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Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children

                   
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children

Japanese film poster
Directed by Tetsuya Nomura
Produced by Yoshinori Kitase
Shinji Hashimoto
Written by Kazushige Nojima
Starring

Japanese:
Takahiro Sakurai
Suzumura Kenichi
Ayumi Ito
Showtaro Morikubo
Maaya Sakamoto
Toshiyuki Morikawa
Shōgo Suzuki

English:
Steve Burton
Rachael Leigh Cook
Steve Staley
Mena Suvari
George Newbern
Wally Wingert
Steven Blum
Rick Gomez

Music by Nobuo Uematsu
Keiji Kawamori
Kenichiro Fukui
Tsuyoshi Sekito
Cinematography Yasuharu Yoshizawa
Editing by Keiichi Kojima
Studio Square Enix
Distributed by Square Enix (Japan)
Sony Pictures (International)
Release date(s)
  • September 14, 2005 (2005-09-14)
Running time 101 minutes
Country Japan
Language Japanese

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (ファイナルファンタジーVII アドベントチルドレン Fainaru Fantajī Sebun Adobento Chirudoren?) is a 2005 Japanese computer-animated science fantasy film directed by Tetsuya Nomura, co-directed by Takeshi Nozue, and produced by Yoshinori Kitase and Shinji Hashimoto. It was written by Kazushige Nojima and the music was composed by Nobuo Uematsu. Developed by Visual Works and Square Enix, Advent Children was the first title announced in the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII series, although it was the second title released, after the mobile phone game Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII.[1][2] Compilation is a series of titles based in the world and continuity of the highly successful 1997 role-playing video game Final Fantasy VII.

Advent Children takes place two years after the events of the original game. The protagonist of the game, Cloud Strife, is now working as a courier alongside Tifa Lockhart. However, Cloud's life is disrupted when he is summoned to find the cause of "Geostigma", a mysterious disease that is threatening the city's population. The film was released on DVD in Japan on September 14, 2005, and a year later in North America and Europe. Special DVD editions of the film contain official tie-ins depicting events both prior to and after the period covered by the film. On April 16, 2009, Square Enix released a director's cut version entitled Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete for the Blu-ray Disc format. Advent Children Complete was also released outside Japan on Blu-ray.

The film received mostly mixed reviews, with critics praising its animation and CGI work, but criticizing how non-Final Fantasy VII gamers would not understand the plot. It received the "Maria Award" at the Festival Internacional de Cinema de Catalunya in 2005 and the "Best Anime Feature" at the 2007 American Anime Awards. As of May 2009, the DVD and UMD releases had sold over 4.1 million copies worldwide. Advent Children Complete earned better reviews due to some changes and new features, and it also enjoyed good sales.

Contents

  Plot

Two years have passed since Cloud Strife defeated Sephiroth, who had attempted to severely damage the Planet by summoning a giant Meteor. Cloud and his allies were able to summon the spell "Holy" to combat Meteor. However, Holy proved unable to defeat Meteor alone, and the Lifestream of the Planet intervened, combining with Holy to triumph over Meteor.[3] Since their victory, Cloud has been living with Tifa Lockhart in a city called Edge, built on the outskirts of the Planet's former capital, Midgar, which was destroyed during the Meteor incident. Together, they have been taking care of Marlene (their friend Barret Wallace's daughter), and the orphan Denzel, who Cloud met outside a church in the slums of Midgar. Cloud and many other citizens have become infected by a strange disease known as "Geostigma", the origins of which are unknown, and for which there is no known cure.

As Cloud is on his way to meet the Turks (an elite unit within the Shinra organization, the former de facto world government),[citation needed] he is attacked by three men — Kadaj, Loz, and Yazoo — who demand to know where he has hidden their "mother". Cloud escapes from the men, and when he arrives at the meeting, he discovers that the president of Shinra, Rufus, is still alive (Rufus was thought to have been killed during Final Fantasy VII).[citation needed] Rufus attempts to enlist Cloud's help to stop the three men, but Cloud refuses. After Cloud has left, Kadaj arrives and demands that Rufus tell him where to find his mother. It is revealed that the mother of which he speaks is the head of Jenova, an extraterrestrial life-form whose cells were used in genetic experiments prior to Final Fantasy VII.[4] Sephiroth was the result of these experiments, and upon discovering his origins, he came to consider himself Jenova's "child". Kadaj, Loz and Yazoo wish to find Jenova's head so as to bring about the return of Sephiroth.

