Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children
Type: Movie
Genre: Sci-fi
Version: Import
Reviewed: 10/9/05


Within the uber-famous Final Fantasy series of RPGs, VII has been one of the most–if not the most–widely adored titles. For what seemed like forever, some kind of sequel to Final Fantasy VII was heavily demanded by fans. Square Enix has answered in its own way, with the “Compilation of FFVII.” Headlining this collection of spinoffs is the full-length, computer animated feature film, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children.

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…Oh, somebody’s gonna get rocked…

As you might already know, FFVII: Advent Children takes place two years after the PlayStation game’s ending. Midgar is on the road to recovery and isn’t the detestable slum it used to be (now that that “rotting pizza” is mostly out of the way, thanks to Meteor). This is where Cloud and Tifa watch over a small group of orphens and run “Strife Delivery Service.” This brings in some gil while also giving Cloud an excuse to look like a total badass riding his super-futuristic motorcycle. It’s while our hero is doing his job and riding said motorcycle that viewers are introduced to a key villain, Kadaj. This new enemy is quite Sephiroth-like in many ways, including, but not limited to: looks, an obsession with Jenova, and remarkable fighting skill. Kadaj is determined to gather up all the people in the world who have any of Jenova’s cells as part of his revenge of the Planet, and he calls these people his brothers.

All the while, the Turks are working for a different goal, trying to repay the world for the mistakes of the Shinra Company. An old familiar face is heading this movement, and it’s someone you might not expect. They’d like Cloud to help, but he is of course reluctant. The plot basically folds out into your FFVII playable characters and the Turks vs. Kadaj and crew. This review isn’t here to tell you the story like a book would though, and I don’t want to say too much that isn’t necessary. In summary, Cloud has lingering personal battles as well as the newfound sickness that the English translation will call “Geostigma.” Other characters also come in and contribute to fighting off Kadaj, but who, why, and how is just something you’ll have to see for yourself. And that’s the focal point of the plot. The story of Advent Children is well written and well delivered. All the following factors contribute to its success…

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Every second is a pleasure to watch.

The voice acting is dang near perfect. Every actor does an excellent job, and they deserve a tremendous amount of credit for their work. They add the proper tone, timing, and emotion to their voices which helps add a new, more realistic dimension to the characters we know so well. Also in the audio department, the music is just as good as an FFVII follow up should be. The movie gets props for not having an entirely new soundtrack, but rather a collection of new stuff mixed with other tunes already familiar to fans from CDs such as the Final Fantasy VII Piano Collections. When Tifa and Marlene walked into the old church Aeris loved so dearly, and the piano version of “Flowers Blooming in the Church” began to play, a wave of delicious nostalgia swept over me perhaps as big as any other in the movie.

The movie is visually astounding. You probably already knew that, but let it be said that after seeing the movie on a large screen television, looking at screenshots brings little or no excitement anymore. It’s better in action. The new character designs are great too. Everyone’s new look seems completely natural, and the updates are a welcome change. Looking at this movie is a joy all its own. And it’s complimented by good cinematography and directing. Symbolic scenes are shown at the best times and help create a lovely atmosphere, and the “camera” is always providing a good view.

If you had told me before watching Advent Children that its fight scenes would use Matrix physics and Iron Monkey-style gravity in the FFVII setting, I might have clotheslined you. But this idea plays out much better on screen than it sounds on paper. One should not be surprised to let out audible squeals of excitement during the fights. It’s easy to find yourself on the edge of your seat for very long stretches of action, of which the movie has many. Watching the beloved cast pull of their signature attacks was an added bonus.

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Much like you did in the game, you’ll genuinely care about these characters.

It should be noted that as a standalone movie, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children is not anything overly spectacular. The experience would not be even close to as good without having played the original PlayStation game. The action would still be fun to see, but there would be so much missing. The short refresher at the beginning (narrated by the ridiculously cute Marlene Wallace) is okay, but not deep enough to fill viewers in on every single detail of the story, which this reviewer feels is necessary to get to most out of Advent Children. For someone who knows little or nothing about the story behind this movie, the events therein won’t be too big a deal. But that’s okay, because the intention obviously wasn’t to bring in a new crowd, anyway. This movie was made for the fans, and that’s exactly who it pleases the most.

Initially, many people were worried about Advent Children turning out lame. Hope was alive, but there was still a looming fear of the movie being a ridiculous defacing of one of our favorite games. At the end of this cinematic experience, however, all such worries are swept away. Everything went right in this masterpiece. Hail VII.

-Heath Hindman