Saturday, September 17, 2005

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children

Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Parental Guidance Recommended
Credits: 2005 Takeshi Nozue, Tetsuya Nomura, Square-Enix


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Thundersenshi's Description:
It has been two years since the defeat of Sephiroth, but the Planet still faces the threat of Jenova’s cells contaminating the Lifestream. Geostigma, a non-contagious disease, has plagued people around the world, resulting to pain, weakness, desolation and eventually, death. The future of the planet has never been more grim, and this time, not even hero and ex-SOLDIER Cloud Strife is willing to hope for deliverance.

In the midst of all this, three new adversaries make their appearance, gathering the Advent Children—otherwise known as the youngsters afflicted with Geostigma—in another attempt for a Reunion. Once they get ahold of Jenova’s head, there’s no stopping them from draining the Planet of all its power and what best way to do that than to revive the omnipotent Sephiroth?

You’ll want to whip out your old Playstation after this one. >>> by thundersenshi
First of all, why are you reading this review? Certainly if you’re a gamer, then Advent Children has no need of further introduction. I doubt you’ll need any more prodding to see this movie right away, unless you are a gamer, but have never played Final Fantasy VII at all. In that case, you probably know a few things about it even if you haven’t. Here’s a well-meaning advice: play it now, don’t just rely on the DVD’s extra features for information, because—pardon the cliché—you’re missing half of your life, as far as gaming goes. It’s been eight years since FVII revolutionized the world of console RPGs and the sizzling reception of Advent Children simply reaffirms what we’ve known all along: no one will ever get tired of a true classic like Final Fantasy VII.

But if you’re not a gamer, and you’ve hardly heard of Final Fantasy, well. This puts you in quite a dilemma. You see, enjoyment of Advent Children is 70% nostalgia. You’ll be watching out for the plot and developing characters and you might be disappointed because these have all been established in the actual game. Sure, Kadaj, Loz and Yazoo are new characters, new adversaries, but as Marlene’s little introductory speech hints at the beginning of the movie, the story picks up from where it left off in the game. In fact, the whole movie will keep on bringing in memories from the game—from the soundtrack to the familiar places you’ll be seeing, not just the characters—that will undoubtedly delight FFVII fans to no end. If Advent Children be your first experience of Final Fantasy VII, then you will have to content yourself with the adrenaline-pumping fight scenes that had everyone raving about it. AC may be 3D, and it may not have been rendered as painstakingly detailed as Final Fantasy: Spirits Within (since this was intended for a larger audience, unlike AC which was tailored for the game’s existing fan base), but anyone who has an eye for awesome camera angling of action scenes will be appreciative.

For the game’s fans, however, Advent Children is Christmas Eve. Every character has sufficient exposure, though some more than others, like Tifa, Reno and Rude and Vincent (whom I suspect, was made to look cooler than ever in preparation for Dirge of Cerberus). Reno and Rude made such an impact, that if you didn’t love them before, you’ll fall in love with them now (it doesn’t hurt that Reno looks like a j-rock idol). They remain steadfastly loyal and determined and provide not just comic relief but awesome fighting as well.

In fact, as if you haven’t heard of it yet, AC boasts of superb fight choreography. Everyone was nothing short of fantastic, never mind who won or lost the bouts. As soon as the old characters begin to drop in one by one, they don’t disappoint, and it’s all tingly excitement just watching and waiting for them to do more. I don’t need to remind anyone that these were video game characters, so forget about realistic—those are just kick-ass, eye-popping fight scenes you’ll want to keep on perpetual rewind. From weapons and accessories to limit breaks, every scene will leave you craving for more of the old stuff, intensified ten times more from the last time you saw them back in ’97 when the characters were rough-edged polygons. And Cloud Strife on his bike featured prominently for about 40 minutes of the movie time? Talk about fan service; but of course, I’ll be the last person to complain.

Story-wise, be advised: after seeing the movie, I understand that it isn’t about bringing a new plot into the scene. Halfway through it you’ll realize that there isn’t a new twist, and there’s no new discovery regarding Mako energy or the Lifestream. Sephiroth revived is merely singing the same tune. For some, it will feel like an extended epilogue of the game; the events that followed the game’s ending as reflected in the movie were hardly surprising. But in the two years since the defeat of Sephiroth, the characters have changed. Especially Cloud. And this movie focuses on those changes and his personal realizations, on the decisions he had made thus far since Aeris’ death, Sephiroth was defeated, and Geostigma affected the entire planet. Take aside the highly anticipated reunions and outstanding fight choreography, and one will realize this: Advent Children is closure, if nothing else.

The movie deals heavily with the theme of finding redemption, and to comprehend the true depths of this mission, one must be dearly familiar with the characters involved. Like I said earlier, the key to enjoying this movie is mostly nostalgia—seeing those old faces, just watching them fighting together again, had just made the years of waiting for this movie so much worth it.

(Skysenshi) Editor’s Note: The music is by Nobuo Uematsu, which is why you will recognize that the entire scoring for Advent Children isn ’t much different from the game. In fact, this makes the experience even more compelling. Hearing the piano version of the game’s battle theme while Tifa kicks ass just positively makes me tingle. Take note also that this title comes with freebies like the Last Order OAV.

Individual Rating: Art/Animation 10; Story 7; Characters 10; Sounds 9

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