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Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (OH NOES SPOILEROES)

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Seems like I haven't been here forever.  Anyway, haven't seen any topics for this, suprised that DK hasn't posted one (does he still hang out here?)  Anyway.

Ok, so I finally got around to buying and watching this second offering from Square Enix about Final Fantasy VII. Hopefully, most of you will have heard of the Final Fantasy series, quite possibly one of the most successful and greatest series of Games to exit the mind of the Japanese (Tetsuya Nobura to be precise), with Final Fantasy VII being one of the current favourites in this series (arguably the best for some). The story of VII was amazing, and linked many themes that are still as current as they were back when the game was released, and even some that I didn't realise were there in the past, but are there now (Mako=Oil?).

Anyway, after VII was released, it caused ripples in the Game Universe with it's level of majesty, it's depth, it's characters and it's story, and for some it was all over a bit too quickly. A few years ago saw rumours surface of a second installment for VII, and when X-2 was released, saw these rumours come to a forefront, and gamers demanded a second VII game.

It wasn't long after that Square Enix (Squenix) announced that they were indeed creating a second installment for the VII story, but it would not be in the form of a game, but as a CGI Movie. Opinion was divided, a chance to see Cloud, Tifa (with breasts!!) in glorius CGI yet the chance to replay as these characters gone. So what of the decision?

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children opens with the telling of the lifestream, and the problem of Geostigma, a counter balance for what happened at the end of VII when Sephiroth was vanquished and the world saved. The world was punishing all the bad and evil and getting it's own back on the inhabitants.

The first scene you get is of Red XII running towards what I assume is Midgar 240 years in the future, and you instantly get hit by the CGI and how utterly fantastic it is. This is cutting edge CGI for an animated feature. Although nothing on Kong, Squenix have surpassed their previous offering and created a world that is beautiful and impressive.

It is quickly established that the movie is going to be based around the search for "Mother" (Jenova) in the hope of cleansing the world, and Geostigma is a side-effect of the Sephiroth Clone, Jenova Seed or whatever, being in the life stream and this is what is bringing them all together. A pretty basic story, but one that you would expect from a video game, and it actually transfers well over to the movie.

The set pieces in this are wonderful, the fights are fantastic (as well as being fantastical) and the ending is superb. The whole movie builds up to two moments - the re-union of the original gang (minus Aeris) against the might of Bahamut (although never named as such) and the final fight between Cloud and Sephirioth - yes, he returns in all his glory and his 63 foot Masamune sword for a excellent battle that is the highlight of the movie.

Unfortunatly, some of the battles beforehand just seem out of place, and there just for the sake of having a battle - and garner no real point indeed. For example, right at the start, barely 5 minutes in and we have a great motorcycle chase between Cloud and the 3 Sephiroth Lookalikes with some cool monsters. However, just as Cloud is about to lose and get pounced on, Kadaj (the leader) calls the monsters back and they leave Cloud to get away, leaving no point for the battle, except to leave Cloud alive for future plot points.

Another problem was the reluctance to kill characters - Reno and Rude apparently committed suicide to help Cloud and co, and kill two of the Sephirtoh clones, but no - they survive a massive blast, along with the two clones to serve a plot point at the end. I don't see why they just couldn't have killed them then and there.

Although I see a problem in them, I will forgive it because the movie is just damn too cool. Having watched both the Japanese and the English voiced versions, I can say that they nailed the cast of the English voices perfectly, especailly Barrat who I always expected to be some sort of Mr T wannabe (he even says "Get out ma way foo'" when he bursts on to the scene - pure brilliance.

Which brings me on to the characters. The main character here is Cloud - VII was his story, and so is Advent Children, and as such the others take a back seat except when comedy relief is needed, handy hints, or helpful advice. Hell, even Reno and Rude get more screen time then Cid, XII, Barrat, Yuffie, Vincent, Tifa and Cait Sith which I found hurtful. They could have done so much more with these characters, and maybe they will, I would certianly like to hear more of why Cait Sith has a strong Scottish Accent (yet is voiced by an Englishman) and Cid and his adventures on his new airship.

