FINAL FANTASY VII: Advent Children continues the game?s storyline in this CG-animated film, featuring non-stop action and exciting visual effects. Two years have passed since the ruins of Midgar stand as a testament to the... more » sacrifices made in order to bring peace. However, the world will soon face a new menace. A mysterious illness is spreading fast. Old enemies are astir. And Cloud (Burton), who walked away from the life of a hero to live in solitude, must step forward yet again... Backed by a full team of video game extraordinaires, the film was directed by Tetsuya Nomura and Takeshi Nozue, written by Kazushige Nojima and produced by Shinji Hashimoto and Yoshinori Kitase.« less
"It's been almost four years since I first saw Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children and wrote my review for Amazon.com. After seeing the new complete version on Blu-Ray, I thought I'd come back and offer my thoughts only to discover that my original review was transferred over from the DVD edition. That review was written at a different time, before the DVD was even released in the States. I thought about going back and revising it, but that'd be changing the past. What I will add are my thoughts on the new Blu-Ray edition.
Firstly, if you're looking at the Blu-Ray edition, wondering if it's a worthy purchase, it definitely is. It's a much superior version to the original, both in content and clarity. Obviously, with the Blu-Ray the picture quality and sound quality have been considerably increased. There's a few little nitpicks, such as a shimmering, aliasing problem that pops up every now and then (The Resident Evil: Degeneration Blu-Ray had a similar problem) and it can be distracting. But the details are so much clearer now that it looks like a new movie.
Additionally, new content has been added to this release. A lot of times, "director's cuts" can be detrimental to the film and the pacing, but in the case of Advent Children, I appreciated the new content. I believe there's an additional 26 minutes added and these parts delve into the Geostigma and the origins of some of the characters as well as an extended fight between Cloud and Sephiroth. Overall, I think the additions are useful and help make the movie more of a movie and less an extended cut scene. It's just too bad that it didn't come with a playable demo of Final Fantasy XIII like it did in Japan...
On to my original review as it was back in 2005:
Cloud, Tifa, Sephiroth, Marlene, Barret, Vincent. The names could go on. This series reigns in many Final Fantasy fans' minds as being the best. Though in recent years a lot of people roll their eyes and say its over-rated (and it might be), for me, and for a lot of fans, Final Fantasy was a turning point in the genre not only in terms of graphics and presentation but also in story. I have been playing video games and RPGs since the very first NES. Final Fantasy VII was the first game that made me stop and go, wait when did a video game become something more than just pushing buttons?
Now we have the official sequel, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. Advent Children is basically a love note written for the fans of VII. Those who did not invest 40, 50, 60+ hours into the game will probably have no interest in it. But those who were shocked when (should I even say spoiler?) Sephiroth murders Aeris, who have a deep connection to the characters, and over the 40-60+ hours grew so attached to them that to this day they still draw fan art or look for that elusive way to get Aeris back in game(it doesn't exist, by the way), this movie will mean something.
AC is a beautiful CG movie taking place two years after the events of FFVII. While the ending of VII was climactic and exhilarating, providing a resolution of sorts to the people of Midgar, it did not provide a resolution, happy or not, for Cloud. In fact, it left him empty and hurt as we find in the beginning of Advent Children. What AC does is finish Cloud's story. Another reviewer here made a comment that he liked FFVII's ending. I do too, don't get me wrong. But the one thing it didn't do was end Cloud's story. For the length of the game, you have a deeply personal story surrounded by the world story and while the world got its ending, the people involved did no, unhappy or not. As I said, AC ends Cloud's story with a bang. And it is damn well worth the wait.
I don't think it would be right of me to talk about what happens in AC. Part of the fun and surprise is to see how well it fits together, brings memories of the video game and works to create an emotional core. I will keep the review as spoiler free as possible because I know I'm tired of reading reviews where people stick in something that can ruin the whole movie.
For those who didn't play or watch FFVII, this movie will not have much resonance since it's basically for the fans, both die-hard and casual. Those who loved FFVII will more than likely love this movie. AC is basically an action movie and the action is spectacular although the slow motion was used (while effectively) a little much. The sword play, the battles and the action is all directed with style oozing everywhere. The characters are all animated exceedingly well and the animators did a great job in making PS1 characters into spectacular CG. The musical score varies for me from being excellent to just okay. By far, the best moments are ones I can't talk about aurally for fear of spoiling surprises. Needless to say, the music is at its greatest when it brings in hints of FFVII, the video game.
There are a lot of connections to both VII and the Final Fantasy series as a whole. From moogle dolls to The Turks, the game oozes both FFVII and FF; although I was disappointed in not seeing any chocobos, there are a few moments that made up for it. One in particular revolves around the games End Battle Theme. Hilarious, laugh out loud scene. There are some minor annoyances. A couple of the scenes felt episodic and not connected. Some scenes were directed very well and lead into each other or intercut between each other. But there are a couple scenes that stand out because they didn't feel attached to what was going on. In fact, it felt as if they were cut scenes from a video game. Did this detract from the movie? Not in the least, but its there nonetheless.
