This is an enjoyable film; but, serves as a perfect example of disappointing fans by taking too much away from the sense of a concept. The CGI still looks good even to this day. Most Final Fantasy fans all had an idea of what they wanted out of a movie and hardly anyone felt they got it.
They went all out to make this movie. The crowd's response to this production bankrupted Square Pictures. This could have been a stepping stone to much bigger and better films. The Final Fantasy franchise has endless flare and potential; however, Square in it's many forms seems to have had a hard time managing it at points. This was one of those points.
The only real Final Fantasy thing about the movie, is the fact there is a mentor type figure named "Cid". I think the story is good but at the same time, it is not something that should really have the title "Final Fantasy".
It does not matter if you like Final Fantasy or hate it, this film is worth watching. The reasons behind the downfall of any success it could have had, was the poor marketing approach to make this movie something it was not.
This flick has all the ingredients to a successful sci-fi movie. The CGI was state-of-the-art at the time. In the story they have advanced technology and are facing the threat of extinction from an extra-terrestrial force they do not understand. The battle scenes are very visually fulfilling. I believe if this movie had opened it's own franchise over trying to adapt to Final Fantasy, we could have seen more come from these creators.
It is the only Final Fantasy story to take place in the United States and on Earth. It makes sense on why they did not include chocobos or moogles(fan favorites) because of that. They tried too hard to cater to the United States market, that did not reward the effort. Just like what Square-Enix has been learning with Final Fantasy XIV, they should stick with what they know best.