Wednesday, November 21, 2012

*ANI-MOVIES, *Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children

After years of waiting for a followup to their original groundbreaking RPG video game, Square Enix(original Squaresoft)finally got around to doing this feature animated sequal as part of their Compilation Of Final Fantasy VII series which also included two video game prequals, a game sequal, and an anime prequal. Even though it was originally supposed to be about a 20 minute-long feature, but was instead turned into a full-length movie at the demand of the fans. It was animated by Square Enix themselves, who of course also did the original Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within movie as Square Pictures, and was directed by FF regular, Tetsuya Nomura.

It starts off where the end of the Final Fantasy VII game left off with Red XIII doing his Lion King impression, but then cuts back to 498 years later, which is 2 years after where we last left our heroes. Apparently, the Planet survived the attack of the Meteor, although the main city of Midgar was destroyed. So the survivors open up some cheap condos in the smaller town of Edge. Whiny emo-clown Cloud has become a delivery boy and adopted Marlene(Barret's kid)plus a boy named Denzel who is a dead ringer for Roxas from Kingdom Hearts. Cloud and Denzel are suffering from a new disease called Geostigma, but the not-so dead Rufus Shinra really has it bad. He tries to enlist Cloud to help him and some of the remaining badboy Turks from stopping a trio of biker dudes who are apparently looking for the head of Jenova's head. Jenova was the cause of all the monsters and darkness on the planet, and also Sephiroth's "mother". Kadaj, Yazoo, and Laz want to use Jenova's head to bring all the pieces of her together along with children infected by the Geostigma to cause the destruction of the planet. They gather all the children to Edge to try take down a large statue in the middle of the city which they're convinced is where Jenova's head is buried other, and then summon up a horde of demon dogs plus one mutha of a dragon. Cloud along with the entire old AVALANCHE crew show up and stop the monsters, then begin a long chase with Cloud trailing down Kadaj. Jenova's power tuns Kadaj into a resurrected Sephiroth, and he has an epic sword battle with Cloud. Cloud pulls some "Knights Of The Round" attack on Sephiroth which kills him(kinda), and Aerith's spirit makes some magical rain that cures everyone's Geostigma.

This movie was a payoff for alot of the FF-anitics, although there were some complaints about inconstancies in the story, but were more or less resolved in the special Complete edition of the film when it was re-released on Blu-Ray. The first draft of the movie was supposed to be about Cloud with his newly adopted family that he and Tifa put together, but this was later used as the basis for the Reminiscence Of FFVII segment used on the DVD as a recap of the events from the game. The production involved making the characters look as realistic as possible, but still having weird anime hair and overstylized fashion sense. It was a serious step up from The Spirits Within and most of the FMV scenes from the games, even though you can tell that there's still something some lacking in the characters' facial expressions and movement, but still astounding animation. The dub for it though was really bland, where as the voice actors are good in their own rights, they really didn't give seem to give this any real effort. Plus, the dialogue for both the original Japanese script and English dub was terribly mismatched, and if you watch the deleted scenes you'll see that lots of rewrites were done with the dialogue to already completed footage. The DVD release features a short OVA titled FF: Last Order which is a full accounting of Sephiroth's turn to darkness, and his fight with Cloud and Zack, although this was 2D animated by Madhouse. The Blu-Ray release also has another short of On The Way To A Smile which is an original animation based on a novelle that comes with the Collector's Edition DVD that tells of Denzel's origins. The movie recieved a pretty big buzz when it was first released in America, although it was one of those cases like The Phantom Menace where after its initial reaction on the fan market, it changed somewhat after its presence had been examined a little further. Its one of those things where fans get all worked up for an continuation of something they loved, but when it comes out, they realize that its not all they had hoped for. The other major drawback is that the movie is totally useless to anyone who hasn't played the entire original game. However, this should be seen as a labor of love for fans of the game, and something they will treasure(until they get tired of it).

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