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.
on April 20, 2009
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
on November 15, 2005
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.
Set two years after the conclusion of the FF VII console game, this story picks up when a new disease, Geostigma, seems to be infecting the world. Most believe that it is further proof that the world has rejected humanity. Cloud Strife, the conflicted hero of the original game has chosen to live a solitary life, unwilling to take action because of his part in the tragic events of the game. But an attack as he returns to Midgard, and pressure from such disparate folks as Tifa Lockhart and Rufus Shinra, begins to draw him out of his shell. Three brothers Kadaj, Yazoo, and Loz are searching for 'mother,' the remains of Jenova, the alien life form that nearly destroyed the planet, in order to resurrect Sephiroth. When they kidnap the children of Midgard to further their aims, Cloud goes into action. Still fighting his own internal battles the ex-SOLDIER pitches in with a vengeance, sensing that this is his last opportunity for healing.
That, and about an hour of running battles is the plot of the film. More than enough, by the way, to give every Final Fantasy fan in the universe a hundred minutes of fun, thrills, and even a few carefully hidden tears. I would never have expected that a CGI recreation of what was one of the best of the games to be even better than the game it was modeled upon. Directors Tetsuya Nomura and Takeshi Nozue are geniuses, plain and simple. The graphics are pure Final Fantasy, but rather than push for hyper-detailed style that CGI often uses, the film maintains a slightly soft focus and pays great care to the naturalness and expressiveness of the characters. Except when they are leaping and racing about during fights. In the latter case prepare yourself from some truly delightful choreography. So what, after all, if Cloud gets boosted a couple thousand feet in the air in a blazing example of teamwork, it's great to watch him take a the monster apart.
A big surprise is the acting. Both the Japanese version and the English dubbing are excellent. I experienced no disconnect whatever between what I expected the characters to sound like and what they did sound like. This, coupled with the fluid animation, creates an unusual level of realism. The music was 'good enough' but not up to the par of the rest of the production. For an interesting insight in how far animation has come take a look at the excerpts from the original game. FF VII was the first games to start setting the bar for console games, but there is still a long way to go before FF X or the soon to be released FF XII. Yet it's impossible to deny the playability of the game itsel, and this film proves that even an old story can wear new clothes.
This leaves little room for criticism in the quality of animation. Human and animal motion are quite convincing, and cloth and hair effects have never been better. The gray grunge of a crumbling urban world comes through well - sometimes the subdued palette tells the story better than brighter colors could. The only disappointment in the animation came towards the end, when people's hair and clothes were immersed in water. I was waiting to see how the animators would present it. Apparently, the characters all use a shampoo based on Scotch-Guard, so their locks remained loose and wispy even after complete immersion. Likewise, clothes soaked in water never took on the waterlogged look I hoped for. Still, the animation stands at the peak of current technology.
On top of that, I applaud the ecological consciousness of this movie. It uses 100% recycled plot elements; no new ideas were harmed in the making of it. Big cool motorcyles, oddly oversized and elaborate weaponry, flying-swordsman fight scenes, earth at risk from man's greed, super-secret government lab creating the ultimate warrior - you get the idea.
I enjoyed watching this once. I can't think of any reason to see it again.
on January 2, 2006
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 [...]) 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.
In 2005, fans of the Square Enix Sony PlayStation video game "Final Fantasy VII" were excited when a new CG film was released and that video games based on the characters would follow. The film was well received by fans of the video game but was not received well by critics who were not well versed with "Final Fantasy VII" or the games that have come out afterward.
The DVD release in 2006 was successful as it became the first direct-to-DVD film to sell over a million copies, in fact worldwide sales were over 2.4 million copies.
But a lot has chanced since 2005. In fact, more backstory to "Final Fantasy VII" has been fleshed out with the release with an anime OAV series titled "Last Order", of a mobile game (not released in the US) titled "Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII", "Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII" for the PS2, "Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII" for the Sony PSP.
Here we are with "Final Fantasy VII Advent Children Complete". Despite being announced at the Tokyo Game Show in 2006 for a Blu-ray release, Square Enix postponed the release until 2009. The main difference is that this film would feature 26 minutes of new footage and over 1,000 revised scenes. Although the Blu-ray scene in Japan has been slow compared to other countries in terms of copies sold, the release of FF7:ACC sold over 100,000 copies in its first day, the highest selling Blu-ray in Japan was "Macross F" which sold over 34,000 in 2008.
