Apr 20, 2010
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (2005) (part 1 of 4)
The Cast of Characters:
Cloud Strife. Our hero from the video game, and the hero in this movie, during which he displays a whole range of emotions; from sulking, to brooding, to scowling, all in an exciting, emo fashion! Legally prohibited from smiling.
Tifa Lockhart. The girl Cloud should have hooked up with. Her fisting abilities make her very popular!
Barrett Wallace. The man with the silver gun arm! He doesn’t really do much other than show up, swear, and shoot things. He’s here to kick gum and chew ass… or… something.
Kadaj and the Crunch Bunch. A pack of whiny, annoying, always-crying, emo-ish, Sephiroth cos-players who are somehow great badasses, thus giving us a great example of an Informed Attribute. Apparently representing elements of Sephiroth’s personality, though not so you’d notice. Really, just three Oedipal losers, but scary in a Hot Topic kind of way.
The Turks. Reno and Rude are the only ones who matter, and even then they’re just pointless comic relief.
The rest of the good guys. Don’t do much, don’t really matter.
The dead. Sephiroth, Aerith, and Zack were all dead at the end of the video game, so of course they’re still dead and can have no bearing whatsoever on the plot. None at all. Glad we have that cleared up.
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Final Fantasy VII was one hell of a game. Groundbreaking in just about every way possible, it featured a decent (if confusing) storyline, interesting characters, great music, a 3-D environment, and wonderful music! It was a system-seller for the Playstation at a time when they kind of needed one.
It also knocked Nintendo down hard. See, originally the game was supposed to be on the successor system to the Super Nintendo. That was going to be a CD-based system (possibly originally made with help from Phillips), and would’ve boasted pretty much all the features that the Playstation had. Well, in the end, Nintendo decided to continue with cartridge-based games, which really ticked off Square, as it placed limits on them that they didn’t want. Words were said, and next thing you knew, no Square games on any Nintendo systems for several years.
FFVII was great, and left many fans wanting more. Eventually they got Final Fantasy VIII, which made a lot of people very angry, and is widely regarded as a bad move. Other games came along, none of which related to the seventh, and people still wanted to see more of Cloud and his friends.
The game remained quite popular with people at Square as well. When showing off what the Playstation 3 could do, they showed a CGI movie that copied the opening scenes from the game. This left a lot of people hoping and wondering. Could a sequel be in the works? Maybe a remake onto the PS3?
No, instead what we got was Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (or, to use its Japanese title, Fainaru Fantajī Sebun Adobento Chirudoren), a broad continuation of the story from the game, done entirely in CGI. Surprisingly, it doesn’t suck, and has a lot going for it, including a great soundtrack and some really well-done fight choreography. Unfortunately, it also has a muddled screenplay, very uninteresting villains, and a lot to do in a short amount of time.
For this recap, I watched the film with the Japanese soundtrack and English subtitles. I have no problem with the English dub on this (actually, it’s pretty good), but when watching any non-English film, I prefer to hear the original language and read the subtitles (though, if I ever knuckle under and watch Incubus, that policy may have to change).
Anyhow, on with the show!
We start with a nice dedication to the fans. The entire movie is, of course, blatant fanservice, and I’m fine with that. Then we get a caption indicating that what we’re about to see takes place 498 years after the other events in the movie, which themselves take place two years after the events in the game. So for those keeping count, the movie happens two years after the game, this part happens 500 years after the game, and 498 years after the movie. Right-o.
From the dedication, we pan down to a lovely mountain scene showing Red XIII and what appear to be young cubs running along together. Now, I’d been under the impression Red XIII was the last of his species, so I’m unclear as to how he has kids, but I could just be remembering things wrong. It’s been a while since I played the game.
Anyhow, Red XIII runs up to the top of a hill and howls. We look down and see some sort of ruins. I’m assuming this is Midgar or something, but the movie is far from clear on this point. Also, it’s really, really unclear why we need this scene. It just creates vague confusion about when the game takes place, and brings up the question of where the cubs came from.
Really, they would’ve been better opening the movie on the following scene, which shows Reno, one of the Turks, flying a helicopter while listening to reports from down bellow. Ah, Reno… pathetic in the game, not that much better here, but so, so cute… Sigh.
Anyhow, we hear lots of gunshots, and the helicopter goes down to the rescue. We don’t know anything about who’s attacking, but presumably we’ll find out later. The helicopter rescues only one person, apparently, and then goes flying off.
From here, we go onto another scene, with a voiceover from Barrett’s daughter explaining the events from the video game. So for those keeping count, we’ve gotten three prologues (so far) before we get to the movie proper.