoms can pass through solid matter at will.
* AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence: [[spoiler: Implied with Gray with the white hawk.]]
* AuthorExistenceFailure: Some people might at least consider the film's use of incredibly realistic CGI to be the cornerstone for an AwardSnub for Best Visual Effects. However, it couldn't have won ''any'' awards; Square Pictures was disbanded before the Oscars that year.
* BigApplesauce: Most of the action takes place in and around New York City.
* BigDamnHeroes: The first scene of the film: Aki has gotten herself surrounded by Phantoms, who look like they're about to move in for the kill, when we hear a transport flying overhead. Four objects are launched, firing some kind of gelatinous mass at the ground, softening the impact as they land. When the gel dissolves, we see it's the Deep Eyes, who take aim and fire immediately.
* BigNo: Jane [[spoiler: when Neil is killed]].
* BittersweetEnding: The Phantoms are gone, and it's vaguely implied life will return to the earth, but at the moment it's a barren, lifeless world.
** Not to mention that only two named characters are still alive, and the population has been reduced to a fraction of its former size.
** And they blew up their [[ComicallyMissingThePoint awesome space cannon]]!
* BlackBestFriend: Ryan is this for Gray.
* BodyHorror: The Phantom sealed within Aki, providing her empathic dreams about its world's ultimate fate.
* ButNotTooForeign: Aki Ross.
* CaptainObvious:
-->'''Aki:''' We're surrounded!
-->'''Jane:''' [[LampshadeHanging No shit!]]
* CollisionDamage: Touching a Phantom is almost always fatal. Hell, most of the bigger Phantoms don't actively attack, but rack up a body count just by wandering around.
* ColourCodedForYourConvenience: When visible, the spirit energy is this. Phantoms (and anything else native to their planet) show up as red energy. Humans (and other creatures native to Earth) show up as blue energy. When the Phantom particle sealed with Aki's chestplate makes its HeelFaceTurn, its energy color [[ConvenientColorChange changes from red to blue to signify its new loyalty]].
* CombatTentacles: Most Phantoms possess these; in particular, the {{Hand Cannon}}s of the Phantom Soldiers had a variety of pipes and tubes which ''became'' their deadly tentacles upon their passing.
* ComplainingAboutRescuesTheyDontLike:
-->'''Aki:''' Nobody asked you to save me.\\
'''Gray:''' You have not changed a bit!\\
'''Aki:''' Gray?\\
'''Gray:''' ''(removes his helmet)'' Yeah. [[SarcasmMode Nice to see you too.]]
* CoolCar: Aki's [=ATV=], armed with gel missiles for soft landings and an anti-Phantom [[SphereOfPower barrier generator]].
* CoolShip: Aki's Black Boa.
* CreatorKiller: Killed Square Pictures, but didn't actually force Square's merger with Enix (infact, it delayed it).
* DeathIsDramatic
* DecontaminationChamber: The domed cities have decon protocols to keep out the phantoms that haunt the outside world. Though, for some reason people with enough clout get to skip them if they feel like it.
* DoingInTheWizard: While the film does not, as some fans have complained, completely strip its setting of the magic that is one of the franchise's signature elements, it does recast it into a form of science that only just dabbles a bit into the area of MagiTek.
* DomedHometown: The City. [[spoiler: Eventually ends up becoming a DoomedHometown]].
* DrivenToSuicide: [[spoiler: Hein, realizing that he was responsible for the Phantoms massacre of the New York Barrier City, drifts into space within his ship and unloads all but one of the bullets from his gun, with the intention of shooting himself. He changes his mind when his ship beeps at him for a destination, deciding to go out in a blaze of glory using the Zeus cannon]].
** [[spoiler:Jane, after Neil is killed getting the ''Black Boa'' prepped, lowers her weapon and simply waits to be killed]].
* DyingDeclarationOfLove: [[spoiler: Gray's LastWords to Aki just before his HeroicSacrifice are that he loves her]].
* DynamicEntry: Gotta give it to the Deep Eyes - they know how to make an entrance.
* EndlessConflict: [[spoiler: The Phantoms were from an alien race that fought each other constantly. Eventually, they used a DoomsdayDevice that destroyed them all, locking them in a violent post-mortal energy state.]]
* ExactTimeToFailure - It can apparently be determined down to the second how long an infected person has before it is too late to save them from the Phantom.
