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In 1997, Square (now Square-Enix) released the marvel that is Final Fantasy VII. Well received by all, it warranted further attention and the producers behind it dually obliged. In 2005, Advent Children catered to almost every desire of the franchise' fans, the main wish being to see all their heroes in high definition, detailed models. That said, the fans of the game aren't going to settle for second best, meddling with the story and characters could prove fatal, however the makers seemed to have kept their heads and stayed true to what the game and its characters stood for. Its clear that the film is solely for the fans indulgence, rather than gaining new ones, possibly picking up awards and mentions because of its outstanding appearance. People unfamiliar with the game and franchise won't have the connection with the cast, nor an understanding of its setting, story or history, so its tough to say whether they should watch it. Perhaps with an open mind and knowing that they are in the dark about most of it, one can enjoy the battle sequences, graphics and story, only to be persuaded to playing the game afterwards. I wouldn't expect anyone over 18 to take a liking to it though.. perhaps its nature could appeal to younger audiences with lesser clouded judgement.
Simply stunning. Outrageously spectacular graphics that although aren't always realistic, they still make the characters come to life. Hairstyles vary and defy gravity but everything else is detailed beyond measure. The 'camera work' as such, pans like a real film, zooming in on faces, sliding across areas and blurring foregrounds and backgrounds as if out of focus or shot. Not as life like as 'Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within' it keeps the styles that were present in the game. I mean, no one would really wear a purple jumpsuit right? Environments glow and whilst not varying from the game, look brilliant re-workings of places explorable in game. Water trickles and shimmers, dirt gets kicked up and clouds, fire burns and fluctuates with cinders. Some places look real, especially when skies and appropriate lighting are included. Frankly, the re-imagined FMV's are my favourite parts, showing all your memories in a better light. That and scenes involving either Aries or Sephiroth are cinematic gold, one in a field of delicate flowers surrounded by light, the other battling in crumbling ruins during a thunderstorm. Some of the scenes were possibly done using motion capture, but other would be technically impossible for humans to pull off so the guys putting it all together had one hell of a job to do, a job that they flourished at.
Just about everyone makes an appearance, the entire crew of the game: Cloud, Tifa, Barret, Red XIII, Cid, Cait Sith, Yuffie, Vincent and even Aries and Zack. All of them in updated, modern versions of their clothing, wielding the weapons that made them even more unique. New enemies include Loz, Yazoo and Kadaj: 3 silver haired young men all in black, each with different abilities and mind sets. Loz being the brutish, slow one, using raw power and a wrist weapon to increase his speed, Yazoo the ranged, cool headed support and the leader Kadaj, using a two bladed katana with swiftness and precision, casting summons to do his bidding. Then there are the children, Marlene, Barret's adopted child, and Denzel a new lad with the stigma. It wouldn't be right to leave out the Turks either, and Reno and Rude both bring comic relief to the sometimes to serious plot. Since the game featured no voice acting, it was always going to be a struggle pleasing everyone. Cloud is done well, typically miserable and confused while Tifa's is almost robotic, nothing like the large breasted happy go lucky fighter in the game. Honestly, practically the entire English cast sound rather silly, no thanks to some really epic dialogue and scruffy translation. The Japanese voice cast however, suit the characters far better, not only because they sync up with the lips, but are far more emotional and thought out over their English counterparts. Aries and Sephiroth are the exceptions though, offering minimal words but delivering well. The people you want to see all show up at once, to fight the monstrous rendition of Bahamut - the might dragon summon. Its during this fight scene that the makers really show off their abilities with several things happening on screen at once, making it incredibly over the top and eye watering. Limit breaks show up on occasion too, along with other subtle specifics only seasoned gamers will recognize (like Yuffie's air sickness, Loz' ringtone and speech patterns / dialogue.) Sephiroth's appearance, justifiably eclipses all.
The introduction of the film is already a class act. Using an orchestrated version of the games song 'Bombing Mission' and taking up where the game left off. After the credits of the game, you see Red XIII and his children run towards an overgrown jungle that is the remnants of Midgar city. This FMV is essentially re-done and displayed in glorious CGI. After this there is a small plot reveal, zooming in on the crater where you fought the games final boss. 2 members of the turks, Reno, Tseng and Elena, explore the hell hole, guns blazing, until the ShinRa helicopter pulls out. We are then greeted with a recap of the events in the game and the aftermath by young Marlene, again remaking scenes from the games ending in beautiful graphics. The 'true' beginning stage of the film sets up slowly, 2 years after the final battle and destruction of Meteor, explaining a plague set upon the cities people known as 'geostigma', with unknown children and Cloud himself, the victims. Both Cloud and Tifa get their little introductions, Tifa in the old Midgar bar known as Seventh Heaven, remade, and Cloud on the outskirts of the city with his motorcycle. Then comes the films antagonists, blatantly bearing a ressemblance to the games main rival, Sephiroth. These men subsequently give chase to the unsuspecting Cloud, only to pull back when our blonde hero is about to fall, as if playing a game, a bold statement of intent. It is later revealed that these 3 men have set out to control all those effected with the stigma, use them for a Reunion and bring back their evil ancestor. This 'Reunion' is similar to the game in that those with Jenova cells (or the stigma in this case) gather together in one place. All the while, Cloud struggles to get to grips with life after the many near death experiences and focusing on rebuilding the world that barely survived an apocalypse. President ShinRa and his Turks attempt to recruit Cloud, for their own personal gain, only to find him an unwilling participant. Things get ugly when the children start disappearing and its up to the old gang to find them and put a stop to the plans behind it. Almost exclusively set in Midgar, Cloud and all the characters from the game must take on the unspeakable evil once again. Will they be able to prevent the resurrection of the greatest Soldier in history? Dispose of the harbinger of the sky and save the planet once and for all? Find out for your self, I've said far too much already. However I will add that the ending melts even the toughest S.O.B's heart.
