Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV Review – Lena Headey and Sean Bean Reunite

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Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV (2016)
Director: Takashi Hasegawa
English Voice Cast: Aaron Paul, Sean Bean, Lena Headey, Liam Mulvey

Most of my curiosity in checking out the CGI animated film Kingsglaive is that it’s directly connected to the role playing video game Final Fantasy XV which I’m super interested in. A solid voice cast featuring Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul and Game of Thrones’ Lena Headey and Sean Bean doesn’t hurt either.

Kingsglaive is clearly aimed at Final Fantasy gamers and more than casual fans of CGI animated films.  It has plenty of action and fantastical fighting that should keep a young kid from getting bored even though Kingsglaive is for a mature audience.

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Stop me if you’ve heard this before. Sean Bean is in a film about a powerful magic ring which the enemy is wanting to get their hands on. Bean voices King Regis whose kingdom is on the verge of defeat and must decide whether to accept a peace treaty. One condition of the treaty is that his son Prince Noctis is to wed Lunafreya (Lena Headey), former princess of Tenebrae. Assigned to escort Lunafreya is Nyx (Aaron Paul) of the Kingsglaive, essentially a Kingsguard gifted with magical powers.

The story is primarily from Nyx’s point of view. He’s a reliably heroic character who takes the viewer through multiple key plot points, events which may be referenced in the game. One little issue is that as important as Nyx’s action are it didn’t entirely feel like his story. Kingsglaive is basically a prologue for the main story in Final Fantasy XV starring Noctis as the main playable character. The Kingsglaive story is composed of leftover plot points from the game and serves to fill in some gaps which Noctis wouldn’t have first hand knowledge of, yet it has some holes itself.

What’s better about the story is giving each of the main characters their moment to shine. Sean Bean does a good job of capturing King Regis’ regality and assured demeanor in the face of danger. Aaron Paul’s voice acting is rock solid, he’s uses a slightly lower register which fits Nyx. Lena Heady sounds exactly as you’d expect, her voice is instantly recognizable. I don’t believe any of these three actors provide the facial motion captures for their characters.

What you will notice right away is how amazing the computer animation looks. I was in awe several times, just taking in the visuals. Some characters look photo realistic. Technology has progressed to where the giveaways like fake looking skin and eyes are harder to spot at a glance. I do have to point out some inconsistencies, especially when a photo realistic character is in the same scene as other characters who aren’t as well defined. 

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The action scenes are mostly well done, especially if you like mixing fantastical magic with brute physical strength. I really like how warping, where a Kingsglaive throws a dagger and then magically transports to where the dagger lands, is used in different exciting scenarios. I wasn’t completely engaged with the story and characters, so I wasn’t into the final big battle as I would otherwise. It’s a great spectacle though and Kingsglaive delivers on that front.

Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV isn’t going to sway a person to play the actual game unless they are already a fan. And if you are a fan, there are some recognizable enemies that could be fun easter eggs to spot. As a film, Kingsglaive is a little lacking on story and character development, but big on action and visual spectacle. If that sounds a lot like an old school video game, you wouldn’t be wrong. Still, Kingsglaive is entertaining enough to give it a watch if you are on the fence.

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