For the fans who played the video games that came after 2005, especially the Sony PSP video game "Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII", it furthers the fan's appreciation of this film. In fact, the new footage actually makes the film much more coherent and enjoyable. But like the original release of "Advent Children", if one had no interest in the video game to begin with, nor have they had a vested interest in the "Final Fantasy VII" video game series, they probably still won't get it. But as a person who has played the games (with the exception of "Before Crisis"), I felt that "FINAL FANTASY VII: ADVENT CHILDREN COMPLETE" was much more enjoyable this time around.
VIDEO & AUDIO:
"FINAL FANTASY VII: ADVENT CHILDREN COMPLETE" is featured in 1080p High Definition (aspect ratio of 1:78:1). When the film was released in 2005, the animation was realistic and just awesome to look at. The animation still holds up four years later but part of the problem is that the video is upconverted. The extra 30 minutes is pretty much all throughout the film but for those with a keen eye, you can tell which piece looks upconverted and which doesn't. The newer scenes are much crisper and sharper. But for the most part, depending on your TV, many people probably will not know the difference on the Blu-ray but comparing to the DVD, the image quality is of course, much, much better.
There are a lot of details in the newer scenes from books, papers scattered on the shelves. You will now see dirt and grime on the people getting into the fights. You will also see more footage of people around Midgar, more to the buildings and destruction around the city and just more additional footage that made the film much better. Scenes and backgrounds come out quite clearly on the video that even scenes where characters are looking out windows, you can see the backgrounds through the windows much clearer.
I also want to add that there were certain scenes that displayed white speckles. Although I didn't see compression artifacts, I was surprised to see this a few times in the video but very few times. Overall, picture quality was very good.
The audio features a lossless track with an English, Japanese and French Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track (note: The Japanese version does not have the French audio track nor does it contain the English subtitles). To be truthful, I was hoping the sound would be much immersive and that there would be full utilization of audio throughout all channels but FF7:ACC was more front channel heavy with occasional panning of sound but I didn't hear any low level frequency bass coming out of my subwoofer, nor did I really hear anything coming out throughout my rear surrounds. But the dialogue, the awesome music and action scenes with swords clanging and destruction of buildings do come out quite clearly through your front and center channel speakers.
Also, when it comes to voice acting both Japanese and English are well done. Square Enix really went all out by having actresses Mena Suvari and Rachael Leigh Cook to lend their voices to the characters but overall, both audio tracks were well done. If anything, I tend to prefer the Tifa "tsuru tsuru tsuru tsuru" than the "dilly dally shilly shally" but overall, I enjoyed both. I did not watch the film with the French dub track though.
As for subtitles, the Blu-ray features English, English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Chinese (Traditional), Chinese (Simplified), Korean, Thai, Arabic and Dutch. The Japanese version only features Japanese subtitles.
"FINAL FANTASY VII: ADVENT CHILDREN COMPLETE" includes a good number of special features. Included are:
* Legacy of Final Fantasy - (6:37) This featurette features a quick history of the "Final Fantasy" video games and then leads up to the screening at the Venice International Film Festival, discussion of how the DVD sold over a million copies in Japan, 3.6 worldwide which is unprecedented for a direct-to-video release. And also the release of this latest Blu-ray release which features nearly 30 minutes of extra footage and 1,000 revised scenes.
* Reminiscence of Final Fantasy VII - (23:55) A featurette/digest that features the replaying of the story of "Final Fantasy VII" from the Sony PlayStation. For those who haven't played the video game or it has been too many years that has passed by since you did play the game, this is a good refresher on the original video game.
* Reminiscence of Final Fantasy VII Compilation - (29:43) Where the original digest featured "Final Fantasy VII", this time the stories from "Beginning Crisis", "Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII" and "Dirge of Cerberus" are featured. So, if you never played any of these three video games, you can watch this featurette and learn about the Turks, the relation between Zack and Cloud and also how the FF7 group especially Vincent have started assisting the World Regenesis Organization (WRO).
