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on June 8, 2009
Square's FINAL FANTASY series has been the reigning king of RPG videogames for the past 20 or so years. Each installment in the game is a completely separate storyline with absolutely no relation to any other, making the play experience fresh and new each time. However, no other chapter in the series managed to capture the hearts of millions of gamers around the world than the popular 7th installment in the series, released back in 1997. The tone of the game was exciting, and the characters were three dimensional beings who were woven into an intricate storyline. The game is best known for a tragic scene where one of the characters is killed, bringing a depth of emotion never before seen at that time which brought some players to tears.

Square decided to release a sequel to Final Fantasy VII, but instead of opting for the game treatment, they began work on a 100% CGI animated movie using the same technology as Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. It was released in 2004 to critical fan acclaim, and then to DVD shortly thereafter. So how does the Blu-Ray release stack up?

First of all, this is the most complete and glorious version of Advent Children that you're ever going to get. It's on Blu-Ray, and the format is nothing but kind to animated movies, especially those done in CGI. FF comes alive with pristine, crystal-clear visual quality with over 20 minutes of added scenes to boot. Indeed, this "Complete" edition is the version that future releases will be stacked against.

The audio track doesn't seem any different from the one included on the standard-def DVD release. I bought the Japanese import way back when, and I noticed a significantly more powerful soundtrack, especially in music and thundering sound effects. I was slightly disappointed to see that the Blu-Ray version didn't match that brilliant track, but then again, I was watching the English dub. The Japanese dub has a bit more punch to it. With some tweaking to my equalizer and surround channels, I managed to satisfy my audio demands.

If there's a downside to the film, it lies in the story. If you haven't played the original Final Fantasy VII from beginning to end, you're going to be friggin' lost. I myself had played the game straight through from start to finish, and even stopped to find every single secret in the game. But, that was a while ago. Even I had a few "WTF" moments during the course of the film. Nevertheless, having played the game means everything. Characters like Barrett, Sephiroth, Tifa and Marlene aren't going to matter if you don't know their backstories. Of course, this movie is primarily about Cloud Strife, the main character, and his pangs of guilt at having been unable to save the life of Aerith, his companion from the game. To a first-time viewer who is completely new to the story, Aerith's very presence will be a head-scratching conundrum.

But, that's beside the point. This movie was created by Square, exclusively for the diehard fans of the game. It really is a labor of love on Square's part, and a testament to their connection with the game. They're giving the fans what they want, even if it means that a large chunk of the human population won't have any idea what this film is about. There's passion in the creation of the film, and the action sequences are flat out breathtaking (if not totally unrealistic). It gets the adrenaline pumping, especially during the final act which is straight action for almost a half-hour, non-stop.

Advent Children is a masterpiece. It's animation is flat-out incredible, and rivals anything seen by Pixar to this day, and it has the advantage (and disadvantage?) of being tied to such a beautiful and standard-changing backstory. I loved it.

To those who aren't FF7 it onto your PS3 or PSP from the PlayStation store and play it straight through from beginning to end before evening THINKING about picking this film up. It's worth it, trust me.
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on September 20, 2005
Hey Eveyone, I think there is a typo in the title's listing, I think this is infact the DVD release of Advent Children and not the UMD, but who knows.
This is an amazing movie, I've seen the Japanese version already. The computer graphics are breath-taking and surpass those of The Spirits Within. If you like Final Fantasy VII at all, then you must have this DVD. You won't regret it!
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on February 13, 2013
Finally, a full-length Anime film done entirely in computer animation! Final Fantasy VII Advent Children is a movie adaption of the PlayStation video game of the same title (minus Advent Children) produced by director Tetsuya Nomura in Japan of the year 2005.

Cloud Strife, the blond spiky-haired hero of the story, works as a delivery boy in the fictional city of Midgar where a disease dubbed geostigma is affecting it's citizens. The majority are mainly small children but the young man Cloud Strife as well has it. Geostigma shows up as a dark blemish on the skin. A trio of men, Kadaj, Yazoo and Loz set upon Cloud as he's on his motorcycle, demanding the one they seek known as Mother. They're also plotting to revive Cloud's old foe Sephiroth with the help of Jenova's head and take over the entire earth. It is all up to Cloud Strife and his allies to defeat the three and rescue the children they kidnapped from their evil clutches.