** The countdown was until the MagiTek barrier containing the infection failed.
* ExplosiveOverclocking: Safety controls exist for a ''reason''...
--> "'''''I know!'''''"
** DefiantToTheEnd
--->"But it must be done."
* FacelessGoons
* {{Fanservice}}: Several images have been released in this manner. One has Aki wearing a tight black leather outfit, which [[BareYourMidriff exposes her navel]], has a very seductive look on her face with her hair in the middle of a "wave" motion (and oddly, her nipples evident from beneath the leather). Another has Aki posing in a bikini. And one has Gray posing completely shirtless.
* FrothyMugsOfWater
* GaiasVengeance: Invoked explicitly by Aki and Dr. Sid.
* GeneralRipper: General Hein, Played by James Woods.
* GoThroughMe: When Aki's Phantom infection becomes more unstable, and Gray elects that they need to get her to a hospital rather than being put into military custody, as per his orders, Hein's men attempt to relieve him of his command and force Aki's arrest. Gray, held at gunpoint, tells them that they'll have to shoot him first.
* GottaCatchEmAll: The Eight Spirits needed to create the anti-Phantom wave. (Although, to the writers' credit, several of these spirits have already been collected as the film opens - specifically five have already been collected and the sixth one is collected in the opening scene. This is a double ShoutOut to ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyI'' and ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIV'', which open in a similar way.)
* GutPunch: [[spoiler:The death of Neil. The destruction of the New York Barrier City also counts, but Neil's death is where you realize, suddenly, abruptly, without warning that AnyoneCanDie...and die they very much do.]]
* HeroicBSOD: Gray has one during the ride to the Phantom crater after being forced to watch helplessly as the other three members of his squad were slaughtered in front of his eyes in the previous scene.
* HeroicSacrifice: [[spoiler: Gray Edwards]] sacrificed himself as a medium needed to physically transmit the completed spirit into the alien Gaia.
** Ryan performed one in order to draw the Meta Phantom away from the Black Boa.
** [[SenselessSacrifice General Hein thought he was doing this when he overloaded the space cannon]].
* HilariousOuttakes: Of the spoof variety, of course. Featured on the DVD.
** Even better is an EasterEgg of the characters doing MichaelJackson's "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gi3wV8ebogQ Thriller]]" (considering the monsters are ghosts, [[TheDeadCanDance fitting]]).
* InNameOnly: The difference in medium may partly be the cause of this one. The games often run for dozens of hours and feature fairly intricate settings, but films are generally around two hours, a length that simply [[PragmaticAdaptation does not justify crafting an original setting of the franchise's usual complexity]]. This may explain why ''Final Fantasy'' films that use settings which have already been established in the games, such as ''Advent Children'', tend to be far truer to the source.
* InkSuitActor: Hein looks a ''lot'' like James Woods. However, a lot was made of making Gray (voice by Alec Baldwin) look a ''lot'' like Ben Affleck.
* JustInTime: [[SarcasmMode Averted]] Aki manages to defeat the Phantom infecting Edwards with a whole 1.''02'' seconds to spare.
* LampshadedDoubleEntendre: Sid to Aki: "And stay away from your friend, the captain. He saves your life, you save his life... I was young once too you know?"
* LargeHam: James Woods plays the GeneralRipper. Expected hamminess ensues.
* JustFriends: Jane and Neil. Just pay attention to their interactions throughout the film, and it won't take a huge leap of thought to guess that they care about each other, a LOT. However, Neil's goofball and generally not-serious nature and personality, along with Jane's tough-woman, no-nonsense and professional personality, keeps them from ever really acknowledging it openly, let alone acting on it...[[spoiler:until Neil gets killed by a phantom out of nowhere and unexpectedly, probably in an attempt to GutPunch the audience, which causes Jane to go nigh BERSERK. After taking out the offending phantom, she soon realizes she has no hope of escape once the Meta Phantom's tentacles are popping up all around her, and simply stand there to die and let her body fall next to Neil's, uniting them in death.]]
* KillSat: The Zeus space cannon.
* KillThemAll: [[spoiler: Only Dr. Aki and Dr. Sid manage to survive in the end.]]
* TheLifestream: The planetary gaia force is pretty much directly modeled after the ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'' concept.
* MergerOfSouls: The two Gaias are giant aggregates of ghosts. [[spoiler:They merge in the end.]]
