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In general, the games in "Final Fantasy" franchise are not in the same universe but they at least share several common themes/similarities:

Does "Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within" share any of those commonalities? Or merely a brand name?

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Both

There's probably more common elements but I think the main obvious one is Dr Sid (who's name spelt with an S instead of the traditional C) is present.

In terms of brand name, the following is quoted from an interview with Motonori Sakakibara, co-director of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (emphasis mine):

Q: With very few films based on computer games doing well at the box office normally, in retrospect, do you think the film could have performed better if it had not been associated with the games?

A: I really can't say. One can speculate on a lot of theories as to why the film didn't do well, but as far as association with the game, I was producing the film without having that in mind, but because Mr Sakaguchi is really the creator of Final Fantasy, and he is just so strongly associated with the game it just became a natural progression that this movie was named after it and became what it was, which is Final Fantasy the movie. I guess as my motivation wasn't to turn the game into a film, I really can't say whether if we hadn't done that it would have done better.

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Q: Many fans of the Final Fantasy gaming universe were upset because there were very little fantasy elements in the film (such as magic, monsters etc). Can you comment on why these elements didn't appear?

A: One of the reasons goes back to my previous comment on the whole game to movie thing, where we didn't initially sit down and say let's turn the game into a movie. I guess the idea of the project was elsewhere, in that we wanted to push the technological envelope further for computer graphics, and show off Square's skill and the artists' skill on the big screen in Hollywood. So we didn't start out saying, OK, here's a game and we're going to put it on the big screen.

Note that Mr Sakaguchi is also the director of this movie hence where the Final Fantasy title is likely to have originated. And since it was intended on being a standalone movie, there weren't supposed to be many common elements with the games.

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    " there were very little fantasy elements in the film (such as magic, monsters etc)" Any sufficiently advanced (alien) technology is indistinguishable from magic, in my opinion. And of course there was the whole ghost/Gaia aspect, which was sufficiently magical for me. – JAB Feb 24 '17 at 22:53

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