Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

So the buzz I’ve been hearing about ‘Final Fantasy:  Advent Children’ is ‘if you didn’t play the game, don’t bother watching this movie because you won’t like it’.  Now in my opinion, I find that’s not altogether true.  Now I’m a gamer from way back.  I’ve owned probably every major gaming console at one time or another in my life, including the atrocious Atari Jaguar and I also have a game ready PC.  But if it’s not a football game of some sort, or if it doesn’t involve some form of mindless murder and killing, then chances are I haven’t played the game.  Lord knows that Final Fantasy is not the kind of game that I would even remotely be interested in playing.  Or Zelda, or any of those fantasy role-playing games.  It’s just not my thing.

‘Advent Children’ takes a couple of years after the events in Final Fantasy VII.  Some small lip service is glossed over about the planets energy source, battles between soldiers, the planet rebelling and a disease called the ‘stigma’.  Had one played the game, all of these things would have some incredible meaning to you.  They meant very little to me, and not because it was confusing, but because I could just care less.  Soon we meet Cloud, who is almost a gaming icon on the level of Mario.  If you play video games, but don’t mess with Final Fantasy, you’ll still recognize the spiky haired Cloud.  Cloud is disillusion and feels worthless as he is unable to protect his adopted ‘family’.  Adding to Cloud’s problems are his ‘brothers’ Kadaj and his crew who are on a rampage to find their ‘mother’, a substance that they believe will help them punish the planet that has turned on them.  If you don’t want dig up a ten-year-old game to gain deeper meaning into the plot, there is a rather lengthy visual walk through of the original Final Fantasy VII game on the first CD that may, or may not help you understand the movie a little deeper.

Despite all of the videogame gobbledygook and mythical lore crap, the reason this thing is still worth watching is because it’s damn pretty to look at.  Damn pretty.  Square definitely pulled out their 'A'-game on this one, making the technical marvel that was Final Fantasy: Spirits Within look like a student demo reel.  The movie even plays like a video game, with hyper kinetic action, super double-barreled weapons and swords, all culminating in huge boss battles.  You almost want to pick up your game pad and take control.  The amount of craftsmanship and care that went into creating this visual masterpiece is incredible.  Trust me when I tell you that Pixar has nothing on these guys.  Visually that is.  They may want to attend a Pixar story telling class and jot down a note or two.  I understand the whole ‘play the game to understand’ stuff, but ‘Spirits Within’ wasn’t really based on the game and it too was barely comprehensible. 

But based on what I’ve seen here, if they are so inclined, Square could become a major major player in dramatic, adult themed animation.  Just write a story that makes sense just a little bit, and you’ve got a monster hit on your hands.  And even though ‘Advent Children’ was story by anagram for the most part, after a while you just didn’t care because it looked that damn good.  I can’t wait for EA sports to do Madden:  The Movie!  Call me EA, I gotta script!

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