After a fight between Loz and Tifa, Loz is able to capture Marlene, whilst Yazoo begins rounding up children infected with Geostigma, including Denzel, promising them they will be healed. He brings the children to the Forgotten City, the place where Aerith was killed[citation needed]. Cloud goes to rescue them, but is overpowered, and has to be rescued by his former comrade Vincent Valentine. Vincent tells Cloud that the trio is seeking the return of Sephiroth. Marlene finds Marlene Cloud and convinces him to return to Edge to face Kadaj's gang. The trio call forth several monsters, including the enormous creature Bahamut SIN.[5] A battle begins, during which Reno and Rude of the Turks try to deal with Yazoo and Loz, who are searching for Jenova's remains in the city's central monument, whilst Cloud fights Bahamut, supported by his companions from Final Fantasy VII.

Meanwhile, in a nearby building, Rufus reveals to Kadaj that he is in possession of Jenova's head. He throws the box containing the head from the edge of the building, but Kadaj is able to recover it, although not before Rufus shoots and damages it. Having defeated SIN, Cloud pursues the trio to the ruins of Midgar, and en route Yazoo and Loz are apparently killed in an explosion. In Midgar's church, an outflow of water infused with Lifestream[citation needed] envelops Cloud, curing his Geostigma. Vincent explains that Kadaj's gang are actually remnants of Sephiroth himself, and it is concluded that Cloud must face Kadaj alone. Outmatched by Cloud in battle, Kadaj absorbs Jenova's head into his body, and transforms into Sephiroth. Sephiroth tells Cloud that once those who die from Geostigma return to the Lifestream, it will become corrupted, allowing him to exert control over the Planet and use it as a vessel to travel through space in search of a new planet to rule, in the same way Jenova did over 2,000 years previously.[6] After a prolonged battle in Midgar, Cloud defeats Sephiroth, who dissipates, leaving a weakened Kadaj. After Kadaj's death, a healing rain starts falling across Edge, curing the people of their Geostigma. Cloud is then confronted by Yazoo and Loz, who had survived the explosion, but who are succumbing to the healing rain. They prepare one last attack as Cloud charges at them, resulting in a large explosion that engulfs all three.

Afterward, Cloud appears surrounded by a white light, and his deceased friends Aerith Gainsborough and Zack Fair are heard, telling him that his time to join them has not yet come. He then awakens in a pool of Lifestream-infused water[citation needed] in Midgar's church, surrounded by his friends, and the citizens of Edge. After curing Denzel and the other infected children with the water, Cloud turns and sees Aerith and Zack leaving the church. As they step into the white light outside, Cloud hears Aerith say, "You see, everything's all right," to which he replies, "I know. I'm not alone... not anymore."

  Production

Advent Children came about when script writer Kazushige Nojima decided to write "a story about Cloud and Tifa and the kids." Visual Works, a company that had developed CGI films for Square in the past, picked Final Fantasy VII as the theme for a presentation they were going to create.[7] Square's research and development department worked with them on the launch, and director Tetsuya Nomura joined the crew after producer Yoshinori Kitase called him. Early in pre-production, they thought about making Advent Children as a game, but Nomura decided that it was not possible to do this, due to a number of factors, including the fact that Visual Works were not equipped to make a game. As such, the development team decided to stick with the original plan and make the story into a film. The creators had no prior experience working on films, so they fell back on their knowledge of in-game movies.

The idea was for the film to focus on the characters of Cloud and Tifa in a similar way to how other titles from Compilation of Final Fantasy VII centered on certain characters (for example, Before Crisis focuses on the Turks, Dirge of Cerberus focuses on Vincent, and Crisis Core focuses on Zack Fair).[8] Nomura says the film was, in its first manifestation, only going to be 20 minutes long. The original story featured someone requesting a message to be sent to Cloud; the message is then relayed to Cloud through several children, and, when the message finally reaches Cloud, it is revealed who the messenger is. Nomura very much liked the original script, and it became the foundation of the final script. He decided to make the project longer and more grand in scope when early word of the film generated great interest amongst Final Fantasy VII fans, the majority of whom wanted something feature length.[9] Nomura initially decided that the film should be 60 minutes long, but after development began, its length changed to 100 minutes.

