Oct 22, 2010

[Movies] Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (2005)

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (2005)My Friday posts are dedicated to "older" movies, which means anything released prior to 2009 (for now). That gives me a very wide range of possibilities in terms of things to write about and at times I find myself dumbfounded as to what to select from all the stuff I've watched. Sometimes I come up with themes. Sometimes it's a movie I only recently watched despite its older release date.

And sometimes I pick favorites.

So this was definitely something that I dug up from the archives - a great movie that I enjoyed a lot. It was one of the rare examples of a decent movie based around a video game franchise, although I know a large part of its success was that it wasn't live-action. Instead, it was made by the same animators who continue to work on the game franchise and thus look and feel was consistent with the overall line, but still worlds ahead of what the original game was.

I know, I know - there's a big possibility that a lot of my love for the movie is more based on the fact that I was such a fan of the original game. There is some merit to that - love for a game can influence love for a movie. But in my defense, I didn't fall in love with horrendous movies like Super Mario Bros. and Street Fighter.

Was this movie that much better? Was I won over by the spiky hair and the giant sword? Let's figure that out together.

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children was a computer-animated movie directed by Tetsuya Nomura and Takeshi Nozue. Yeah, that's the same Tetsuya who helped bring many of the Final Fantasy games to life together with Kingdom Hearts.

Two years after the events of the original PlayStation game, Cloud Strife (Takahiro Sakurai / Steve Burton) now works as a delivery man. He's been living with Tifa Lockheart (Ayumi Ito / Rachel Leigh Cook), who spends her days taking care of Marlene (Miyuu Tsuzuhara / Grace Rolek), the daughter of Barret (Masahiro Kobayashi / Beau Billingslea) and the orphan Denzel (Kyosuke Ikeda / Benjamin Bryan). Their lives are far from perfect after the destruction of the city of Midgard. Plus there's the geostigma disease that's spread around the area that has even infected Cloud.

Cloud's design in Final Fantasy VII Advent Chi...Image via WikipediaOn his way to meet up with the Turks, he is assaulted by three strangers on motorcycle vehicles of their own. The trio of Kadaj (Shotaro Morikubo / Steve Staley), Loz (Kenji Nomura / Fred Tatasciore) and Yazoo (Yûji Kishi / Dave Wittenberg) are obsessing looking for their "mother" and they suspect that he has her. After a brief battle they relent, realizing that "mother" is not with Cloud. He proceeds to his meeting and discovers that Rufus Shinra (Tôru Ôkawa / Wally Wingert) is still alive. Rufus explains that the "mother" that the three are looking for is actually the remains of Jenova, the same alien from the original game whose cells changes things for everyone. So now Cloud is faced with the challenge of figuring out a way to stop the three from reclaiming Jenova for themselves while hopefully finding a solution to the geostigma problem.

Okay, so that plot synopsis is a bit hard to make sense of. Hell,the whole movie is - if you've never played the original game. In this sense, the creative team behind this movie decided to take the slightly riskier but unforgiving approach of having the movie connect directly to the game. They don't waste time with explaining too much about what had happened before. You don't get a nice summary of the last two years. You jump right into the action and as a viewer you can't help but wish you had the ability to participate in the events more directly with a console controller or something.

Video game knowledge aside, the story was rather confusing at some points. But if anything, it does feel like a Final Fantasy game in that regard. The stories don't always have to be 100% logical, but they still somehow work given the unique logic of the franchise universe.

The quality of the animation in this film is AMAZING. There's no other way to describe it. As impressive as Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within was, this was a few steps further down the evolutionary path. Beyond the amazing realism in both how things were rendered and how they moved, the slight Asian touch to all the characters was also a lot of fun. Yes, you can be Caucasian or African American but you'll still have Asian eyes and all that. But seriously, this was some top-notch animation that really reminds everyone why Squaresoft stands apart from all the others.

While the movie had a lot of long, dialog-heavy moments (that felt like the cut scenes in the games), it also had some awesome kick ass scenes that we're all going to enjoy watching over and over again. I'm always torn between the battle between Tifa and Loz and of course the big battle scene at the end. What I do wish for was for the likes of Vincent Valentine (Shôgo Suzuki / Steve Blum) to have had more scenes and especially for more battles. But then you can fit in only so many fight scenes alongside Japanese-style narratives within 100 minutes.

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children may not be the most amazing movie out there but it's certainly a highly fun and entertaining one. It gets 4 stolen materia out of 5.


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3 comments:

Kelzie said...

have you tried the resident evil movie that was so much like this?

rOckY said...

Kelzie - Not yet, but I've had a copy for ages, haha!

Kelzie said...

i like it better than the live action films. it's a little crude, not as good --animation-wise-- as FF7 Advent Children. Story-wise, like FF7, it's definitely more for fans than for the general public.

Apparently, a new one will come out together with the last movie's DVD. Resident Evil Damnation.

trailer here: http://g4tv.com/videos/49581/Exclusive-Look-at-Resident-Evil-Damnation/

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