“Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within” by Elliot Goldenthal

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within turns 15 this year, and it hasn’t aged that well to be honest. The visuals were groundbreaking back then, but don’t get anyone excited about nowadays. The score on the other hand is still one of Goldenthal’s best. And that is saying something, because Elliot Goldenthal himself is still one of the very best of his game, even though his film score output has slowed down significantly.

So, on the occasion of this anniversary my dear audio-engineering friend SonicAdventure decided to brush off the dust and polish up this forgotten diamond. And I was graced with helping out on the cover artworks, which I naturally did.

But at first I did some revamping too, namely by remaking my own two custom covers. Beside the low image resolution I have always been quite pleased with them, especially the first one (#1).

It’s based on this super-high-resolution headshot of Dr. Aki Ross and I love how it tells you nothing at all about neither the movie nor the music. But – at least for me – it drags my immediate attention. And it has a Japanese touch to it, which i generally like very much. It took me a while to come up with the final composition and placement of the album credits. Somehow it never felt completely right to me and I kept dragging the font around forever. I also tried several font types, but it always was either too bland or too attention-grabbing. In the end I went with the original logo font “Compacta LET” and the more fancy “Ailerons Regular“. I think these two sans serif faces complement each other in a nice harmonic way.

The following covers gallery was completely conceived from scratch, especially for this 15th Anniversary Edition.

The first three customs are primarily Sonic’s works. I helped with little bits here and there, but for the most part all credits belong to him. My main contribution probably was finding a suitable image of Mother Earth (#4), since the source image evoked memories of a festive Christmas glitter ball in us. And that’s nothing I want to be reminded of when I’m listening to this soundtrack.

The other three customs were done by yours truly, although strictly speaking they’re not that custom after all. I shamelessly ripped off previously existing original designs, such as Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, Sony Records’ Japanese Edition of the movie score and the iconic logo treatment of the Final Fantasy video game series.

Especially the last one was a blast to make! First of all, I had to find and extract a representative key image from the films promotional campaign, before turning it into a waterpaint-like drawing. Then I added the recognizable colour gradients and finally recreated the title treatment using the original font. This was great fun and I really wonder why on earth I hadn’t thought about this earlier.

To put the cherry on the cake, I’ve altered an existing photo into the mockup below, so you can get an idea what a potential Collector’s Edition would look like, if only the film would have been a little more successful.

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (Collector's Edition)

2 Comments

  1. Blimey, that’s another great set! The final image (no pun intended), where you copied the look of the video game logos, is simly brilliant.

    1. Thanks, that’s my favourite as well!

      *sigh*…. just think of the shitload of cash you and me and a giant horde of soundtrack fans all over the world would throw at music labels, if only they would print and release limited editions like this one.

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