Takeshi Nozue and Nomura, who had first worked together on the video game Kingdom Hearts, split the role of directing, as Nomura felt this would add more some depth to the film. In designing the battle scenes, Nozue and Nomura first discussed the setting and layout, and then went to the staff with their ideas, deciding which were the best and developing them further. The battle between Cloud's group and Bahamut was the most difficult to design due to the size of the area and the number of objects the staff had to add to the scene to keep it realistic. The alternating positions of the characters, including Bahamut itself, took the staff a long time to complete in order to give the scene a sense of flow.[10] Nomura stated that the team decided not to worry about making fighting sequences conform to reality, as they did not want to have such restrictions, instead wanting the scenes to have a "cool look." Therefore, they worked by creating their "own rules."[11] Motion capture was used for many of the film's battle scenes, but sequences which were not humanly possible to perform had to be done entirely in the computer.

In terms of designing the characters, the staff discovered that it was impossible for them to directly translate the Final Fantasy VII designs into the film, and thus some identifying characteristics had to be discarded.[12] Cloud's redesign was a combination of eight different designs, from his super deformed appearance in the game to his more realistic appearance in the film. The difficulties in making Sephiroth led the staff to reduce his appearances in the film, as it took them two years to develop and refine his look.[10] Nozue also had difficulty developing a framework for Tifa's body that was "balanced, yet showed off her feminine qualities."[13] In April 2003, it was decided that Kadaj, Loz, and Yazoo would be manifestations of Sephiroth's spirit—his cruelty, strength, and allure respectively.[14] In contrast to Sephiroth, the trio was meant to be younger than Cloud, so as to focus on the "next generation" theme.[11] By October 2003, Nomura said that the film was 10% complete, stating that while the scenario was written, not all the characters were designed.[12]

Nomura felt that Advent Children was different from Hollywood films as in the latter the meaning of most scenes tends to be explained. With Advent Children, however, the staff wanted viewers to be able to interpret scenes themselves, allowing them to come to various conclusions.[10] Nojima described the theme of the film as "survival".[12] Other themes with which Nomura and Nojima were concerned include Cloud's feelings of guilt and regret for not being able to save his friends Zack and Aerith. These feelings are symbolized by a grey wolf that appears whenever Cloud thinks about them. The wolf disappears at the end of the film as Cloud comes to terms with his feelings.[15] The word "children" was used in the title to refer to the film's children, as they represent the "next generation."[11]

  Audio

  Voice casting

In the Japanese version of the film, Takahiro Sakurai voiced Cloud, having first voiced him in the video game Kingdom Hearts.[16] Nomura wanted Cloud's and Vincent's voices to contrast with each other because the characters were similar in other ways. He felt Vincent was older and more mature than Cloud, and as a result he cast Shōgo Suzuki, who has a very low voice.[17] To voice Sephiroth, Toshiyuki Morikawa was cast, and instructed to pronounce Sephiroth's lines in such a way that his words would convey his feelings of superiority. In tandem with this, the voice director and Morikawa agreed to make Sephiroth's voice sound always calm, as if he never fears the slightest possibility of defeat. Aerith was voiced by Maaya Sakamoto, whilst Ayumi Ito played Tifa. Nomura felt that Ito's "husky voice" would offer a good contrast with Sakamoto's.[18] Shotaro Morikubo had trouble voicing Kadaj because of the character's unstable personality and needed time to adjust to the role.[14] Kenji Nomura was told by the staff to voice Loz as an "idiot" character, while Yūji Kishi voiced Yazoo.[19] For the 2009 director's cut, which featured additional dialogue for many of the characters, Nomura stated there were no problems with the voice actors, noting that Sakurai and Morikawa were already used to their characters. However, some of the child characters, most notably Denzel and Marlene, had to have new actors voice their additional scenes, as the original performers' voices now sounded too old.[20]

The official English casting was announced in February 2006. The announcement was delayed several times due to last minute negotiations with actors such as Mena Suvari, who voiced Aerith after first doing so in Kingdom Hearts II.[21] Steve Burton voiced Cloud.[22] Rachael Leigh Cook voiced Tifa.[23] Other voice actors include George Newbern as Sephiroth, Steve Staley as Kadaj, Dave Wittenberg as Yazoo, Fred Tatasciore as Loz, Wally Wingert as Rufus Shinra, Quinton Flynn as Reno, and Crispin Freeman as Rude.[21] The English release of the director's cut retained most of the original voice cast.[24]

