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Sunday, September 18, 2005

Final Fantasy 7: Advent Children (better than Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within)

I have just finished watching FF7:AC seconds ago, and I feel compelled to write a review IMMEDIATELY. Because, quite seriously, I've been BLOWN AWAY.

There had been numerous reviews about this film from bloggers in the past few days, most of them praising how good the CG looked, and how cool the fighting scenes were, good for them, but I never kept my hopes too high. After all, I've already been betrayed by Square once when they made FF: The Spirits Within, which remained, alongside Pearl Harbour, one of the most traumatic films I've ever seen (didn't help much when both films were released during the same year, and both had Ben Affleck in it, well, in FF: The Spirits Within's case, a Ben Affleck lookalike with Alec Baldwin's voice, a dire combination)

I had zero expectations for this movie, assuming that every positive review posted these days were just people surprised that it's better than The Spirits Within (not a difficult feat to achieve), how, oh HOW could I have expected it to be THIS good? Despite the coolness of the trailers available online more than a year ago, I was slightly underwhelmed because I thought, ah, what the hell, probably just some freaking glorified Anime. Can't be much better.

Didn't expect to find out that almost all of the footages seen in the trailers were either not in the film, or totally remastered and improved upon until they made the trailers look like cutscenes from a Playstation game? How could I have expected the much-lauded action scenes to be UNLIKE anything I've ever seen before in CG films and live-action films? Though there may be some insanely awesome fighting scenes available in various fantastic anime titles, none of them had the production values, or the impact of this here. The first fighting scene in the movie, which involved a man riding on a motorcycle, warding off three other bikers and their summoned creatures were manic and frantic, it was impressive, but I merely nodded "yeah, that's nice". And then, there was a fighting scene between a woman and a man in a church, which was so visually stunning that I started paying more attention, "whoa, that's pretty good... WHOA!". Then, it just continued upping the ante, increasing it to the point where all I could do was stare at the computer screen blankly and exhale slowly.

So visually stunning it was that I intend to ask even my father to go watch it when my sister has finally gotten her copy of the movie. So visually stunning that I want to share this movie with everyone I know, even if they know nothing about Final Fantasy. So visually stunning that I hoped four years ago, the movie shown in the cinemas was this, and not Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, so that Square wouldn't suffer the massive losses they did, and ending up merging with Enix.

What is there to say about Advent Children? It's all about coolness. Coolness beyond belief, where every single most beloved character of the game would get their chance of spotlight, regardless of their screentime. Those that departed in the game returned, in fact, almost every single important character in the game managed to appear in Advent Children.

What is there for me to complain about this? Thin characterization? Lack of plot development? I can't complain, because this film is not supposed to be a standalone film, but more like an appropriate closure to Final Fantasy 7's much-debated ambiguous ending. It's a simplistic storyline, none of the epic-scale story you would see in a Final Fantasy game. Make more Final Fantasy movies, Square Enix, I am not going to mind whether they will sell out anymore or not. If every single product of their 'sell out' plan is going to be as good as Advent Children, I'll look forward to anything they churn out with. But which Final Fantasy game needs a sequel? Hmm.