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Final Fantasy VII Advent Children
Reviewer: Rowena Lim Lei 02/24/2006

Two years have passed since Cloud and friends defeated Sephiroth. A mysterious disease called the "Geostigma" is spreading, and a trio of violent fanatics who claim to be Jenova's sons are hell-bent on finding what's left of her. Cloud and company have to join forces once more in order to save the world.
I know. The plot synopsis I wrote above might as well be in an alien language for one who has absolutely no clue about the Final Fantasy VII video game that preceded Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. But that's the sad part -- Advent Children was created as a conclusion for FFVII, thus it can never be fully appreciated by one who has never played the game.
I played Final Fantasy VII many years ago, when I was still single and living in my dad's house. I'm now married with two children and so you can just imagine how long ago that was. I still know my party members -- Cloud, Tifa, Aeris, Barret, Vincent, Yuffie, Cid, and Red XII, but the other characters? With the exception of Jenova and Sephiroth, my mind was a complete blank. In terms of game events, the only thing I remember vividly is Aeris' death. Since I don't have the time nor inclination to replay FFVII, a chunk of the film's plot connections with the game was lost on me. Of course that's probably what the FFVII Digest included in the DVD release is for, but any gamer will attest that nothing can replace the experience of actually beating the game before watching the movie.
But that's the beauty of Advent Children. It's so straightforward and spectacular that one can get blown away purely because of the visuals. As I've said earlier, two years have passed since Cloud and friends defeated Sephiroth. A band of silver-haired and green-eyed Jenova fanatics led by a guy named Kadaj has emerged. They will do anything to retrieve Jenova's head and whatever materia (gem-like spheres with powers) they can get their hands on in order to bring about the "reunion" (a.k.a. the resurrection of Sephiroth). Cloud returns to Tifa after wandering around by himself, and one by one his old comrades show up in order to help him stop Kadaj and company. It's a very simple RPG-esque plot, but it's the journey that makes the movie. Eye-popping action sequences take up about 80% of screentime. Just about everyone is given the chance to show off their awesome fighting moves, weapons, and limit breaks. I was totally immersed in Advent Children, which is really all about Cloud finding himself behind the context of saving the world.
Advent Children's art and animation surpass all the Final Fantasy games' visuals that precede it. The character designs remain faithful to the game's, only this time the blocky 3D renditions are replaced with very realistic models that could very well pass for human at a glance. The texture of the skin, the luminosity of the eyes, and the movement of the hair... it's all too perfect. You won't be able to take your eyes off them especially when they start to fight. The furious yet impossibly smooth action sequences are just too mesmerizing. You can spend the next hour just watching these guys (and gals) take on each other. The settings and locales such as mountains, forests, and cityscapes are also as superbly detailed as the characters.
I must admit, I felt a bit cheated after watching Advent Children. My memory of the game is no longer what it was, and I felt I was not able to get the full effect that was intended by the creators. It is, however, undeniably a visual feast that's worth treating yourself to player or not. Just watch it. Go oooh and aaah over it. After all, this is what a real Final Fantasy film is (not the totally un-Final Fantasy The Spirits Within).
I don't remember seeing any Chocobos...

Final Fantasy VII Advent Children
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Review Title:
Final Fantasy VII Advent Children
100 Minutes
General Rating:
4 out of 5 stars
Suitable For:
Action, Fantasy, Game,
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