  Music

The music of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children was composed by Nobuo Uematsu, Keiji Kawamori, Kenichiro Fukui, and Tsuyoshi Sekito, and arranged by Fukui, Sekito, Kawamori, Shiro Hamaguchi, and Kazuhiko Toyama. Upon hearing each track, Nomura would make some changes, and have the composers re-record the piece.[25] Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Original Soundtrack was released on September 28, 2005, with new material created specifically for the film as well as several pieces from the original Final Fantasy VII soundtrack. Both the original tracks and the film arrangements cover a variety of musical styles, including orchestral, choral, classical piano, and rock music; Variety noted that the styles vary between "sparse piano noodlings, pop metal thrashings and cloying power ballads."[26] The end theme, "Calling", was written and performed by former Boøwy vocalist Kyosuke Himuro. The album includes 26 tracks on two discs. In addition to the regular release, a limited edition was produced containing alternative cover art and a booklet of credits and lyrics.[27]

A mini-album entitled Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete Mini Album was released on April 10, 2009, to coincide with the release of the Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete version of the film.[28] This version of the film included a new ending theme, "Safe and Sound", by Kyosuke Himuro and My Chemical Romance singer Gerard Way. "Water" was replaced with a new song, "Anxious Heart".[28] Tracks on the album included new versions of "The Chase of Highway", "Those Who Fight Further", "Sign", "Advent: One-Winged Angel", and "On the Way to a Smile".[29]

  Promotion and release

Advent Children was the first title announced in the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII series, having been unveiled at the 2003 Tokyo Game Show.[1][2] Its first trailer was featured in an updated version of the video game Final Fantasy X-2.[30] However, the trailer used a motion capture that was altered in the final film.[12] Originally scheduled for a September 13, 2005 release in North America and a September 14, 2005 release in Japan,[31][32] Square Enix changed the US release date to a tentative November 2005 date, a move many felt was an attempt on the part of the company to capitalise on the lucrative holiday market,[33][34] although the website The Digital Bits stated that the delays were due to the extra time required to complete the bonus supplements on the special edition DVD. The North American release date was again changed in early November, this time to January 2006. When fans noted that the 2005 E3 trailer had confirmed the simultaneous September releases, Square Enix stated that the trailer was not the real E3 trailer and was possibly a fake.[35]

An IGN article on February 13, 2006, revealed that April 25, 2006 was the new official North American release date.[36] Later the same day, an article on 1UP.com confirmed this date and the entire English voice cast.[21] Square Enix then confirmed the information on their US website.[37]

Prior to the film's release in Japan, Panasonic produced a cell phone identical to the one Cloud uses in the film; the phone contained several features related to Advent Children such as wallpapers and ringtones.[30] On the same date the film was released, Shueisha published a 118-page guidebook titled Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Prologue Book.[38] In 2006, SoftBank Creative published a guidebook entitled Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Reunion Files, which contains interviews with the film's staff and information regarding development of the film.[39]

A limited edition of the film entitled Final Fantasy VII: Advent Pieces was released in Japan at the same time as Advent Children; only 77,777 sets were produced. The edition contains various pieces of merchandising, a copy of the script, the original Final Fantasy VII game, and a strategy guidebook for the game. Another disc was included in Advent Pieces containing the original video animation Last Order: Final Fantasy VII.[30] Nomura stated that the reason for the name Advent Pieces was because "advent" means "the recognition and commemoration of something," while "pieces" was added in order to bring special meaning to the release.[40]

A special one-time-only theatrical screening of the English version of the film took place on April 3, 2006, at the Arclight Theatre in Los Angeles. The event was promoted via email to those who subscribed to the Square Enix mailing list.[41] The screening included trailers of Kingdom Hearts II and Dirge of Cerberus, and featured appearances from the English language cast and the Japanese developers.

