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DVD Review: Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (2004)

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After watching this movie I thi my DVD player needs a vacation, because not only does it push the limits of awesome in computer animation and sound, but I watched it three times before writing this review. Based on the highly successful Final Fantasy video game series, this movie is set two years after the events of Final Fantasy VII. The world is in ruins and its people are suffering from a mysterious and incurable ailment called geo-stigma. The people responsible for the planet’s condition are feverishly seeking a remedy, but are met with opposition by three rebels named Kadaj, Loz and Yazoo. The three brothers are convinced that their mission is to fight back with the planet and find their “mother.”

Cloud, one of the heroes who fought and beat Sephiroth before the world was left in ruins, wanders aimlessly and is haunted by his past. It is not until Cloud is asked to suppress the rebels and help save the world again that he finally starts believing in himself. With the help of his friends, Cloud must face his darkest fears to save the world and its people.

Even though I play video games, I have never played nor been interested in the Final Fantasy series. I saw the two trailers for this film at E3 and was absolutely stunned by how cool it looked. The computer animation that Square Enix brings to the table is gorgeous. The film is not only a work of art, but also a new benchmark for what to expect from our digital future. The picture and sound were to die for. Even if you don’t care for the movie itself, if you have a HDTV or a home theater system, you NEED to buy this DVD. The detail presented by CGI is unmatched by any other film I have ever seen. To sum it up, imagine if the coolest and most original fighting sequences you have ever seen were compiled into a 100 minute feature film and you will have Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children.

For all the fanboys out there, I know the special features in the 2-disc special edition will make you put down your PS2 controllers (unless you didn’t buy the DVD remote, you cheapskate). On the first disc is a feature titled “Reminiscence of Final Fantasy story digest” that contrasts the Final Fantasy VII video game to its feature film sequel. The second disc is filled with multiple trailers from around the world, deleted scenes, making ofs and some sneak peaks at upcoming FF VII games. Even though Sony delayed the release of this film almost a million times, it was worth the wait.

The storyline is inspired by a video game and may lose its appeal for some people, but the technical aspects of this film offer more than most could ever dream of. This DVD can and will stretch your TV and home theater to its limits.

The Upside:
Absolutely amazing, from start to finish. A new reference DVD.
The Downside:
Some may not be openminded enough to a plotline that follows a video game.
On The Side:
In the battle between Tifa and Loz, when Loz’s cellphone rings, his ringtone is the music that is played after a victorious battle in the Final Fantasy games.

Breaking Down the DVD:
The Film: B
The Delivery: A+

The Extras: A+

DVD Stats:
Release Date: April 25th, 2006
Starring: Steve Staley (voice), Quinton Flynn (voice), Crispin Freeman (voice)
Directed by: Tetsuya Nomura, Takeshi Nozue (co-director)
Writing Credits: Kazushige Nojima (event scenario writer)
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Sound Mix: Dolby Digital
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action violence.
Country: Japan
Run Time: 101 min.
Studio: Square Enix Co.
Trailer

Final Grade: A

By Brian Gibson, Associate Editor of Film School Rejects

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  • Bliffle

    Seems to be little interest here, so I’ll volunteer my own thoughts about movies.

    There seems to be difficulty finding films worth watching. May I suggest “Imagemakers” on PBS, which is a repertory set of short films by both famous and unknown film people? You even get to vote for your favorites at their website. I just watched “Barrier” this morning featuring Sandra Oh (whom we’ve all grown to know from Grays Anatomy) as a young doctor (!) conducting a study on sex habits, with unexpected results. Another is, IIRC, “Facing your Fear” about a young Japanese monk of a couple centuries ago, and an excellent one (whose name I can’t recall) with Kenneth Branagh as a man alone with his cellphone terrified by a series of strange calls (it may remind you of that famous Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari).

    And you don’t have to risk $7 to see them!

  • http://sterfish.blogspot.com Sterfish

    I’m looking forward to finally seeing this film after seeing the E3 trailer, dozens of pieces of artwork, and an untold number of screenshots. Even though it would have had a snowball’s chance in hell of getting an Academy Award nomination, I kind of wish Sony had given this movie at least a limited theatrical release like some of the anime titles they have released. If the DVD is indeed as great as the review indicates, I bet it would have been wonderful to see it in a large theater.