But, what makes the movie for me is the excellent music created by Nobuo Uematsu. He blends original music created for VII with new, re mixes of original music, with his own bands Rock versions. Look out for J.E.N.O.V.A (from album Battle Music) and a new version of One Winged Angel that will just blow you out of the water. Music has always been a big part of the FF universe, I own most of the soundtracks, and love every single song I hear. That said, my favourite album is VII, with it's delicate balance of love, happiness and industrial sounding music, and it's catchy Boss Theme (which never made it into here) you cannot help just enjoy the whole expierience. Each chosen piece of music helps to enhance the scene and draws you in in anticipation - and when Aeris Theme plays, you cannot help but shed a tear for her.

Speaking of Aeris, she is in this, and does play a role in helping Cloud vanquish his hatred of himself.

So what do I think of this movie? Was it needed? Definatly not. Is it welcome? Very much so. Squenix has created a movie that fans will enjoy, and understand. They will get most of the humour, and understand parts that welcome member of the Zone just won't. It doesn't mean that if you are new to the VII universe that you won't enjoy it, but I would suggest you tread carefully and would reccomend a rent before a buy. But even if you do buy it, watch the re-cap that comes free with it, it will bring you up to speed, and help with the understanding process. It also contains the most pivitol moment ever in video game history.

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I think I saw this half a year ago. Was it the one with the big battle between Cloud & gang and the dragon(I assume it was Bahamut?) at the end? Along with Sephiroth returning and Cloud killing him again? ???

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Yes, I'm still here, though I've not had much reason to post as of late.  Perhaps to Dante's constant badgering (seriously, real badgers), I've just posted in Factions 2.  It's crap, because my writing has been slowly declining in quality for a while now, but that's neither here nor there.  Well... it's not here, anyway. :)

Advent Children?  Hmm... OK, two responses.  First, the Final Fantasy VII Fan-Boy response.


Now, the rational response. :)

To be truthful, the message at the beginning of the movie explains it all; "To those who loved this world, and knew friendly company therein: this reunion is for you".  If you haven't played Final Fantasy VII, or if you didn't enjoy it (however impossible this may seem to me), your enjoyment of this movie will be limited.  You are also not fully qualified to judge the movie if you fall into this category.  Advent Children is a movie like no other, in a category of its own.  To my knowledge, it is the ONLY movie that is the official sequel to a video-game.  It's like the Back to the Future Trilogy; each movie is great in its own right, but you'll appreciate Part III a lot more having watched Parts I and II already.

So if you haven't played the game, but you watched the movie, then realise that your opinion on how good or bad it was is fundamentally flawed, since you've missed the entire first half. :)

EWS has explained most of the basics, and I would take far too long in trying to explain it any futher.  The intricacies in this plot are not immediately evident in the movie, because a lot of it presumes that you've played and understood FFVII.  A lot of you might be thinking, watching the credits "roll", "Who the hell was the guy with spiky black hair in the flashbacks, and with Aeris?".  Or perhaps even "What the hell is the deal with Reno and Rude, who are Tseng and Elena?".  My answer is to buy and play Final Fantasy VII, because it's only through roughly 40 hours of gameplay that you'll be able to get all the answers you're looking for.  My point in this rambling is that I'm not going to even touch on the plot; it's fucking excellent, by all standards.

I'll clear up a couple of mistakes made by EWS, since I am the resident Fountain of Knowledge for everything that is FFVII.

The first scene you get is of Red XII running towards what I assume is Midgar 240 years in the future, and you instantly get hit by the CGI and how utterly fantastic it is. This is cutting edge CGI for an animated feature.