The European, Australian, and North American DVD release of the film is a 2-disc set that contains several bonus features, including Last Order. Sony later announced Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (Limited Edition Collector's Set) for release in North America on February 20, 2007.[42] The set included more bonus material than the previous DVD releases, including a copy of the script, several postcards with imagery from the film, and the first three stories from the On the Way to a Smile series.[43]

  Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete

At the 2006 Tokyo Game Show, Square Enix showed a trailer of a director's cut of the film, entitled Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete, for release on the Blu-ray format. Initially, the cut was expected for release in mid 2007, but Square announced at the 2007 Tokyo Game Show that they would postpone the product until 2008.[44] At the 2008 Square Enix DKΣ3713 Party, it was announced that Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete would be released in March 2009 in Japan, although it didn't actually go on sale until April 16. A separate bundle was sold that included a demo of Final Fantasy XIII. Both editions included the first HD trailers of Final Fantasy Versus XIII and Final Fantasy Agito XIII. On April 11 and 12, 2009, days before its release, Square Enix held four special screenings of Advent Children Complete at the Ginza Sony Building in Tokyo. There were 800 seats, but to be eligible, fans had to have reserved the Blu-ray or the PlayStation 3 bundle at the Square Enix e-store and be members of Square Enix's online website.[45]

Advent Children Complete is 20 minutes longer than the original cut of the film and also contains roughly one thousand revised scenes.[46] Themes expanded in Advent Children Complete include Cloud's development, Denzel's background, and a more in-depth view of the Turks and Rufus Shinra. As various titles from Compilation of Final Fantasy VII were released after the original film's release, the staff wanted to add links to other titles in the series. There is more violence in this version, specifically more blood during the fights, as the staff wanted to bring a "dirtier" look to the film, with characters' faces and clothes getting darker and dirtier throughout the battles.[47] Additionally, the fight between Cloud and Sephiroth was expanded by several minutes, and includes a scene in which Sephiroth impales Cloud on his sword and holds him in the air, mirroring the scene in the game where he performs the same action.[20]

Advent Children Complete was released in North America on June 2, 2009,[48] in Europe on July 27, 2009, and in Australia on October 7, 2009. The North American and European versions do not come with the playable demo of Final Fantasy XIII. Instead, they come with a new trailer for the game.[49] All Blu-ray disc also feature an animated piece entitled "On the Way to a Smile - Episode: Denzel", as well as the story digests "Reminiscence of Final Fantasy VII" and "Reminiscence of Final Fantasy VII Compilation".

Although Nomura stated that Advent Children Complete did not represent the end of Compilation of Final Fantasy VII, as the staff still had more ideas, he said it marked "the end of the Advent Children saga" as there would be no more re-releases or extended versions.[50]

  Tie-ins

  Last Order: Final Fantasy VII

Last Order: Final Fantasy VII is an OVA directed by Morio Asaka, written by Kazuhiko Inukai, and animated by Madhouse.[51][52] It was originally released in Japan on the Advent Pieces: Limited DVD, on September 14, 2005.[53][54] It was released in North America on the Limited Edition Collector's Set on February 20, 2007.[55] Thus far, it has not been released on any DVD editions of the film outside Japan or North America. There is currently no English dub for the film, and the North America version is subtitled.[56]

  On the Way to a Smile

On the Way to a Smile is a series of short stories that take place between the time of Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. Written by Kazushige Nojima, the first story ("Case of Denzel") was released in episodic form on the official Japanese Advent Children website. "Case of Denzel" is told indirectly from the perspective of Denzel, who has requested an interview with Reeve Tuesti in the hopes that he may become part of Reeve's newly formed World Regenesis Organization, an army devoted to rebuilding the planet. Denzel tells his life story, including how he became an orphan, the events leading up to his becoming afflicted with Geostigma, and how he came under the care of Tifa and Cloud. "Case of Denzel" was adapted into On the Way to a Smile - Episode: Denzel, a short OVA that was released with Advent Children Complete.[38][57]

The second short story is Tifa's account of the events following Meteor's destruction, overlapping in part with Denzel's story and her life with Cloud. A third On the Way to a Smile story, "Case of Barrett" was released with the North American Limited Edition Collector's Set of Advent Children. It involves Barret and his struggles to try to find a new energy source for the people of the world.

