Final Fantasy VII Advent Children

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Final Fantasy VII Advent Children © 2005 SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD. All Rights Reserved


The world of Final Fantasy was introduced in 1987, and since then, that franchise has spawned a countless amount of games that bear the same name. Once again, Final Fantasy has made it to the big screen with a sequel to the widely acclaimed Final Fantasy VII game. Final Fantasy VII Advent Children is being well received by FF fans around the world, mostly because of the cult that Final Fantasy VII had already created, but also because of the CG quality of production. I have to clarify that I am not a FF fanatic, which means I am not writing from a fan’s viewpoint.


Sephiroth © 2005 SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD. All Rights Reserved


The movie Final Fantasy VII Advent Children is set two years after the events of Final Fantasy VII. A strange sickness, known as Geostigma, struck the children in the city (and the entire world, I would assume). Cloud, one of the main characters, due to guilt, decided to live alone because he blames himself for Aerith's death.

In the meantime, three brothers arrive to the city looking for their mother and plan to bring back Sephiroth. As you may guess, they eventually accomplish their quest, and Cloud saves the day. At first I felt the story was rather shallow. Thankfully a friend explained FFVII’s back-story, so the second time I watched Advent Children everything made sense.


Yazoo © 2005 SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD. All Rights Reserved


Although everyone has their own opinions as to the logic of the plot, there is one thing that everyone does agrees on — Advent Children can be considered the CGI event of the year. Although the characters retain their anime features — the character’s skin, hair, and clothing appear natural and extremely realistic. The same goes for the environments and props. Although, they are not photo-realistic, because they still have that "CGI" look. It's not like viewing the character Tifa for the first time and saying, "wait a minute, is that a CG character or a real woman?” ... however, the closing credits do show a photo-realistic version of the character Cloud riding his bike on a live-action road. Maybe it's not ILM, but it certainly was an excellent way to demonstrate the level of quality they can produce.

In today's animation standards, character animation is produced using motion capture; with the keyframe animation taking over when the moves became too complex or dangerous for the human performers. If you have seen MoCap before [as in scenes from Lord of the Rings], you will know that the motion is only as good as the performer. In Advent Children, the actors who portray the main characters move very realistically. However, the actors who performed the stunts (you know, the background characters nobody cares about) did a less than perfect job. Although this may not hurt the story in any way, I personally think, that attention to detail is important.


Vincent © 2005 SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD. All Rights Reserved


When it comes to facial animation, again, the background characters are not featured with close-up animation, only the main characters. The background characters are only there to fill the empty spots and keep the action moving forward. Most of the main characters deliver very believable performances, which is very difficult to achieve. There are times however, when you feel they are either overacting or under reacting. For example, near the opening of the film, Yazoo says "Don't cry, Loz." Then we see Loz sort of crying, but to tell the truth he looks like he is laughing, not crying. On the other hand, Tifa seems to overact a lot, but I think that was meant to show off the film's "pretty face."


Cloud and Tifa and © 2005 SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD. All Rights Reserved


The environments, on the other hand, are very detailed. The fields and forests stretch into the distance, which makes you feel like you are actually there. There is one particular scene that I love; when Cloud is riding to meet Rufus, where a continuous forest of trees surround the mountains — to add to the scene ... everything is flawlessly lit. The forest in the forgotten capital is also a nice environment, especially because of the "ice-laden trees" that make the place feels magical and ethereal.

As to the plot ... the movie could be considered average, and, unless you are a big Final Fantasy fan you won't find anything special about it. One of the biggest flaws is that most of the plot is just an excuse for an action sequence. For example, Loz appears at the church and finds Tifa there. They don't know each other but somehow they know they have to fight. He defeats her, and then he takes Materia and Marlene with him. Although it was an amazing altercation, you still wonder why they had to fight. Fans will not care about this, as they will be happy because they get to see Cloud and the others on the big screen.


Marlene © 2005 SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD. All Rights Reserved


I am not saying the movie is bad, but FF fans hold version VII in such high esteem that I expected a lot more from it; nevertheless I can't expect a 90-minute movie to be even half as good as the original 60-hour game.

If you are a die-hard fan you will be pleased. In fact, many fans consider Final Fantasy VII Advent Children to be the best-animated movie — ever! If you are into computer graphics, then this movie is a must see.