* MetaphysicalFuel: "Bio-etheric energy" which is produced by living things. The OVO-Packs used as batteries [[AllThereInTheManual supposedly harvest this energy from bacteria]], though the Eight Spirits (extracted from more complex lifeforms) [[PoweredByAForsakenChild have to be sacrificed]] for the Spirit Wave to work.
* MickeyMousing: The first appearance of the Zeus Cannon takes this to such (ear-shattering) extremes it borders on {{Narm}}.
* MookLieutenant: Major Elliott.
* MrExposition: Dr. Sid.
* MundaneMadeAwesome: One of the biggest publicity points about the film was Aki's strands of hair being individually animated -- which resulted in Aki jerking her head around wildly whenever she talked (so the animators would have plenty of chances to show her hair moving). This led to several reviewers joking about Square creating "the world's first virtual Creator/GeorgeClooney."
* MyGodWhatHaveIDone: General Hein, realizing that he accidentally let the Phantoms into a major population center.
* MythologyGag:
** Several references to the game series, including a Chocobo embroidered on one of Aki's shirts, and some of the Phantoms are based on creatures and bosses from the series.
** Hein is named after a major boss in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIII''.
* NoFlowInCGI: Averted a little too well with Aki's hair.
* [[NonActionGuy Non-Action Girl]]: Aki isn't a DistressedDamsel, but she's clearly a non-combatant scientist who hangs around with four very competent soldiers.
* NotEvilJustMisunderstood: The Phantoms are an interesting case of this. [[EarthShatteringKaboom They blew up their own home planet]] and now exist as lost and confused ghosts stranded on what to them is an alien planet since a chunk of their planet crashed on Earth. The fact that physical contact between them and humans is typically fatal to the humans is not something that they can control and they're usually only openly hostile towards humans when the humans do something first to provoke them. In fact, the film's biggest plot twist is when Aki comes to the realization that her recurring dream is actually the Phantom particle trapped in her chest plate trying to communicate this point to her the only way it can.
* OurSoulsAreDifferent. And OurGhostsAreDifferent, too.
* OutgrownSuchSillySuperstitions: Apparently the little girl Aki met at a hospital.
-->'''Aki:''' She, uh, told me that she was ready to die. She said I didn't have to make up stories to make her feel better. ''[pause]'' Only seven years old and ready to die!
* PillarOfLight
* PleaseDontLeaveMe: After the final blast from the Zeus cannon, Gray is wounded and [[spoiler: decides that the only way to transmit the completed waveform is by him sacrificing himself to the Phantom Gaia. Aki pleads for him not to go through with it and that they can find another way, but after putting her on a safe ledge, he reassures her that he now believes that death isn't the end, and tells her he loves her before the Phantom Gaia descends upon him and takes his spirit]].
* PowerCrystal: The common series tie-in element is worked into the movie as being part of the life-support device Aki has embedded in her chest.
* PoweredByAForsakenChild: The fifth spirit is collected from a dying child.
* PreviewPiggybacking: The soundtrack and DVD contained a preview for ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX''.
* PsychicDreamsForEveryone: They started haunting Aki at first, but then she shared them with Gray...
* PuttingOnTheReich: The Soldiers under the leadership of General Hein.
* RandomEncounters: One of the few things seemingly taken from the source material, the movie comes up with an explanation of why monsters can just pop up out of the ground at any time.
* RealIsBrown: A sad foretelling of what many video games would be.
* RecurringDreams: Dr. Aki Ross has these, which prove to be integral to the story.
* RedOniBlueOni: Almost a TropeCodifier.
* RescueRomance: Used, reciprocated, and helpfully lampshaded by Dr. Sid between Aki Ross and Gray Edwards. Though it should be noted, that unlike the typical examples, the rescue did ''not'' initiate the romance, but rather rekindled it, since Aki and Gray were already in a relationship prior to the events of the film, until Aki became infected and left, cutting off communication with Gray, in order to work on finding the remaining 8 spirits. Her and Gray are reunited whilst she's tracking the 6th.
* ReviveKillsZombie: The ultimate example, probably: the Phantom Gaia and all of its children are expelled at the end of the movie by a ''healing wave'' from the Eight Spirits.