The English dub for Final Fantasy VII was decent especially with Crispin Freeman and Steven Jay Blum voicing the characters Rude and Vincent Valentine. It's hard having to follow along with the English subtitles for the Japanese audio sometimes. I'd have to pause the scenes so I could read the dialogue. It's quite distracting. That's why I prefer the English version better.

The CGI in Final Fantasy VII Advent Children was absolutely incredible and beautifully well crafted! The 3D effects in the movie reminded me of Ghost in the Shell 2.0!

The Japanese trailers for Final Fantasy VII in the special bonus features on the 2nd disc were phonomenal!

Overall Final Fantasy VII Advent Children is arguably a worthy gem for any hardcore Anime fan! So is Ghost in the Shell 2.0! Order 'em both if you want! Don't bother wasting your money on Final Fantasy The Spirits Within!
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on December 29, 2009
To be honest, at first I was hesitant about buying this movie. I already have the original on DVD, but even then as good as I thought the animation and such was, I was left feeling like this movie never got the attention it deserved. Then Blu-ray made it's appearance. I bit the bullet and bought the Blu-ray complete edition and was blown away!

First off, the animation is kicked up a few notches and the visuals are crisp and vibrant. The original DVD eye-candy was good enough at the time, but Blu-ray really adds to the feel of the movie. While some scenes look similar to the original, the newer added scenes really shine, especially the opening with Red XIII and his kids, and the first glance of Midgar. All the buildings and small details of the city really look vast and expansive.

Second, the story really makes more sense now with the added footage. The original DVD kinda felt like you were being left in the dark, even if you know all the characters and story and such already, and not to mention, the original story was just to short to do the material justice. One thing most fans of the original DVD will first notice, is that Marlene's original English dub was replaced with a newer updated version to flow with the new scenes, so it kinda takes you by surprise at first, but is barely noticable as the movie passes by.

And third, but not least, this version really needed a redo, if nothing else but for it's fans. even though I never really considered myself a Final Fantasy fanboy, I really liked this movie, it's humour, it's not so good English dub, heck, even it's rather lacking storyline. But, like everything, this was somebody's baby that needed more attention, and it got it in spades. And it was done with loving care.

To sum up, I recommend this movie to anyone who enjoyed the original who has a Blu-ray player, and who wanted something more out of the story. Remember though, that it is the same story told in a more comprehesible manner and with a feast for the eyes and ears. I had a hard time figuring out whether I wanted to give this edition four or five stars, so I gave it five just to reflect how pleased I was at this version. To be thouroughly honest, the Complete Blu-ray edition only barely replaces the original DVD if you never liked the story to begin with, so don't expect to be awed by anything other than the visuals and animation if you buy it for those reasons alone. it's just nice to see a movie creator take extra steps to give the fans what they want, it isn't cheap to bring a movie a new look, especially considering the original DVD was no blockbuster title.
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"Final Fantasy VII" is one of the most groundbreaking, most popular video games of all time -- the adventures of flawed hero Cloud Strife and his companions, struggling to save a very self-aware planet.

Turns out that the battle isn't QUITE over. "Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children" picks up a couple years later with new threats to the planet and new silver-haired foes (plus one old one). It's an absolutely stunning piece of work -- though the plot takes awhile to fully sink in, it's awash in beautifully precise, slightly luminous animation, slam-bang action scenes, and some beautifully complex characters,

People are falling ill with a mysterious disease called Geostigma. And while Cloud is tooling around in the desert, he's suddenly attacked by a trio of silver-haired youths (Kadaj, Loz and Yazoo) who demand to know where "Mother" is. Weirdly enough, they also call him "brother." Plagued by guilt and geostigma, Cloud isn't terribly interested in finding out about the trio or their connection to Jenova's missing head.

But then Loz savagely beats up Tifa in the cathedral, and kidnaps Marlene -- along with all the geostigma-riddled children in Midgar. Unfortunately, Cloud's attempt to get back the kids meets with more failure. And as the brother lay waste to Midgar with materia-generated beasts, Cloud's friends reunite to stop them. And when Kadaj gets his hands on the head, it resurrects an old enemy who may be able to destroy the entire planet...

"Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children" is one of those movies that takes awhile to sink in, and which (at first glance) seems much more complex than it actually is. It's actually a pretty straightforward tale of a hero overcoming his doubts and trying to save the world. But that story is swathed in a heavy dose of symbolism, and many reflections about how you should live for your friends, not mope about the dead.

