All the gravity defying, it confuses me.
In lieu of finally beating Final Fantasy VII, I decided we should go ahead and watch the movie sequel, Advent Children. I’m sure most of you in their target audience has already seen it; Final Fantasy veterans who have a soft spot for VII, or enjoy seeing beautiful HD models of characters we remember as blocks and polygons. I’m a complete sucker/fangirl who buys into most of this stuff that tugs at my nostalgia heartstrings. I’ve seen this movie a few times, it’s on my shelf, and I figured now would be a good time to write about it.
I’m writing on the “Complete” edition, which includes about 25 minutes of removed scenes from the original release. These are scenes that had no business being taken out in the first place. They actually explain where the hell Denzel came from (but if you want the full monty, watch the included anime that is literally his entire background story) and lots of Sephiroth giving Cloud stabbies. Like, lots of stabbies. Blood everywhere. It was awesome. The first time I saw the Masamune shank Cloud through the shin I knew I was in love. Like I said, I’m not entirely sure why they removed so much of Sephiroth’s badassery, but seeing that made me happy. Otherwise, Sephiroth and Cloud’s big battle is a lot of them flying through the air and slashing buildings apart. I didn’t realize that after Holy and Meteor were summoned, gravity just stopped existing. Selectively, of course.
I don’t mean to say that I can’t suspend my disbelief because of the cast’s new affinity for zipping around in the sky instead of actually fighting. This is based on a video game where Tifa could pick up and drop kick monsters that were literally twenty times her size. I just wasn’t crazy about the fact that all the fight scenes (Minus Tifa’s fight against Loz, which is my favorite part) take place on bikes or in the sky.
Much like the game it is based on, the plot is something you don’t want to think too hard about, lest you melt the portion of your brain dedicated to processing logic and critical thinking. Just take the movie for what it is; a chance to revisit Midgar two years later in gorgeous cinematic glory with a mandatory visit from Sephiroth at the end. In terms of characters from FFVII, you’ll see a whole lot of Cloud and Tifa. They look great, if you can ignore Cloud’s Geostigma bleeding. Ok, Tifa looks great. It appears as though she even got a breast reduction, which confuses me because I’m not sure how she thinks that’ll make Cloud pay more attention to her.
What they’ve done personality-wise to the characters is a bummer; Cloud is an annoying emo whine-ass, pining over a girl he barely knew because he was unable to save her (she wanted to die, get over it). And Tifa is, ya know, still a doormat. She should’ve moved on a long time ago. She finally gives Cloud the ass-kicking he deserves, but sadly, that’s her defining moment in the movie. The rest of the playable cast in FFVII are lucky if they get cameo appearances. Hey, at least that means Barret can keep up with the “absentee father” role he’s so good at. This time around, instead of blowing up Mako reactors he’s drilling for oil. Way to hop from one method of slowly killing the planet to another!
If nothing else, with the little bit of the supporting cast you do get to see, they look good! Red XIII got some fancy jewelry, Yuffie ditched the green for some stylish black, and Vincent is… Vincent. Obnoxious pointy-gold shoes and all. In fact, during the movie you’ll see a lot more of the Turks. They play center stage, pretending ShinRa wants to make up for almost getting the planet destroyed by hiding Jenova’s head from her wannabe-baby-Sephiroths.
Spoiler: Rufus somehow survived the ShinRa tower blowing up with him inside of it.
Aesthetically, the movie is absolutely gorgeous. Even a few years later. Just don’t get too hung on it conceptually. I have to admit, I’m pretty biased against sequels in general. Especially with games that have endings crafted to let the audience develop their own theories. FFVII and FFX standout to me as the main entries that do so. Ironically enough, they’re the ones that have the sequels. It wasn’t enough to have the scene of Red XIII and kitties looking over the ruins of Midgar and wondering if humanity survived or not? It wasn’t enough to watch a teaser of Tidus swimming towards the surface, and wondering if it was him being given new life or if it was just a memorial scene? No, they had to go and milk them some more.
Only watch this movie if you’re a Final Fantasy VII nut. You’ll probably be disappointed with the story and characters, but the movie really isn’t marketable to anyone outside of FFVII fandom. There’s really no hope of understanding or enjoying what is going on if you haven’t played the game. And if you have played the game, your chances are only marginally higher.
One other cool thing I forgot to mention: awesome soundtrack with great mixes of some of the game’s original soundtrack!