Being a monumental fan of the games official soundtrack, I was overjoyed to hear that Nobuo Uematsu would be taking part. Of course it mostly consists of up to date and orchestrated versions of the songs and themes found in game, as well as some new ones that blend in superbly. The choir does a great job and the whole of the orchestra are made use of. Jenova's theme in particular is just genius, keeping the melodies and tempo but upping the awesome factor, adding guitars, drums and rock and roll elements. Safe to say that an official soundtrack has since been released with 26 songs to check out. Certain songs from the game really hit you for six, especially Aries' theme, the subtle Turks theme, the credit roll, threatened world map theme, the piano concertos and of course the fear instilling, best boss theme to grace a game, 'One Winged Angel'. It certainly an important aspect of the film, and rightly so as the game heavily relied on its soundtrack too, making places, people and scenes stand out.
The original disc comes with a main menu listing, Play Movie, Audio Set Up, Subtitles, Scene Selections and Reminiscence Of Final Fantasy VII. I'm particularly thankful for the audio and subtitles as you can witness the film in its original state with english subs or try to swallow the Americanised version. The 'Reminiscence Of Final Fantasy VII' is also a nice gift, showing visual recordings of the game, pinpointing key moments with another classy background score of game related piano pieces, interrupted only for little clips of Cloud's answer phone messages and calls. The end of the feature film shows the rather long cast and crew list, whilst Cloud roams around on his badass motorcycle. The second disc is packed with deleted scenes, a making of movie, trailers, sneak peeks of upcoming games and other film related footage, all available with or without a range of subtitles. There are 11 deleted scenes to check out, all in japanese, missing music/sound effects and lacking the final touches. They're pretty short too, most being less than 30 seconds of footage. The making of film 'Distance' shows just how they managed to create this film, with key members of the games production and seeing employees doing their work, its a 35 minute long documentary. The sneak peek is no longer sneaky though as all the 'upcoming titles' have come to pass, including the likes of: Before Crisis, Crisis Core, Dirge Of Cerberus and Advent Children itself. The 8 trailers are interesting though, The first being a 2003 Tokyo game show, revealing short clips of characters and the games logo, alongside some more footage that didn't make the final cut, that managed to spread all sorts of rumors. Included are Jump Festa and E3 trailers. The Venice Film Festival Footage is a 25 minute segment of the beginning of the film, a bit of a puzzling inclusion.
In summary, its everything a fan could want (with the exception of seeing a certain someones final form:) summons, magic, characters and tying up the one loose end of 'what happened next?'. I doubt anyone could honestly come up with a better storyline without covering things already said (VII's setting has been a bit milked, even some of its spin off games, Dirge of Cerberus and Crisis Core, feature Advent Children-like cut scenes). Its not just the big fights and non stop wonder of the visuals that make this film a worthy release, but the smaller details that make you feel special and go "Ahh I see what they did there!". I don't really want to recommend this though, because I know that people without the good fortune and experience of playing the game, would not enjoy the film the way it should be enjoyed.
Now as you all probobly know this DVD relates to Final Fantasy VII and was released in 2005. It is based after the game, after everyone had stopped fighting. The movie itself was great but well it wasn't too short, there was just a real lack of events within the film.
The graphics of the movie are really good for the release date and the sound quality is apsolutely fantastic. The quality you get with every sword slash is immense. The music in the DVD during the fights is magnificent and really goes well.
As Sephiroth and Cloud were in FFVII the 3 main enemys at the start, Kadaj, Loz and Yazoo believe that Jenova is their mother and that she actually cares for them. The name "Advent Children" comes from the main plot of the movie. Kadaj takes all the children apparently infected with "Geostigma" and tells them that he can heal them.
There are various epic and very enjoyable fights within the movie. The first occuring at the very start when Kadaj, Loz and Yazoo attack Cloud because they think that Cloud has Jenevo but they are to be disappointed as they come to realise he doesn't and end the fight. Another fight is between Tifa and Loz. Loz comes in search of Jenova's remains at the church Tifa is in but is confronted by her. A fight begins which ends up in the destruction of much of the church and the winner of the fight is Loz. Cloud heads to save the children from whatever Kadaj planned to do with them. However, he is soon overwhelmed by them but is saved by his old friend, Vincent Valentine. Kadaj later on in the city calls forth various monsters including the almighty Bahamut which most of the characters you see in Final Fantasy VII engage in battle with and eventually defeating. The 3 main enemies drive off on their motorbrikes and cloud follows. They fight on these for a while until suddenly as they come out of a tunnel Yazoo and Loz are stopped by an explosion and thereafter it becomes a one versus one. Cloud defeats Kadaj but once Kadaj dies, he turns into Sephiroth and so the main battle begins. After a grueling and long battle Cloud comes out on top and defeates the one winged angle with the formidable Omnislash.
Whats really great about this movie is that all the characters stick to their original fighting styles and weapons. Tifa still uses her fists and cloud still uses that oversized sword which however is different to the game in some way as it actually transforms into other weapons including dual weilding swords.
I do feel that there is a lack of fights for the length of the movie but its still great and its definetely worth buying.
I would go on and describe more about the movie but i dont want to spoil it too much!
This review is also on Ciao under the username Connor131
As a fan of the original game and the biggest reason i developed a love for RPG's i knew i had to see this film. Advent Children is a massive fan service. It takes places a few years after the finale of FFVII and allows us to see where our favourite characters have gotten to in that time. I won't go into story details here and a part of me probably can't because truth be told describing it is extremely difficult. It took me a few watches just to understand everything.
