Final Fantasy 7: Advent Children (2005)

Director: Tetsuya Nomura
Cast: Takahiro Sakurai, Ayumi Ito, Shotaro Morikubo, Maaya Sakamoto

A bear with machine guns attached to its shoulders battles Batman atop a collapsing mountain on the moon. Batman is overwhelmed, until he whips out a sword made of fire that can shoot lasers. He leaps, about to land the killing blow, when suddenly, a robotic dinosaur crashes into the moon, disrupting the battle…

If you read this and thought “That’s Awesome!”, then this is a film which will almost certainly appeal to you.

Although one thing that must be addressed is that this is a sequel, not to a film, but to the globally renowned video game Final Fantasy 7. The idea of watching it without playing the game is almost certain to lead to immense confusion, but we’ll come to that later.

The plot:
Having saved the world from demented super-SOLDIER, Sephiroth, Cloud and his friends have settled down in the newly built town of Edge, which lies just beyond the vast city of Midgar (which is where the game began). The events of the film take place two years after the game, and Cloud, rather than putting his feet up, is feeling kinda crappy. He, like many others, has been diagnosed with Geostigma, an illness apparently brought on by the Planet’s anger. To make matters worse, a gang of leather clad (and very feminine looking) warriors show up, looking for ‘Mother’. This turns out to be a sinister plot, to resurrect a certain super-SOLDIER, who has plans for the disease ridden Planet…

After the utter failure that was Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, Square decide to have another stab at making a feature-length film. This time, however, they’ve clearly been listening to the fans and give them, more or less exactly what they want.

Unlike The Spirits Within, which, other than the presence of Dr. Cid, could have passed for any generic film, this feature abounds with throwaway reference to the game which precedes it. Little things like the Moogle doll carried by the little girl in the city, or the airship being named after Cid’s assistant, Shera, are a nice touch and make the film feel authentically Final Fantasy. At the end of one fight scene, the battle victory music from the game is heard. This causes the standing character to look around in confusion before she realises it is actually the losers’ phone ringing. Not only a nod to the fans, but a full blown gift basket with chocolate swans inside! And of course, this is nothing compared to feeling a fanboy feels when he sees his favourite characters in genuinely stunning CGI. Cloud is lavished with exquisite detail, Reno and Rude are brilliant as the comedy double act for the film, and a scene which sees the entire FF7 crew take on a beastie is particularly, well, awesome.

And that’s the feeling which fuels almost the entire film. Awesomicity. Or Awesomeness. Whichever you like. It relies on it entirely. And it does a pretty good job. It’s doubtful you will find, anywhere, the holy crap-in-your-pants awesomeness of some of these fight scenes, with gravity defying stunts which could only really be achieved through the CGI it’s filmed in. The final fight scene takes place on a collapsing building and lasts almost a solid ten minutes! This is aided, hugely, by an amped up version of the original game’s soundtrack, with a lot of heavy rock to coincide with the breathless action sequences.

All this may sound very well, but the film does, unfortunately, have a major issue. The plot. Bearing in mind that the game itself has a tendency to take players around the area of 50-60 hours to clear, and this clocks in at just over an hour and a half, it feels like a tacked on epilogue that’s trying to fit far too much story into a story which, realistically, has already been told. Bad guy wants to mess up the Planet, good guys stop him. Rinse, and repeat.

This is the case for those who have played the game. For those who haven’t, you are about to be lost in a sea of references amidst jaw dropping battles and motorbike chases. You won’t really understand the significance of things such as the head of JENOVA, or the abandoned church where Cloud sleeps. This is because all of that is explained, extensively, in the game, and, as mentioned, this is very much a gift for the fans.

Overall, the film very much achieves what it sets out to do. Fans will be overjoyed with the prospect of revisiting the world of FF7 (even if it did open the flood gates for a string of spin-off titles, including the woeful Devil May Cry reject that was Dirge of Cerberus). And although it might mean very little to those who aren’t fans of the game, they will still enjoy the fast paced battles which dominate the film.

Awful Rating: 6/10 (unless you’re a fan of Final Fantasy, in which case 8/10)

“I will never be a memory… “- Sephiroth

Shamelessly Awful Facts:

  • This is the only film I have ever willingly downloaded, a few months before it was released in Europe. Admittedly it was with subtitles, but that’s so much better than dubbed. In every scenario. I mean a Scottish accent, what were you guys thinking…
  • When I actually bought the film, I invited some friends over to watch it, a bunch of fanboys and a girl I was hanging out with. In the climatic scene where Sephiroth shows up, everyone in the room went “AWWWW YEAHHHHH!” and cheered. Kate had no idea what the hell was going on.
  • My first reaction to Kadaj: “Well, Sephiroth got a haircut”….not far off
  • For a year or so after the film came out, the soundtrack was pretty much all I listened to. A heavy rock version of One Winged Angel is the kind of thing you imagine would be insanely cool but is just never going to happen…


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