* RogerRabbitEffect: The menu screen introduction on the original North American DVD release begins with Aki acting a out a scene from the movie. An off-screen voice then calls "cut!" and Aki leaves the set and walks past live-action stage hands and camera crew and heads over to the director and the two sit down to watch the scene on a monitor. A couple of other characters from the film, meanwhile, can be seen having conversations with other live-action people.
* RuleOfSymbolism: The eagle. The [[DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything suggestive]] placement of the Phantom tentacle that is cleansed by [[spoiler:Aki's child]]. The fact that the Eighth Spirit is [[spoiler:a brand new life brought into the epicenter of death]].
* RunOrDie: The Phantoms, being limitless in number and instantly lethal to the touch, are this. Best displayed in the opening scene where the Deep Eyes rescue Aki from the ruined city.
* RunningGag: Neil tends to receive an electric shock every time he attempts to hotwire something.
* SamusIsAGirl: Jane Proudfoot.
* SceneryPorn: And plenty of SceneryGorn.
-->'''RogerEbert''': ''The reason to see this movie is simply, gloriously, to look at it.''
* SerkisFolk And how.
* SexyDiscretionShot: Occurs when both Aki and Gray are alone in Aki's ship, going through a DespairEventHorizon over [[spoiler: the deaths of Neil, Jane and Ryan, as well as the loss of the New York Barrier City]]. It leads to them embracing (tearfully on Aki's part) and then kissing. They start softly at first, but the camera pans away when they start to become more intimate. And if there was any doubt as to whether anything further between them happened then, it's implied in the climax of the film [[spoiler: that Aki is pregnant, which is what creates the 8th spirit]].
* ShoutingShooter
* ShoutOut:
** Two tiny, easily-missed references to Chocobos hidden in the background in the entire movie.
** Also, General Hein and his flying dungeon/KillSat are a very obvious reference to ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIII'', although most Americans wouldn't be able to recognize it as such until about 8 years after the movie came out.
** Every ''FF'' has a Cid. ''The Spirits Within'' addresses it with a '''S'''id.
** The Deep Eyes are a subtle shout-out, as well. The squad contains four members; four is the traditional number of party members in an ''[=FF=]'' game, with Aki functioning as a GuestStarPartyMember.
** The Leonid Meteor is actually [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyV a chunk of a]] DeathWorld [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyV being used as a means of transportation for monsters.]]
** Gaia from ''The Spirits Within'' = The Lifestream from ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII''
** The film's setting is based on the initial plot for ''FFVII'', which took place on an post-apocalyptic Earth and AVALANCHE attacks Shin-Ra's base in New York
* SoftGlass: Played straight.
* SomeoneToRememberHimBy: Implied. [[spoiler: Gray sacrifices his life so that the completed waveform can be transferred to the Phantom Gaia, which is completed when the 8th spirit is created by "the hope of new life" from within Aki causing Earth's Gaia to change her infection into the 8th spirit. Pay attention to where the Phantom's tendrils in her vision hit her (which is also the point where it begins to change) and note that Aki and Gray. This was actually made more explicit in the original version of the film (during the PleaseDontLeaveMe moment), but test audiences didn't respond well to it, and so it was mostly cut]].
* SoulCuttingBlade: The phantoms.
* VasquezAlwaysDies: Jane Proudfoot, the tough SpaceMarine, gets eaten, while [[HotScientist Dr. Ross]] survives.
* VillainousBreakdown: Suicidal tendencies + access to huge freaking space cannon = BAD THING.
* VillainousBSOD: Which leads to the breakdown described above.
* VirtualCelebrity: Aki was touted as the first CGI actress, and Square Pictures was hoping for a long and illustrious virtual career. Too bad about her debut movie...
* WaveMotionGun: The Zeus Cannon, once again.
* WellIntentionedExtremist: General Hein, though he takes to his task with such zeal he becomes a KnightTemplar. Worse, all he actually does is make things even worse and screw up the plans that ''do'' work.
* WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds: The Phantoms, when you learn their BackStory. The large ones aren't even people - they're ''animals'' akin to elephants and whales.
* WorkingWithTheEx: Gray and his squad are assigned to escort Aki as she searches for the remaining spirits by General Hein, as a way of keeping an eye on her and with instructions to arrest her if her Phantom infection becomes more serious (instructions that Gray disobeys due to his relationship with Aki).
* TheWormGuy: Aki.
* YouShallNotPass
* ZeroGSpot: Aki and Gray.
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