* On the Way to a Smile - Episode: Denzel - (28:04) The following anime OAV takes place right after "Advent Children" and focuses on the orphan Denzel who is inspired by Cloud and his friends to be a member of the WRO. Denzel shares his story about his family and then living in the slums but most importantly information on how the disease Geostigma started to affect the people of Midgar and how quickly it spread and how people started to die.
* Exclusive Sneak Peak at Final Fantasy XIII - (7:12) A sneak peak of the upcoming "Final Fantasy" PlayStation 3/XBOX 360 video game.
* Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete Trailers - A total of five trailers. The original teaser trailers for Advent Children and the teaser trailer for "Advent Children Complete".
In Japan, a playable demo for "Final Fantasy XIII" was offered. Also, the Blu-ray came in a black Blu-ray case. In the US, the version comes with a slip case and in the standard blue Blu-ray case. Since "Final Fantasy" games in the US tend to come out nearly a year and more later after the Japanese release, it was expected that there would not be a playable demo of the game with this release. Both the Japanese and the US release do not contain the 2005 anime OAV "Last Order: Final Fantasy VII" which was included in the "Ultimate Edition" DVD release for "Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children" back in the Fall of 2005.
When "ADVENT CRISIS" was released, I truly found the release to be action-packed and visually, incredible. From the facial mannerisms of each character, to the details of each character model including the buildings and the roads. So, much went into this project of creating a side of realism with the character models. It was amazing what "Final Fantasy: Spirits Within" was able to achieve in CG back then but to see how far it has evolved with "Advent Children" and the fact that unlike the previous "Final Fantasy" film, there was now an emotional attachment previously from the FF7 video game and now to this film.
But where the original film seemed like eye candy and action-packed sequences that were a definite nod to the fans who enjoyed the series, the release of "FINAL FANTASY VII: ADVENT CHILDREN COMPLETE" is much more satisfying as the storyline seems much more coherent now than before. Also, since the release of the original Advent Children, there have been additional FF7 video games that gave us more storyline of things behind-the-scenes with the SOLDIER program and most of all, the relationship between Sephiroth, Cloud and Zack.
After finishing "Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII", the video game gave me a stronger understanding of why Sephiroth became this madman bent on destruction but most of all, why Cloud kept thinking about his old friend and why he fights with his sword. Many questions answered in these last three years from the video games that makes things much more easier this time around when watching "Advent Children Complete".
With the release of "FINAL FANTASY VII: ADVENT CHILDREN COMPLETE", with how much time I have invested in the "Final Fantasy" video games but specifically the FF7 releases, I found watching the film this time around, much more enjoyable. I found myself noticing mannerisms in the face of Tifa and the children, Cloud's conflicted emotions with having the Geostigma disease and just small details which I never took noticed before until now.
This is more than a re-release to Blu-ray but an enhancement of the original release. Many of you are wondering if you own it on DVD, is it worth the double dip. The answer is YES! It really is worth purchasing on Blu-ray. Newer storyline, newer features but it's not going to change non-FF7 fans or those not at all familiar with the series to enjoy it. But for those who truly enjoy "Final Fantasy VII", have played the recent releases and want a much better version of the film than what we bought back in 2006, then "FINAL FANTASY VII: ADVENT CHILDREN COMPLETE" is highly recommended!
on January 6, 2006
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 :)
on March 11, 2007
Final Fantasy VII was the very first Final Fantasy game I ever played, all the way back to when Squaresoft released an American demo disk for it. So, as it stands, FFVII has a very dear and special place in my heart, and I bought FFVII:AC on the day it came out.
I'm going to compare and contrast the two movies Square has made so far.
I disliked Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within when it came out, as I think several fans did. It felt nothing like a Final Fantasy game. It was too sci-fi oriented and not the more traditional swords-and-sorcery I'd come to expect. But after watching it several times I realized that at its core, FF:SW is a movie, not a Final Fantasy game, and a pretty good one at that. Is has a good story, a great world, and decent characters, with enough Final Fantasy "in jokes" to put an extra smile on the faces of fans.
