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Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (2 Disc Special Edition) - 4.97

The question facing any viewer of the Japanese CG feature Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children is: do you have to know the games on which it's based in order to understand the film? And the answer is: it certainly helps. But even complete novices (i.e., most parents) in the Final Fantasy world will find some entertainment in its wealth of fantasy-based action, and the animation never fails to astonish. Picking up two years after an epic battle between the forces of good (represented by brooding soldier Cloud) and evil (Cloud's former general, Sephiroth), FFVII opens in the devastated city of Midgard, whose youthful occupants suffer from a ghastly disease known as Geostigma. A trio of brothers arrives with what appears to be a cure for the plague, but their gesture conceals a more sinister purpose: to revive Sephiroth and bring about the end of the world. Cloud and his companions must once again rise to the occasion to stop the siblings and the revived Sephiroth from unleashing total destruction. Complex and self-referential to the point of occasional incomprehension, Final Fantasy VII will definitely be most appreciated by fans of the game series, but if others can look past the numbing dialogue and frenetic action (which is a bit too intense for very young children), the film offers a carefree and action-packed viewing experience. The two-disc set contains the original Japanese language version of the film as well as an English-dubbed edition (Rachel Leigh Cook and Christy Carlson Romano, among others, provide the vocal talent) and a version edited for the Venice Film Festival. A 30-minute featurette that recaps the Final Fantasy story up to VII, as well as a making-of documentary, deleted scenes, and promotions for future Final Fantasy VII games and products round out the extras. --Paul Gaita

Customer reviews (av rating: 4.5):

Rating: 5:
WOWSERS!!! : Ok... it's kind of random! I love the cgi oh and YOU RANDOM WHO GAVE IT 1 STAR!!! is an idiot! no offence... but you see I agree with that you should not watch the movie unless you have played the game because it makes NO sense whatsoever. However the graphics good and if you don't mind not understanding a word they're going on about and enjoy action THEN BUY NOW!! But if you have played the game it is a must buy!! Thank you for reading this review, unless you didn't and just read the last setence because your random, then thanks. Good pie!!

Rating: 2:
I was raised to expect continuity. Instead, I get this. :
There are three different types of people who will inevitably approach this film in different ways. I've listed these below in three separate paragraphs to give readers (if any) some idea of whether they should bother with it. I don't want to dwell on this for too long, though; I belong to the first group, and to be honest even thinking about this film is kind of painful.

If you actually liked FFVII's story, steer well clear - this will only make your blood boil. The writers have sought to disregard much of the plot, the character detail and (this really amazed me) the physics of the original game, to the extent that you'll briefly find yourself wondering why they related it to FFVII at all. That is until you realise that it's all about money. If there's any character you really loved in FFVII, there's roughly a 60% chance they're personality will have morphed beyond recognition. The real blow for me came when I saw Cid Highwind, looking like a surfer, sounding like the worst kind of hick and appearing (like most of the game's playable characters) for the flimsiest of reasons. In summary - serious FFVII fans really should avoid this one like the plague.

If you haven't played FFVII, or have played it but didn't care much for it or its story, this isn't actually a bad film. The animation is stunning, the story's impenetrable but easy to ignore what with all that stunning animation going on and the comic relief moments are actually quite good. The voice-acting's mostly terrible, but this is balanced out by the friction between the film's spoken dialogue and the subtitles, which I suggest you leave on for a good laugh.

Lastly, if plot isn't really your thing at all, just action, animation and generally all-round computer-generated prettiness, then you really should buy this film. It's either this or TMNT.

Rating: 2:
poor. It doesn't matter how good the animation is! : Where to begin? Okay I have played the games and got the 'Spirits Within' in the knowledge it had nought to do with the game series but was made by the Square studio - really liked the games and that film. The previous film at the time was ground-breaking and stunningly good in the graphics department although slightly lacking in story.

This film is bad. The graphics aren't as good as they should be - there's better to be seen in cutesy animations like Happy Feet and Ice Age and the story is pretty much non-existant and dependant on people having played the games. It seems to me to be one big fight cut up with bits of the stereotypical female angelic figure doing something with natural magic while the boys play on their suped up motorbikes. I could go on but why bother...

Rating: 3:
Fantastic animation - but it's a members only club! :
My only experience of Final Fantasy comes from being addicted to the RPGs back in the early '90s. I'd heard a lot about the films and looked forward to watching this.

The quality of the animation is unbelievable; it really is so good that some parts of the film look more photographic than CGI. The visuals took me in, and I was in awe for the first part of the film - but it quickly dawned on me that I didn't really understand the characters too well.

Having been away from the latest gaming platforms, I haven't experienced the game this is based on. With this lack of back-story, I almost felt excluded. This is really a film for people who know the characters and have played the game. If it were to be more accessible then I'd have given it an easy 4 stars.

There are some good special features though and for lovers of the game, I can see that this film would be great entertainment. But if you have little knowledge of Final Fantasy - you realise all-too-quickly that you're watching a film with well established characters that you know nothing about!

Rating: 5:
Fantastic!!! : I haven't played the game but I do know off the ff series and I've played Kingdom hearts which has alot of FF characters in it.

I liked the characters and saw the movie advertised on TV and had to get it!!!
I loved the movie and I watched a few days running because it was so good! The characters are great and the graphics are great too! It was a good storyline and I could understand it even tho I haven't played the game! I recommend it highly!

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