The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children

Title: Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children
Genre: Action
Company: Square Enix/Visual Works
Format: Movie; 101 minutes.
Dates: 14 Sep 2005

Synopsis: Two years have passed since Cloud and friends defeated Sephiroth, and the world has yet to fully recover. A disease called Geo-stigma weakens the population, infecting even Cloud Strife, the savior of the planet. Cloud, along with Tifa, runs a delivery service that he uses as an excuse, because of his overwhelming guilt, to stay away from those who care about him. One day, three familiar-looking men attack Cloud, claiming to be searching for “their mother.” Cloud must reunite with his friends to prevent an old evil from once more rearing its ugly head.

The Highlights
Animation: Phenomenal; extremely fluid and realistic.
Music: Another great Uematsu Nobuo score.
Action: Wow.
Plot: Underwhelming; those not familiar with Final Fantasy VII will be lost.
Characters: Most of the Final Fantasy VII characters receive little screentime.

In 1997, a role-playing game called Final Fantasy VII was released on the unsuspecting masses, redefining what people believed such games were capable of doing. With revolutionary 3-D graphics, the use of full-motion video, and a surprisingly complex and mature plot, Final Fantasy VII blew the minds of an entire generation of video gamers. This success, along with the images and clips of the unparalleled animation, led to Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children being one of the most anticipated titles of 2005. While lagging far behind its predecessor in terms of plot and use of characters, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children lives up to its revolutionary heritage by redefining what can be considered as top quality animation.

Using the phrase, “top quality animation” to describe Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children is the understatement of the year. This is the kind of animation that will cause our jaws to drop in awe ten years from now. Combining motion capture technology with astoundingly detailed texture mapping and an amazing attention to detail, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children is incredibly lifelike both in motion and appearance. The use of motion capture in choreographing the action, along with the unlimited possibilities of animation has allowed Square Enix to create extraordinary battles that are nearly unmatched in modern film. The fast paced nature of these fights can make it difficult to tell what is happening at times. My advice to you is, ‘don’t blink.’

I’m not that big of a Final Fantasy VII fan, so when the opening subtitles of the movie said that Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children was dedicated to those who enjoyed the game, I braced myself for the worst. I got it. Such marvelous animation deserved better than the poorly written, uninspiring, and jumpy script it got. Perhaps Square Enix forgot that the movie was called Final Fantasy and not “Final Fan-fic”. Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children barely even functions as a fan-fiction, as most of the Final Fantasy VII cast is shoved to the background. Unless you’re a huge Cloud or Tifa fan, be prepared to be disappointed with the screen time budgeting. I really want to know why the writers thought that some random kid named Denzel, who wasn’t even in the game, and who isn’t crucial to the plot of the movie gets more screen time and lines than Red XIII, Cait Sith, Cid and Yuffie combined.

Only the most die-hard Final Fantasy VII fan will not be at least a little disappointed with Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. The animation and action are great, but Final Fantasy VII’s true draw was its sophisticated plot and memorable characters, and Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children doesn’t live up to that. Having failed to continue Final Fantasy VII’s story in any meaningful way, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children will have to settle for being remembered as a movie that broke the boundaries of animation quality. It’s not like that is a bad thing.

The Rating: 6

Reviewed by: Kuma

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