The writing generally tends toward meditative and slightly poetic ("What I want, Cloud, is to sail the darkness of the cosmos with this planet as my vessel..."), wit a sprinkling of dry humor ("Where can I buy a phone?"). And it's crammed with top-notch action scenes -- treetop sword fights, acrobatic motorcycle chases, and a citywide attack from the monstrous Bahamut Sin. The climactic fight is the best: the city is enveloped in a vast cloud of dust and crumbling ruins, as Cloud battles physically and emotionally with his old nemesis Sephiroth.

And the animation is a thing of pure beauty. Square Enix outdid themselves with the clarity and vibrancy of the CGI -- luminous flowers and trees, a grey sky, a ruined city, and eerie smoky monsters that rise up and attack. Even the tiny details -- like the texture of Kadaj's leather coat -- are rendered in beautiful detail.

Cloud is a likable tortured hero, who works up from despair to quiet strength -- partly from his friends needing him, and partly from Aerith's occasional admonitions from beyond the grave ("I think... I want to be forgiven... More than anything..."). Most of his friends are cameos in the fight against Bahamut Sin, but the strong-willed Tifa and the mysterious Vincent take strong stands in dragging Cloud back to real life.

But the best characterization is in Kadaj and his brothers -- they have the minds of small children, but the knowledge and bodies of grown men. And to their minds, everything they do is perfectly reasonable. They want their mommy, dangit!

"Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children" takes a little while to warm up, but the exquisite animation, good writing and likable heroes keep it moving.
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I think the main draw here is nostalgia from having played Final Fantasy 7 so many years ago. It is a nice continuation of the story, with multiple references to the original game and characters' stories. This is where it might turn off new audience. A friend of mine who never played the original game just turned the movie off right at the beginning when she saw Red XIII (lion-like character that can speak) running and jumping up the cliffs... She basically did not feel any attachment to any of the characters. On my side, I liked the movie! Awesome animation, nice story, even if it is slow at times, great realistic world and characters and awesome combats! This "Complete" version adds bits and pieces here and there compared to the previous version. Further more, it is slightly more violent as well, especially in the final fight scene, where a whole sequence is changed for something with a little more bravado. Definitely aimed at long-time fans!
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on May 18, 2006
Truthfully, I've been around the game and know more or less what it's about and have played it a bit. But I didn't really know the whole story or follow faithfully the quests of the characters in Final Fantasy VII. However, despite not really being into the game, I was in no way confused or at a disadvantage when watching the movie. And the movie was pretty darn good. The computer generated graphics were gorgeous and the fight scenes were sublime. Even if you're not a Final Fantasy fan, this movie is worth owning just for the beautiful animation and step-up from previous CGI films. And the story isn't that hard to understand, plus the extras on the DVDs provide a recap of the plotlines from the game. So I'd say it's not just for fans of the game, though knowing the game helps, I think it's for anyone who would like to add to their collection a very unique and intriguing story.
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on April 26, 2006
WOW !!! just WOW !!!
If you played the game FF7, this DVD will blow your mind up !
The reason why i'm saying this is because they are making a lot of references to the game and what happened in it. It brings back a lot of GOOD memories ( I still have goosebumps thinking about the movie while i'm typing this ). The storyline isn't THE GREATEST, but it's really good anyway. You have to watch it really loud, the music just add to the background.
The graphics are just sooo great and really well done.
So, i recommend this DVD to any FF7 fans who played the game back in 1997. For those who didn't played or known the game, some parts of the movie won't have any significance to you and sometimes, you will be left in the dark.
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on April 30, 2006
It was a good movie.
I myself am not a major Final Fantasy fan but I've played the games and have enjoyed them. When the first Final Fantasy movie came out (the Spirits Within one) I was disappointed with the lack of character and story developement that is so prominent in the games - definetely one of the things that is best about them. But with Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, since it was a continuation of a game that already had well-developed characters and plots, there was a better chance of it being good. And it was. It was fun to look at and the character design remained consistant with the CGI-anime style present in the games. All in all I recommend seeing it.
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on June 2, 2006
Unless you're a fan on the game, there's really no point in wasting your time on this film. With exceptional graphics, it is visually stunning as the film borders CGI with real life actors. Story is pretty basic, nevertheless a continuation of the game -- its meaning will only be understood by those who've spent the 60+ hours in FFVII.

Bonus features are a bit interesting albeit long, and watching the film with the English audio nearly killed the movie for me.

Nice conclusion for those who wanted more when they finished FFVII. Not a bad film, but like I said before, only for the fans.
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