This isn't Square Enix's first foray into the animated movie arena, they previously released Spirits Within. They seemed to have picked up a few tricks in the mean time however convoluted story telling still remains strong. By contrast the visuals are stunning and the whole thing plays like one massive cut scene. If you loved Final Fantasy VII then this is a must watch. Seeing all the old characters gives the film a sense of nostalgia that may be lost on newcomers. Those who aren't familiar with the back story might still enjoy it but will become bored quickly.
Final Fantasy VII is often considered one of the best Final Fantasy games, so it's only natural that there'd be an eventual barrage of sequels and spin-offs. And enter the Compilation Final Fantasy VII, which focused on the stories of the characters at different parts of the FFVII timeline.
Advent Children is set two years after the events of the game, and Cloud is living with Tifa as a delivery boy, but is haunted by past events, especially the deaths of - (spoilers, but you should have played the game, guys) Zack and Aerith. He gets attacked by three men, who are apparently remnants of Sephiroth, who are awaiting a reunion with "Mother" Jenova. They capture children who are affected with the Geostigma disease, a new disease spreading around, and plan to bring back the Calamity. It's up to Cloud, Tifa and the gang to stop Sephiroth from returning and becoming the next Calamity, much like his mother....
Now if that made no sense to you, then you haven't played the game, or you haven't read the plot on Wikipedia over and over again. First off, let me heavily emphasize, that if you haven't played Final Fantasy VII, or know what happens in it, then it probably isn't really worth watching this film, except maybe for the absolutely amazing animation.
The thing about Advent Children is that I've seen it three times and I'm still a bit confused about the plot. I understand it roughly, but there are bits which seem to make no sense. It's all very Japanese, and I have the same level of confusion I got when I watched Dead or Alive Final.
The Blu-ray "Avent Children Complete" version which I saw recently has extra scenes (in fact, roughly 30 minutes of new footage), and it explains so much more. In fact, the Blu-Ray is just so much better in every way. They modified other scenes, extended the fight scenes (which is just some of the best fights I have ever seen) and it's probably the best usage of HD, like, ever. If you have a PS3 or Bluray player, this is the version to get.
Aside from that, it is definitely by far and away and without a shadow of a doubt, some of the most mind-blowing animation, fighting, rendering, and graphics I've ever seen.
note: also appears in part on Flixster and The Student Room
Final Fantasy VII is a classic of the video game medium and frequently regarded as one of the greatest games ever made. Since its release, fans have been hoping for a direct sequel or something to continue the story, and finally, in 2006, Advent Children was released, a feature length CGI animated film that meets up again with the characters of the game and continues their story.
Two years after the events of the game, Midgar is being rebuilt by those who survived, but an odd disease, named Geostigma, is takings its hold on the new town. Meanwhile, Cloud is living a nice peaceful life with Tifa, when this is usurped by three baddies looking for the remains of Jenova, which is causing this viral outbreak. Soon enough, Cloud finds that he has to reunite with gun-slinging vampire Vincent Valentine and Barrett to fend off the baddies, particularly Kadaj, the leader of the group.
This is a lovingly crafted film that isn't so much about narrative and plot as it is about the absolutely stunning animation. It cost a lot of money to produce and it's clear where that money has gone: it has scenes of superb action, and is gorgeously modelled to boot. However, the storyline is quite underwhelming, in as much as it doesn't seem to make a lot of sense and is very scattershot in its execution.
Granted, the story isn't up to much cop, but it is incredibly difficult to deny that the animation wasn't among the most impressive of its time, and it still stands up very well also. A welcome re-treat for fans of the games, even if it isn't particularly substantial.
A very fast paced and entertaining film.
Although it says Final Fantasy 7 it is not the seventh in a series of films but a sequel to the game Final Fantasy VII.
Final Fantasy games don't have a continuing story but some like Final Fantasy VII have sequels continuing their story.
The film is about Cloud who is a former member of a group called SOLDIER who is trying to stop the Sethiroth from being revived and get to grips with the death of his friends.
You don't need to have played the games to enjoy this movie as when I first watched it I hadn't played any of the games.
It has fast paced fight scenes, beautiful visuals and an epic soundtrack featuring a remake of the track 'One Winged Angel' from the original game.
It is a film about friendship in a way as Cloud learns to let people in and help him.
It isn't a hard film to understand although it is easy to miss something if you aren't concentrating.
This film got me into the Final Fantasy series and CGI Animation.
I would recommend this to anime and game fans alike.
I've never had chance to play all the Final Fantasy Games especially not VII. However I just watched this DVD today and I must say it is entertaining.
The introduction at the beginning gives you a quick recap whats has happened in the past, and the story builds upon this. I gather the game would add a lot of background stroy about some characters that show up mid movie, all seeming to know each other. But to be fair thigns like this happeneing do not distract from the movie, as enough clues are given they actually know each other and its not just random.
I believe this movie was made entirely by the game developers, and to be fair it clearly shows, the 90min movie is like watching a 90min cutscene from the start and end of a video game. However to be fair on it, it is really well done, and well linked together, in fact its just as good as any other CGI movie I have ever watched.
If your a fan of fantasy movies, I would recommend watching this, and you certainly do not have to have played any of the games prior, if you like Fantasy RPG games then this movie will actually be a ncie relaxing way to enjoy RPG without necessarily playing the game.
Overall I enjoyed this movie and I am glad I have seen it, I may well be interested in playing the games some day, however I am unsure how everythign links together as I have played some Final Fantasy games, but not sure if they are meant to link together or actually do link together, but guess thats what I will find out over the future years.
As a Final Fantasy fan I was very eager and excited to see this movie. Final Fantasy VII is still one of my all time favorite games and I wanted to see a continuation of one of the most amazing RPG stories that exsists.
