Final Fantasy: Advent Children

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Taking place two years after the original Final Fantasy VII videogame is a world still recovering from the damage left behind from the epic battle between Cloud and Sephiroth. A new disease called “Geostigma” had spread across Midgar infecting children and adults alike. Cloud himself who now works as a transporter, also has this disease but has covered the visible scars on this left arm. Working seemingly contently at Strife Delivery Service (located in 7th Heaven), it also functions as an orphanage for children stricken with Geostigma.

From the first few seconds of the movie, your hair will be standing up from the back of your neck. Final Fantasy fans have long awaited for this movie and boy does it deliver in spades! The introduction is reminicant of the opening movie of FFVII in terms of music and pacing and it gets you into the mood for a fantastically and beautifully rendered 3D universe. Not watching this on a big screen in surround sound will not put this movie to justice!

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Nobou Uematsu returns to compose the movie score while Tetsuya Nomura directs the movie, providing sweeping camera angles, fast pacing and an energetic feel to the movie. While purists might complain that the characters do not fight realistically, well they do if you have seen them fight in FFVII. Large gravity defying jumps, Limit Breaks (special attack moves) and combinations are plenty in this movie.

A decent portion of FF:AC is indeed action and I don’t think many would complain watching Tifa strutting her stuff and Cloud on his new bike Fenrir, slashing with a new Buster sword. All of the action scenes are presented cinematically with great detail and small touches goes hand in hand with the remixed soundtrack. You will not see characterisation from anyone else but Cloud however which will make non Final Fantasy fans wondering what the fuss is all about.

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This lack of character development and establishment makes this movie purely fanservice to the viewer. Unless you have played through the original videogame there are many elements and sub-plots you will not quite understand or know the gravity of. This (as a movie entity) is its weakest point, however there are millions of Final Fantasy fans and they will not care one bit!

While some animation sequences are re-used to further develop the story everything else is new and richly created. After watching this movie many will want a PS3 version of the game. Square-Enix has stated though that it would take 200+ staff and 4 years to make it possible, almost killing off all the rumours of such a version. This however will bring back fantastic memories and almost everyone I have met who has seen this went back to play the 1997 original.

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As a fan you will not see a better 3D CG movie in your lifetime. As a movie critic however this is a lot of eye and sonic candy with not enough substance. To be honest the original game did wrap up many plot questions and was concluded to a certain degree. This left Advent Children little to go with other than Cloud’s lack of ambition and drive every since the events two years ago. With the lack of “layers” in terms of characterisation and plot detail, to non fans this will seem a lot of fuss and hype as there is nothing to relate to or to emphasise with.

While Final Fantasy: Advent Children will not win any awards other than for art direction, music and special effects I don’t think many will care – It is a movie for the loyal fans after all. Worthy of watching anyway? You would be silly to miss it!

08/10 – Highly enjoyable to once again see your gaming heroes grace the big screen. Now where’s my Buster sword…