The turning point for now popular Japanese RPG (Role Playing Game) franchise, Final Fantasy, is when they launched the first Final Fantasy in 3D format, aka Final Fantasy VII, for the Sony Playstation in 1997. The game was the most popular franchise in the series hitting its 10 million-sold mark as of 2010.
In 1997 it was one of the best looking games. However, the game made its mark not just in terms of graphics and pushing technology to the edge (as expected from game developer Square Enix), but also because Final Fantasy VII gave people a strong connection with the emotional journey of the characters (sometimes including the baddies), a tight interweaving storyline and great cinematic themes and musical scores that resonate to a generation of fans to this day.
In 2004, after a very failed Final Fantasy Hollywood adaptation, the people at Square released a treat and what I would like to think as an apology for Spirits Within: Final Fantasy VII Advent Children.
Synopsis (No spoilers!)
This continues the story of Final Fantasy VII fans and puts the timeline 2 years after the ending of the game where the main bad dude, Sephiroth and his “mother” Jenova has been vanquished from the World by our heroes (Cloud Strife, Tifa Lockheart, Barrett, Cid, Yuffie, the vampire Vincent, Cait Sith and everyone’s favorite battle-cat, Red XIII). However, because of the battles and the impeding war, the planet remained scarred and Jenova’s remnants remain in the form of black spots infecting some survivors—they call this Geostigma.
To make matters worse, a new trio of quick, agile, almost Japanese pop-star-looking wanna-be bad-guy villains emerged (Two of them look kinda soft, if you ask me). Their mission: to wreak havoc unto the recovering city.
In 2004, when Advent Children first emerged, they were greeted with lots of mixed reviews. Lots of praise was given to the ground-breaking technology used to render and re-model the characters and the world. The characters that we fans fell in love with actually looked real and had voices! But the intricate story and the range of emotions that the characters used to display were missing in the mix. Until 2009.
In Spring-Summer 2009, Square Enix released the much anticipated long-cut version of the Advent Children film. Final Fantasy VII Advent Children Complete was released only in Blu-ray format. And the reaction of fans and critics was nothing but praise.
Adding roughly 20 minutes more of extra footage and a thousand revised scenes, Advent Children Compete tied any loose ends the original cut may have left unresolved. The additional scenes gave the story better depth and a considerable amount of weight as to why Geostigma still haunts the remaining residents. It also gave a perspective on the special Shinra group called The Turks and gave one unsuspecting character from the original more air time—the boy Denzel. The additional content almost created a whole new movie.
Add all of those with an extended fight scene between main hero Cloud and main villain Sephiroth with a grittier and bloodier mood all wrapped in glorious 1080p video and you have the makings of a masterpiece. Or close to that. ? So with that, here’s Unbox’s rating for Final Fantasy VII Advent Children Complete.
IMAGE/PICTURE QUALITY – 3.5/5
The added scenes look gorgeous, but you can clearly see which scenes were added and which one were from the original cut. The jump in video quality is pretty obvious and it takes a bit of getting used to notice these interrupting differences.
SOUND QUALITY – 5/5
Top marks in sound quality! I love that they really utilized all the 5.1 channel and for some reason, the music seems more crisp than I previously remembered in the non-Blu-ray format. 🙂
EXTRAS/BONUSES – 3.5/5
As previously mentioned, I love the extras here. The additional footage including footages from the series’ prequel, Final Fantasy VII Crisis Core (for the PSP), were integrated smoothly into the whole film.
The actual extras helped enrich the world of Final Fantasy VII. They included a heart-warming animated short for Denzel’s back-story, “On the Way to a Smile”, a video compilation of Final Fantasy VII, including a Final Fantasy VII video chronology and various featurettes including a preview of Final Fantasy XIII.
The only problem I have with the bonuses is that not all of them were in HD format. Some of the extras still go back to the DVD format, which is disappointing because it’s a Blu-ray disc. Regardless, if you’re bothered by this or not, Final Fantasy VII Advent Children Complete is just one of those films that you just have to include in your collection—even if you’re not a Final Fantasy fan. If you are fond of fantasy-adventure action films, incredible visuals and animated features then Cloud and the rest of the gang deserve that spot in your shelf.
Check out the added trailer here:
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete is sold for Php 1,550.00, with limited stocks in Astro Vision and Astro Plus.