Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children

The other night, I watched the movie Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, with a few friends. Now, never having played any of the Final Fantasy games (though they are all reportedly separate, as opposed to being direct sequels in a linear series), I had to have the story of the Final Fantasy VII game explained to me by my better-video-game-informed friends beforehand (the movie is actually a sequel to the story of the game, taking place two years after the game finishes). We also watched the “Reminiscence of Final Fantasy VII” segment on the DVD before watching the film, in the hopes that that would further explain what had happened previous to the storyline of the film.

I must say, if my friends had not given me an overview of the story before we put in the DVD, I think I wouldn’t have had much of a clue about what was going on in the “Reminiscence” piece. This 20+ minute montage of what appeared to be footage from the game, edited together with random (to my eyes) scenes of people driving and talking on their cell phones about meeting somewhere, gave me more of a visual reference for what my friends had described, along with giving me some more details about what happened during the course of the game. However, a good part of it left me more confused, and wondering just how lost I was going to be feeling during the film.

Well, I was definitely confused about many parts of the film. I had this constant feeling that I was an outsider watching, someone who was not in the know on everything that was happening. The meager understanding I had of the story helped a great deal, however, and (to my surprise) some of the “Reminiscence” piece came in handy, too.

The thing is, overall, I enjoyed the film. Why? The main reason: the animation. It’s spectacular. I have never seen computer animation this good in a film before – certainly, there are other animated productions that are quite good, but this film earns the need for a clear distinction of its own. In addition, the fact that it succeeds in bringing the look of more manga/anime-style characters and scenes into three dimensions in a way that is so stunning, realistic, and life-like is yet another accomplishment that deserves its own recognition.

And so while you may not know much about the world of Final Fantasy VII, and some of the sequences are edited far too quickly (for my tastes, anyway – while the action is fantastic, the cuts between shots happened too quickly for me to be able to make out what was happening. Couldn’t they have just kept a few steady camera shots of the fights? Ah, well . . .), I would go as far as to say that you should watch this film for the quality of the animation alone. I enjoyed the story, the characters, etc., as well, but . . . well, I’m thinking of watching it again, so I can see the animation again.

It’s that amazing.

These are a few images of the film, taken from one of its trailers. And I am compelled to point out that while these may be great, there are even more spectacular images in the film. And beyond that, they look even better when in motion – the stills can’t fully do the film justice. You can watch a trailer for the film here, to get a taste.

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