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Final Fantasy VII Advent Children Review


It is said that good things come to those who wait.

Fans of Final Fantasy VII have been waiting for Final Fantasy VII Advent Children for longer than many of them can remember. First promised as special "media content" on a special edition re-release of the top-selling Playstation game, Advent Children eventually took on a life of its own as a movie. Countless delays later, Advent Children is finally on store shelves.

A release like this usually begs the question "does it live up to the hype".

In the case of Advent Children, the answer to this question is a hearty "yes"... with a healthy dose of "no". Admittedly for many fans, just being able to see this film (the Final Fantasy franchise's second foray into film, the first being the allegedly-disastrous Spirits Within) makes it a triumph in and of itself. But the film clearly isn't everything it could have been.

The film begins with a disease known as "geostigma" ravaging the population. It turns out that this disease is infecting anyone involved with the Shinra corporation's SOLDIER (no explanation has ever been provided for the acronym), including the hero of the first film, Cloud Strife and the president of the company, Rufus Shinra. However, what appears to be the three Sephiroth clones hinted to in the game (a plot thread left unresolved) are scouring the land and scourging Shinra in search of the head of Jenovah.

One of the film's biggest problems quickly becomes abundantly clear: to anyone who hasn't played at least significant portions of the game, the film's plot is utter gibberish. Thankfully, there is a 20-minute synopses of the game's plot. Unfortunately, the production value of it is so low that it is almost entirely unwatchable.

What the film lacks in plot (the film's writers seem to have forgot that story has always been the driving force of the Final Fantasy games) it makes up for in flash. The animation (which would make thos sissies at Pixar shit their pants) is utterly spectacular, with attention to detail that would make Leonardo Davinci flip his wig. The action scenes are so convaluted and so aerial that they make mexican wrestling look relatively grounded in comparison. They also prove, once and for all, that the laws of physics don't apply to fictional characters. Take that, sir Isaac Newton.

The film's greatest accomplishment is the action sequences. Not only do they constantly go over-the-top and make it work, but they continually top each unbelievable action sequence in what seems like a perverse obsession with forcing the viewer's jaw to hit the floor.

Although the story seems to lack motivation, it has pathos to spare. Underlying all the pretty images and amazing action is actually a pretty compelling story: one about self-loathing and redemption -- a tale about confronting the past and learning that sometimes the hardest forgiveness is that which one must grant themselves.

One could question, however, whether or not the DVD warrants being considered a "special edition". Aside from a complete collection of trailers for the DVD, and trailers for forthcoming Final Fantasy VII movies and games (it seems this one game is being spun into a franchise of its very own), there isn't very much special about it -- just standard "making of" featurettes and a collection of "deleted scenes" so short that, in total, the FBI piracy warning is actually longer (this is not hyperbole).

For fans of the game, Advent Children will not disappoint. That being said, the film doesn't offer much to those who are not fans.

The wait is over, and only the fans will truly be able to decide if Advent Children is worth it.

  

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Added: May 4th 2006
Reviewer Patrick_Ross
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