Back story (the game)
Cloud (the main character) was trained as a SOLDIER, an army of the Shinra corporation and evil company that controlled all the power to the cities by stealing the lifeforce (Lifestream) form the planet and converting it into Mako a powerful energy source. Cloud had seen the evil ways of the Shinra and how using the lifestream was killing the planet and it's people. He then sets on a journey with a group of rebels to bring down the Shinra company and along the way found a deeper and darker problem; Sephiroth. Sephiroth, also originally a trained SOLDIER was the most powerful. All soldiers had been somehow empowered with the lifestream with a project called Jenova and Sephiroth was stroger than all.
It is five years after the crew defeated Sephiroth and everyone have gone on to reconstruct their lives and rebuild the city of Midgar and the rest of Gaia (the earth). A new set of SOLDIER brothers have returned to find MOTHER the origin of the Shinra Soldiers and they think that Cloud or one of the group have her hidden somewhere. Misled by power and evolution they want to become one with her to complete their journey, but that would mean the end for the planet. The SOLDIER boys find a way to influence children to help find MOTHER and are giving them the power of JENOVA to help fight against Cloud. The following story leads you on a journey to truth and salvation.
This disc has the original version of the film in Japenese, an English-dubbed edition and a version that was edited for the Venice Film Festival. It also has a half hour featurette that pretty much tells the whole story of Final Fantasy story all the way up to VII, and a making-of documentary, alot of deleted scenes, and products and promotions for future Final Fantasy VII games.
Final Fantasy has always been known for cutting edge graphics; especially in the CGI movie scenes. This is no exception. The whole movie is beautifully rendered and looks as close to real as they can get it.
Of course the sound is phenomenal. The soundtracks to Final Fantasy have always been creatively orchestrated. All tracks are composed by Nobuo Uematsu. The music sets a great mood for the spirit of this movie.
Final Fantasy has been an amazing part of my life. It is what has made me enjoy stories more and helped me have more of an imagination. It is a standard for me when I critique other games and stories.
As a Final Fantasy fan I was highly impressed; which is hard to do. The story went along well as a continuation of the game. I was impressed with the graphics even though there are more movies out there just the same, it still brought the movie to life for me. And oh, how I love the soundtrack. I love classical style orchestration and most games and movies attempt it but in my opinion noe can live up to the music of this movie or series. I know the characters very well from thoroughly playing the game and the movie did well in portraying the characters; especially Cloud. I was happy to see Aeris as well. She is the pillar of all that is good in the series. I give this movie 5 stars.
First of all if you love the Final Fantasy VII PS1 game then you need to watch this. Final Fantasy VII Advent Children is the film sequel to the Playstation One game. The gang return - Cloud, Tifa, Red (XIII), Barrat, Cid, Yuffie, Vincent and Cait Sith. Reno and Rude return from the Shinra gang...inlcuding their presumed dead boss, Rufus. New characters introduced are Kadaj, Loz and Yazoo - three mysterious brothers on a mission to reincarnate Sephiroph and complete his previous mission of evil against the planet. Aerith returns in several "dream" sequences.
Two years after Midgar was destroyed by the meteor incident, a new city has been built on the edge of Midgar, ironically called "Edge". Cloud is now a delivery man but on one of his rounds he gets attacked by Kadaj and his gang looking for their "mother". Cloud goes to see Rufus Shinra on his motorbike (REALLY COOL), Fenrir. Cloud discovers mother is Jenova...Sephiroth's mother. He discovers that Kadaj aims to revive Sephiroth and launch an attack on the planet. After killing Bahamut SIN after it attack's Edge, Cloud races after Kadaj, Loz and Yazoo who have gained Janova's Head from Rufus (who had it all along). Kadaj uses Jenova's head and transforms into Sephiroth. After a dramatic and powerful sword fight through the ruins of Midgar where Cloud combines all 6 parts of his new sword, he uses his new Omnislash move and finally destroys Sephiroth. Throughout the film Cloud must find a way to heal himself and children of the mysterious Geostigma condition which is eating away at Cloud's body. Also Cloud is trying to get forgiveness after he failed to protect Aerith from Sephiroth leading to her death.
I love this film. The graphics are superb and are top par with Playstation 3 graphics. The makers have really shown the fans what they wanted to see, the events after the original game in one of the best ways possible. My favourite part out of the film though is the Bahamut fight and Cloud's climatic fight with Sephiroth.
Overall for fans of Final Fantasy you should definetely watch this film, you won't be disappointed, guarenteed.
Advent Children. The very popular movie based upon the video game Final Fantasy 7. Set in the same world, but at a later date, Cloud is back but with some new characters on his tail.
Kadaj, Loz and Yazoo are three new characters brought in by Squaresoft, hell bent on re-animating Sephiroth from JENOVA dna so the world can once again be at his feet. A new disease has also broken out into the world, recognized only as 'Geostigma'. It's fatal and slowly weakens the body until there is nothing left, however it is not told why it infects or where it comes from. I thought this was a bit strange but nevermind, Square-Enix does seem to randomly add bits in sometimes.
The whole film is 100% animated and lasts for around 2 hours, it's very action packed and full of adventure and fun. However! If you have not played Final Fantasy 7 throughout and do not know of the game storyline, this film might only just be another storyless action movie to you. It's essential to know the story as you won't really know whats going on.
I enjoyed the entire film but I have played the game and I really enjoyed that too. If you can get into the whole lore and backstory that goes with Final Fantasy 7 and Cloud himself, this film opens up a whole new world where you can see into his life in a whole new way.
If you have played FF7 though, you MUST! Must! see this film as it's incredible. You will not be disapointed. I
Advent children is a remakable ,imaginativeanimation for the makers of the final fantasy games and follows the story straight on from the game final fantasy7.If you dont know or havnt played the game,the film isnt going to make a whole lot of sense to you but never fear,if you buy the 2 disc dvd there is a featurette on it that gives you a quick run through of the story,this film is so beautifully made though its worth a watch anyway.