The first scene you see is, indeed, of Red XIII (not XII :P) running through a canyon, jumping up a craggy cliff-face, and roaring at the ruins of Midgar, long reclaimed by nature.  But it's 500 years after the happenings of FFVII, and 498 years after Advent Children.  As for the graphics, if you watch the commentaries on the Bonus Disc, the creators specifically mention how they didn't concentrate very heavily on realism.  I can't remember their exact words, but they said something along the lines of "we don't care about realism, as long as it looks cool, we're happy".  I can appreciate that, and I'm very thankful that they decided to make the characters look like their PlayStation counterparts, rather than make them look too 'real'.

The story is, indeed, about the search for "Mother", otherwise known as Jenova.  To try and briefly explain this, the three Silver-Haired Men (Kadaj, Loz and Yazoo) are looking for Jenova, or rather Jenova's head.  In Final Fantasy VII, you finally "kill" Jenova in the Northern Crater.  It seems that her head survived, though, and Tseng, Elena and Reno managed to retrieve it (the beginning of the movie).  When Jenova and Sephiroth were "killed" in the Northern Crater, they were absorbed into the lifestream.  From there, they have been corrupting the planet's inhabitants with the Geostigma.  The symptoms are actually due to the body overcompensating for the invader ("Mother's memetic legacy", a.k.a essence of Sephiroth).  Kadaj and Co. are very badly affected by the stigma (though you never see any markings, it is heavily inferred, especially in Kadaj) and have a sort of innate knowledge that they must "re-unite" with Jenova.

(See?  Too loooooong. :D)

One of Jenova's most notorious qualities is that, when injured, all the pieces will 're-unite'.  This is why Kadaj keeps referring to the whole affair as a 'Reunion'.  Cloud is attacked at the beginning of the movie, because they believe that he has Mother (a fair assumption, since Cloud's group were the last people in the crater, and Rufus Shinra had told them previously that he did not have Jenova).  But their overall goal, once they find Mother, is to re-unite.  And, as Vincent explains, to do so would be to re-unite the "essence of Sephiroth" with Jenova cells, thus re-creating Sephiroth himself.

The first fight that really gave me goosebumps, though, was the Tifa vs. Loz battle in the Sector 5 Church.  The piano rendition of "Those Who Fight" was amazing, the style of battle astounding, and the humourous touch with the mobile ringtone at the end was refreshingly funny. :)

EWS is right in saying that the whole movie really builds up to two main events; the Bahamut fight, and the final duel between Cloud and Sephiroth.  I, too, am disappointed that there wasn't more shown of the rest of the group, but Advent Children was most definitely Cloud's story; about him coming to terms with Aeris' death and learning to move on.  They do play slightly more of a part than simply comic relief or handy advice, but the bulk of the action revolves around Cloud.  Reno and Rude being slightly more in the spotlight is probably due to them having a game almost totally devoted to Shinra and The Turks already made (Final Fantasy VII: Before Crisis).

I'm not a very good reviewer, because I can't summarise very well, especially a movie with so much backstory.  Suffice it to say, this movie is fantastic.  A welcome conclusion to the main Final Fantasy VII plot.  The only fault I can find is that there wasn't enough of it. :)

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I didn't like the film that much. I found it both boring and too action-oriented; the action scenes were uninteresting jump-and-slash sessions.

I played the game and liked it very much. The story telling method is possibly one of the best ever seen in the gaming industry and the plot kept me interested until the very end, although some of the fights were a little exhausting. I also especially liked the cutscenes; they were awesome, and when I found out that a movie was in the making, I was quite thrilled. Unfortunately, the movie didn't really fill any of my expectations.

Basically it justs consists of three or four fights and some bad drama between them. I wanted more of the atmopshere of the game; now it's just a silly bloodless fighting anime movie with FF7 characters, and uh... something people call "plot". You see, the plot of the game was more complex with many flashbacks and just simply mysterious things (such as the episode inside Cloud's head), but the movie was just "Here are your bad guys, here are the heroes, and this is the MacGuffin. You know exactly what will happen!"

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