Alternate Character Interpretation: The banter between Neil and Jane is either just friendly, or he could be flirting with her. Notably when she tells him to get a girlfriend, he winks and says "I'm working on it" - and alludes to Jane always picking on him in a Tsundere way.
Audience-Alienating Premise: An adaptation of a popular RPG video game series, that doesn't actually adapt any of the games' stories or characters? Many people suggest that the backlash wouldn't have been as severe if 'Final Fantasy' wasn't in the title.
Broken Base: A lot of fans were annoyed that none of the games were adapted to the big screen, while others argue that each game is unconnected and it makes sense that the film would be too.
Captain Obvious Reveal: The movie treats the reveal that the Phantoms are actually alien ghosts as a big reveal, despite the fact that "phantom" is a synonym for "ghost." Curiously, the initial version of the film (included in special features on home releases) shows that this plot point was treated as common knowledge among the characters in early drafts of the script, too.
Cliché Storm: It's widely accepted that the story and premise at least are original. However, the characters, particularly Gray (tough marine who rebels against authority), General Hein (Hate Sink of an authority figure) and Neil (Plucky Comic Relief) are hugely clichéd.
Ensemble Darkhorse: Neil due to providing most of the comic relief. Steve Buscemi improvised most of his lines too.
"Funny Aneurysm" Moment: Neil jokes about hoping to have kids, to which Jane responds "that's a spooky thought". Not so funny when Jane physically has to watch him die.
Hilarious in Hindsight: In light of Roger Ebert vs. video gamers, Ebert gave the film one of its best reviews, calling it revolutionary in terms of its visuals and giving it a 3.5-star review. In fact, Ebert has given more positive reviews to video game adaptations than any other major critic, with additional positive reviews for Hitman, the Tomb Raider films, and Mortal Kombat.
Seinfeld Is Unfunny: By today's standards, the animation (especially facial) is nothing to write home about, but considering the film came out 3 years before the first movie in performance capture (The Polar Express)... well, at the time it was pretty damn impressive. It certainly scared the hell out of the Screen Actors' Guild when it released, who sent a few representatives out to talk to media outlets about how they didn't support the burgeoning rise of "virtual actors."
Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: The film's not-so-subtle anti-war message, and in a way, it has to be obvious to get past the visual effects and music.
They Changed It, Now It Sucks: A variation. Plenty of Final Fantasy fans were annoyed that it wasn't an adaptation of their favourite game and hated it for being a standalone story.
Visual Effects of Awesome: While not quite as good as the hype was promising, lots of effort was put into the effects for the film, and some parts are quite impressive.
Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: The Phantoms are stuck in a dream-like state, lashing out at everything around them, unsure of what is reality. The larger beasts are just gigantic wildlife that have no idea what's going on as well.