The story centres around our previous hero cloud who trys to prevent three strangers resurecting his old arch nemisis sephiroth.The film is action packed from start to finish and is 1h 40 long,the art work is amazing like spirits within it truely is a pleasure to watch.the film is worth a watch if you have played any of the final fantasy games and have enjoyed films such as akira spirits within ghost in the shell ect if you enjoyed those you will be fascinated with this
Final Fantasy advent children (AC abbreviated) is a film sequel to the hugely popular Final Fantasy 7 game. The Film is all animated and the animation is created using some of todays best technology so its not crappy animation.
The film is based two years after the events of the game and the world seems to be at peace and people are rebuilding their lives. There seems to be a new disease going around called geostigma.
The film starts off with a shinra helicopter and you hear the turks inside the north cave looking for something however when they find it, they are attacked by someone or something immediately gripping the audience with questions that they want answers to.
When the film finally gets to our main character Cloud he is attacked by 3 silver haired guys who call him brother and ask him where he has hid mother?? again more questions the audience can ponder on until the story itself unravels more.
I think the film is brilliantly done in terms of animation the fighting scenes are fast and thrilling, it isnt real life based fighting, its far faster and very much unrealistic this does give it the fantasy feeling to the film making it more enjoyable. I do think that the film didnt show enough of the main characters from the game as they was only in it for a short period of the film and when they are they dont talk much.
Whats appealing about the film is that you dont have to be a fan or even have to have played the game before to understand the film, obviously playing the game will help a bit because you will understand the background of the characters and know more about what has happened to then, but i have sat down with people that haven't played the game and they enjoyed it just as much as i did.
What i like is that AC didnt put the final cap on the final fantasy 7 series leaving it open for more, i definetly think that another final fantasy 7 or even 8 film should be made, i enjoyed watching this film and i think i would enjoy watching another one.
For those of you who aren't big fans of video games, Final Fantasy: Advent Children is based upon Final Fantasy VII, one of the games as a part of an RPG (Role Playing Game) series by Japanese games designers, Squaresoft.
WHAT IS FINAL FANTASY?
Before I start telling you all about the movie, it's perhaps a good idea to explain to you all just what Final Fantasy, as a whole, is. Starting in 1987, the brand name of Final Fantasy (shorted to simply 'FF' by many of the fans) has since evolved from more than just role playing video games into animated motion pictures and other merchandise.
Whilst it is fair to say that each Final Fantasy has its own set of characters and storylines, they are all based around the genre of epic fantasies and magic, and all follow the basic narrative of good vs evil. As a video gamer, you naturally play as the good guys, facing obstacles that not only threaten your own existence but others around you and even the world.
The games also have the sub-genre of sci-fi because of the sometimes 'unrealistic' appearances of the characters and the elements of magic and 'guardian forces'. These guardian forces are mystical creatures which act as an aide to the characters during battles scenes, which are a common occurrence throughout the video game and movie alike. Holding powers involving forces of nature, the GF's do pop up on odd occasions here but are definitely more of a factor in the games. However, just in case you do purchase this film and wonder exactly what the large, roaring creatures are, they are indeed Guardian Forces or enemies of a similar nature.
In terms of this, the seventh game in the series is often regarded as the finest Final Fantasy game ever made, largely due to it's concoction of then modern technology and graphics, a realistic yet still whimsical storyline (including what many regard as the most heartbreaking scene in video game history - more on that later on) and playability factor.
On that reckoning, it may shock you to learn that I watched the film continuation of FF7 without as much picking up the joy pad to play the original game for the Playstation 1. The reason I got this DVD was because I was familiar with the basic storyline (thanks to a lot of background information from my brother) which was aided significantly with a rather handy extra on the DVD. I had however played Final Fantasy VIII, the next video game in the series, so was familiar with the basic principals that both Final Fantasy games as a whole and what this movie, Advent Children, had to offer. With that in mind, I was good to go and start watching the computer animated film.
BASIC PLOT OUTLINE OF FINAL FANTASY VII (may contain a couple of spoilers)
Final Fantasy VII focused for the most part on the life of Cloud Strife. In himself, he could be described as an almost tragic hero, with a distorted, perplexing past that is alluded to throughout the movie. Claiming to be a former mercenary with powerful corporation Shinra, when you first meet him in the video game, he is working with AVALANCE, a group against the principals of Shinra. The corporation of Shinra's dream is to take over the world with its use of energy draining sources, a topic which is discussed in a little amount of depth during the movie. AVALANCE are a group created to try and stop them in their evil doings.
Every person within the world of Gaia (simply translating as 'the planet) has a certain amount of energy which, once that person dies, returns to the 'lifestream'. The lifestream is the blood of the planet, and the very soul which is given to people before birth and in death right up until the moment they die. This energy is then transferred back to the planet at death (pretty grim, huh?). However, due to Shinra's involvement, this energy becomes negative and threatens the lives of many with diseases and various illnesses.
Materia becomes another part of the game which is known in the movie. Materia are little, energized crystals that allow a person to use magic, and are associated with the lifestream via knowledge gained throughout its life span.
Throughout the course of the game, the battle is primarily between AVALANCE (the good guys featuring the protagonist Cloud) and the evil Shinra. This all escalates after the main heroine - Aeris Gainsborough - is killed by former SOLDIER worker, Sephiroth who is the main antagonist of the piece. This scene in the video game is one of the most heartbreaking in spite of the almost cheery music; Aeris is portrayed as the most honest, sweetest woman who ever lived which makes her being literally stabbed in the back so appalling. SOLDIER are a group that Cloud formerly belonged to who are basically the opposite of AVALANCE and are the elite workers for Shinra.