To coincide with the release of Advent Children Complete in 2009, four more stories were written, "Case of Yuffie", "Case of Red XIII", "Case of Shinra" and "Case of Lifestream - Black & White". All the stories were released together as a separate product from Advent Children Complete at the same time as the film was released.[58]

  Reception

  Sales

The DVDs releases of Advent Children sold over 410,000 copies in Japan during the first week.[59] Combined with the UMD release, over 700,000 units were sold in the first three weeks.[60] The DVD ranked a "surprise" #2 during its first week in Nielsen VideoScan.[61] Nielsen's survey "Top Selling Anime Releases of 2006" had Advent Children ranked at the top.[62] In an Oricon poll from 2005, the regular edition of the DVD ranked twelfth on the best seller list in Japan, with a total of 209,759 copies sold. The limited edition ranked fifteenth with 202,793 copies sold.[63] In a 2006 survey by the Japan External Trade Organization, the DVD ranked as the best-selling Japanese anime DVD in the United States. In the 2007 poll, the DVD stayed at tenth spot.[64] The English language DVD sold 963,023 units, which translated to $14,860,534 in revenue, by the fifth week of release.[65] In 2006, Square Enix and Sony announced that the English language DVD and UMD releases combined had sold over 2.4 million units worldwide, with 1 million units sold in Japan, 1.3 million in North America, and 100,000 in Europe.[66] Without giving specific numbers about the UMD sales, Square Enix stated that it had enjoyed good sales, performing better in North America than in Japan.[67] By May 2009, sales had increased to over 4.1 million copies.[68] The English version of the film achieved various best-seller ranks on Amazon.com.[55] In ICv2's Top Ten Anime Properties from 2006, Advent Children was featured at the top,[69] and was one of the top three properties during 2007.[70]

On its first day of release, over 100,000 Blu-ray copies of Advent Children Complete were sold in Japan.[71] During its initial week, the Blu-ray was #2 on the bestseller list,[72] with 274,774 units sold.[73] During 2009, the regular version of Advent Children Complete sold 49,000 units in Japan, ranking second in the category "Animation/Special Effects Blu-ray Discs" from Oricon's survey "2009's Top-Selling Blu-ray Discs in Japan (Overall)."[74] It ranked eighth in the category "Overall Blu-ray Discs, by Yen" with 310 million yen (US$3.4 million) sold in 2009.[75] Gaming sites Gamasutra and Kotaku cited Advent Children Complete as one of the main reasons why sales of the video game console PlayStation 3 radically increased during the film's first week of release.[73][76]

  Critical response

Advent Children has received mixed to positive reviews. 1UP.com's James Mielke, who scored it an "A-", said the quality and clarity of the CG visuals was "genuinely amazing." Mielke called it "the real Final Fantasy movie," finding it more appealing than the first CGI film Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. However, he criticized the film's music, calling it "a bit sappy."[77] While Anime News Network writer Carlo Santos praised the animation, calling it "outstanding", he criticized the film's plot, arguing that people who had not played Final Fantasy VII would not understand the story. Santos also found the story digest "Reminiscence of Final Fantasy VII" to be "just as confusing as the movie and is more of a refresher for those who have played Final Fantasy VII."[78] Mania Entertainment's John Eriani agreed, commenting that anybody who had not played Final Fantasy VII should search for information about the game to understand the film's storyline.[79] Fellow writer Dani Moure agreed with Eriani, although he added that he liked how the characters were further explored in the film.[80] Chris Carle from IGN shared similar opinions, giving the section "The Movie" a seven, the lowest number he gave. He praised the sound and the English voice acting, but criticized the lack of commentary in the DVDs extras.[81] He gave the film an overall "Outstanding" score of nine out of ten.[82] Todd Douglass Jr. from DVD Talk commented that Advent Children "is pretty much the film that fans all over the world have been waiting for." Besides praising the animation and the appearances from various Final Fantasy VII characters, Douglass felt Cloud's character development was a highlight.[83] RPGamer's Michael Beckett gave the film a 4 out of 5, praising the plot's tone, the characters' redesigns, and the setting. He also lauded the film's fighting scenes, stating that "the film feels very much like a love letter to the fans of Final Fantasy VII."[84] On the other hand, Variety had a negative opinion of the narrative, called some battle sequences "irritating", and noted that the last battles have more ferocious antagonists.[26] About.com's Roger Altizer also gave a more negative review, giving it 2 and a half stars out of 5, citing its plot and dialogue as "weak" and citing the visuals as one of its few pros.[85]

