Very nice imagery but not the ground breaking leap it's touted to be. The storyline is trite, and the characters are only moderately developed.
When you consider films of this genere like Final Fantasy from 2001, which was beautifully rendered and completely computer generated, even the voices. No human morphing, voiceovers or anything like that, totally CGI. This film also had a trite storyline unfortunately and did not do that well.
I was expecting a real generational improvement from Avatar, but while it was entertaining and visually spectacular I was expecting better considering how technology has progressed in 9 years+.
If you don't know about Final Fantasy, and you may not have seen or heard of it as it was a box office bomb. Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within was a computer animated science fiction film by Hironobu Sakaguchi, the creator of the Final Fantasy series of role-playing games. It was released on July 11, 2001.
The story follows scientists Aki Ross and Doctor Sid in their efforts to free Earth from a mysterious and deadly alien race known as the Phantoms, which has driven surviving humanity into "barrier cities". They must compete against General Hein, who wishes to use more violent means to end the conflict. The film was the first attempt to make a photorealistic rendered 3D feature film.Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within is set on a future Earth infested by Phantoms, alien life forms. The remaining humans live in "barrier cities" all over the world and are engaged in an ongoing struggle to free the planet. Two scientists, Aki Ross and her mentor, Dr. Sid, are searching for eight life forms which they believe possess spirits capable, when joined, of defeating the Phantoms. Meanwhile, a general named Hein is determined to use a powerful space cannon to destroy the Phantoms, though Aki and Sid believe the cannon may destroy the Earth.
While the film does carry the name Final Fantasy, it is only vaguely thematically related to Square Co.'s popular Final Fantasy series of games. - source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Spirits_Within