The SOLDIERS, however, have been genetically modified to make them stronger and tougher. Sephiroth, once upon a time, was the best SOLDIER out of all of them, and the one everyone aspired to be like. However, somewhere along the line, his nature turned even more evil and was the start of something much more sinister set to occur in the world...
Whilst I hope this very brief introduction is of some use to you, there is an extra on the DVD set that is very helpful. More on that a little later on.
THE MOVIE (again, there may be some spoilers here)
Set two years after the somewhat confusing conclusion of Final Fantasy VII (in the sense that very little is in fact resolved), 'Advent Children' basically picks up where the game left off. The world, in particular the country of Midgar where most of the action takes place, is recovering from the devastation of disease, and an attack by a meteor.
The character of Cloud Strife has now, bizarrely enough, set up his own delivery service with one of the other female admirers from the original video game, Tifa Lockhart. Whilst there does seem to be a certain amount of a 'love triangle' with the now deceased Aeris, that is neither confirmed nor denied explicitly either in the game or here. Anyway, Cloud is now away from the life he used to lead and seems to be almost happy about it. Now him and Tifa are the adoptive parents of two children, Denzel and Marlene, it would seem that they are to play one big happy family - big mistake. Cloud is in fact still desperately sad about the death of his 'friend' Aeris, despite there being very little he could have done to prevent her passing. However, the way in which the storyline has been written, the narrative goes that the old hero is looking at one last shot of retribution, despite original deliberation and indecisiveness and a lot of persuasion from friends and higher authorities.
I actually found this deliberation to be the most provocative and thorough part of the whole movie; even as someone who had never played the video game, I found myself being genuinely caught up in Cloud's emotions. The way in which the narrative moved proved to be a little bit slow in the beginning but not to the point where nothing at all was going on. I thought that most of the dialogue here was captivating and fairly easy to understand, even for a novice like me. However, without the aide of the Final Fantasy VII video game recap on the first disk, I may have been at even more of a loss to know exactly what was going on.
As some of you may be aware of from the video game, there is a force called Jenova which is of heavy focus during the film. Jenova is basically a collection of cells, seen to be like an alien life form, that is described on many occasions as 'Mother' by many of the sub characters during the movie. The reason for Jenova being called Mother is due to the fact that some of its cells were implanted into the SOLDIERS, as a way to make them more powerful. It is later revealed that Jenova is controlled by Sephiroth - confusing huh? That's why it is a good idea to have at least a little bit of an understanding of the game beforehand, so that issues like this are easier to comprehend.
By the middle of the film, the plot started to thicken nicely. Cloud's venture was heightened to the greater extent of seeing illusions of the dead Aeris. The dream like sequences played out very well on screen, being both visually and emotionally effective. I did feel that these scenes were beneficial to people who were both familiar and unfamiliar with the video game; you really got a sense of the tragic loss that as a character Aeris was. The focus on the character of Cloud I thought helped the viewer to really understand is own feelings of bereavement and why he perhaps doesn't want to participate in battles anymore.
The way in which Aeris died is recapped very early on into the story and, even thought I wasn't overly familiar with the characters, I couldn't help but feel saddened by the character's loss. The moments when Aeris is acting as almost a Spirit Guide to Cloud during the game are also amongst some of the most successful being both emotionally intriguing and adding to the sense of good vs evil throughout the movie.
Yet, the battle scenes that are in the game are both impressive but very drawn out. At first, they are a rather cool illusion to the Matrix, being shot in bullet time, where the camera slows down so you get the full effect of a certain move or action. Visually, with the exceptional computer animated graphics, the fight scenes are stunning. However, at some points there is a lack of dialogue and instead of the battles moving the plot on to a greater degree, I actually found that it was slowing the whole storytelling process down and making it perhaps a little dull.
During the long winded battle scenes, at points I did begin to lose concentration. Due to the magical style plots and world anyway, it is a movie where you need to be really prepared to watch and listen to comprehensively to fully understand what is going on. Even then, this isn't guaranteed and I did find my mind wondering to other thoughts. As a results, when everything had calmed down a little, I found myself having to rewind the clips several times so that I could catch up on some of the parts that I kind of skipped.
By the middle towards the end of the film, the plot in a way does seem to waver quite significantly with battles in one form or another taking over. Many of the characters from the original game make an appearance which I guess was a way to give the previous fans a nostalgic 'reunion' type moment and to also entice people, like myself, who have yet to play the game to do so but with a greater understanding of who the characters are. However, I wasn't particularly fond of this factor as it felt like many of the characters were there simply for the sake of it. I also felt it took away from the protagonist's plight quite drastically, which was a shame as that was the part I was most enjoying.
The ending, in my mind, was disappointing. After such a strong first hour of action and intriguing narrative, I felt that the battle scenes lasted far too long and when the ending came, it was all a little bit too abrupt and I was left wondering if it had actually ended or not. I did though like the way in which the whole story linked back to Aeris; from what I've been told, she is one of the most significant characters in Final Fantasy's illustrious history. It's an ending in my view which does make you as a viewer wanting more; I wish that throughout the story there had been a greater emphasis on plot and character development. None the less, the ending is bitter sweet and holding still a lot to the imagination, which I personally liked although I could understand it if many fans would want a more concrete ending.
One of the things that when I did pick up the DVD that I liked about it was the fact it was a two disk set. For the ridiculous price I bought it for (more on that in a few moments) I felt that a double disk set was very good and that there was a considerable amount of extras available on here.
