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.
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.
“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.
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.
‘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