The absolute best CGI movie I have seen to date
The main issue with The Spirits Within was that it wasn't a bad movie, not by any account. The issue was that it never became as popular as its video game processors. Either the concept of a Final Fantasy movie didn't really catch on or maybe the movie was never advertised properly (Which would have been a one in a million fluke). It seemed in the end that Square Enix had the talent, but not the attention.
However, that would be quickly rectified with another movie, this time with a more familiar theme in the form of the original Square Enix (Or as it was known back then, Square Soft) RPG that brought the series and arguably the genre itself to westernised countries, Final Fantasy VII. And they did it with an even better result and an even better movie.
To set up the story for you, it's been two years ever since the end of the Final Fantasy VII video game and life has settled down quite a bit for Cloud, who is currently living with Tifa at an abandoned 7th Heaven building with two orphans. Midgar is a completely different town than what you have seen in the original game or Crisis Core: FF VII, the town you could almost mistake for a junk town now after what happened at the end of the original game.
Cloud is now running his own delivery service with Tifa as well, trying to lead a carefree life without the world on his shoulders. But after the ending of the movie's video game processor, a virus known as Gestoigma has broken out as a side effect and to make things worse, straight from the beginning of the movie Cloud is ambushed by three suspicious looking characters, claiming to look for "Mother".
I know it seems like I'm trying to wreck the movie for you, but the story can, well... It can leave you confused if you have never even played the original game. However, even with knowledge about the original story you can't help but feel that it's only there to give the fans some closure of what happened after Final Fantasy VII. That's not to say it didn't do a good job, I personally enjoyed it, but I couldn't help but feel that Square Enix put their heart into the story. A couple of changes to the movie and it could have been a masterpiece, but for what it's worth, it does a splendid job of sucking you in.
Despite the storyline, the thing that will absolutely take your breath away is the CGI picture. It is everything a CGI movie could be, it is everything a CGI movie should be. Everything from Midgar's remaining structures to the facial expressions of characters to the absolutely mind blowing fight scenes during the movie absolutely makes the unreasonable $40 I paid for the DVD version completely justified. It is just an absolutely stunning technical piece to behold, and the perfect way to test out your brand new HD setup if you purchase the Blu-Ray version of the movie, I'm sure.
I personally ordered the DVD from eBay, and was told that I would get the movie within 1-3 days. It ended up taking me 7 weeks, and as you can guess I was pretty angry about the service from the people I bought the movie from, and the fact that it took 7 weeks for the DVD to travel 200 kilometres made me absolutely furious. But then I just shut up, put the DVD in and watched... And you know what?
It was absolutely worth it.