The director's cut, Advent Children Complete, received an overall 4.5 out of 5 by Blu-ray.com's Dustin Somner, who argued that the "plot is emotionally dense, the action is explosively over-the-top, and the world in which the story enfolds is rich with creativity." Somner highly recommended the Blu-ray to people who had already seen the film and fans of Final Fantasy VII, while non-fans would do best to rent it first; "I'd remind you to consider the near-perfect audio/video quality and perhaps take a leap of faith in adding the disc to your collection."[86] In contrast to the original release, Joystiq's Andrew Yoon found Advent Children Complete a better film, feeling it was more accessible to people who had not played Final Fantasy VII. Yoon also felt that the new scenes helped give more depth to Cloud's development, to the point of "humanizing [him]." Nevertheless, he found that Complete contained some flaws not present in the original version, such as the pacing of scenes that made the plot difficult to follow.[87] DVD Talk's Todd Douglass Jr. stated that Complete was "the best version of the film" due to its audio quality, the new scenes, and the expansion of Cloud's battle against Sephiroth. He still called the bonus features disappointing however, claiming the label "Complete" was misleading. However, he found the new OVA (On the Way to a Smile - Episode: Denzel) and the trailer of Final Fantasy XIII to be "welcome additions."[88] Kotaku writer AJ Glasser spoofed the director's cut version in an article called "Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete in 15 Minutes", claiming that the director's cut failed to explain aspects of the film that were not explained in the original version.[89]

  Legacy

Advent Children received the Honorary Maria Award at the Festival Internacional de Cinema de Catalunya on October 15, 2005.[90] The film was also awarded "best anime feature" at the 2007 American Anime Awards.[91] IGN placed it second in the "Top 10 Straight-to-DVD Animated Movies."[92] In 2007, the music video for the song "유혹의 소나타" ("Sonata of Temptation") by Korean singer Ivy recreated the fight between Tifa and Loz. The director of the video stated that it was just a parody of the film but could not get in contact with Square Enix to get official permission.[93] The video was subsequently banned from airing on Korean television after a copyright lawsuit by Square Enix cited plagiarism.[94] OverClocked ReMix's four disc Final Fantasy VII unofficial tribute album, Voices of the Lifestream, has a disc entitled Advent, a name chosen to coincide with the release of the film, with the music themed after the movie.[95] Final Fantasy XIII director Motomu Toriyama stated that the film showed "battles that have not been achievable in FF so far," and as such, he created battles for Final Fantasy XIII that were similar to the ones in the film.[96]

  References

  1. ^ a b Watanabe, Yukari, ed. (2006) (in Japanese). Final Fantasy VII Advent Children – Reunion Files –. SoftBank. p. 74. ISBN 4-7973-3498-3. 
  2. ^ a b IGNPS2 (2003). "TGS 2003: Final Fantasy VII: The Movie?". IGN. http://ps2.ign.com/articles/451/451541p1.html. Retrieved August 11, 2006. 
  3. ^ Studio BentStuff, ed. (2005) (in Japanese). Final Fantasy VII Ultimania Ω. Square Enix. p. 591. ISBN 4-7575-1520-0. 
  4. ^ Studio BentStuff, ed. (2005) (in Japanese). Final Fantasy VII Ultimania Ω. Square Enix. pp. 210–215. ISBN 4-7575-1520-0. 
  5. ^ (in Japanese) Final Fantasy VII 10th Anniversary Ultimania (Revised Edition). Square-Enix. 2009. ISBN 978-4-7575-2560-3. 
  6. ^ Sephiroth: What I want, Cloud, is to sail the darkness of the cosmos with this planet as my vessel. Just as my Mother did long ago. Then one day we'll find a new planet, and on its soil we'll create a shining future. (Final Fantasy VII Advent Children)
  7. ^ McLaughlin, Rus (April 30, 2008). "IGN Presents: The History of Final Fantasy VII". IGN. http://retro.ign.com/articles/870/870770p1.html. Retrieved September 14, 2008. 
  8. ^ Stone, Courtney (September 1, 2005). "Kitase Discusses Compilation of Final Fantasy VII". RPGamer. http://www.rpgamer.com/news/Q3-2005/090105b.html. Retrieved August 5, 2010. 
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