Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV is the prequel version of the unused elements from the hit video game Final Fantasy XV from Square Enix. Shot in its usual full motion-capture CGI, the film is a visual work of art with some fun voice acting. However, the story can travel to an extremely dense location, and those not familiar with this game franchise might feel lost in space. The 1080p HD transfer is decent and the DTS-HD 5.1 audio track is wonderful, along with some great bonus features. For the fans!
The popular video game company Square Enix has had a ton of success since the 1980s with popular game titles including Hitman, Tomb Raider, and of course their flagship name Final Fantasy. There have been a total of fifteen authentic Final Fantasy games to date with number sixteen on the way, not to mention several spinoffs along the way. With so many video games under their belt, it was inevitable that Square Enix adapt the franchise into the movie realm, which of course they did twenty years ago. But now, to go along with the Final Fantasy XV video game, a third feature film has been released called Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV that tells a direct prequel tale leading up to the events of the game. With Square Enix's patented and impressive CGI effects, Kingsgalive is a remarkable work of art, visually speaking. However, there are so many characters, factions, worlds, and history to know before going in that Kingsglaive might overwhelm the casual film watcher, despite doing a decent job of catching everyone up on its giant origin story.
Since 1987, the Final Fantasy franchise of all video games and its three films have grossed over $14 billion, which is to say this is one of the most influential and popular video games ever to be released and played over multiple decades. This iconic game did not start and stop with Final Fantasy VII as most would enjoy saying. There is still plenty of stories to tell. A couple of years ago, Final Fantasy XV was released and Square Enix wanted to jump back into the feature film arena once again to use all the discarded and deleted material for the game, which leads to Kingsglaive. Just Like Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within from 2001 that had every industry professional and movie fan discussing if the motion capture CGI technique was going to replace real live actors at one point, to Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, and now with Kingsglaive, the CGI motion capture has only gotten better and more lifelike and realistic, where at times, it's difficult to tell a difference. It's stunning, to say the least.
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV fights its way to Sony Home Video. This set includes the Blu-ray Disc. The sole disc is housed in a hard, blue, plastic case with a cardboard sleeve featuring the artwork of the main villains and heroes of the story with fire and brimstone in the background. There is no insert for a digital code.
Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV comes with a very good 1080p HD transfer that allows the film's phenomenal motion capture CGI to shine which results in some excellent detail and decent color palettes from time to time. The recent 4K transfer enhances these qualities with its HDR, but this 1080p presentation holds its own.
The detail in this film is unmatched when it comes to full-motion capture CGI. Closeups of the character's faces reveal facial pores, individual hairs, textures in armor, clothes, and even metal objects. No matter the lighting condition, these intricate details are easily seen and at times can be difficult to tell if it's live-action or not. It's that good. The opposite is true in wider shots of landscapes or buildings where everything looks extremely soft. Luckily those shots don't last too long. The big action sequences are highly detailed though with some vivid clarity.
The color palette is more neutral and lighter than a Pixar film, so nothing really pops off-screen, with the exception of some amazing orange, red, and yellow explosions of fire. This contrasts nicely with the watery tone of the film that is filled with tons of blues, grays, silvers, and greens. Black levels are deep and inky and the skin tones are lighter than normal, but that's how these films are. There are some mild aliasing and noise here and there, but it's kept to a minimum.
This release comes with a DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio mix and sounds fantastic. It's surprising there is no Dolby Atmos option here because this film and its action sequences beg for something that impressive. Still, this 5.1 audio track is no slouch by any means. The sound effects are robust and loud on a consistent basis. Every explosion, epic battles, and crumbling building sounds impressive. The way debris flies around when something is destroyed is wonderful as every piece of metal or dirt transitions smoothly from one speaker to the next.
There is a good low end of bass as well, especially when the spacecrafts fly and the giant monsters stomp their feet on the ground, making a good rumble to each noise. The atmospherics of smaller and quieter sounds are great as well in large rooms and spaces that have the necessary reverb and echo that is needed. The score always adds to the suspense and drama in each scene, and the dialogue is clean and free of any audio problems.
With around 23 minutes of bonus material, these extras, are quick, concise, fun, entertaining, and informative. There's not a ton of content, but what's here is worth the watch.
Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV is a great story and prequel to the hit video game Final Fantasy XV with some extraordinary visuals, good voice work from a stellar cast, and a wonderful story. That said, the history and characters can get convoluted and dense in the two-hour run time to fully understand the scope of what's being shown, and people not keen on this franchise will be lost. The 1080p HD video presentation is decent enough in that textures in the motion-captured faces of each character and the intimate detail of their costumes look wonderful. It's just the wider shots of buildings and the Final Fantasy world that looks like it hadn't been finished and comes across flat, vague, and soft. Luckily the action sequences don't convey this at all. The DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix is superb, loud, and boisterous with a ton of great sound effects. The extras are informative, fun, worthwhile too, including some great behind-the-scenes footage of the actors reading their lines in character. For the fans!