Cons: HOW did the game's designers forget to write a story?
The Bottom Line: Stick to the game.
Ten years ago, Final Fantasy VII would have been released as a movie and its movie sequel, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children would have been the video game. It's a pretty unusual case: The video game should have been a movie and the movie should have been a video game. The thing that's really insulting if you're a video gamer is that Advent Children was made by Square-Enix, the very same game developer responsible for the creation of Final Fantasy VII. With Advent Children, Square-Enix officially reaches that level of giving up due to lack of a good idea and just looking for ways to sneak into your wallet.
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children doesn't even go the extra mile to try and get non-gamers interested in their flagship franchise. It caters very specifically to those who have already played and beaten Final Fantasy VII. The game picks up two years after the Lifestream wiped out the meteor at the end of Final Fantasy VII. Oh, did I just call this movie a game? Well, it's very tough to tell it's a movie. Anyway, there's something about a disease going around now, another thing about a guy named Kadaj being Cloud's brother, something which causes the return of Sephiroth through Kadaj, a hidden base in the Forbidden City, and, well.... This is the first time I couldn't figure out the whole story to an action movie. The video game came with a very complex and labyrinthine story. It was difficult to figure out because you had to keep piecing together certain aspects of the main characters' pasts. Advent Children makes it difficult to figure out the whole story because it's only mentioned in snippets.
Just how bad is Advent Children in catering to the gamer? When Aeris appears in scenes where Cloud kind of mentally wanders, we're automatically expected to know who she is. She shows her face once, and those trying to view Advent Children as a movie in its own right will be confused. Her name is never mentioned. Actually, at least half of the characters in this movie go without any named mentions. This is unforgivable if you're going into Advent Children blind to the mythos of Final Fantasy VII. Music tracks from the game are used for much of the score; the classic battle victory theme in the Final Fantasy series is the ringtone of Cloud's cell phone! I did like the way characters used their attacks from the game, though.
But Advent Children doesn't even get its catering right. Cloud is the only true main character in it. Even the major supporting players are only there to string the fight sequences together. Cloud is also the only character who Square-Enix tries to even remotely develop. They basically present him as a distant loner who learns what it means to care about others. This is the biggest way Square-Enix screws up. First of all, Cloud wasn't really a loner at any point in the game. Selfish and greedy, yes. But even in the beginning of the game, he came off as a guy who merely preferred to work alone instead of be alone. And when he overcame this flaw, he became a decisive leader who stayed headstrong in spite of the huge challenge towering before him. Cloud's personality in Advent Children makes him more like Squall from Final Fantasy VIII - a selfish loner who is almost contemptuous of humanity and who never really sheds that demeanor and has no business at all leading so much as a choir.
There's not much to say about the other characters in Advent Children. Marlene plays some kind of role. Kadaj is a bad guy. Tifa runs an orphanage and still cares for Cloud more than anything. But the other characters are really only cameos. They exist in order to move the fight scenes along.
The fight scenes should be really cool, but - I'm cementing my geek status for all time here now - anyone who is familiar with the game will never accept them. They're marred mainly by physics which are nonexistant in the world of Final Fantasy VII. Characters are suddenly able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. They fly, perform superhuman feats, and mock the laws of science in the real world. I could have accepted it if these characters were being introduced for the first time, but they were already living in a pre-existing, pre-scripted world. You really can't ignore this if you've played the game. Imagine what it would be like if the Super Star Destroyer from Star Wars suddenly found itself engaged in a dogfight with the USS Enterprise and you'll have an idea of why such a thing is silly.
There's so much in the world of Final Fantasy VII which was never taken advantage of. Materia makes an appearance but is never actually used. The movie takes place almost entirely within the city of Midgar when there's a whole world begging to be used within the video game. The bottom line here is that Advent Children is terrible not just because it fails to tell a good story but also because its failure is a direct result of Square-Enix just trying to give us fight scenes and character cameos. I can understand if there are any gamers who felt insulted while watching this. I was insulted too.
The only thing Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children has going for it is its outstanding graphics. There are characters who almost look real at times. But this is getting too normal to matter. Advent Children is thoughtless and, if you're a gamer, insulting. Just avoid it at all costs.
One of the most influential RPGs in recent memory is the Final Fantasy franchise that has spawned numerous installments that are highly popular in Asia, Europe and the U.S. While it isn’t exactly a necessity to have played the video game for one to fully appreciate the beauty of Tetsuya Nomura and Takeshi Nozue’s 2005 pure CGI-animated film “FINAL FANTASY VII: Advent Children”, it would definitely be an advantage since the film takes off 2 years after the game ends. For those … more
I remember playing Final Fantasy VII when it first came out in 1997. I was eleven years old. The game was one of the greatest I ever played. I am now twenty two going on twenty three and I still play through it constantly. The storyline was divine (albeit, didn't completely come together in the end), the characters memorable, and it still has one of the most memorable video game moments in history. When one of your main characters is killed off permanently with no way to revive said character. … more
This computer animated film picks up where the Playstation FINAL FANTASY VII video game left off. Cloud, the hero of the game, has retired into seclusion, but when a mysterious and lethal disease known as Geostigma begins to spread across the planet, and three powerful, villainous children appear, he reluctantly emerges to face the new and mysterious threats. Featuring some of the most spectacularly lavish computer graphics ever created, ADVENT CHILDREN continues the complex and compelling tradition that has made the Final Fantasy series one of the most popular games of all time.