Well, after a seemingly endless number of delays and a nearly infinite length of time spent waiting, rivaled only by the likes of Fable and Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children has finally hit stores. For those who have been living in their closet with their eyes closed, and their fingers in their ears, Advent Children is a full-length movie, based on Final Fantasy VII, the most popular RPG of all time. Final Fantasy got a bad wrap in the movie biz after the unimpressive, but wildly pretentious, Spirits Within movie that came out a few years back, but Advent Children pretty much sets the record straight.[p]The story picks up two years after the ending of Final Fantasy VII. Cloud’s team disbands, and goes separate ways, with Barrett scouring the countryside for coal mines (since mako is no longer considered a safe resource), Vincent goes off and continues sulking, Cloud starts a parcel delivery service and, with Tifa, starts an orphanage. Though Sephiroth is dead, that does not end the problems for the world. Midgar is still a pile of rubble, impoverished and still broken from the damage done by Avalanche, the Shin-Ra attacks and the Diamond Weapon. To make matters worse, a lethal disease, Geostigma, is spreading throughout the world, and afflicting many children in Tifa and Cloud’s orphanage. Additionally, the remaining Shin-Ra members have been calling upon Cloud recently, attempting to gain his help for yet another mysterious project. The movie starts out with a helicopter descending into the Northern Crater, the location of FF7’s final battle, with the Turks apparently still doing all sorts of dirty work but, of course, things don’t go as planned. In the meantime, Cloud is on his way home to Midgar from one of his package deliveries, and gets attacked by a group of men in black leather with silver hair, led by a man with a double-bladed sword (like, two swords parallel on the same hilt) named Kadaj. To remain light on the spoilers, the story is really difficult to follow, and even the most obsessed fan of the game may need to watch the movie several times through to get a grip on what is happening, why it is happening, and how it relates to the game. However, the movie is by no means plot-heavy. In fact, the last fifty minutes or so of the movie is one massive sequence of fight scenes. Advent Children really isn’t a story-driven movie.[p]Even if the story is somewhat lacking, Advent Children is still worth a watch for anyone who enjoyed the game, and really any action movie fan. Why? Because every second of the movie looks damn good. The motorcycle battles, the sword-fighting, the characters all look jaw-dropping in the incredible level of detail and quality of animation. One issue some may have, though, is that the fight scenes really lack any sort of realism. The characters jump forty feet in the air, there are fireballs shot, there are massive trees broken by a single punch, and in the first few minutes of the movie, Cloud gets SHOT IN THE FACE WITH A GUN and is virtually unfazed by it. While this sort of thing is appropriate in the game, it can raise some eyebrows initially because of the generally realistic look of the movie. But anyone who has watched the extra second DVD that is included will understand that the developers went into this movie with the "Anything Goes" motif. While the fight scene are surreal, they sure do kick a lot of ass. [p]Advent Children’s sound is somewhat questionable. The music is all-around nicely done. Fan especially will completely appreciate the remixes of classic Final Fantasy VII tunes. The voice acting, however, is at times questionable, but not really a major drawback since Cloud and Tifa (who by far get the most screen-time of all the characters) are done well. There is always the Japanese voice-acting option, but in all likelihood, the dubbed will be more popular. People with surround sound options available will be pleased to know that the movie has been encoded with 5.1 surround sound. [p]As a whole, Advent Children is a pretty solid movie. While it has a story that could confuse almost anyone, it should not be passed up. Fans of FF7 will almost definitely eat the movie up. With the combination of hanging on every word of dialogue with the edge to the front of your seat action, Advent Children will be the video game movie that is compared to all other game movies. People who didn’t play, or disliked the game, however, may not be particularly astounded by Advent Children. All in all, though, it’s worth checking out.
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