Final Fantasy VII Advent Children

Final Fantasy VII Advent Children

fancoverTaking place two years after the events of Final Fantasy VII, Advent Children shows the survivors of Midgar have founded the new city, where Cloud and his childhood friend Tifa Lockhart now run a courier service and are the caretakers of the orphans Denzel and Marlene. Cloud is still haunted by his role in Aeris Gainsborough’s death, who was killed by Sephiroth. In addition, both he and Denzel are infected with a mysterious new ailment known as ‘Geostigma’, which has no known cure. In the opening scenes, we see that Cloud has recently moved out and isolated himself from his friends.

I have to be honest here; I am a huge fan of the Final Fantasy franchise, particularly Final Fantasy VII, and I have to say that Advent Children is far from a great film. It was made for die-hard fans, I get that, but did that mean that it had to contribute nothing to the Final Fantasy VII universe?

Having said that, this film is not a complete bust. I absolutely appreciated the gorgeous visuals and outstanding actions scenes. It was great to see Cloud and the gang brought to life with contemporary CGI when all I’ve been used to seeing them as 90s-generated computer graphics. he sentimental favorite of an entire generation comes back with cutting-edge animation, resulting in dramatic imagery and eye-popping fights that raise the bar and blow it away.

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Underneath that glossy exterior, however, is a superficial quest that barely lives up to the original. Not only that, but knowing the key plot points of the original game is a prerequisite for understanding the movie in full. Suffice to say it will be a bit of a hollow watch for people that haven’t at least got a basic understanding of the plot of its namesake.

The film tries to explain things with some introductory narration and flashbacks, but after launching into some detail, it just changes direction into pure action and fighting. There’s a sprinkling of comedy, but it’s mostly just a lot of fighting with no explanation. It does have that nostalgic element for fans of the game, seeing memorable characters pop up to do cameos, but it can’t carry through a two-hour film and there’s no substitute for real storytelling. Where are the challenges? The physical and emotional impacts? After a lot of battles, Cloud saves the day in an unsatisfying deus ex machina that leaves everything open to interpretation.

Advent Children is still a stunning work of animation though, despite all of its flaws. It was a big-budget production from Square and was easily one of the best animated films of the year. There’s no shortage of technical quality in the backgrounds, props and character designs, which I was pleased to see had the original anime style of the game.

fan3Of course, with Nobuo Uematsu on board, you know the music is going to be stunning. The legendary composer demonstrates his ground-breaking talent with an ear-pounding, rock-infused music score. Uematsu’s usual symphonies and ballads are still presents, but the electric guitars and drums make this soundtrack very distinctive.

Ultimately, Advent Children is an act of nostalgia that feeds on sentimental attachment to the hit franchise (cue me buying it)But the sad fact it, if you take away the iconic names like Cloud, Sephiroth, Tifa and Aeris – it’s just another action film with a hero who saves the world riding a motorcycle, fighting with a sword and letting mysticism take over in the end. Even so, it can’t be argued that it is close to a visual masterpiece. If only some of that animation budget had been spent on story development, this could have avoided being tarred as high-priced fanfiction and viewed more as a beautiful piece of work.