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Final Fantasy Advent Children Videogame Film Review - Film Month Print E-mail
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Written by Christophor "SuperGuido" Rick   
Monday, 24 September 2007

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When I watched this film the first time last week I said that it is 80% fight scene and 30% acid trip, but I was wrong. It's 90% fight scene and 100% amazingly cool. In classic Square Enix fashion the story of Final Fantasy Advent Children revolves around the spirit of the planet and its preservation against all odds. This film actually ties into Final Fantasy VII and takes place two years after the events of the game.

SPOILER WARNING!!

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   At the end of Final Fantasy VII Cloud Strife and friends have successfully stopped Shinra from royally screwing things up and supposedly put Sephiroth in his place for good. But let's start with the basics. The planet, Gaia, is made of three continents - eastern, western and northern. The majority of the game takes place on the western continent where you play as Cloud Strife and can group up with eight other playable characters in the struggle to stop Shinra from sucking the life out of the planet.

Alright then, so the planet is in danger again when Sephiroth decides he's going to use a 'meteor' spell to create a massive rift in the planet that he can jump into and become god-like by absorbing the spirit of the planet. Ok so the story is really long and convoluted and you would really need to actually play the whole game or go read the Wikipedia entry on it.

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So two years after the game Cloud runs a delivery service with Tifa Lockheart (another character from the game), in the city of Edge when he is attacked by several individuals claiming him as 'brother' and asking him where 'mother' is. The bad guys are Kadaj and two others who contain within their DNA traces of Jenova, an alien lifeform they consider mother, which makes them, Sephiroth, Cloud and others all 'related.' Meanwhile a plague-like disease, Geostigma, has been spreading among the city's populace. Kadaj and his brothers believe it has something to do with their 'mother' and they begin gathering the children with the Geostigma so they can have a Reunion.

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"My brothers and sisters who share mother's cells will all assemble and together we'll take our revenge on the planet." -Kadaj


So now you have the basics of the film. It's all computer-animated and at times even the hair moves in a realistic fashion. So much so that I almost forgot I was watching animation. The only thing that really wasn't all that great was the mouth movement and slightly plastic skin, though the facial expressions and body movements are extremely well done. There are some truly fantastic fight scenes in the film including the fight between Tifa and Loz in the destroyed church where Cloud lives. Halfway through the fight Loz's phone rings and coincidentally it's the victory music from Final Fantasy which I thought was a great touch. 

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   Edge is the city where survivors of Midgar, the main city in the game, have gathered together to rebuild a life for themselves, appropriately around the edge of the destroyed remains of Midgar itself. The city is a visual masterpiece replicating the stunning once high-tech world of the game that was pretty much totally devastated during the storyline in the game. So  they have gone back to basics in many respects. They did a good job of showing what was and what is and how they tie together by weaving the old and new cities together.The other settings outside the city are equally well done and add to the atmosphere of otherworldliness. The wastelands around the city and the Sleeping Forest by the Forgotten City especially. Even the physics on the water and the dust is believable.

"Dilly dally, shilly shally." -Tifa

The story-telling in the film is excellent as well, building on the story from the game and expanding it. At times they play with time by showing needed scenes while something uninteresting is happening to give a sense of time passing. The best example of this is when they fill in some information and show the relationship between Tifa and Cloud along with Reno and Rude in between scenes of Cloud racing into the Sleeping Forest and Kadaj and his brothers beginning the preparations for the Reunion. It gives a good sense that he didn't just drive out there in two minutes because according to the game it's actually on another continent.

Additionally they use what may be Cloud's dream sequences or actual spiritual visits with Aerith (who is dead, or living within Gaia's spirit stream, to give a better insight into his motivations for doing the things he does. Everyone needs motivation  even if you are just a computer animation. 

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 "So, why did you come?" - Aerith

"I think I want to be forgiven...more than anything," -Cloud

"By who?" -Aerith

Eventually the 'brothers' escalate the situation and summon forth a major spirit, Bahamut SIN to destroy the people of Edge while they reclaim 'mother' and begin the Reunion. This begins a fight scene that lasts at least 15 minutes and includes almost every playable character from the game in it as well as some others. The fight scenes are fast and liquid as you would expect a fight to be between massively powerful individuals. The variety of moves, weapons and general choreography of it all is like watching a beautiful ballet of violence. Equal parts art and pure mayhem.

vlcsnap-590271 My Rating: 90%

This film, like the other Final Fantasy film, Spirits Within, requires you to think. Watch and think because they will not spoon feed you everything you need to know. This is something that I like in many Japanese films and shows I have seen. The viewing audience must be more active or savvy in Japan or Hollywood is just completely out of touch with reality. You also need to be familiar with the game mythology to completely understand the film and story, but not to simply enjoy it. It is accessible to sci-fi and fantasy fans as it combines elements of both and weaves a satisfyingly-intricate story. Not to mention it includes some of the most complicated and interesting fight sequences I have ever seen in any media, animated or otherwise. The final motorcycle battle had to have taken weeks to animate on its own and I can't even imagine how they thought of some of the moves.

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  As I said, 90% fight scene, but they still manage to tell one hell of a story which is more than I can say for many action films from Hollywood. Maybe they need to start working more closely with the people at Square Enix.

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Last Updated ( Monday, 24 September 2007 )

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