It used to be a truism that movies based on video games would be lousy. (“Super Mario Bros.,” I’m looking at you here.) How does the sequel to FF7 hold up?

Cast, Crew, and Other Info

Steve Burton as Cloud
Steve Staley as Kadaj
Rachael Leigh Cook as Tifa
Mena Suvari as the late Aeris

Written by Kazushige Nojima
Music composed by Nobuo Uematsu
Directed by Tesuya Nomura
Complete information is available from the IMDB.

Buy from: Amazon.com
or Amazon.ca.

Premise

Two years after the less-than-satisfying ending to the famous Playstation game, the gang gets back together to save the world from someone everyone thought was dead.

High Point

Just about every fight scene. Also, all the little callbacks to the game, like the “you won a fight” ringtone.

Low Point

Some of the English voice acting is bad. Like, trainwreck bad.

The Scores

Like all sequels, a couple originality points are pretty much guaranteed to be docked. It’s worse than many sequels, in that it’s not a new story that follows the original so much as the same basic story all over again. 3 out of 6.

The animation is, of course, top-shelf stuff. Square (or Square Enix, or whatever name they’re using this week) sure knows how to make things pretty… 6/6.

The story is basically a rehash of the big story from the game, but at least they had a good story to begin with. (One of the DVD’s bonus features is a 20-minute video that plays like a speed-run of the game, that covers all the major plot points, just in case you think you need to get up to speed.) 5/6.

The voice acting varies between passable and catastrophic. You can basically tell which characters were voiced by “professional voice actors” and which by “semi-big-name celebs we brought in.” Some of that, though, is probably just the fact that, by the time you’ve invested forty hours or more playing through the game, you’ll have your own ideas in your head of how the characters should sound, and there’s just no way to get it “right.” You can’t win, but you can do a lot better than this. 3/6. (It was gonna be 2, but the Japanese soundtrack is alright, even though I can’t understand a word of it.)

Emotional response: Is nostalgia an emotion? If it is, then hey, we’re all set here. I wasted most of a semester in college playing through FF7, but I remember being very disappointed and a little angry at the ending. At least we get closure. And hey, Aeris and all her flashbacks. I know Tifa was the one most folks fell for, but I was alwasy an Aeris man. 4/6.

The production was, as you’d expect from either a Squaresoft game or a movie, pretty darn solid. The audio (aside from the English-language voices) was solid, and yes, I’ve said it before, gosh it sure is pretty. 5/6.

Overall, I wanted to like this a lot more than I did. Maybe I’m just a fanboy, dunno. The movie was good, but not great, but with the kind of expectations many folks would have for a followup to a classic game like Final Fantasy VII, there’s really just no way to please everyone. 4/6.

In total, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children receives
30 out of 42.

Additional Notes and Comments

The “special features,” such as they are, were a bit of a letdown. The deleted scenes total about two minutes, maybe, and most of them are just one-second reaction shots and other relatively insignificant cuts. I know animation is expensive and, as such, there aren’t very many, but for as meaningless as these were, I think they were just included so they could say “deleted scenes!” on the box.

Also, who decided to make Cid into a redneck?