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Review: ‘Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV’: Wait for the actual videogame

“Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV”
The character Nyx Ulric, voiced by Aaron Paul in “Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV.”
(Stage 6 Films / Vertical Entertainment / Square Enix)

Don’t be confused by the title of the new animated feature “Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV.” This isn’t the 15th movie in a series; it’s a tie-in to an upcoming videogame. Instead, save your confusion for the film’s convoluted plot and dense mythology, which may leave even “Final Fantasy” devotees scratching their heads.

The story involves a long-running world war between a technologically advanced nation of conquerors and one small-but-powerful mystical realm, guarded by “the kingsglaive.” As the parties move toward an uneasy peace, two former enemies — a rogue warrior voiced by Aaron Paul and a powerful princess voiced by Lena Headey — find themselves allied against a dire betrayal.

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Director Takeshi Nozue and his team of animators aim for hyper-realism with both the characters and the backgrounds; and while there’s an “uncanny valley” effect at times, for the most part, the facial expressions are surprisingly nuanced, and the visual textures rich.

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“Kingsglaive” works best in its action sequences, which rely on dynamic angles, believable physics and nifty-looking superpowers, all playing out against a detailed, eye-popping fantasy world.

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But the slick animation and exciting battles lose their novelty eventually, and there’s just not enough here in the way of edge-of-the-seat storytelling or vivid characters to compensate. Ultimately, this is just a two-hour intro for the next “Final Fantasy” — and the kind of overly wordy, hard-to-follow set-up that gamers often skip.

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‘Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV’

MPAA rating: PG-13, for fantasy violence and action throughout

Running time: 1 hour, 55 minutes.

Playing: Ahrya Fine Arts, Beverly Hills


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