Martianinvader and DBZALLSTAR Take On "FFVII: Advent Children"
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children is a title that fans had been awaiting the release of for quite some time. To see if the release was able to meet expecations, Toon Zone is pleased to continue its coverage with two guest reviews. We first present Martianinvader’s take on the DVD with DBZALLSTAR’s review then following afterwards.
“Advent Children: Lotta Style, Little Substance” by Martianinvader
There are plenty of Final Fantasy fanfictions in cyberspace, but none of the writers ever dare to go as far as Square has actually gone sometimes. On some tries their hyper intentions produce good fruit, but other times not. So, we have this: a movie-sequel to their most popular game, Final Fantasy VII, and it has been a long time coming. An irritation regarding modern Square is that whatever they announce, they then produce very…very…slowly. A bucketload of FFVII-based projects were announced quite a while ago, and we’re only now beginning to see some of these things in stores. It took them two years to make FFX-2, and that one reused areas that were used before in FFX! In addition to the years it took to make Advent Children, it took an extra nine months to add a simple English translation.
There are very few gamers who have not heard of Final Fantasy VII. Debates rage across the Internet, the subject of which is the popularity of this game and whether it is the best of the Final Fantasy franchise. When Advent Children was announced years ago, none of those arguments mattered. Some were intrigued by the idea of another Final Fantasy movie. Others were outraged that someone would dare make another Final Fantasy movie after The Spirits Within had raised and then crushed the hopes of many Final Fantasy fans, destroying the hope that a good Final Fantasy movie could be made. When Advent Children was announced to be a sequel to Final Fantasy VII, many of those who had felt screwed over decided to give it a chance. Those who did decide to do so will not be disappointed.
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children takes place two years after the events of the game. Two years have gone by without the threat of the world being destroyed. Aerith’s sacrifice has helped keep the Lifestream flowing as it should, for the most part. A disease known only as Geo-Stigma has stricken much of the population, especially children. Midgar has not fully recovered from the events of two years prior, and so the diseased children don’t have any place to turn for help. Even Cloud Stryfe, the savior of the world and slayer of Sephiroth, is also infected with Geo-Stigma. Feeling responsible for Aerith’s death at Sephiroth’s hand, Cloud has separated himself from his family and friends. However, when three silver-haired figures, Kadaj, Yazoo and Loz. attack Cloud, he has no choice but to get back into the game. Seeking their mother, these three believe Cloud holds the answer to her whereabouts. After finding that Cloud has no idea who they are, let alone who their mother is, they head to Midgar to seek out a solution to their problem. Upon their arrival, they quickly encounter Tifa, now Cloud’s partner in a delivery business and also the owner of her own bar. Marlene, playing the role of Cloud and Tifa’s daughter in their surrogate family, saves Tifa’s life by throwing a piece of Materia at her attacker, Loz. Receiving orders from Kadaj to “bring the girl”, Loz kidnaps Marlene and steals the Materia after rendering Tifa unconscious.
In the meantime, Cloud encounters a ghost from his past and must put aside old hatreds to deal with the task at hand. Rescuing Marlene with the help of Vincent leads Cloud to realize just who he’s dealing with. Battle after battle brings back fan-favorite characters, old enemies, a former love, Cloud’s forgiveness to himself and a satisfying conclusion. Any more details would just ruin the film.
The film itself is presented in widescreen and 5.1 Surround Sound. Even without a high definition television, the sound and video are absolutely stunning and will leave anyone watching the film in awe. CGI animation steps up to a whole new level with Advent Children. From the great detail put into hair to the smallest drop of water, the CGI is flawless. Whether you are watching the film dubbed or subbed does not matter. The Japanese cast is great, and the cast picked out for the dub is equally as good, especially because it includes many voice actors that anime fans are already familiar with.
The only complaint one can find with the film is the fact that it caters to viewers who are already familiar with the Final Fantasy VII game. However, if you aren’t familiar with FFVII, one has to question why you bought the DVD in the first place. I mean no offense, but you really shouldn’t buy something just because of the hype. Every purchase is made more enjoyable if you have ample knowledge about it. For those who do need some background information before buying it, there is plenty on the Internet, and the DVD actually prepares for this eventuality on the first disc. “Reminiscence of Final Fantasy VII” incorporates flashbacks from the game with a live-action sequence involving Cloud on a delivery that takes place just before Advent Children. Most of the flashbacks have some relevance to Advent Children, and prior knowledge of these events makes the film more enjoyable. That, and a strong sense of nostalgia is never a bad thing.
The other extras are available on the second disc, and one after another, they are fantastic. There are eleven deleted scenes about five seconds long each, and although they would not have added to or taken away from the film, just seeing the animation is worth the minute it takes to watch them. The Venice Film Festival version of Advent Children is about twenty-five minutes long and is a shorter version of the film. “Distance: The Making of Advent Children” is a behind the scenes documentary that details the long process of making Advent Children. It gives insight into the music, the animation, the voice acting, and pretty much everything involved in making a CGI movie. The trailers section gives us eight trailers: three from the Japanese 2003 Game Show, one from Jump Festa 2003, one from E3 2004, one from the 2004 Japanese Game Show, one from Jump Festa 2005, and one from E3 2005. All the trailers are pretty good, and they show why so many people could not wait for this movie to be released. The game trailers section shows us three games: Before Crisis: FFVII, which shows what happens in the six years prior to FFVII, Crisis Core: FFVII, which shows what happened between Cloud, Zack, and Sephiroth before FFVII, and Dirge of Cerebus: FFVII, which details Vincent Valentine’s adventures after FFVII. This section also includes one more trailer for Advent Children. All in all, the extras are worth watching, and it seems like those involved with Advent Children put a lot of effort into the extras.
Whether or not you’ve even heard of Final Fantasy VII, Advent Children is worth watching. The animation will blow you away, and the 5.1 Surround Sound makes you feel like you’re part of the movie. The extras are great. The voice acting is great. The whole movie is just fantastic. Besides the one complaint, listed above, I cannot find one thing wrong with this movie and would recommend it to anyone interested in seeing it.