On the first disk, there has been the extra that has been of the most use to me; the 'Reminiscence of Final Fantasy VII'. Lasting approximately 25 minutes, I was highly impressed by the detail that this feature goes into, despite the fact that the game would take you many months to complete if attempted. It was a good way for someone like me to get a greater grasp of the characters and original plot and to help me to get the general gist of things before watching the movie. I also liked the fact that it was a story within a story, with some new footage being incorporated where Cloud is talking to various members of AVALANCE on his mobile phone.
Thinking that two disks would mean that the second disk would be crammed full of interesting yet meticulous extras, I did feel slightly disappointed once I loaded up the disk. At a glance, I was excited by the prospect of many more scenes that didn't quite make it onto the film. However, the fact that they were all in Japanese took away from all of that. I found myself (even with the subtitles) being distracted quite significantly by the voiceovers which took the edge away from the scenes as a whole.
The rest of the extras on the second disk followed a very similar, dull format. The Making of Advent Children didn't actually come across as having anything to do with the production side of things and droned on for what seemed like forever.
Then there was a case of the trailers. Usually, I do like to see film trailers and they are basically, a 'mini movie' within themselves. However, all of them looked exactly the same. Bearing in mind that there were over half a dozen of these, that isn't necessarily a good thing and it did come across as being very much a case of throwing them onto the DVD just to make up the set.
ARTWORK AND ONSCREEN PRESENTATION
In terms of the artwork and the graphics for Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, I can't fault the producers at all. The realism of the characters and surroundings is remarkable and something that should be praised highly. The detailing on the facial expressions is exceptional and really thorough and, if you are interested in the animation side of films, than that should be a reason to get this DVD alone.
The cover design incorporates many elements of the film, in particular the sci-fi sub-genre and the contrast of the main characters; Cloud and Sephiroth. Again, the design work once you play the DVD is fantastic and a lot of patients and detailing has gone into making the style of this DVD spectacular.
I do, however, have a few issues when it comes to actually attempting to play the DVD. Whilst it is good that there are scene selection options, when I used it, I found that the images all looked a bit too similar so it was slightly more difficult than expected to find the last sequence.
Also, on the extras disk, when I was trying to include subtitles so that I could try and understand the deleted scenes extras, I found that no matter which method I tried, I could not select the subtitles feature. Whether it is just me and my slightly poor technology skills or not, it was a little frustrating to find how to turn them on so I had to resort to getting up - out of my seat - to find the DVD remote. Shock, horror!
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
When I purchased my copy of the DVD, I was thrilled that it was only £4 in my local Asda supermarket. It was a real bargain considering that it was a double disk DVD set and in comparison to some of the prices you can get a copy for on the net, it was more than reasonable:
Play.com - £5.00 (free delivery)
Zavvi - £20.00 (free delivery)
HMV.co.uk - £5.99 (free delivery)
Amazon.co.uk - £4.98 (eligible for supersaver delivery)
DVD.co.uk - £5.95 (free delivery)
As you can see, prices do vary from site to site so it is worth checking out before buying.
Overall, whilst I did enjoy for the most part watching this film, I found that by the end of it, I was at a loss to understand exactly which direction the plot was heading in. The graphics were absolutely stunning and definitely the most enjoyable element of the film and the voice acting in itself being strong enough to carry what plot and character development there was through.
Due to the lack of character and storyline development however, I think that has to stop this film from being more enjoyable to watch. After such a strong opener, I was expecting that the characters were to be a more solid part of the film and, whilst they were to some extent, I felt slightly cheated by the amount of time spent on the battle scenes. They did drag on for quite a bit and, whilst they were visually stunning, it did get to the point where I wanted the plot to thicken and to move on, emotionally.
Whether this film will stand the test of time of being one of my all time favourites is not in much doubt. I wouldn't say that it is anywhere near the top end of the list at the moment. Yet, it is a film that I do want to watch again due to feeling that I may understand it all a bit better if I did so and one that should be commemorated alone for it's stunning graphics and provocative storyline, still within in the context of good against evil.
Running time: 1 hour, 41 minutes
Release year: 2005
Age Certificate: PG - which is about fitting as none of the battle scenes get too violent, in the case that there is no blood or what not, and there is no fowl language.
(Note: Previously written for and diaplayed by myself MizzMolko on Ciao).
Firstly to those reading this that are fans of the FFVII game...If you have not seen this movie but are fans of the game stop reading and go and buy it! TO those of you who arnt too familiar with the game let me continue.
The DVD offeres a catch up feature which explains what happened in the game. This is essential for you as otherwise the story can be a bit confusing. Once you have seen that move on to the feature. You may be wondering why you should buy this movie however. The answer is simple...its possibly the best CGI film made to date. he animation effects in this movie have not been equalled in any other movie. The action scenes offer a feast for the visual sences and the music is mostly an orchestral modification of the musc from the game. The music is the game was possibly the best music any game has ever had. I do not say that lightly either. The english dub of the movie is quite good also. There are a few moments i do not think the translation is of a high enough standard but it doesnt matter in the scheme of things. For those who are fans of the game but carried on reading anyway dont worry all of your favourite characters make an apperance and they do look amazing! This is a treat for all and you need this in your dvd collection.
Final Fantasy VII Advent Children, (referred from here on as AC), is the sequel to the hugely popular RPG video game Final Fantasy VII. For anyone who not familiar with Final Fantasy VII or even Final Fantasy, (FF), in general check out www.finalfantasyworld.co.uk or of course wikipedia for a bit of back history.
~:~:~ The Boring Technical Bit ~:~:~
AC was released in 2004 and is 101 Minutes long and has a short introduction bit which is in Japanese with English subtitles but this is quickly over and then the film is in English so if you cant be bothered to read while you watch its cool!
The director is Tetsuya Nomura and he is fantastic. There is not one frame of the movie that I can pick fault with. He has also done character design for games such as Kingdom Hearts, Final Fantasy VII, X and X-2. He directed Kingdom Hearts II: Final Mix, Kingdom Hearts II, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories and Kingdom Hearts.
