Kingsglaive: FFXV, the King's Sword
Square Enix, on Kingsglaive
L-R: Drautos, Regis, Lunafreya, Nyx, Libertus, Crowe. Photo credit: finalfantasy.wikia.com
Square Enix had put their capacity up a notch with very realistic CGI characters who were voiced by reknowned actors in Kingsglaive. While Takeshi Nozue, the director of this movie, isn't as high profile as Sakaguchi and Nomura, still, he has meritorious accomplishments gained from the Final Fantasy franchise, which was why the company chose him to lead this motion picture.
Photo credit: gamezone.com
There's a lot to be said about how this movie tie-in with the Final Fantasy 15 game came to fruitition. First, they wanted to show to other people some stories and concepts that didn't make the cut in the game. Second, they needed to amass a wider audience unfamiliar to the whole franchise and to those old gamers who can't commit to play an RPG any longer. These two problems were answered by creating a CGI movie, a noncomittal medium that would explain a lot about the lore but can act as a standalone or a complementary story to the adventure of Noctis, FFXV's protagonist.
The director deserves a pat on the back, as he was the one who decided that they feature realistic-looking characters with meticulous costumes and an even high definition background and effects (compared to Advent Children, which suprisingly he co-directed). Because of this vision, Square Enix collaborated with other 50 production studios so they would release Kingsglaive on time without compromising quality.
What Happened in Kingsglaive?
Gods of old in the land of Eos provided a magical crystal to the royal bloodline of the Lucis Kingdom. This crystal forms a sheer but powerful shield to protect the main city of Lucis from invading parties.
The dieties also gave the ruling monarch a ring, the Ring of Lucii, that can wield the power of the crystal according to his noble wishes. But one can only wear and wield it if he or she is deemed worthy of that power. The bargain however is accelerated aging from the ring bearer.
Insomnia, the Crown City. Photo credit: artstation.com
Because of the warring force west of Lucis, Niflheim (Niff), the King of Lucis raised up his Kingsglaive, an elite force that was granted power from the crystal to defend their lands against imposing armies. Its members were recruited outside of Insomnia (the crown city) so while they have an honorable role to fulfill, their sacrifices are unsung especially by citizens of Insomnia.
Noctis takes a backseat as Nyx Ulric, a highly skilled Kingsglaive, takes the centerstage, along with King Regis Lucis Caelum and Princess Lunafreya Nox Fleuret. But Noctis was seen twice in here--in the beginning, where Lunafreya recounts Niflheim's invasion of her Lucian ally city, Tenebrae, and in the post-credits scene, which was the starting sequence of the game.
Nyx fighting monsters. Photo credit: junkiemonkeys.com
Nyx Ulric, along with the other glaives, were defending Lucis' borders from monsters, daemons and the magitek army of Niflheim. They were becoming overpowered and were ordered to retreat until their enemy had fallen back, all of a sudden.
Ardyn Izunia, Imperial Niff's Chancellor, told that this move was an act of generosity from them. He then proposed to King Regis that his son (Prince Noctis) and Princess Lunafreya are to be wed, plus the surrender of other Lucian territories outside of Insomnia, so a treaty of peace could be agreed upon. The king convened with his council and decided it was for the best as he and his kingdom were weakening.
Ardyn, proposing. Photo credit: drafthouse.com
Most glaives didn't take it gladly, as their homes get surrendered according to the agreement. Their leader, Drautos, assigned Crowe, Nyx's female comrade, for a top secret mission. She died on her way which prompted Libertus, another of Nyx's comrade, to quit the Kingsglaive and joined the insurgents. Crowe's personal effects were handed out to Nyx.
Crowe, on secret mission. Photo credit: theworkprint.com
Lunafreya planned on escaping (supposedly with Crowe as it was her mission), but was halted by his brother, Ravus, and was forced to come to Insomnia. On the eve of the treaty signing, Nyx gave what Crowe was supposed to give to the princess. While General Glauca, Tenebrae's former invader, also confronted Lunafreya. He persuaded her to join her tomorrow so she may know of his plans.
Lunafreya and Glauca. Photo credit: nefariousreviews.com
That morning, when the ceremony was about to start, Nyx found something odd: Lunafreya was missing. He then thought that Crowe's watch was telling them something and he was right--it was a homing beacon for Niff's battle fleet. Nyx then asked King Regis to deploy the glaives immediately to stop the intrusion and retrieve the princess. They did rescue Luna but it was a plan to distract the glaives and abandon their king for the imperial to take away the crystal. Other glaives also turned against their fellows as was their plan for revolution.
Glauca kills Regis. Photo credit: finalfantasy.wikia.com
General Glauca arrived at the botched ceremony to get the ring of Lucii from King Regis. Nyx and Luna got in time to save the king and the ring, but Regis handed the ring to Luna and sacrified himself so the two can escape Glauca. They were then ceaselessly followed by magitek robots until Drautos contacted them for a rendezvous point. Libertus, with access to the rebels' comms, found out that Drautos and Glauca were the same person and came to save Nyx and Luna from him.
Nyx and Luna overpowered. Photo credit: aminoapps.com
Being outplayed by Glauca because the glaives' power was lost from Regis' demise, Nyx made a last ditch attempt to ask power from the ring. He was triumphant but it came at a price: his life. He ordered Libertus to get Luna and the ring to Noctis, while he epicly fought Glauca to the death. After winning, while Nyx slowly get reduced to cinders, he hoped for the young king to reign well.
FFXV Movie Commentary
Photo credit: finalfantasy.wikia.com
Another sublime creation from Square Enix, Kingsglaive sets the records high in CGI animation. While watching the trailer, you might do a double take on Nyx Ulric's features looking a lot like Ben Affleck (face model's actually from Johan Akan). With skin imperfections that simulate reality, it's hard to tell it is CGI! The flow of hair and fabric seems sophisticated but looks calculated at times so you're reminded that they're computer generated. Background design is also superb, a stimulating utopia for architects and concept artists alike.
Production team didn't shortchange on voice actors, as they gave Sean Bean (Regis), Lena Headey (Luna) and Aaron Paul (Nyx) major roles. If not for these great actors, the animation effort might have gone to waste.
From a spectator's POV, the english script did sound native, but the screenplay really lacked on expounding small but riveting details, whether in dialogue, narration or through any plot device. I honestly was perplexed how Glauca persuaded Luna, how Nyx thought of Crowe's watch, why did other Kingsglaive members turned against their comrades, etcetera at first run. I even read the script so I can get a deep grip of a character's reason/s for doing an action. It was all quickly embedded, with subtle emphasis on such. You also need to put two and two together so you can understand the logic behind them.
Overall, Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV is an OK movie catered for all audiences. It has little gore, but most--if not all--of it are implied and not shown. There's also no very strong, profane language used. It's PG-13 but family-friendly, and you have to do some explaining if the little ones do not understand a scene.
Disclaimer: the Final Fantasy Series--characters and other elements including digital media, are property of Square-Enix. Write-up originally made by lapiz-lazuli. Views and opinions in this blog post are truthful but subjective and are not influenced by sponsorship of any sort.