Mania Grade: B-
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- Audio Rating: A-
- Video Rating: C-
- Packaging Rating: B
- Menus Rating: A
- Extras Rating: B+
- Age Rating: 12 & Up
- Region: 4 - Australia / South America
- Released By: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
- MSRP: 29.83
- Running time: 101
- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Final Fantasy 7: Advent Children
Final Fantasy 7: Advent Children
By John Eriani
May 25, 2006
Release Date: May 02, 2006
Final Fantasy 7: Advent Children
What They Say
© Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Continuing the storyline based on the hit Playstation game Final Fantasy VII; two years have passed since the ruins of Midgar stand as a testament to the sacrifices made in order to bring peace. However, the world will soon face a new menace. A mysterious illness is spreading fast. Old enemies are astir. And Cloud, who walked away from the life of a hero to live in solitude, must step forward yet again.The Review!
After being delayed a number of times the movie that is THE love letter to fans finally arrives on DVD.Audio:
I watched the film twice once in each language and the dub is okay, There is some big name talent behind the dub as well as some less known stars. Most of the actors do well and the actors for Cloud and Tifa do suit the characters. I'm a little bit puzzled why Cait Sith has a Scottish accent but the dub otherwise does a pretty good job. I'm not sure if the script is very true to the original Japanese or if the subtitles are almost dubtiles but for the most part the story is almost exactly the same. Certain lines are translated rather oddly such as a simple "Go Cloud" from Barrett is changed to "Alley-oop" in the dub and also in the sub for the Japanese, so it's a possible dubtitle, and all of Cait Sith's dialogue has added Scottish brogue. The soundtracks themselves sound great with lots of directionality in the big fight scenes as well as the music pumping through, when a battle occurs its an exciting thing to see as well as hear. My preference is still for the Japanese language as it has some great actors playing the parts and everything syncs up just a little better. It's a shame that there is no commentary on this version as there was one for the region 2 Japan release.Video:
Okay, here is my main problem with this release. The video is taken from a digital source so you would think everything would be pristine and perfect, but there is interlacing/ghosting as well as pixelation and everything seems a little soft. This is because Sony chose to go with an NTSC to PAL conversion instead of using a true HD master. I'm utterly astonished at this seeing as this film should have the best transfer possible. I cannot believe that Sony could not be bothered to use a proper master for the PAL version, videophiles avoid this and get the Region 1 version. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, you screwed up. Packaging:
The cover for this release is the same as the region 1 version with the exception of the ugly yellow OFLC rating. The main part of the cover is taken up with Cloud riding Fenrir and sword in hand while Sephiroth looks down from the top corner. I really don't like this cover that much, I think they should have gone with something more eye catching and less cobbled together, such as the image that is on the first disc with Sephiroth and Cloud standing next to each other with their arms "pixelating" away. The back cover is also the same as the region 1 with lots of nice shots of the film and Cloud holding Kadaj in the background. It lists all the features on the disc as well including language options clearly. Menu:
The main menu on disc 1 plays with various scenes from the movie while the one of the main theme songs One Winged Angel plays in the background all surrounded by this pixelating effect that I mentioned previously. The Main Menu on disc 2 is a static image of Cloud and the selections are straightforward. There is no sub menu for subtitles as it's just at the top of the selections. Menu selection is easy without any problems. Extras:
There is only one extra on disc 1 and that is called reminiscence of Final Fantasy VII. It's basically a story digest of the game but unfortunately viewing this to catch up on the story if you have never played will not help. Certain scenes are relived but the way they are put together do not make much sense and may confuse you more then enlighten in regards what has come before. Disc 2 is the bulk of where the extras are. The Distance making of featurette runs about 35 minutes and covers most of the bases, from comments by the director Tetsuya Nomura to cast and the composer Nobuo Uematsu. There is also 20 minute version of the film that was screened at the Venice film festival and trailers for upcoming games from the Final Fantasy VII universe. Rounding out the extras are 8 trailers for the film from 2003 up to 2005 and deleted scenes. There are 11 of these scenes ranging from alternate dialogue to extended scenes. The one extra I was hoping for but knew would not appear is the Last Order OVA that is available on the Japanese LE release. It's a 25-minute OVA done by Madhouse and its inclusion would have helped identify who a certain character is and his significance, but I will talk more about that below.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
When Final Fantasy VII came out in 1997 it changed the way RPG's were viewed and became one of the most popular games of all time. With rumours of remakes for years, Square Enix has finally released not a remake but a sequel movie to the game that put the RPG's on the map of popular culture. The ending to the original game was left rather open, with Sephiroth summoning Meteor to cause the planet a huge wound so he could absorb all of the life-stream that gathered to heal it and the world seemed doomed. While Cloud, Tifa, Cid, Barret, Vincent, Yuffie, Red XIII and Cait Sith defeated Sephiroth, Meteor was still coming. The Life-stream combined with Holy magic and stopped Meteor but it seemed to be too late for the City of Midgar and then the story moved forward 500 years to Red XIII and two cubs running in a wasteland and coming upon the ruined city. Many questions were left unanswered, what happened to the characters? What happened to Midgar, did anyone survive? That is what this movie is all about.
