Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (2005)

Posted: February 12, 2012 in Action, Animated, Sci-Fi

After the defeat of Sephiroth and the prevention of the destruction of the world, Cloud, Tifa and the rest of the gang have faded off into a more normal existence. Concerns start to rise when some of the children of Midgar begin to show signs of a disease called Geostigma. It is believed that remnant foreign material from the final battle with Sephiroth is causing the infection. In addition to the spreading of Geostigma, three new villains have risen to reek havoc. Kadaj, Yazoo and Loz begin their assault on the people of Midgar, first by attempting to take control over their infected children. When Cloud struggles to fight them off, the trio is able to get their hands on a mysterious box that contains remnants of Genova and the key to bringing back a powerful villain, bent on avenging his death.

Starring: Rachael Leigh Cook (Tifa Lockhart), Steve Burton (Cloud Strife), Steve Stanley (Kadaj), Wally Wingert (Rufus Shinra), Quinton Flynn (Reno), Crispin Freeman (Rude), Dave Wittenberg (Yazoo), Fred Tatasciore (Loz), Steve Blum (Vincent Valentine), Beu Billingslea (Barret Wallace), Chris Edgerly (Cid Highwind), Christy Romano (Yuffie Kisaragi), Greg Ellis (Cait Sith), Liam O’Brien (Red XIII), Grace Rolek (Marlene Wallace), Benjamin Bryan (Denzel), Ryun Yu (Tseng), Bettina Bush (Elena), Mena Suvari (Aerith Gainsborough), George Newburn (Sephiroth)

While there is certainly the Japanese version, the American version contains a mixed set of recognizable and unknown voices. The one main character that may be the most unrecognizable would be Steve Burton, who plays Cloud Strife. While in the game Cloud never truly speaks, Burton adds a subtle element of personality by broadening his more action-oriented style, though he still limits his vocal performance. Rachel Leigh Cook is the one truly well-known American actress and adds her flair of energy and passion to one of the more dynamic characters (Tifa). The three men playing the trio of Kadaj, Yazoo and Loz are Steve Staley, Dave Wittenberg and Fred Tatasciore. Each of them brings a different element of strength, angst and frustration to their characters, but do well at times to overlap their personalities.

In an attempt to extend the story of a much-loved video game series, Tetsuya Nomura and Takeshi Nozue looked at life after the fall of Sephiroth. To set the stage prior to the start of this film, Final Fantasy VII included a journey by Cloud, Tifa and friends as they battled against the Shira organization (who looked to harness Mako energy – the life energy from the planet) and Sephiroth (who wanted to bring utter destruction to the world based on a rough childhood and emotional pain associated with his mother, Genova). After the successful defeat of Sephiroth and prevention of the world’s destruction, Cloud, Tifa and Barrett worked together on a delivery business and the rest of the gang went their separate ways. During this time, the people believed they had entered into a time of calm. It was not until the remnants were discovered during an excavation effort by the remaining Shinra corporation that the trouble resumed and brought forth the Geostigma and trio of Kadaj, Yazoo and Loz.

Those that remember the game will certainly appreciate the extended story. It is believed by many that Final Fantasy VII is the best role-playing game in gaming history, with the deepest story and longest playtime. When this film came forward, it provided a story element that tends to be lacking after the majority of games released. Until the more recent sequel role-playing game (like Final Fantasy X-2 and Final Fantasy XIII-2), the previous stories ended with each of the individual games.

In addition to the film’s distribution in the US, the original film was developed for the Japanese gaming fans. The DVD includes both versions.

Fans of the series will certainly appreciate this film and its revisiting of one of the most dynamic video game stories to date. Those unfamiliar with the series and this story specifically will struggle to feel any sort of connection.

Dan’s Rating: 3.5/5


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