AC is rated PG and was originally made in Japanese and then dubbed into English but this was done flawlessly and can hardly tell it has been done at all. It has English subtitles which are great for people with hearing problems, (or people who live with noisy neighbours) and for the little bit at the beginning.
~:~:~ Storyline ~:~:~
AC begins in the devastated city of Midgar. The events of the climatic and epic finale to FFVII have changed the lives of the inhabitants of Midgar but not entirely for the good.
A terrible and disfiguring disease called Geostigma has taken hold due to the pollution of the Life Stream. Geostigma seems to be far more prevalent among the children of Midgar with the, (some may say obvious), exception of a couple of the main characters, (I bet FFVII fans can guess who)!
The basic plot revolves around preventing the bad guys carrying out their destructive evil plans and curing the Geostigma. It may seem a bit of a cliché plot line and I suppose in many ways it is but it is still amazing; all the little touches that the makers have added really make this film seem fresh and new whilst still sitting comfortably with the original game which was released 10 years ago.
To say anymore about the plot would spoil the story as each tiny event is woven beautifully into the plot and the little clues and details add up as you watch allowing you to guess what is going to happen. Some people may dislike this and think that it makes the film too predictable but I like it. To me it feels like a reward for paying attention!
~:~:~ Cast ~:~:~
Steve Burton provides the voice for Cloud Strife in the English version of AC. His voice is perfect for Cloud and when I saw a picture of him of IMDB he even looks a little like Cloud and has the most amazing eyes, (Girls you ought to take a look)!
Rachael Leigh Cook speaks for the super popular Tifa Lockhart and again the voice seamlessly re-capturing the kind but kick-ass Tifa I have in my head.
Beau Billingslea is the voice of Barret Wallace, (my favourite character he is like Mr. T with tooth ache on some kind of combat drug)! Like the rest of the voice cast this is a perfect choice as his voice conveys the aggression, sarcasm and hidden compassion that make up Barrets personality.
Once again I dont want to spoil the fun for all you FFVII fans by including the voices of characters that may or may not be a surprise. Sorry.
All the voice cast are brilliant and who-ever originally chose them is a genius. I wish a lot of Hollywood casting people would take note! I am fairly sure that most if not all the voices are provided by the same people as the game. Sorry I am just not quite geek enough to know - Lol!
~:~:~ Special Effects and Graphics ~:~:~
The special effects, (CG), are so amazing but could I really have expected anything less from Square? The fight scenes are so AWESOME I cannot even begin to describe them and how exciting I found the film.
Every single detail has been added into this film. I noticed so many things that made me take notice and basically took my breath away. The movement and details on things like fur and fabric are just beyond cool. Reflections in water, flames, movement, everything is drawn perfectly and parts of the film almost look like live action. I am pleased that the makers of AC have managed to achieve this and yet still keep that lovely gentle Japanese anime edge which keeps me coming back for more.
~:~:~ Special Features ~:~:~
I have to admit I can only remember the one special feature, (I mentioned it earlier), which was a collection of footage from the game FFVII and really helps to give people who are new to the series a bit of back history. I was really happy with this feature and for me it was just a gorgeous trip down memory lane.
I am sure it was the only feature but I know there are more if you get the limited edition 2 disc set. I didnt however so I can only list what they are and not comment on them.
Distance: The Making of Advent Children
Venice Film Festival Footage
Sneak Peak of Upcoming Final Fantasy VII Games
Final Fantasy VII Advent Children: Trailers
~:~:~ My Opinions and Observations ~:~:~
Something I am really pleased about is that they took the time to complete all the parts of the film properly. Quite often if a film, (especially anime films), has spectacular special effects the cast, the direction or plot will be a huge let down but not so with AC. The plot is great and really gets the viewer involved, (I guess you would be less involved if you had not played FFVII), and the characters are developed to perfection.
i really enjoyed the soundtrack, which is another thins that Square are great at. It fitted the mood of the film perfectly.
I truly loved this film and it is now one of the few films that I will watch over and over again. I am certain that I will have watched it a fair few times before I have noticed everything that there is to see and that is one of the things I look for in a film.
I am defiantly giving this film a 5 out 5 and I strongly recommend it, especially to fans of FFVII.
The question facing any viewer of the Japanese CG feature Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children is: do you have to know the games on which its based in order to understand the film? And the answer is: it certainly helps. But even complete novices (i.e., most parents) in the Final Fantasy world will find some entertainment in its wealth of fantasy-based action, and the animation never fails to astonish. Picking up two years after an epic battle between the forces of good (represented by brooding soldier Cloud) and evil (Clouds former general, Sephiroth), FFVII opens in the devastated city of Midgard, whose youthful occupants suffer from a ghastly disease known as Geostigma. A trio of brothers arrives with what appears to be a cure for the plague, but their gesture conceals a more sinister purpose: to revive Sephiroth and bring about the end of the world. Cloud and his companions must once again rise to the occasion to stop the siblings and the revived Sephiroth from unleashing total destruction. Complex and self-referential to the point of occasional incomprehension, Final Fantasy VII will definitely be most appreciated by fans of the game series, but if others can look past the numbing dialogue and frenetic action (which is a bit too intense for very young children), the film offers a carefree and action-packed viewing experience. The two-disc set contains the original Japanese language version of the film as well as an English-dubbed edition (Rachel Leigh Cook and Christy Carlson Romano, among others, provide the vocal talent) and a version edited for the Venice Film Festival. A 30-minute featurette that recaps the Final Fantasy story up to VII, as well as a making-of documentary, deleted scenes, and promotions for future Final Fantasy VII games and products round out the extras. --Paul Gaita