Hey folks, Valkor here. And I welcome you to TOV's "30 in 30", where I'll review 30 unique film and maybe some not so unique, all in 30 days. What's cool for most of the flicks, is that I know nothing about em. So this should be a real treat not just for you guys, but for me as well. Good or bad, this is gonna be a fun month. It all starts today July the 4th and ends on Aug the 3rd. Can I make it through? We'll know soon enough!
For number 19, I'm bringing this next review straight to you from the heart; based on a game that I've embraced since 1997 and still to this day enjoy playing through, I give you Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete.
In 2005, Square/Enix unleashed unto those who have followed along with the Final Fantasy 7 storyline of the PSX game, a movie that would bring the game full circle, reuniting the game's main cast of characters and bringing with it an entire saga called "Reunion", which included "Before Crisis", "Crisis Core", and Dirge of Cerebus". That movie was titled "Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children". The film was met with great praise from the fans of the FF VII game, which includes yours truly, but the film in and of itself was essentially clips pieced together to make a movie. And you could tell it was so just by watching the film's breaks between each clip; it felt unfinished, though still fantastic. Well Square/Enix wasn't done with the Advent Children - not by a long shot. They went back in and added 27 minutes of footage to flesh out what once was a clip presentation, to full-feature status. Released only on blu ray with a plethora of extras, Advent Children: Complete went on to rock my Final Fantasy lovin world and then some!
The Events in Advent Children take place two years after the events FFVII and the people of the planet, especially the children, are plagued with a disease called "GeoStigma". On top of that, a new menace has appeared in the form of Kadaj, Loz, and Yazoo who seek to find their "mother", Jenova. The heroes from VII are now strewn about; main character Cloud is a delivery boy, Tifa runs the "Seventh Heaven" bar while looking after Barrett's daughter Marlene while Barrett is off looking for another energy source to replace Mako. The rest of the crew – Cid, Vincent Valentine, Yuffie, Red XIII, and Cait Sith locations are not yet known at the beginning of the film, but where they were and what they've been up to can be pieced together when they do appear, save for Yuffie (Most likely she's been hanging out in her village of Wu-Tai… maybe). When Kadaj and his brother first approach, it brings Cloud who they believe knows where mother is and even call him brother. After his first confrontation with the trio, he gets a call from Rufus, President of Shinra, who evidently is also stricken with the GeoStigma. He asks Cloud for help, but Cloud refuses. Later Kadaj confronts Rufus to ask the whereabouts of "mother", only to come up empty. Further along, Loz heads for the church that is home to Aeris's flower garden and where Cloud and the orphans stay. Loz is confronted by Tifa, who he ultimately defeats, taking with him a box of Materia and Marlene, which all leads up to Kadaj's plan - he wants to have a "reunion", ultimately destroying the planet. Cloud and his cohorts must come together once more to defeat this new threat, take on a Summons (Bahamut Sin), leading to a showdown with the return of Sephiroth.
Extras on the BD includes a 30 minute animated short "On The Way to a Smile", which is all about Denzel, Legacy of Final Fantasy VII Featurette, which is a recap of the Final Fantasy series, Reminiscence of Final Fantasy VII, which highlights key points of the game, and rounding things out with trailers and sneak peek at Final Fantasy XIII.
I loved Advent Children when it was released in 2005; it was loads of fun, heartbreakingly beautiful, and definitely a testament to Square/Enix on their storytelling abilities. But now that I have Complete, my love for the franchise has grown to levels unheard of. Those extra 26 minutes really pay off, fleshing out the story so much that you're sucked in until possibly one of the greatest film endings I've ever laid eyes on. Extended scenes include: A look at what happens to Tseng and Elena in the Volcano (You only hear what happens in AC), some extended scenes for Denzel, and more footage for the final fights. I must also point out that this is not a film for those unfamiliar with the franchise; there's no backstory, no real flashbacks to the game, just one brief clip where Marlene explains what happens in 7, but that's all you'll get - not backstory of the main characters or even the supporting cast. You literally had to have played the game to get the total grasp of what's happening in this film and understand why it's so appreciated and loved. As an added plus, if you've played Crisis Core, it adds an additional punch to the heart strings because that gives you his complete story that ties in directly with VII and also Advent Children. Both the Japanese and American voice cast shine, with the Japanese voice coming out on top; though the American voices are no slouches, but it has its misses such as the case of Loz. Other than that each voice matches each character to a T. But you won't buy AC: Complete just for the awesome story or great voice casting; you'll also wanna check out the beautifully rendered CGI. Square/Enix spent years perfecting the technology that started with Final Fantasy: Spirits Within, which is forgettable when compared to Advent Children, but looked great. However Advent Children takes CGI "to a whole new level". You want awesome level of detail? Check out the fight between Loz and Tifa as reference to how much love Square put into this film, how her hair moves or her cloths sway around her body, or even the detail in their facial expressions. It's amazing stuff!! And I'm not even finished!!! How about fan service, little bits of detail that any fan of the series will recognize? The Final Fantasy victory fanfare, limit breaks, material, are just some bits you'll find while exploring the film. Finally the score, which uses a lot of music from the original game, fleshed out in full symphony – it's like sweet candy for the ears!
I have absolutely nothing bad or ugly to say about such a beautiful piece of film art. But I do have one request to the folks of Square/Enix: Make a Final Fantasy VII, using the powerful engine that is the Playstation 3. You've given us a tech demo of what it would look like using the AC models, and if anyone has played Crisis Core, at the very end that presentation is further fleshed out! FFVII was a great game for its time, but think of the possibilities with the power of Blu Ray: HD, hi-res graphics, full instrumentals on the soundtracks, voice-acting, and more attention to detail in the story, really piecing it together. Make. It. Happen!
Never has a game left such an imprint on my soul, as is the case with Final Fantasy VII. And Advent Children: Complete not only goes above and beyond in giving me more of the story that I've grown to cherish from VII, but it also brings closure to characters and a satisfying end to the series. Giving this film anything than less than 5 stars would be an insult, thus without mincing words, I give Advent Children: Complete 5 stars - Valkor tested and Approved!