Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete (2009) Breakdown by Kain424
Cloud Strife and the rest of AVALANCHE have to get over all their emotional baggage in order to once again save the world from a life destroying threat. Moping, philosophizing, and physics-defying action ensue.
Where to start? Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete (ok, I’m calling it ACC from now on) isn’t really meant as your typical “director’s cut” of a film (in this case, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children), but rather a replacement. It’s an upgrade. And if you haven’t seen Advent Children, just go on ahead and skip it and get ACC instead. The film exists to better explain what the hell’s going on and in a prettier format. And with a bunch more Action.
Taking place two years after the events of the original game, this entry mostly takes place in a city built from scrap on the outside of Midgar. The city, gray and sprawling, is called Edge. While at first seeming to offer the prospect of hope and rebuilding, is soon shown to have an underbelly of sickness and depression. This, of course, will be a running theme throughout the film. Nearly every character is striving toward the fulfillment of some kind of basic goal, but each are hindered in their own ways, mostly due to past indescretions.
What this movie offers most of all is immense amounts of fan service. It’s certainly great to see parts of this universe again, even if it’s mostly just around Midgar. The world remains quite true to itself, and the familiar faces of Reno, Rude and others are only helped by the groundbreaking visuals.
I’ve heard people saying ACC is hard for the uninitiated to get into, and they’re right. But then again, this film wasn’t made for them. This is essentially the fifth story in the series and if you’re not willing to go through Before Crisis (admittedly, this one’s hard to get to and sit through), Crisis Core, Final Fantasy VII, and On The Way To A Smile, you deserve to feel lost when starting this one up. ACC has a lot of exposition for the newbies, but if you don’t know anything about the FFVII universe, it’s not going to help a whole lot.
That said, the movie is a remarkable blast. It’s violent, silly, fun, gratuitous fan service that puts a smile on my face. The acting isn’t always up to par, but the visuals sure are. This is one of my favorite films, actually, but I can’t really recommend it to anyone not already familiar with Final Fantasy in general or the adventures of Cloud and company in particular.
[HOW BAD-ASS ARE THE MAIN CHARACTERS?]
The Good Guys
He’s one of the few people to ever engage Sephiroth and still be alive today. While he may be a bit mopey at times, he is the sort to pull through in the end. And besides, let’s see how well you fair after being puppeted into watching your friends die and after thinking you’ve saved the world then find out everyone is slowly dying painfully anyway.
He’s got a big-ass sword (that comes apart in smaller, but still big, swords), a bad-ass motorbike, and superhuman strength. He’s pretty bad-ass, with emphasis on the word pretty.
From left to right, back row then front:
Yuffie Kisaragi, Cid Highwind, Tifa Lockheart, Vincent Valentine, Barret Wallace, Marlene, Cait Sith, Nanaki
The gang’s all here and in some damn good shape, too. Whatever they lack in a one-on-one fight, they more than make up for in team power. Watching them take on a summoned demon-god is one of the many highlights of this film. Marlene may be a little kid, but she’s also wise beyond her years.
The new kid on the block. He’s sick and suffering for much of the film, but also finds within himself the strength to help out some innocent civilians. He’s cool for a kid.
Reno and Rude
These guys are pretty fun. They’re mostly here for comic relief, but they are more than able to hold their own in the end fight sequence. Also, being able to survive a helicopter crash and still go on fighting is quite impressive in my book.
The Bad Guys
The Silver-Haired Men: Yazoo, Kadaj, Loz
These guys are odd and, unless you’ve read On The Way To A Smile, largely unexplained. They are remnants of Sephiroth, each one possessing familiar traits of the late great insane warrior. Kadaj is the leader of the group, possessing the most drive and skill, but all are pretty much equally creepy. They mostly serve as a set up to the film’s main villain:
In the film’s great “Oh Shit” moment, the long-haired one returns to deal out malicious intent with a vengeance. ACC succeeds in some ways better than the original game, by making him actually pretty terrifying. He’s extremely powerful and a far more efficient fighter than Cloud. By giving us a villain that makes us believe Cloud might actually lose, I’d say Sephiroth is easily bad-ass and one of the best things going for the movie.
[THE BODY COUNT: Around 5 At The Very Least; But Maybe 50]
There’s plenty of blood, but the bodycount is actually pretty low on this one. I guess that’s what you get for your CGI dollar. A couple bad guys blow themselves up, a young boy dies (offscreen), as does a demi-god and his “remnant”. There are some people that may or may not get killed by ravaging shadow monsters, but I can’t be sure. Then there is the part where Bahamut Sin blasts the center of Edge City with its magic breath or something. Lots of people died there, I think.
[MOST SATISFYING ASS-KICKING AND DEATH]
The final half hour. All of it. Here are some caps:
Motorcycle vs. Helicopter
Rude With A Bazooka
Cloud vs. Sephiroth… Again!
[DUDESWEAT AND MACHISMO]
Aside from the choice to make nearly every character look as feminine as CGI allows before giving them breasts, there’s actually not a lot of gay subtext here. The men do seem to bond in pairs while the women are rarely seen all that much, but there’s just not a lot for us here. Then again, one particularly brutal swordfight does in fact end with one pretty man being held in another pretty man’s arms…
[EXPLOITATION AND MISOGYNY]
For a Japanese film, there is a surprisingly little amount of misogyny in this one. Sure, Tifa seems to work as a barmaid and as Cloud’s personal answering service, but don’t forget that she owns that bar (The 7th Heaven) and is basically the one keeping Cloud in line all the time. Also, the film’s signature fight scene is between Tifa and Loz, the strongest of the Silver-Haired Men.
[EPIC MOMENT AND BEST ONE-LINER]
The epic moment occurs near the end, after it seems Cloud has won the day. Kadaj gets what he’s been after for the entire film: the remains of Jenova. As he begins absorbing these remains, Cloud makes his move to land the final blow. Cloud’s blade halts in mid-air, and he is face to face, once again, with his old adversary Sephiroth.
The one-liner comes next, from Sephiroth, who with chilling calmness mixed with a suppressed evil glee, intones: “Good to see you again… Cloud.”
[THE MORAL OF THE STORY]
Let go of the mistakes of the past if you want to make a better future.
[THE CHECKLIST: 14 outta 25]
[ ] Athlete(s) Turned “Actor”
[X] Clinging To The Outside Of A Moving Vehicle
[ ] Crotch Attack
[X] Dialogue Telling Us How Bad-Ass The Main Character(s) Is/Are
[ ] Ending Featuring An Ambulance, A Blanket or A Towel
[ ] Factory/Warehouse
[X] Giant Explosion(s)
[X] Heavy Artillery
[X] Improvised Weapon(s)
[X] Macho Mode(s) Of Transportation
[X] Main Character Sports Facial Accessory(s)
[X] Manly Embrace(s)
[ ] Notorious Stunt-Man Sighting
[ ] Passage(s) Of Time Via Montage
[X] Politically Fueled Plot Point(s)
[X] Senseless Destruction Of Property
[X] Shoot Out(s) and/or Sword Fight(s)
[X] Slow-Motion Finishing Move(s)/Death(s)
[ ] Stupid Authoritative Figure(s)
[ ] Substance Usage and/or Abuse
[ ] Tis The Season
[ ] Torture Sequence(s)
[X] Unnecessary Sequel [Final Fantasy VII: Dirge Of Cerberus]
[ ] Vehicle Chase(s)
[X] Vigilante Justice