I liked Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, but only because I knew the characters and their backstories. In all honesty, FFVII:AC was an excuse to test the waters about making more stories based on FFVII. For years fans had been clammoring for a remake or sequal, and Square had been reluctant to give them one because they'd rather not risk ruining FFVII's legacy. FFVII:AC is really about having fun with the fans of the series, generating awesome battle sequences, and taking CGI animation in the opposite direction of, say, a Pixar film.
The plot of FFVII:AC is weak. There's no getting around that. The cause of Geostigma is hardly addressed, as are important topics to understanding it and the game world- such as the Lifestream. It's simply disappointing compared to the story of the game. Several characters I grew to know playing through the game get only brief cameos and around five lines apiece. And it's not that FFVII:AC is too short for it to have a proper storyline. Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within clocks in at only five minutes longer, but is vastly superior as a well-developed story. Again, the focus of FF:AC was on having fun, and perhaps a deep and involved plot might have gotten in the way of that.
Bottom line: Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children is a fast-paced action movie, with wonderful CGI animation and cool characters. If you're a fan of the series, buy it. If you're the friend or loved one of a fan, watch it. But if you're looking for something a little less passive and a little more engaging, check out Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within.
on September 28, 2005
The following review is for the subtitled version of the film (which as of when this review was written, is the only version of the film out). I have to say, the art was breath taking... the story was a bit confusing, but even for a general final fantasy fan with no experience in playing FF7, this movie is absolutely amazing... if that's you and you're a reasonably intelligent open minded person then this review is for you.
I realize that many people would like a movie which is clear from beginning to end. You weren't going to get that with this - the movie is target only to individuals through gaming circles, likewise the true target audience was people who have already played the FF7 game (whereas Spirits Within for instance was for just about anyone and was marketed as a major motion picture).
Keeping that in mind there's no reason to complain about the lack of explanation in the movie. Certainly one could wish there was more but it isn't necessary, take the film for what it is and if you still don't like it then write a descriptive review of what exactly you didn't like. I've seen a number of quality independent films and films that were marketed in a similar way and so I didn't mind the lack of clarity. There's only so much you could explain in a movie about characters with such a heavy back story while still remaining in the realm of entertaining.
The bulk of the story is complicated to follow as past reviewers have noted because the movie works on an emotional level to flesh out Cloud's character and bring to light things that were still haunting him from the time of the game *and* prior to that (the game's back story, if you will). Many things are not clearly stated in the movie such as the past relationship between Sephiroth and Cloud and how Sephiroth often uses Cloud's tormenting memories as a way to weaken him (this for instance is illustrated in one of the last segments in the movie where Sephiroth says, "I will not remain just a memory" - threatening Cloud, reminding him that he has the Jenova Cells in him as well). On an emotional level without ever playing the game the plot itself is a 4/5 depending on whether or not you can supplement what you've watched with outside reference material.
How do you figure out the back story once you've seen the movie or prior to seeing the movie? Online encyclopedias if you haven't played Final Fantasy 7. Tedious? Not at all, the movie makes such research worthwhile for people who haven't played the game but are interested in fleshing out their knowledge of the events and relationships that made themselves apparent in the film. Why would you watch a movie that you'll have to look up information for later? Because the characters are so lovable they are worth it - they'll make you want to play the game if you haven't, and the emotional ties solidified in this movie - I assure you - will strengthen as you see Cloud and his friends suffer in the game (as cruel as that sounds).
Familiar with digital animation, I should point out once more than this film doesn't just have spectacular graphics it *has* cutting edge graphics which should be praised and awarded. The movie simply isn't that much money for what it is, and for what it is it can easily become one of the best anime's you've seen to date (especially if you supplement your viewing experience with some background information if you don't have it already, and if you do then keep an open mind about the film).
And the music? Forget about it... perfect! Hard rock/industrial sort mixed with some Final Fantasy-favorite tunes, and some other lovely songs. Great with the fast paced action (negative reviews about action being too fast paced? Grow up, unless of course you think it interferes with the cohesiveness of the film).
I can only hope that you - the reader - can enjoy and appreciate this film as much as I have. I realize that many people have negative views about films based on the fact that it has been hyped up in gaming circles and that they've been anticipating it for a while (this happens whenever you mix diehard fans with a new movie featuring the characters they love in it), but keep an open mind and you'll love it.