2 years after the events of the game, The ruins of Midgar stand as a reminder of what had happened and a new city is built around it. Children are becoming sick with an illness called Geostigma a disease that leaves bruises on the skin and then soon kills them. Cloud Strife has moved away from his friends as he too is suffering from this disease and does not want to be happy as he will soon lose it all, he is still racked with guilt from what happened 2 years ago with Aerith and his friend Zack. He runs the Strife delivery service from Tifa Lockheart's bar but seldom speaks to her. Most of the time she leaves messages on his phone about possible jobs but he never calls her, just from the messages she leaves you can tell she wants him to come home but he still distances himself. After having a request to meet some old friends from the Shinra company who use to run Midgar, Cloud is attacked by some odd looking people who we find out are led by Kadaj. Kadaj is looking for "mother" and anyone who has played the game will know that when grey haired black leather clad people star looking for "mother" they are talking about Jenova, the main evil behind Sephiroth and his insane plans. Two other similar looking characters join Kadaj and they go off to search for "mother" in Midgar, this lead to a wonderful fight between Tifa and Loz the larger of the three and with a neater haircut. Kadaj knows what Geostigma is and gathers all the kids together under the pretence he will cure them. This leads to more fights between Cloud and Kadaj's group and introduces Vincent Valentine to the story, a quiet character who appears to know what is going on, at least more so then Cloud. Soon a big fight ensues as Kadaj summons Bahamut a giant dragon monster using stolen "materia" (magic gems) and causes havoc while looking for "mother". This sets up the huge battle and all the main characters from the game make their entrance.
The film then goes through an exciting motorbike chase sequence with Cloud and Kadaj and then a final battle where certain things are revealed and people thought gone return once again. The film opens with a simple quote that indicates what the movie is like and who it is for. "To those who have loved this world ...and knew friendly company therein: This Reunion is for you"
This rings true for the whole movie, if your are unfamiliar with this world and its characters you will not understand a lot of what is going on. The film tries to give you a recap of what has happened before but its not enough for a casual fan to grasp. The main problem is that very few characters are referred to by name and a character that means a great deal to Cloud suffers from this especially. There is a scene where Cloud talks to a rusted sword on a hill. He is talking to his friend Zack who gave his life protecting him after horrible experiments were performed on them both. Their last ditch effort to escape the people that did this to them is detailed in the Last Order OVA and the game of course. Without knowing any of this a viewer has no idea what the significance of it all is, there are hints buts it is very vague.
Certain plot points are introduced but never fully realised, such as what Kadaj's plans for the children was as letting them die from the stigma would have given him what he wanted as an avatar of Sephiroth. Another is the cure for Geostigma, which is really obscure and makes little sense other then it being magic water that comes out of nowhere. Certain characters only appear for the sake of being there and others are under used; there are also problems with the structure of certain sections such as a certain flashback. While Cloud is off to rescue the children we see one then after the battle takes place we go back to the same flashback but just after what had been already said, there is no reason why this could not have been done in the one flashback. Another thing that may bother some people (not me) is that gravity is optional for most of the characters. Flying or large jumps are common place and in fact one of the best scenes in the film involves a sort of huge jump done by the characters one bye one pushing Cloud to where he needs to go. This may look odd to some but this world isn't Earth so it doesn't have to exactly stick to reality.
With the film being hyped beyond belief, it was bound to disappoint many, the story just doesn't quiet gel and its development feels like it was sacrificed so things could look more spectacular. There are still some genuine wow moments and if you know what is going some rather nice emotional scenes between Cloud and his dead friends. The music is top notch with Nobuo Uematsu using all of his talents to give the film that Final Fantasy feel, from a remake of his classic One Winged Angel to new heavy metal tracks, there is nothing but enjoyment to be had listening to this film. The animation is fantastic to look at throughout and after a while you forget that the film is CG and not real, while it is not in the same realm of detail as the Final Fantasy the Spirits Within it is a very close second.In Summary:
Despite my problems with this film, I still enjoyed it a lot and being a fan of the game I could watch it all again right now without a problem. It's not a film for anyone but Final Fantasy VII fans, do not let anyone tell you otherwise. If you still want to see it I suggest a quick search through various game websites for a nice plot guide of the game. While it does not live up to the hype and its plot is severely lacking clarity and structure, there is still lots of fun to be had with gorgeous looking battles and music. Unfortunately the Region 4 release is not something I can recommend to anyone and should be avoided, go for the superior video transfer of the Region 1 release.
Japanese 5.1 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles + more,Reminiscence of Final Fantasy VII Story Digest,The Distance Making of Featurette,Final Fantasy VII Advent Children Venice Film Festival Footage,Deleted Scenes,Sneak peek of upcoming Final Fantasy VII Games,Final Fantasy VII Advent Children Trailers
LG 32LX2D 32" HD LCD TV, Sony DVP-NS50P Progressive scan region free DVD player, Monster component cable, Yamaha TSS-15 Home Theatre Sound System