Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (2005) Review:
Cloud: Stay where you belong... in my memories.
Sephiroth: I will... never be a memory.
Again, if you haven’t played the game, this won’t make much sense…I’m sorry. I am more of a Final Fantasy III guy, anyway. The film starts off with a little girl narrating the events of Final Fantasy VII, the videogame. Ex: The evil SHINRA Corporation tried to suck power from the Earth and guarded itself with soldiers who just happened to have the same DNA as an alien who recently wanted to destroy the planet. Easy to follow, right?
So, now one of the ex-soldiers who saved the planet (Cloud) from another who realized he wanted to destroy the planet (Sephiroth) is being mopey about killing a girl. Everyone who’s played the game knows who that is. It was supposedly a big event in gaming. But, I’m not gonna get into that.
The moping is what I hated about the game, and what I hate about the movie, too. So, Cloud starts off being chased by a gang of thugs led by Kadaj; who is actually Sephiroth in vitro…you can tell by…oh, he looks exactly like Sephiroth, never mind. You can tell. So, Kadaj and his gang are hunting after Cloud, and keep asking him about “mother”. The alien.
The battle scenes and animation are awesome. When Tifa fights Loz in the church, it’s awesome. It even makes a funny reference to the game. Loz’s cell phone ringtone is the Final Fantasy victory music, which makes you think Tifa has defeated him. The motorcycle battles are fast-paced, explosion-filled and amazing. I don’t want anyone to think that I think this is a bad film. It’s just too loaded with fan references.
The battle scene in the city before Sephiroth “awakens” is basically one big fan show. First Barrett shows up, then Cid, then Vincent…here’s the thing, though. They don’t really need to be there. It’s just for the fans. Cloud could’ve fought Sephiroth basically on his own. Okay, Cid has an airship. But, none of that battle takes place in the airship. He just rescues Cloud once.
I apologize if the above paragraph makes no sense. But, that’s just the way the movie is. It just throws out fan references. The only battle that really matters (Although I can’t stress enough, all the battles look good!) is the final showdown when Sephiroth’s theme starts playing and he’s awakened, and storm clouds move in, and they fight it out. That was epic!
Okay, I should also mention the President Rufus Shinra is in a wheelchair. (Supposedly due to SHINRA exploding in the game.) and a bunch of kids have a sickness called geostigma, because the planet is angry. I have to protest here, because after Rufus tosses “mother”, he’s able to stand, and the kids are cured at the finale with holy water from the church Tifa keeps going back to. It sort of takes on a “love heals everything” tone. As a philosopher of disability, I find this ridiculous and ham-fisted. Terrible way to end! It never really drops the preachy tone (And of course, disabilities aren‘t allowed in happy endings.), either, and Cloud keeps moping about “Are sins ever forgiven?” like he forgot he’s a mutant super soldier with a huge sword.
Look, I know her (I’m not gonna say her name; everyone knows who it is, and if you don’t, you won’t get the “tragedy”! Heck, I don’t! And I was there!) death was supposed to be traumatic, but Cloud dealt with death ALL through the game. Really? And then, you wanna get preachy on me? Don’t even try. I was over her before she even stepped on screen. Years ago!
But, see, that’s the big problem with this movie. I mean, between the flashy battles and fan references, the characters don’t grow any, nor do they have sufficient reasons to be involved. They’re involved because they saved the day last time. (When Street Fighter did it…they fought because it’s a fighting game!) Maybe role-playing games are just too nuanced to be 2 hour movies.
So you see, it’s essentially a fan-made train wreck full of exploding eye-candy. And yet, it’s so eye-catching I couldn’t look away! 2/5 stars from me. Handled with a big grain of salt, and nostalgia for a videogame from 1997! Cloud echoes my sentiments exactly: “Stay where you belong (Final Fantasy VII!)... in my memories.” Sorry, I couldn’t find the English clip of Cloud vs. Sephiroth. My DVD actually had options for Japanese or English!