What surprised me the most with this movie is that it wasn't done to milk the saga. I mean, of course its there to make money, and FFVII is a great way to do it because of fans' love for it. Anything in the business world is made around making money. But what I mean exactly is best represented in FFX-2. I am one who did not find FFX-2 at all interesting. In fact it is the only FF game I gave up on. It felt like it was a way of milking FFX for a little more money while the wait for FFXII kept getting longer and longer. However, AC is so intrinsically related to VII that it has a heart and emotion that I haven't seen in many movies released this year. I felt chills from the very opening moments as the narrator explained some of the events from VII and we see a flashback of Sephiroth standing in front of flames. And that was just the start of the thrills; there are scenes both emotional and thrilling to be found throughout the 1 hour 40 minutes of the film. And what satisfied me above all else was that Cloud's story finally received a perfect resolution.
I think most fans have been hoping and wishing that Aeris would return and I think the creators give a great answer to this in this movie. I won't spoil the ending, I won't tell you who does and doesn't return. But I will tell you the resolution is damn well awesome and probably the most satisfying ending to what is by far many people's favorite (if clichéd) choice for the Final Fantasy series. I do need to make a plea and I apologize for it, but if you downloaded this movie (like a certain reviewer did *cough*) please support it when it comes out here in the States and buy it. We need to show support to Square-Enix that this is the kind of sequel we want to see. They spent a long time and a lot of money making a movie that is direct to DVD here in the states. We need to return the favor and support it.
Square-Enix, my hats off to you for handling this with flair, tenderness and sympathy for the characters."
Advent Finally Gets the Treatment It Deserves
Samson Wick | Council Bluffs, IA United States | 04/20/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"About the Film: I followed Advent Children closely from the first time it was announced some time in 2004. I am a die-hard Final Fantasy fan, and although I would have preferred the sequel to one of the greatest games of all time (Final Fantasy VII) to be, well, a game, I was delighted to see the story continued in a medium with slightly more widespread appeal. Although the writers made an effort to allow this movie to stand on its own, people who have played the game (and remember the plot and characters) will certainly get considerably more out of it.
About This Release: In production since about 2006, this version of the film, subtitled "Complete" is the Japanese equivalent of a director's cut. In addition to a new high-definition transfer of the film several scenes have been extended or reworked and new scenes have been added to further round out the story and provide more visual flash. It may not seem like much while watching it, but in total the film has been extended by fully a third taking it from 90 minutes to 2 hours running time.
Visuals: Although excellent, I have to say I was expecting more from the High-Definition release of this movie. My first misgiving is with the inconsistent visual quality. The newly added scenes are generally presented with the kind of sharp visual detail that HD enthsiasts have come to expect. The older scenes, while clearly providing more detail than the DVD release, are missing the clarity that true HD material is capable of, often appearing fuzzy or out of focus. It is not generally noticeable, but it does become an obvious annoyance in a couple of scenes. Arguably this could have been done on purpose, adding a "fuzzy" filter for ambiance, but I doubt they would have intentionally added upscaling artifacts which are present in this film. The most notable instance I can recall is during Tifa's scenes, particularly in the church; the aliasing on her hair is more reminiscent of a DVD being upscaled to 1080p than of a new render done in 1080p.
Little touches have been added to further "sell" the quasi-realism that this film is striving to achieve. During battles characters' faces get dirty, during one scene flecks of dust in the air created little shimmers.
Story: While the same story is being told, the added/extended scenes and to an extent the visual enhancements do add a different slant on the plot of Advent Children. While the main points of the story remain unchanged, the plot is made clearer and certain elements which seemed random or unimportant take on new meaning.
For example, during a scene a girl carrying a stuffed moogle comes up to Denzel and holds out her hand for him to follow. In the original DVD release, this is really all we see of her, but in the "Complete" release we get to see an earlier scene that reveals she is really trying to make an apology to Denzel for being rude before.
Denzel plays a much more prominent role in this version. It was never clear to me what it was that Cloud was so busy doing before I saw this release, but in this version it is revealed that he was out looking for a cure to the Geostigma so he could help Denzel.
In the DVD release, the Geostigma seemed like little more than a charcoal colored rash that slowly killed people. In this version it is much more sinister, causing sores that ooze sticky black sludge and induces violent convulsions and vomiting of the same black sludge.
I'll leave the spoilers at that, but I've only revealed a couple of the dozen or so plot augmentations that this version of the film brings to the table. Most of them gave me that "Ooooh that's what they meant. I get it now." feeling. Maybe I'm just slow, but a lot of these things weren't obvious to me in the film's original presentation.
Sound: This film really benefits from the expanded HD audio - more so if you have the equipment to properly decode the newer HD audio formats, but even when down sampled to Dolby Digital, the sound is richer and has much fewer compression artifacts. Some of the music has been remixed slightly and it seems like I heard one or two additional compositions. Many of the songs were written to lock in with certain scenes, and when the scenes were extended, so was the music. I was very impressed with how seamless it all seemed.
