Sunday, September 18, 2005

Advent Means Christmas Is Coming

So I downloaded and watched Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. For those of you who don't religiously follow the ins and outs of the Final Fantasy series - no, lifestyle, FF7AC is the movie sequel to the video game Final Fantasy VII, which itself was almost but not really the sequel to Final Fantasies 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6, and almost but not really the precursor to Final Fantasies 8, 9, 10, and 11 (all of these are here). Maybe more, not quite sure.

Each Final Fantasy game happens in its own universe and holds in common with its bretheren only incidental, but dogmatically adhered to, details. For instance, [most] every game has some guy named Cid in it. This tradition was broken recently with the appearence of Final Fantasy X-2, which was the sequel to Final Fantasy X, and which featured a J-Pop girl band as the main characters.

Adding to the wrinkles is the first Final Fantasy movie, called Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. Intoxicated by the forbidden beauty of their full motion videos, and perhaps wishing to thumb their noses at the reviewers who dismissed the more recent games as dressed up movies (too many cutscenes), Squaresoft founded their own motion picture studio in Hawaii, with the idea of becoming I guess the Pixar for adults. Or the Pixar for teenage boys who wish they were adults.

So they came out with FFtSW. It was widely regarded as a piece of crap, despite the presence of Alec Baldwin as the male lead and the unprecedented number of individual hairs rendered on the female lead's head (this was a major selling point of the movie at the time). The motion picture part of Squaresoft went bankrupt soon after, but not before making one of the Animatrix shorts, called Final Flight of the Osiris, which was pretty good, and was helpful in understanding the two Matrix sequels (which still didn't make much sense regardless).

So that's the background. I'm here to tell you that FF7AC is what FFtSW was supposed to be. It's what I and every other Final Fantasy fan was drooling over when FFtSW was first announced. In a fun coincidence, it's also what the Matrix sequels were supposed to be. It's what (not I) and every other Matrix fan was drooling over when the sequels were first announced. This movie is awesome. It also happens to make little to no sense. It is still awesome.

The action in this movie is absolutely breathtaking. The characters all seem to have Neo-like powers when fighting, but it's done right, where they can't just fly around wherever they want or explode things by looking at them. You still get a sense that this is a real battle happening, maybe because everybody else can dodge bullets too. There are crazy motorcycle chases, there are crazy gunfights, there are crazy swordfights. People will be jumping through the air, running up the sides of buildings, flipping motorcycles around and throwing them at each other, and just generally defying the laws of physics... and the whole time you will be thinking: this is great.

The story is thin. I'm not sure who translated (the movie was subtitled) this version, but it is pretty rough, so I could be wrong. You don't really need to know what happened in the game (they give you a quick synopsis), but it would probably help. Frankly, when I played the game, I had pretty much no idea what was happening back then either. If you're interested though, here is a plot synopsis, which explains everything that happens, and, if you are feeling really interested, here is the game script. But again, not really necessary, as the movie doesn't really revolve around anything except killing the crazy guys. The best solution is probably to read about it on wikipedia.

All things considered, this movie is definitely worth watching. It's pretty much a 1 hour, 30 minute long cutscene, but really, that's exactly what it should be. And what it should have been the first time. But Tycho (as usual) said it best:

This film contains scenes that may be totally fucking awesome. Your favorite characters may be rendered in extreme detail as they take part in mind-blowing battles set in familiar locales. Futuristic scabbard/motorcycles might be depicted in a way that makes them appear sweet.

I'm looking forward to the US release so I can buy it, and I'm really looking forward to some more sequels... maybe to Final Fantasy VIII? Please?


At 9/29/2005 12:23:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just watched this last night and everything you say is true. However, I'd like to mention that the soundtrack BLOWS. It is absolutely the worst part of the film and is slightly distracting at times. Not only is the music just bad, they choose strange times to play music that doesn't fit the mood. I've only played FFX, but I didn't mind the music in the game.

Otherwise, this movie is a delicious treat for the eyes.


P.S. MaxPower is my officemate, he linked me here.

At 10/01/2005 10:41:00 AM, Blogger mbs said...

yeah i agree. it was crazy good eye-candy, but the music was mediocre, especially compared to ff game music, which is usually awesome. but it was still a big step up from ff:sw. cuz that had crappy music too, i think i remember.


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