Rants and raves about all the latest in video games and other forms of mindless entertainment.

October 06, 2005

Review: Final Fantasy VII Advent Children - Crank up the AC, 'cause it's burning up!

VGP Score


9.8



WARNING: Advent Children may contain scenes that will blow your mind.

The better sooner-than-later Advent Children has reached the eastern shores of Japan, and to no suprise, the DVD and UMD versions have been gobbled up by the masses of gamers and Final Fantasy fanboys everywhere. The movie has been in development for well over 4 years, as I still have archived on my hard drive, a trailer from early 2003 stating a Summer 2004 release date for the picture. Several delays later, and Advent Children is finally market ready. From the trailers shown, there would certainly have to be a great deal more excitement and razzle dazzle than was displayed in order for Advent Children to be a critical hit, as most of the "cool" factor wore off after the same footage was shown, cut in varying sequences, for each new trailer to hit the net. With no ego or interfering FF-fanboyism, that all bets are off and that Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children contains the sweetest action scenes in movie history, and makes up for the lackluster previews we've been given. This is the kind of stuff that topples what the Matrix did for modern kung-fu, and it even makes the uppity antics of Dante from Devil May Cry fame, look like a complete wuss; and that's only scratching the surface. Beneath the layers of nostalgia and f**king amazing fight scenes, there's a very subtle plot that may or may not intrigue you. You're definitely going to want to dust off a copy of FFVII for Playstation if you're not literate on the happenings of Cloud and his posse, and if you're not an FFVII fan, you probably won't digest a heck of a lot of what's going on. Advent children is fanservice, and not much more, but it takes fan service and sets new standards of what is lame, and what is totally fucking amazing.

The movie runs at about 1 hour and 40 minutes, which isn't short-changed by any means, and the cinematic quality is top notch. The movie runs at an extremely fast pace, switching from scene to scene with few transitions, but it works rather well. Square Enix can get away with it since the fanbase watching the film doesn't need many explanations, as the background work has been layed out by the predecessing game's 50+ hour journey. The movie focuses on Cloud and the confliction within himself, still mourning Aeris(th), and coming to terms with the death of both her and his deceased best friend Zack. That's putting it nicely. The main "crisis" in the movie a Sephiroth/Jenova revival theme, which has been played out before, but it's done with more flare this time around. The plot is almost an afterthought in Advent Children though, but it's safe to say that it's appropriate, since it doesn't try to stretch the pedigree of FFVII too thin by diluting it with more convoluted back story. In essence, Advent Children plays out like a 2 hour FMV Epilogue taking place 2 years after FFVII. It's not meant to create a whole new story, but play out as an extension of the previous. As a film critic, this is seen as some what of a minimalist approach to film making, but to the Final Fantasy fan in me, that's more than par for the course.

Voice acting is great, and if you can't get your hands on a few subs, then perhaps you should take up Japanese, as most cuts are without sub titles (depending on the legality of your acquisition). Parallel to that, are the life like qualities of the environments and non-lifeform things, like fabric, wood, and the things that make up what is not "people". It's almost mistakable for the real thing. The character models for our rag tag team of worldly heroes goes back to a still cartoony look, yet retaining the life-likeness of real people. It's just a work of art to be quite honest. There's no equivalent to this movie, or at least none that could hold a candle. Soundtrack is classic FFVII, with a few new twists on everyone's favourite ballads like One Winged Angel and the Forest of the Ancients theme. Great stuff all around, at least for any self respecting FFVII fan.

The best part of Advent Children though, is the action. In my mind, it's easy to justify watching this movie, even if you're ignorant on everything Final Fantasy, since the combat sequences require no previous investment, and just sitting back and watching the choreography be executed is mind boggling. Abso-freakin'-lutely incredible. Limit Breaks galore as you watch Cloud, Tifa, Red, Cid, Barret, Vincent, Yuffie, and Cait Sith kick materia-listic butt. As I mentioned earlier the action tops every standard set by conventional film making. Some would call it cheating since CG characters can do anything you want them to, but sit back and watch just how complex the actual fighting is, trying to ignore the fact that the combatants are flying 200 feet into the air, never seeming to be caught by the descending hand of gravity. You'll find some high quality stuff to be sure. Once you've experienced just how much the combat enthralls the viewer, you'll understand how Square Enix could justify delay after delay. I would have waited 3 more years for this kind of work. If this is what Square Enix calls "fan service", I'm eccstatic about the possibilities for Crisis Core on the PSP, and FFIII on the DS.

Where Advent Children succeeds is delivering a clear and concise follow up to Final Fantasy VII, in just about every aspect. The whole team is back - yes that includes Cait Sith - and they all kick major ass. Cloud redefines the definition of bad ass, while the rest of the team picks up the slack, and out-badassing everyone in the long line of bad asses, other than Cloud himself. As a fan of the series, I've reviewed and scored the movie as such, just be warned that if you aren't interested in seeing the biggest, baddest, most earth shattering fight scenes ever (you better believe level 99 means something), and you aren't a fan, then there's very little here that you'll enjoy, or even understand. Advent Children is the best movie based on a game to date, and while I wouldn't normally consider that to be of much consequence, understand that FFVII:AC takes the concept of fan service and runs with it. There's very little to whine about, and to eschew the unneccessary confusion, yes I am a fanboy of Final Fantasy VII, and this movie is a masterpiece. God Speed.




The reason behind the lack of updates for September was due to a bunch of scheduling conflicts with my chemical physics department, and troubles with some domain hosting. The server that I tried to obtain ended up being totally bogus, and that's why the domain VGPundit.com isn't working right now. Only the blogspot domain is operating, but this should be ironed out within the next two weeks. I'm hopin to have 4 (yes, four) reviews posted this weekend, so keep an eye out for that.

On the horizon is Shadow of the Collosus and Castlevania DS, so it's going to a pretty swank holiday season come this winter.

5 Comments:

Blogger Erik said...

It might just be my inner-FFVII fanboy speaking, but Advent Children has to be the best movie ever.

I've had the movie on my hard drive for a month now(or however long ago the leak was). I cannot begin to describe how beautiful this movie is...everything was perfect. There were no plot holes, they didn't ruin the emotion left from FFVII, and I even went back to the in-game church...and I found that nearly every detail was preserved. And of course, you have to love the new One Winged Angel ^.^

October 06, 2005 10:05 PM

 
Blogger Adam said...

It's true, the movie just plain rocks. One Winged Angel, figuratively and literally is probably one of the nicer touches of the movie.

October 06, 2005 11:37 PM

 
Blogger Azuris said...

SPOILER!

Excellent review...

The coolest part in the movie is definitely where Kadaj turns into Sephiroth and One-Winged Angel starts playing. My heart skipped a beat and the only thing I could think was "oh, shit!"

Very cool, brought back a ton of memories. I laughed aloud when the cell phone went off after Tifa's fight in the church.

What happened to Cait Sith's megaphone? I was also hoping to see Ultima cast, but I suppose you can't win them all. And why didn't Cid curse?! That's a travesty there.

Other than that, I'd say it was worth the wait.

October 06, 2005 11:38 PM

 
Blogger Erik said...

Yep, a laugh escaped my lips when that ring went off ^.^

October 07, 2005 4:37 PM

 
Blogger Adam said...

Can't forget the cute moogle doll...who needs Cait Sith's Mog?

October 10, 2005 4:48 PM

 

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