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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, May 11, 2001

'Final Fantasy' finishes production here

By Derek Paiva and Elizabeth Kieszkowski
Advertiser Staff Writers

After spending more than four years and millions of dollars on its high-tech animation, production on "Final Fantasy" wrapped in Honolulu last week.

On to the hype:

Filmmakers screened a 15-minute clip of finished outtakes from the film at a press conference yesterday in the Square USA facility, where the animation was digitized. They announced that one of the premieres of "Final Fantasy" will be held July 9 in Honolulu, with more details to come.

The movie, which used the filmed images of live actors as a basis for its computer-generated imaging, has been touted as one of the most realistic and imaginative of its genre. It is scheduled to open July 11 nationwide.

While the promotional trailer for "Final Fantasy" includes plenty of MTV-style jump-cutting, director Chris Kapp said the finished film has "a lyrical pace" and a storyline that is "more along the lines of 'Blade Runner'."

Hironobu Sakaguchi said some postproduction work is still being done on the 97-minute animated film, which is based on the highly popular video game of the same name. A soundtrack with music performed by the London Symphony Orchestra, is being mixed in with color and sound effects at George Lucas' Skywalker Sound in California.

Square Inc. producer Jun Aida said he was not concerned about competition from this summer's other video-game based movie, "Tomb Raider," prompting Sakaguchi to comment: "I'm just content that we're coming out the summer before 'Star Wars, Episode 2'."

Square USA, developer of the "Final Fantasy" video games and movie, reported that it invested about $10 million in equipment for its Honolulu offices, where about 250 people worked on "Final Fantasy" at its peak. The company spent another $80 million to $100 million on the film alone.

The work force at the Harbor Square facility here has about 200 people now, representatives said.

Hawai'i-connected producer Chris Lee, a former president of motion picture production for Columbia-Tri-Star, said the film has been rated PG-13 and includes some violent content.

Correction: Production on the computer-animated film "Final Fantasy" was conducted in Square USA's Harbor Court studios. With production finished, the crew at work for Square USA dropped to about 200 from a peak of 250. The film's producer, Jun Aida, and director, Chris Kapp, are employed by Square Pictures. "Tomb Raider," another film based on a popular video game, will also be released this summer. Reporters erroneously included other information in a previous version of this story.