However, if you want to view it just because you had fun watching Shrek or The Incredibles ... Advant Children might be a let down. If you are not a fan of the previous versions of Final Fantasy, I would advise you to be sure and watch the movie at least twice. Watching it a second time you will discover new twists to the plotlines that you didn't the first time, and, in the end, that is what I really liked about the movie.


Cloud © 2005 SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD. All Rights Reserved


There is something I am eager to know, and that's if Square Enix will be making additional CG movies; either related to the Final Fantasy realm, or even better, movies based on other titles, or even original stories that will not be aimed exclusively towards Square fans.

There is one thing that everyone will agree upon — Final Fantasy VII Advent Children is indeed one of the biggest events in the CG Industry for 2005.



  • For additional information on Final Fantasy VII Advent Children, we invite you to visit
    the official Square Enix - Final Fantasy VII Advent Children web site.
  • One of the better Fan Sites Advent Children.net.


    All supporting images are copyright, and cannot be
    copied, printed, or reproduced in any manner without written permission from 2005 SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD.



    Animation Alley
    is a regular featured column
    with Renderosity Staff Writer
    Sergio Rosa [nemirc].

    December 5, 2005

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    Member Opinions:
    By: jjean21 on 12/5/05
    Fantastic article, I had no idea there was a movie coming out and am now anxiously looking forward to it. I've been a die hard FF fan since I purchased FFVII years ago and have played every one of them. I imagine I'll have this movie in my collection too as soon as it hits the stores.

    By: macelene on 12/5/05
    Well I am a fan of Final Fantasy, and I will hold no grudge against you or anyone else who doesn't care for it :). I have seen the movie countless times already, and I for one love it. I love CG animation and when you throw it together with my favorite Square Enix Game series (though FFVII is not my fav of the series) chances are I'm going to think it is a hit. I think you did pretty well at reviewing it :).

    Macey

    By: Omega_Weltall on 12/5/05
    I thought it was a very good and unbiased and non fanboyish look at the movie. But like he said earlier you MUST play the game first in order for it to make since. Square Soft (now SquareEnix) has allways done great cg work

    By: thundering1 on 12/5/05
    Spot-on article. I watched the movie, but never played the games. The plot wasn't terribly logical, and also some of the events (like the church one described above) - but I didn't realize it was a direct EXTENSION of the game itself. I'm sure it would make more sense if I knew the background. That said, it was some of the most awe-inspiring CG animation I've ever seen! The modelling, texturing, cloth movement, FX, lighting and compositions were incredible! I'd watch it again for that alone!

    By: Revelation-23 on 12/5/05
    I didn't care much for the original game and I was hesitant about Advent Children, as with the rest of the FFVII Compilation (especially Before Crisis), but I was still anxious to see this, and the fact that Square-Enix pulled this off with a much higher level of competency than the original definately makes it a winner. The story may be lacking a bit, but that's not really what AC was made for.

    Technically speaking, Square has long been far beyond most others, and Advent Children only serves to prove that. Aside from lack of detail in a few places, along with some scenes that don't see to look quite right (the fight with Bahamut Sin comes to mind, especially the parts with Vincent getting up close), there's very little wrong with this movie. Unless you get to the story, which could be a bit stronger, and has a few inconsistencies.

    While FF fans will get the most out of this, it's still well worth an hour and a half of your time, whether you dabble in graphics or not, though the graphic gurus/junkies/hobbyists may appreciate this a bit more than the casual fan would.

    By: squeeka on 12/5/05
    If you know the background from playing the games(which I do) this is a must see for Final Fantasy 7 fans. Excellent review of the movie and I think you hit it spot on when you said it is one of the biggest events in CGI in 2005 and all the FFVII fans are going to absolutely love it!