Voice acting is one of those things, like pizza toppings, that nobody seems to be able to agree on. I have never been terribly picky about voice acting, but since everyone is different I'll attempt to provide some frame of reference for my opinion. My idea of poor voice acting is the Devil May Cry anime, and my idea of good voice acting is Cowboy Bebop. I think the voice acting is superb in Advent Children. I was particularly delighted to hear the voices chosen for the ancillary characters like Barret, Cait Sith, Red XIII, Yufie, Vincent and Cid. But the actors chosen for main characters Cloud, and Tifa were very good matches for what I imagined the characters from the game would sound.
Extras: This review is of the Japanese release, and frankly I did not really care enough about the extras to check them out. I watched them once when the DVD release came out and can't be bothered to do it again. This does come with an additional animated "episode" about Denzel. For those of you who want to know absolutely everything there is to know about how a movie was made, you will not be disappointed with the depth.
For me the real attraction in the extras was the inclusion of the Final Fantasy XIII playable demo. Since the PS3 is region free, the Japanese release is very import friendly. (If you don't mind that it is all in Japanese) The U.S. release mentions a Final Fantasy XIII "preview". I don't know if that means that it will be a demo, or an extended trailer. It would be a shame if it was the latter.
Final Thoughts: I wish all "director's cut" releases could enhance the original presentation as well as Advent Children Complete does. The extra footage catapulted this already great movie firmly into the category of awesome. If you didn't enjoy the first release because you just didn't "get it" then this release may be just what you need to put the pieces together as many of the more vague areas of the plot are clarified. If you loved the first one, then you'll love this one even more. About the only thing it is missing is the ability to watch the original release version of the film. Personally that isn't an issue for me but it would have been a nice addition.
Although this review is for the Japanese release, I doubt much will change in the final U.S. version. My reasoning is that the the DVD release was nearly identical for the two territories, and there are only two months between Blu-ray releases."
About Release Date...
Rach | Ontario, Canada | 01/06/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I actually e-mailed Amazon about the release date to find out about it, and they simply stated that there no longer IS a release date yet. So they replaced it with 2010. When they are updated with the information, the new release date will be posted. So I suppose you just have to keep on checking this page to find out.
As for the date being pushed back, perhaps they want to release the movie out to theatres in the states first? I have no idea. Just a guess :)"
4 Years of waiting. Worth every SECOND!
H. Sorensen | Ft Stewart, GA USA | 11/16/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For the sake of all those waiting for the English release, I won't spoil anything ^.~
The pure greatness of this release can only be seen through the sheer multitude of fans crowding into an already packed theater for a showing.
As a fangirl who has been eagerly awaiting the release since it was announced several years ago (and threw a fit each of the four or five times it was delayed), I've seen the movie 23 times and I have not tired of it yet. However, the best way to describe the movie without any spoilers is through the fans themselves.
At Anime Weekend Atlanta XI (2005), two showings of a Subtitled FFVII: Advent Children were scheduled at 11pm and 1 am. Needless to say, the room was packed for the first showing as soon as the doors were opened an hour prior. I believe the seating capacity was 250. They stuffed in 400. The second showing, which I went to, was a bit less crowded being so late/early. 280 people. I honestly believe that no one left the theater dissapointed.
"To those who loved this world and have spent their time together with their companions in this world in the past: reunite once again to endure this time". Such I cheer I never again want to hear. I think I went deaf for a moment or so.
From those words to the end of the credits, everyone was either on the edge of their seat or had already fallen out of it.
Unlike the "Spirits Within" movie that flopped a few years back, this is true Final Fantasy. New-gen fans cheered at the familiar attacks and moves straight from the ps1 game. The stunning graphics and the rendering of their beloved characters in fluid CGI brought many veteran fanboys to tears.
Anyone who's seen it can probably keenly recall Cloud's last fight against a certain spoilerific character. The fans were screaming from "It's been a while, Cloud" to "I... will not become a mere memory". In particular, it's easy to recall the last few moments of the battle. Once everyone realized what was going on, the entire theater was up on their feet roaring to the very last.
We laughed, we cried (okay, -I- cried), someone shouted "OMG RUFUS GOT HOT!", and some other randomness, but it was a great end to Saturday night and one I won't readily forget."
About the release date typo (and more)
Avatar Zero | Washington State, USA | 01/03/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For everyone that's groaning about the 2010 release date - it's a typo. All you have to do is check the Internet Movie Database (the official public database for the industry, found at www.imdb.com) and check the release dates section for this title and you'll see that the proper US release date is January 10, 2006 (it's at the bottom of the release dates list).
Okay, for the actual review, I've seen an import version of this and absolutely loved it!! I never actually played the original video game, and only really know a little bit about it, but I was able to keep up with the story just fine. The graphics are absolutely gorgeous, the music sucks you in...
Yeah, I didn't even have to think twice about pre-ordering this."