Blu-ray Review: Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV

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Allow me to begin with full disclosure: I'm not a player of the Final Fantasy video game series. But Sony Pictures Home Entertainment doesn't mind. In fact, the brand-new animated feature film Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV (now available on Blu-ray and DVD) is intended to serve as a standalone film in addition to a tie-in with the upcoming Final Fantasy XV video game. So, if you're not a gamer—fear not. Though the plot of Kingsglaive leaves something to be desired, the spectacular CG animation and strong voice acting (by a cast that includes Aaron Paul, Sean Bean, and Lena Headey) makes this a solid release for fantasy fans.

Honestly, Kingsglaive presents the kind of story that usually makes my eyes glaze over. But the visuals are so arresting, the whole morass of difficult-to-remember names and locations kept me interested. Beyond, obviously, fans of the Final Fantasy games, Kingsglaive arrives pre-sold to fans of the previous Final Fantasy films (The Spirits Within from 2001, Advent Children from '06) and fantasy-based entities like Warcraft and Game of Thrones. If grand invading armies, magic crystals, and magic rings are your bag, Kingsglaive may be a perfect fit. 
 
rsz_onyxsskingsglaive01.jpg King Regis of Lucis (voiced by Sean Bean) defends his lands against the merciless empire of Niflheim. Iedolas Aldercapt (voiced by David Gant) is the emperor of Niflheim and he's after the magic crystal located within the Kingdom of Lucis. Lucis' primary line of defense is a highly specialized unit known as the Kingsglaive. Nyx (voiced by Aaron Paul) is the key guard in the Kingsglaive, assigned to defend Princess Lunafreya (voiced by Lena Headey). The problem? She's a captive of Niflheim and the evil empire demands that King Regis not only cede his territory, but also allow Lunafreya to be married to Regis' son, Prince Noctis. The plot drags under the weight of numerous characters and subplots, running to an overlong 116 minutes. Bask in the amazing visuals and you'll be better off for it.

Big up to Sony for a tremendous high definition experience on Blu-ray. The standard-setting CG animation is richly detailed in this 1080p presentation. Audio is up to snuff, too, with an aggressive lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround mix. Dialogue is nicely prioritized, action sequences are robust, and John R. Graham's rousing score soars above it all. 
 
rsz_onyxsskingsglaive08_copy.jpg Those seeking extensive bonus materials may come away disappointed, but there are four short behind-the-scenes featurettes (totally just over 20 minutes) that give us a little insight. "To Capture the Kingsglaive: The Process" is a neat examination of the motion capture techniques that bring the characters so vividly to life. "Fit for the Kingsglaive: Building the World" delves into the digital art design that provides the film its fully realized environment. As the title suggests, "A Way with Words: Epic and Intimate Vocals" looks at the voice cast and their work. Similarly self-explanatory is "Emotive Music: Scoring The Kingsglaive," which spends a few minutes on composer Graham's work.

Sony's Blu-ray edition of Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV includes a code for an UltraViolet Digital Copy.

 
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Chaz Lipp is a Seattle-based freelance writer whose focus is music and film. As “The Other Chad,” he has written for the online magazine Blogcritics since 2008. When he’s not writing, Chaz can be found trolling jazz clubs, attempting to find somewhere to play his sax (whether anyone wants to hear…

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