    By: Chaos_Control on 12/6/05
    I have to agree with your opinion, but I'm more concerned about the link at the end of your article than the article itself. That webpage is a fan website, not the official website. The official websites are http://www.square-enix.co.jp/dvd/ff7ac/ and na.square-enix.com/dvd/ff7ac/. But I must admit that fan websites like adventchildren.net and ff7acmovie.net have far more content regarding FF7:AC

    By: DarkElegance on 12/6/05
    I am sorry but the article left me flat. I have seen the movie(waited what seemed like eons for it) and it was amazing. the features which are hard to capture in cg(hands specially) are done with amazing feel to them. If you have ever watched any of the Japanese movies(live action) You know over reaction of emotions is a norm. to find it in the CG movie is not surprising.
    As for photo realistic? do you not SEE the weave of the fabric in Vincents cloak? the characters have the anima-ish feel to it but still the textures, the motion of fabric and do not mention the AMAZING fight scenes blow the heck out of anything else I have seen. Shrek??? no..this dusts shrek in just the opening scene.
    I was not a fan of FF...I barely knew the story behind it. I learned it while waiting to see this movie. so I am not a huge fan either..BUT...you can not deny the amazing quality. the flat out eye popping amazing fight scenes...

    then on top of it all the music score is wonderful. though I was disappointed the "sepheroth" scenes were so short. it was one of the hypes of the movie. BUT still ...it is a jaw dropping, eye popping fantastic movie.

    By: deemarie on 12/6/05
    Hi Chaos,
    Thanks so much for the link catch ... I have changed the above links to include the North American link to Square Enix, as well as to Advent Children.net [one of the better FF fan sites].

    Thanks everyone for your input, and a special thanks to Sergio for the outstanding review!

    Dee-Marie

    By: ByteDreams on 12/6/05
    Beautiful! I don't play the game, but I've been longing for more movies like this!

    By: Caveman313 on 12/6/05
    nice review, I've seen the movie already and I can honestly say I agree with most of the things you say except when it comes to the story. In my opinion the story was just horrible, I mean if you never played FF7 you wouldn't know what the heck was going on, so I guess this movie was just made for two reason; one, to see if they could do it and two, to appease those fans begging for it. But realistically I don't think anyone could name a video game based movie that was any good storywise. Even though the story was bad the CGI did make up for it, there was eyecandy everywhere. Oh, and your right about that photo realistic thing, did anyone else notice they rarely ever used natural day light on the characters, most of the time it was that super bright white light, which we all know is used to hide flaws in textures.

    By: Gatox on 12/6/05
    oh i see this movie is fantastic! the CG its olmost perfect and the sound its amazing i love it specialy the fight scene

    By: ZoSoSwiM on 12/7/05
    I've seen the movie... and all I have to say is amazing! The characters act how I would imagin them to, which says a lot about how memorable the characters are. I think the movie is a great step in CG animation. Most (I imagine) of us have seen the ANIMATRIX "Final Flight of Osiris" and would agree that it is amazingly detailed... but in my opinion doesn't compare to how Advent Children is so fast, smooth, and how the characters move so well while keeping the detail level very high. So I believe that this movie is a step above the level in other CGI's. I love the Final Fantasy Series and this movie more than does it all justice.

    By: nemirc on 12/7/05
    When I say photorealistic I mean just that. The skin looks great, the clothing looks great and everything else looks great, but it just doesn't look 100% real.

    The rule is that the more you reach perfection the more you can tell it's CG. Besides, everybody knows how a real human looks and moves so it's even easier to tell whether or not the character is CG.

    The only CG character that I can say was completely photorealistic was that baby from Lemony Snicket, but we are talking about ILM, which is one of the best (if not the best) VFX house around the globe.

    By: warning202 on 12/8/05
    I was dissapointed. What made the game so great was the plot, not the graphics - on the original playstation, the characters are very unrealistic but it didn't matter. I was hoping the movie would focus more on the story, less on the battles. It was still amazing, though, just a bit of a let down.

    By: nickcharles on 12/10/05
    Great article, Sergio! I'm not a fan of the game, but will have to see this movie.

    By: 3Dlonewolf on 12/11/05
    Watched the Trailer. I'd pay to see it just for the CGI alone. If a release in the U.S. is in subtitle format, I found it hard to enjoy the CGI and read the titles at the same time, to know what was going on. Did not see any mention of that in the review. Has a release date been set?

    By: nemirc on 12/11/05
    Hello 3Dlonewolf.

    Right now the available DVD is the "import". It has english subtitles for us poor westerns that don't understand japanese. The downside is that the extras and stuff don't, so that pretty much makes it worthless unless you are interested exclusively on the movie.

    I've been checking on the US release and last thing I saw is that the Region 1 DVD will be available on january 10 (according to Amazon) :)

    By: jerr3d on 12/11/05
    Glad to see Renderosity is featuring this!

    Thanks!


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