An ex-mercenary is forced out of isolation when three mysterious men kidnap and brainwash the city's children afflicted with the Geostigma disease.
Directed by: Tetsuya Nomura
, Takeshi Nozue
. Starring: Takahiro Sakurai
, Ayumi Itô
, Shôtarô Morikubo
, Maaya Sakamoto
, Keiji Fujiwara
, Taiten Kusunoki
, Yûji Kishi
, Kenji Nomura
, Shôgo Suzuki
, Masahiro Kobayashi
, Kazuyuki Yama
, Yumi Kakazu
, Hideo Ishikawa
. Music by: Kenichiro Fukui
, Keiji Kawamori
, Tsuyoshi Sekito
, Nobuo Uematsu
It's been 2 years since the climactic battle between Cloud and Sephiroth. Now after saving the world from total destruction, I was really curious to know what else could be left to tell about FF-VII's tale, let alone continue it.
It's more than obvious that everyone's been clamoring for the release of this film, just wanting to know if it will ever hold up to the original PS1 game. Now honestly I feel that that is too far fetched because we have to remind ourselves that the game had hours and hours to develop its characters and had multiple subplots (or sub-quests) that better defined them. Kinda like a big novel. A film only has up to fifteen minutes before it's allowed to then throw its own characters into conflict or action. So what did Square-Enix do to compensate? Well actually they ended up making this film strictly for FF-VII addicts only, which means it's impossible for the general audience who have never played the game, to understand our heroes. They can still comprehend the basic premise and overall theme which is the saving grace but they'll mutter "Who's that?" about certain characters whom abruptly pop-up as the story progresses. Action is definitely another topic which I'll get to in a moment but isn't the story itself that made us love FF-VII in the first place?
Moving on to FF's (or should I say Square's) sheer power to dazzle anyone, is the CG. But the other question is, is Advent Children the most visually striking animationfilm thus far?? It just so happens that last year (2004) was the release of Production IG's Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence (GITS2) and that also was a visually striking movie. If there's anything I'd say Advent Children didn't quite explore in its CG, it's a sense of moody lighting. When comparing the two titan-visual films together, Ghost in the Shell 2 believe it or not, I still feel wins by one step. Only one because Advent Children itself is so far up the bar already! While it could be categorized as a fairly 'bright' film, GITS2's world is very dark and Gothic, almost like film noir that the visual density of it is simply richer. I don't think there's any scene in Advent Children that could measure up to the 'Locus Solus' Cathedral in GITS2. But once again, both are undeniable visual titans that have taken years to complete and clearly have benefited from the advances of filmanimation technology. I just find GITS2 has a slightly more ambitious style to it.
Now about those mind-blowing action sequences. At first, I did NOT like them. Partly due to the fact I was annoyed by the overall editing style in the first third of the show. For some reason, the film has the habit of jump-cutting a lot even during conversational scenes, not wanting to stay still and you'll be hard-pressed to find a shot that lasts more than two seconds. The result is it feels like a disorientating commercial or music video. That being said, the early action scenes are all done in silly rapid cuts and you'd go "What the hell is going on?!!!" especially the church fight between Tifa and Loz.
What's even weirder is that the movie actually stops doing it once you're in the second third. I actually thought it was gonna stay in that fancy jump-cut style but thank God it didn't! The REAL kick-ass fun begins when Kadaj unleashes a Weapon-like creature within a city (where Tifa stays), wreaking havoc on civilians. From there on the film is so relentless in its speed and it never stops!! The best moment is when all our heroes go head to head with the Weapon-creature and then taking turns to snuff it out with Cloud providing the finishing blow. Simply amazing!!
And the bike chase that follows shortly there after I promise is to die for; you've NEVER seen a chase like this at all!! What's funny is that it's all over-the-top stuff but I totally buy it!!! If it doesn't look fun to you, you're not human!!! Hollywood's definitely gonna be looking to attempt this kinda chase soon no doubt.
One other element that gave FF-VII (the game) its heart, was Nobuo Uematsu's breathtakingmoving score. His contribution to Advent Children is fairly adequate but somewhat disappointing. First of all, there's no new piece of music, at least one that's literally special. Majority are rehashed and revamped orchestral versions of the original tunes. Which really is NOT a bad thing. But for someone as talented and honorable as him, you'd have thought he was ask to compose at least one new standout theme for Advent Children that would define the overall visual force of the movie. Alas, that opportunity wasn't taken.
OK so do I feel this movie's very fitting to the entire FF7 gametale that we fans have come to love and cherish (for me, it's worship) during our glorious PS1 days? Sadly... no it doesn't and a part of me likes to think of this movie as a complete standalone instead of a tie-insequel that it was meant to be. It damn well is a worthy attempt but it just doesn't quite hit its mark. I personally felt that it was impossible for a 100 minute movie to capture the essence of the game due to practical reasons of length so I can't be too harsh. I'm not sure if Square-Enix is going to make another sequel in the future since this one actually concludes with an opened doorway to more adventures for our characters. If that is their true intention, then perhaps they'll have better luck next time... but God knows what they'll think of next for the action sequences!! All in all, good but not great.
Review by Desmond Hew from the Internet Movie Database.