Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children



We have all, at one point or another, played one of the popular Final Fantasy video games. Heck, I remember playing the first one, way back when I spent sleepless nights with my Nintendo. Those were the good old days. . .

I wasn't aware of this, but Final Fantasy VII sold more than 10 million units worldwide, making it the most popular title of the franchise and one of the bestelling video games ever released. I've seen Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children on the shelves of basically every video store I've visited since I started looking for Japanese animated features. But it looked too much like a video game for my taste, so I never really wanted to rent it.

When the daughter of a co-worker who was pretty excited to learn that I had rediscovered the pleasure of animated films decided to lend me her copy, I told myself "What the heck?" Unfortunately, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children turned out to be exactly what I feared it would be.

Visually, the movie is spectacular. Indeed, with a production budget of 100 million dollars, one can expect no less. Written by Kazushige Nojima, this CGI film was directed by Tetsuya Nomura and Takeshi Nozue. And as is often the case with CGI movies, though the visual effects are stunning, it never truly loses the computer game feel.

As a matter of course, big-budget productions mean that depth of storytelling is not very high on the list of priorities. Which is too bad, because the seeds for a multilayered tale were there, but Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children rapidly turns into a high-octane and action-packed affair, with battles and high speed chases following one another. Another problem, is that the film is not necessarily "user's friendly" for those people who haven't played the video game.

The movie provides a little background information about the plotlines from the video game at the beginning, but not enough for newbies to fully get into it and appreciate the flick. In any event, I get the feeling that Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children was for fans, and not much thought was given to bring in newcomers. With legions of Final Fantasy aficionados worldwide, I reckon they didn't feel the need to accomodate newcomers. And considering that the DVD has sold more than 10.5 million copies around the globe, I guess they knew what they were doing!

The story takes place two years following the events of Final Fantasy VII. A strange disease known as Geostigma has arisen. And the former mercenary Cloud Strife must unravel the cause of this new plague. Soon, Cloud is attacked by three strange men; Kadaj, Loz, and Yazoo. They are searching for Mother, so they can perform a Reunion which would culminate with an assault on the planet. It's up to Cloud and his former allies to prevent that.

Great picture quality and sound, great special effects, but a very poor plot. Fight scenes that are out of this world, but the movie has little else to offer. And yet, if you like action, this one's for you! In a way, this is exactly the sort of thing I thought (wrongly) that anime movies had to offer. All glitter and no substance. I'm glad I gave several quality works a shot prior to this. Had I begun with Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, I might have stopped right then and there. I can understand the immense appeal of this movie, but that kind of stuff is clearly not what I'm looking for. . . Don't get me wrong. I love action as much as the next guy. It's just that a flick needs more than just incredible fight scenes to keep me entertained.

Here are two trailers:









For more info about this title: Canada, USA, Europe

14 commentaires:

irriadin said...

I totally agree with your assessment, Pat. This film could have been so much more, but all it was was shameless FANSERVICE.

Philippe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Phil said...

I agree but at least it was a very cool "fanservice"!

Adam Whitehead said...

In fairness, it would simply not be possible to include a "Story so far," from the video game. It would be like trying to sum up the first nine books of the MALAZAN saga on one side of A4. The story is extremely complex, involved and reasonably lengthy, incorporating (highly) unreliable narrators, extensive flashbacks, complex characters, genetic engineering and a lot more besides.

As you say, the game was successful enough for them to just say to hell with it and do an action-oriented, relatively short story sequel thing. My hope is that based on the success of ADVENT CHILDREN they decide to do a fully updated, properly translated (the original, although endearing, has a few "All your base are belong to us," moments) and nicely upgraded version for modern consoles and PC. There is something quite special about that story, world and characters that none of the other FFs I've played have quite replicated, but there is also no real need or much of an opening for a sequel either (ADVENT CHILDREN had to reach a bit to find some stories and characters from FF7 it could still use).

A prequel could work, but given the mind-boggling nature of FF7's story it would also be quite involved and would certainly spoil FF7 for anyone who hasn't played it.

Roland said...

Uh, the movie IS fanservice. It's a form of an epilogue to a 150 hour game. The story of the game can't be summed up in any shorter form, and even if it could, nothing can sum up the emotional impact the game has on you. The movie starts with a message stating that it's for those who loved FF7's world. Why would anyone who hasn't played the game watch it is beyond me.

Anonymous said...

Aye, this film is terrible. I hate to say it because I loved the game above any other before or since. But how does half a dozen extended (and not particularly well done) fight scenes make a film?
Gah!
Pat... you only have yourself to blame in straying from the path of recommendations. :)

Ramah.

Morrigan said...

Yeah, that movie was a complete turd. I liked the original game well enough but mindless fan service is pretty much worthless, and honestly, the action wasn't even fun at all: just stupidly overblown and silly.

Zain said...

if you're a Final Fantasy Fan you'll love it, if you're not, then you likely wont.

Thats it.

Zain said...

if you're a Final Fantasy Fan you'll love it, if you're not, then you likely wont.

Thats it.

Matthieu Csernel said...

Curious about FF I also tried to watch that film and I totally agree with you: it is nicely done but the story sucks.
However, not all CGI films fall in this category. The best example would be Ghost in the Shell which has a story, world building, characters with a lot of depth and which looks into numerous philosophical considerations. You should especially watch the second instalment "Innocence" or the anime serie's first season (Stand Alone Complex - The Laughing Man)

Anonymous said...

The graphics were amazing... but the storyline... sorely lacking...

Aaron Grehan said...

The original movie was a bit awful, I agree, but I felt that Advent Children Complete did a great job filling it out, and actually helping it to make sense - insofar as any Final Fantasy story does.

Lagomorph Rex said...

It should be a really long FMV at the end of the Hopefully one day Updated Video Game release..

I still can't beleive they didn't re-release it when the movie came out.. I really really can't beleive Sony didn't get them to re-release it considering how it could have basically turned the PS3 from the 3rd place console to the #1 console again..

I'd buy a PS3 in a heartbeat to be able to re-play that game with graphics like this movie has..

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info. I've been trying to find the production costs of this movie for a while now.